G. Sheldon Brayer '52

Deceased September 30, 2013

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50th Reunion Book Entry


In Memory

Our wonderful classmate George Sheldon Brayer (Shel, to most of us) passed away peacefully on Sept. 30, 2013, after a long illness, surrounded by family members. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Betsy; five children (three of whom went to Amherst); and 10 grandchildren.

Shel entered Amherst in the fall of 1948, having been raised in Rochester, N.Y. At Amherst he was a member of Delta Upsilon and manager of the basketball team, and later wrote that “it was more in the social than in the intellectual field that those four years of Amherst influenced me in building lifelong friendships with people of various backgrounds.” He was always gracious and affable. Following graduation, he served for four years in the Navy on a destroyer escort during the Korean War.

In the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Shel joined the Hickey-Freeman Co. in Rochester, where he worked for more than 50 years, eventually becoming national sales manager and director. He was elected to the board of directors in 1974 and authored the 1999 centennial history of the company. Shel outfitted numerous Ryder Cup teams and enjoyed meeting the top golfers of the day.

Over the years, Shel organized many class reunions and events, serving as president of the “First Sabrina” Class of 1952 for five years, and was an active alumni leader in Rochester and across western New York State.

Shel loved to travel, and his children have studied and lived all over the globe. He was very active in a number of community activities in Rochester, where his lineage goes back many generations. We will dearly miss Shel, one of the greatest personalities of our class.

A funeral mass was held Nov. 23 at St. Thomas More Church in Rochester.

> Harry H. “Tim” Westbay ’52

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50th Reunion

SheldonBrayer52.png G. Sheldon Brayer; "Shel": In looking back at my experience at Amherst, I feel it was more in the social than in the intellectual field that those four years influenced my activities over the past fifty years. The experience of building friendships with people of various backgrounds - particularly the fraternity experience - has been a great benefit to me in my business, family and social relationships.

Shortly after graduation I worked for Hickey-Freeman Co. in Rochester before enlisting in the U S. Navy in November 1952. After four months at Officer's Candidate School in Newport, RI. I was assigned to the USS Jack W. Wilke, a destroyer escort stationed in Key West, Florida. "Tough duty!" for which I have no regrets. In addition to serving in a most agreeable environment I was given responsibilities as Operations Officer at a young age. I returned to my home town, Rochester, as a married man in May, 1956 having "tied the knot" with Elizabeth Bashore - Mount Holyoke 1954. We had met at Amherst in early 1953 while I was on weekend leave from Newport.

Since 1956 Betsy and I have lived in Rochester and have raised five children all of whom are married. Sarah, Connecticut College 1979 has been a successful artist and print maker in Kyoto, Japan since 1980. David, Amherst 1980, is now a banker in Coconut Grove, FL and the father of two children. Anne, Amherst 1982, is a Rochester pediatrician and the mother of two children. Jennifer, Syracuse 1986, lives in Brooklyn and is an architect in New York City. Caroline, Amherst 1988, earned her PhD at The University of Pennsylvania and is the mother three including twins.

Upon discharge from the navy, I returned to Hickey Freeman Co. until retirement in August, 1999. There I sold the top quality clothing, for which the company was known, to major retailers and specialty stores across the country while also managing the company's made-to-measure business. Yes, I built up many "frequent-flyer miles" and spent many nights in hotel rooms. In the early 1990's, I developed a program at Hickey Freeman to sell made-to-measure interview suits to MBA candidates at twenty of the most prestigious business schools from Harvard to Stanford. I also had the opportunity to personally meet and outfit many of the professional golfing greats, including Tiger Woods. In 1999, I wrote and published the history of the company in celebration of its 100th year of operation. This project has been my one and only contribution to the literary field and I mention this as wife Betsy has written several books, the best known of which is "George Eastman, a Biography" published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1996.

We built our present home in 1964 and now own a beachside villa on Seabrook Island south of Charleston, S.C. We spend several months there each year. Betsy and I enjoy traveling and have visited about every country in Europe in addition to periodic visits to Japan and major trips to Tibet and Nepal and a marvelous safari to Kenya. In addition to playing tennis three or four times a week, and attempting to play a respectable game of golf, I have volunteered over the years on many community boards.