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In Memory

Bud Grinnell had been regular in attending our previous Class Reunions, so it was a big disappointment when I received a postcard from him in December 2007 telling us he would not attend our 65th in 2008. Shortly thereafter I was even more disappointed to learn from the Alumni Office that Bud had died that same month.

Starting early in life, Bud was a traveler. He was born in Schenectady, NY, the son of a General Electric sales engineer, who was later posted to Kobe, Japan, where the Grinnell family, including Bud, arrived in time for the 1923 earthquake. Later, living in Omori, Bud commuted by train to the American school in Tokyo where he met future Amherst classmate Dick Moss in fourth grade. Later, when his father was transferred to Manila, Bud lived there for a year before returning to the US to attend Albany Academy. There he met future Amherst classmates Hugh Burr and Bob Meineker. After his accelerated Amherst graduation in 1943, Bud entered the US Army and finished his military career as a personnel officer at Fort Ord, CA. While still in the army, Bud met and married Patricia Voorhis. They had three children: Daniel ’69, who sadly predeceased Bud on October 5, 2007; Lucinda; and David. Bud lost Patty to cancer in 1991, and shortly before our 50th Reunion in 1993, he married Cynthia Sharp.

My best memory of Bud goes back to freshman year when we were in Professor Theodore Baird’s English 1(c) composition section. Baird, an admirer of James Joyce and Damon Runyon, among others, sought to break us away from our high school writing styles, which tended to be over punctuated and often contained words and phrases showing the influence of newspaper sports reporters. As many of us struggled to satisfy Professor Baird in our weekly written assignments with only mixed results—A’s were non-existent, and B’s were rare—Bud caught on quickly and early on earned the first A by producing a credible composition totally without punctuation. I never told him how jealous I was of this achievement.  After freshman year, Bud used his writing talent to serve on the Amherst Student and eventually became sports editor.

In his civilian career, which he described in our 50th Reunion book as “peripatetic,” Bud was a marketing specialist and advertising account executive serving on behalf of several well-known American consumer product companies, including Colgate-Palmolive, General Foods, Vick Chemical, and Kraft Foods. During his life, he lived in twenty-one homes in sixteen states and two foreign countries. And in retirement, he did not stop traveling. I last “saw” Bud and Cynthia two years ago in a color photograph that appeared in a Grand Circle Travel catalog showing them with a scene of Holland in the background. Added to the disappointment of not having the company of him and Cynthia at our 65th Reunion, I shall especially miss the opportunity to hear Bud’s recommendations for places to visit on our next tour.  

We of the Class of 1943 extend our sympathy and regrets for their loss to Cynthia and to Bud’s children and grandchildren.

—Peter Ivy ’43