Deceased July 26, 2015

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50th Reunion Book Entry


In Memory

A gentleman sportsman, Ted died of a heart attack at his home in Southampton, N.Y., July 26. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Laura, and five children. Born in Boston, he lived most of his life on Long Island and in Hobe Sound, Fla.

He prepped for Amherst at his beloved boarding school, the Hill School, which he supported all his life, becoming a member of the board. This was the first of several nonprofit organizations he served.

At college some economic professors steered him towards investments, and after Harvard Business School, he recognized that his true passion was as an entrepreneur. Laura confirmed that his interest was in science and technology, especially where they interfaced with medicine.

After a stint on Wall Street, he landed in the company of the renowned Dr. Craig Venter and his staff at TIGR, the Institute for Genomic Research. This became his primary activity.

I would see Ted occasionally at the Racquet Club in New York, but this was sheer happenstance, since he belonged to most of the top clubs in the metropolitan area, plus the Jupiter Island Club in Florida and also St. Andrews Royal and Ancient Club in Scotland.

He served in the air force and, for a while, he had his own small plane. There came a time, Laura advised me, when she told him that either she or the plane had to go. This was occasioned by Ted coming in to land, more than once, only to be waved off by the tower, informing him that he did not have the landing gear down.

This is all lighthearted, but for our 50th reunion book, Ted did state that his religion was the framework of his life, and that the good Lord has looked kindly on him.

Gerry Reilly ’49

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50th Reunion

Theodore N. Danforth As a longtime entrepreneur, whose most recent venture has landed me in the company of the renowned, Dr. Craig Venter and his staff at TIGR, The Institute for Genomic Research, I am indebted to the professors of Economics at Amherst. Fifty years ago they wrested my attention from Geology to investments.  They sent me off to the Harvard Business School, where I learned the art of asking a good question, and from thence to the accounting office of a Long Island company that was solving missile navigational problems. That experience in turn led me to a Wall Street firm, where I focused on technological research and discovered that at heart I was an entrepreneur. I established three successful software companies and ---with some friends -- created Barnum Communications, an advertising firm that catered to drug companies. Then there were the companies that I joined thanks to my father's introductions: Photon Corporation, which invented photo composing, its offshoot International Photon Company, both of which I was a director and Cummington Company, which supplied office collators and envelope inserts.

My beloved boarding school, The Hill School, was the first non-profit organization to ask me to join its board and my most important goal for the school was recently achieved when they announced the decision to accept girls.  I also served as a trustee of the Rectory School in Pomfret, Connecticut.  I am currently on two boards, the Grenville Baker Boys and Girls Club in Locust Valley, where I live and the non-profit TIGR. TIGR, thanks to government funding, has become the world's preeminent genomic institution, concentrating primarily on gene mapping. We have just formed Cetera, a joint venture between Dr. Craig Venture and Perkin-Elmer, to pursue rapid gene identification that should help drug companies to better identify a patient's health problem.

49 Theodore N. Danforth Despite the extraordinary good fortune I have had in choosing a career that has never been boring, my greatest interest has been my family.  I had three children by my first wife, Isabel.  My second wife, Laura, and I had two girls, one attending Georgetown and the other about to enter boarding school.  In my leisure time I have kept up my golf, which I still play on a regular basis.  I gave up flying years ago, but I still miss the independence afforded by a small plane.  My religion is the framework of my life and so I enjoy a peaceful Sunday and a good sermon.  The Good Lord has looked kindly on these last fifty years.

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