Deceased March 11, 2013

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50th Reunion Book Entry


In Memory

Steve Paine, an English major who earned a master’s at Duke University and went on to acquire a mixed doctorate of English, philosophy and American studies, passed away March 11, 2013, in Houston, preceded in death by his ex-wife Katherine Paine. A memorial service was held March 16, 2013, at the Claire Brothers Funeral Home in Houston. According to daughter Lacy Paine Michelbach, Steve’s death was dementia-related.

After Duke, Steve taught English at a Midwestern women’s liberal arts college and then at Bradley, a private university in Peoria, Ill. He shifted to freelance writing, at first ghostwriting training materials on a variety of subjects. That led to the major work years of his career, the design and application of interactive videodiscs, in effect writing specifications for training programs and persuading people to adhere to them. Most of this work was done for the Maritz Corp. Steve retired from Maritz in 1994 and moved to Freeport, Texas.

Steve came to us from Manhattan and the Millbrook School. He earned a cross-country “A,” edited for Context Magazine, served on the Debate Council and was a member of the Philosophy Club. He had strong opinions on the notion of a liberal arts education. When pushed, and eyeing his own experience, he came out on the plus side. To paraphrase Steve: The kind of thinking we were trained to do at Amherst, the transfer of ideas of ideas from one field to another, the juggling of points of view and ideas by my high-tech colleagues, confirmed to me that the liberal arts are alive and well, and perhaps the most useful part of an education. It’s good to know that Amherst did it right.

Steve is survived by two daughters, Lacy Paine Michelbach of Morgantown W.Va. (mother of Harry and Jane and wife of Philip), and Kate Michelbach of Baton Rouge La. Both daughters are in successful high-tech careers.

Philip W. Ransom Jr. ’53 

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50th Reunion

Gentlemen of 1953:

This picture of me was taken by a high-school classmate. I told him that I had lived eight different lives since I had last seen him. I meant Amherst and seven others. Right now I'm living the one called "Retirement," and that's the one I'll tell you about.

In his late years the historian Brooks Adams (Henry's brother) spent his mornings reading the paper and cursing the events he read about. I ignore the news items in the Houston Chronicle and learn about the state of the nation from The Economist, the Scientific American, The New York Review, and a few specialized journals. It's far less irritating.

I try to keep in touch with my children and my grandchild. Here is a picture of my daughter Lacy helping my grandson, Harry Michelbach, to play an instructional computer game. They live in San Diego, but Lacy works for an airline so she can manage free transportation when it is needed. After I visited last spring, 1 was able to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco, and see the Big Sur. Daughter Kate (who doesn't like to be photographed) operates out of Baton Rouge doing something rather technical for Schlumberger.

The poet, Yeats, tells us "Bodily decrepitude is wisdom." I must be getting smarter. After a litany of high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer, colonitis, and some as yet unspecified nerve problem with legs and feet, I've had to curtail pursuit of wine, women and song. The cancer was cured, and I stave off the other problems with an impressive array of pills. Twenty years ago, I thought prescription drug benefits were uneconomical, but now I welcome them. Wisdom, I glean from the Houston Grand Opera, and the Houston Symphony, both of which have some claim to merit. I also read a book like Erich Segal's The Death of Comedy once in a while.

I get my exercise taking care of the lawn, growing roses, and walking on the beach. I have an adequate home theater system, and I like to play with my computer both on and off the web.

Terras Irradient.