Deceased April 10, 2019
Gustave Vicary “Vic” Mahler died on April 10, 2019, at a memory care facility in Sarasota, in the company of his wife, Janet, and their daughter Sarah ’81. It had been a long struggle for a relentlessly positive classmate who expanded the role of class agent and produced great results. The beautiful music made by “our” Mahler was composed by using, in Vic’s words, Lincoln’s “mystic chords of memory.”
Gathering news, Vic telephoned quiet classmates and sometimes traveled to visit those out of touch. When his periodic newsletter, replete with photos, grew to a large size, Vic volunteered to pay the postage. However, Amherst recognized success and, at 1997 graduation, presented Vic its award for Eminent Service. In 2010 Vic endowed a fund to support internships for Amherst economics majors.
An excellent student at Amherst (magna cum laude in cconomics; PBK), at Harvard Business School (Baker Scholar) and as an officer at the Army Finance School, Vic also was a starting guard on the varsity football team. Upon retiring as class agent, he received a decorated helmet and an Amherst football inscribed by the College president.
Vic’s business career was also special. Using his great skills in financial management, he accepted a challenge from his NYC company’s chairman to resuscitate a moribund electronics company that had been the economic anchor of the chairman’s home in the Catskills. The reward for success? “You fix it, you can own it.” Moving his family to upstate New York, Vic changed almost everything but the location of the company. It prospered and grew. He then acquired a local, unprofitable woodworking firm (“the sawdust factory”) and made it successful, too.
Later, when he and Janet were ready to retire to Sarasota, Vic arranged for the employees to buy the businesses, preserving local ownership. Both are still profitable. Mission accomplished. Rah! Rah! Vic!
Vic’s beloved wife, Janet; daughter Sarah; sons Jeff, David, and Mark; and six grandchildren survive him.
Rich Gray ’53