Deceased May 29, 2016

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50th Reunion Book Entry


In Memory

Dick started Amherst in February 1946; he had been in the combat infantry, awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart and was in a POW camp in Europe. He earned a “trade school diploma” (his words) at Harvard Business School.

He had a successful career, holding several high-level executive positions in big board companies. Some of us thought he did not make it to the #1 spot because he was unwilling to play the political game necessary for advancement in a corporate environment. He was too ebullient, outspoken and perhaps too opinionated. We admired him for these very traits.

He was an inveterate collector of ideas, paintings, old tools, books, antique Roman coins and bric-a-brac including an exceptional collection of teapots. Dick spent many years in Morristown, N.J., and Newfane, Vt. After the Amherst/Williams games, Nancy (Smith ’49) and Lew Hammond; Joan (Smith ’48) and Jack McKeon; Dave and Carola McNeish (MHC ’50); Dick’s wife, May (MHC ’47); and other classmates gathered with my wife, Suzy (MHC ’50), and me at our house to celebrate (or commiserate) the game. Often the discussions were more about politics than football; in winter, we skied together.

Dick was active in Macculloch Hall Museum, creating a diorama of a New Jersey canal system for which he received a rave review in the New York Times. With such an active intellect, perhaps the best job for him would have been director of the Metropolitan Museum, where one of his responsibilities would have been writing provenances for works of art.

Predeceased by his son Richard C. Simon Jr., he is survived by his first wife, May B. Fagan; their children, Elizabeth Simon, Susanne Simon, Priscilla Connolly ’80 and Robert E. Simon II; his second wife, Janet Robertson; their children, Jeffrey M. Simon ’09E and Katherine Deconinck; and grandchildren Peter Connolly ’18 and Julia Connolly.

Fred Gardner ’49

50th Reunion

The idea of Amherst was formed one night on the prow of a troop ship in mid-Atlantic, heading toward France in 1944. If I weathered the infantry combat (which I barely did), I resolved to seek out a liberal arts education, rather than return to M. I.T. where I had started in 1943. On a snowy December day in 1945 I visited Amherst and signed up, making one of the most satisfying decisions of my life.

My memories of Amherst recall great friends, fine professors, Fall football, and a spirited fraternity life. My two bunk-mates were Basil Mott with whom I shared a room in Old North the first year, and John Ballou (greatly missed) who was my roomy at Delta Upsilon. DU was sort of a jock house (I think it had 1/3rd of the football team my first season !), and there I made many lasting friendships through athletics - Ballou, of course, Lew Hammond, Dave McNeish, Jack McKean and many others. Memorable also at DU was the operation of the barroom (the biggest on campus) with McKeon, and some of those horrendous parties (remember the "all you can drink" martini party sponsored by a national distiller?).

As an economics/history major I was exposed to some of Amherst's finest professors; Phil Coombs, Lester Chandler, and Coulston Warne in Economics, and Dwight Salmon and Laurence Packard in History. And, I'm still getting a constant payback from Ted Baird's Shakespeare course, though the quick kick and/or the 3rd down kick behind your 30 has never been my style.

In the Fall of 1948 I was married to May Blatz (Mt. Holyoke beauty queen) and took up residence in the famous G.I. Village. Upon graduating, I proceeded to Harvard Business School, where I had my first child, Betsy. I failed my plan to join a small business, and spent my business career with three large multi­ national companies - G.E., AMF, and Litton Industries. In the first 18 years, I averaged 2 l/3rd years in a location, which was probably par for the course in those days. At AMF in the mid­ sixties, I ran a small division involved in industrial robots - 15 years before that product took off. My time at Litton, a seventeen year stint that brought me to New Jersey where I now reside, provided me with a fascinating career in international marketing. I became VP- Marketing for Sweda International, a major producer of retail systems equipment, and greatly enjoyed my world-wide travels.

From my first marriage I had five children, one of whom graduated in the first co-ed class at Amherst. In 1984 I remarried, and have two more terrific kids, ages 10 and 13. Since my retirement 8 years ago I have remained very active in historical and preservation organizations in the area - including a museum presidency. Amherst's great liberal education was not only a fine preparation for my business career, but stimulated my interests in history and the arts which are now the mainstay of my retirement years. I maintain close ties to Amherst, and look forward to returning at least a couple of times each year.

 

Richard C. Simon