Deceased January 16, 2017

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50th Reunion Book Entry 

In Memory

Richard A. “Dick” Ikle died on Jan. 16, 2017.

Following Amherst and time spent as a naval officer in the Korean War, Dick earned a J.D. from Columbia University. As a partner at Thacher, Proffitt & Wood, he specialized in real estate law. He was instrumental in moving the firm from their offices at 40 Wall Street to the newly constructed Two World Trade Center in the 1970s. He loved watching the ships in New York Harbor from his perch on the 40th Floor.

Dick joined the Resolution Trust Corp. in 1989. When the RTC duties were assumed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 1995, Dick moved to Washington, D.C., to embark upon the third chapter of his professional life. He continued to work at the FDIC until just after his 83rd birthday (60 years after graduating from Amherst).

His own words from the 50th reunion best describe his zest for life and learning: “Living in paradise—the greater Washington, D.C., area. Over 50 museums, most of them free. A 13-minute metro ride to my office. Less than an hour’s drive to my cabin in the woods or to my sailboat. About a two-hour drive to either the ocean or the mountains.”

Inspired by the philosophy of his Swiss uncle, Dick was a Lebenskünstler, a master of the art of living. His life was a skillfully choreographed masterpiece. He read voraciously and traveled to the end. The last years of his life were enriched by many happy adventures he shared with his longtime partner, Joyce Halverson.

Dick valued not just education but true learning and often spoke about how he would love to see his granddaughter, Olivia, attend Amherst. Olivia was admitted to the Amherst class of 2021 the day before he would have turned 87.

Lisa Ikle Gieger ’85, P’21

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50th Reunion

Living in paradise -- the greater Washington D.C. area. Over 50 museums, most of them free. A thirteen minute Metro ride to my office. Less than an hour's drive to my cabin in the woods or to my sailboat. About a two hour drive to either the ocean or the mountains. 

Secondary education:

Manhasset High School, Manhasset, New York, Class of 1948 lnstitut auf dem Rosenberg, Certificate 1949

Graduate Education:

Columbia University School of Law, JD 1960

Military service:

USNR, Active Duty June 1953 to December 1956, Destroyers, Western Pacific


Thacher, Proffitt & Wood, 1960 to 1990, Partner Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 1990 to present, Supervisory Counsel

If you had it to do over again, would you choose the same career?

Probably not. When I started in the law it was a profession and most practitioners, I thought, were ethical. It is different now.

Family: One daughter, two sons, five grandchildren, and one ex-wife

If retired, thoughts on this stage of life:

I'm not retired, but I like this stage of life. I'm working as intensely as ever and haven't yet discovered what I want to do when I grow up. Maybe I'm doing it and don't know it.

In high school I thought I would like to be a journalist until I discovered it didn't pay too well. Now I am enjoying doing what a journalist does -­talking to people, reviewing records, and writing reports; exercising my seeking drive and my novelty gene. And they pay me well.

Favorite course at Amherst, favorite professor:

I don't remember the name of the course or the professor. It was a fine arts seminar where we spent 6 to 8 weeks discussing one painting. It was taught by a visiting artist. Still wet behind the ears, I hadn't realized that one could find so much to discuss in one painting.

Did the college do the right thing when it ended fraternities? When it admitted women? When it dropped the New Curriculum?

I enjoyed my fraternity life. It gave me a sense of community. I suspect the current living arrangements in Amherst are like living in an apartment in a big city - isolating.

Admitting women was probably a good thing. Distracting, but a more normal way to live. If nothing else it gave my daughter a chance to attend Amherst.

I liked the New Curriculum. I am still a generalist.

What is the biggest challenge facing our society today?

Keeping the Great American Experiment free from the clutches of the military-industrial complex and others that would degrade or destroy it.

Special interests, avocations, parting thoughts:

Mountain walking and sailing.
Life is good. I am looking forward to the next 50 years.


53 Richard Ikle