I have had some pleasant correspondence with John Fitchen and Joe Kimble concerning John’s book Life Through the Lens of a Doctor-Birder. Joe was scheduled to interview John about the book in early December as part of the Amherst Reads book club. Classmates and others from our (distant) era are sure to enjoy John’s memoir. Joe reports that it is “a fun, funny, engaging and informative book.” As a bonus, there are two chapters about his time at Amherst: stories of English 1, organic chemistry, Commager, football and a winning snow sculpture contest. One of the chapters, about John’s birding trip to Attu Island, 1,500 miles west of Anchorage, appeared in The Atlantic. Highly recommended. Be sure to check this out. On a separate note, the law school where Joe taught for 30 years, WMU–Cooley, has created the Kimble Center for Legal Drafting. Not his idea, but a great honor. It will have a public service mission. Anyone can Google it for more details.
Peter Dustin has pointed out to me that our newsworthy and often in-the-news classmate Richard LeFrak and his Solé Mia North Miami development project, now leasing, was highlighted in a Sept. 1, 2019, New York Times article focused on the costs/benefits of the incentives of the opportunity zones of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act as such zones might or are expected to affect all classes, elite to poor. On the Internet one can obtain a broader perspective of the long history of the $4 billion Sole Mia project, which is a LeFrak joint venture, under “Solé Mia | The Real Deal South Florida Real Estate News.”
Peter also gave me the sad news of the death of Parke Rouse on Oct. 19, 2019. He and Jerry Calvert were able to attend his life’s celebration. The Rev. Timothy Safford’s homily mentioned how Parke was always on hand to help. When his church was in much need of updating its digital system and records, Parke was able to modernize the system and network, but it was not possible to retrieve the digital records of members. Parke resorted to hand-entering each member. Anytime officers of the church want to check the list, Parke shows up first under the designation “0001,” preceding that of the rector, whose designation is “0002.” Parke, besides being an entrepreneur, was eclectic in his pursuits. Once, the rector was in need of a taxi and called Lyft. Parke showed up as the driver.
Prill and Chris Nugent had a great dinner with Dave Mitchell and his wife on Florida’s Siesta Key, and as it turns out, they will be neighbors in the Palmer Ranch Developments, across the road from each other. He and Prill decided to upsize after downsizing in Chicago. They are now blue voters in this red state. They thought it prudent, as they age, to have extra room when additional help is required. Prill now has a Chicago hip and a Florida hip, and with new knees, they set off all the TSA alarms. Ah, aging!
Mike Keiser continues to make news. A recent issue of Golf World magazine (flagged courtesy of Jack Hailey) has a laudatory feature about him. Here is a just a snippet from the article: “His courses have received unprecedented critical acclaim. Every one of his 18-hole courses—10 to date, with three or four or six more on the way—are all nationally or internationally ranked. Nobody else has anything approaching that record. The law of averages would suggest there would have to be a clunker or two in there. But not in Keiser World. … At 74, Mike Keiser is more than worthy of a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame display case, and frankly, it’s overdue.”
After a decade back in Nova Scotia, where he did his graduate work many years ago, Jon Peirce has come to the realization that the province no longer meets his needs. He has no close family there and few close friends, and his search for a significant other has proven a colossal failure. The literary life has been a huge bust, and theatrical life, which once offered such promise, has dried up completely. So he is moving back to Ottawa, where he expects to find a strong literary community and a theater community open to the contributions that senior actors and directors can make. Jon had a lot to say about Canadian and U.S. politics, which I may summarize as: Trump bad, Bloc Quebecois useless.
Rick McClure is glad to report that his back is improving, partly due to the yoga and Pilates classes he takes with 30 women. He hopes to be back on the water soon. Also, he has kept up with Amherst rowing over the years, supporting them when he could. This year he and his wife were able to donate funds to buy a new Pocock rowing shell for the crew. Pocock was the Seattle builder of the wooden shells they rowed way back in the ’60s. Now the boats are all of composite construction.
Bob Whitelaw has been more active in his role with the Amherst Fund than as a correspondent. But he recently made up for that with a lot of news. He reports that he and his two sophomore roommates, Jim Inglis and Rick McClure (Bob and Jim go back to freshman year of high school, and Bob and Rick and four other misfits were incarcerated in Morrow isolation ward freshman year), and their spouses (Nancy McClure, Carolyn Inglis and Pam Whitelaw), got together for a mini reunion in Boston Oct. 18 and 19. As he does every year, Rick was to row in the Head of the Charles (master class or old geezer class or something to that effect). However, a week before the event, Rick hurt his back (see above) in a “hard landing” that a student he was instructing made in the glider plane they were flying. Rick is a certified instructor and has done over 1,000 flights and 500 instructions. So he grudgingly gave up his seat in the eight-person shell and watched the races with the rest. They swore that they would do it again next year.
Jim and Carolyn are long retired and, last year, moved to a new home near their daughter and two grandchildren in Portland, Maine. Jim is getting over two knee replacements and is recently back out on the tennis court. Rick is also more recently retired. Bob and Pam are still working. Three years ago he gave up his position as managing partner of his 125-lawyer firm (after 30 years), so is now just a regular lawyer and enjoying the slower pace. Incidentally, he fell off his bicycle in Spain last year and broke his elbow (three pieces).
Peter Dustin certainly gets around. He emailed Bob, Dave Dembe and Jerry Calvert and spouses for a Philadelphia get-together in November. Some of them did this a couple of years ago. Bob runs into David and his wife, Pamela, every now and then at charity or civic events. Pam Dembe was president judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and a fine and well-respected jurist who also recently retired. Dave is still working in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.
Bill Clamurro reports that Jack Hailey recently found 38 letters Bill had written to him, from 1968 to 1971, including more than 30 when Bill was a 1-A-O (unarmed, noncombatant) medic in Vietnam (and where he ran into Jim Inglis!). These letters, plus more than 70 letters Bill wrote to his family, contribute to a project that, along with his 1-A-O medic friend, Jim Kearney, Bill is working on: the lost story of the 1-A-O medics. All the originals of this material have been given to the Amherst College archives.