I have been reading obituaries in the alumni magazine for nearly 40 years. I never imagined that I would ever write one, least of all for my roommate and best friend, Clive Sell, who died on Jan. 5. He is survived by Miriam Latker Sell, his wife of 27 years, and his three children: Ben, David and Madeline.
Clive came to Amherst from Nashville, where both his parents were doctors (or, as Clive put it, “a paradox”). He had four great years at Amherst, rowing for the crew team (“what ancient Romans used for torture”) and becoming a toga-wearing member of TD. After Amherst he spent a year in graduate studies at Cambridge University, where he made his father proud by rowing in the Henley Regatta. He attended Vanderbilt Medical School and did further postgraduate work at Duke. He settled in Phoenix, where he practiced retinal surgery and started Associated Retina Consultants.
Clive was a big bear of a man, who was invariably friendly, cheerful and helpful to all he met. He skied, sailed, golfed and traveled. He achieved far too many things in his life to list here, but there is one small achievement we laughed about for years to follow:
We saw a note in The Student that there was a contest for the Rogers Prize in Extemporaneous Debating. Neither of us had ever debated before, and we competed against those who had. Using a combination of deceit and trickery (e.g., “As we know from Dr. Quackenbush’s research”—when there was no Dr. Quackenbush), we shocked ourselves by winning. We promptly renamed the contest to be the Rogers Prize in Forensic Excellence, and went to the Drake to spend most of our winnings on Jack Daniel’s.
Farewell, Clive. Nobody will ever have a better friend than you. God bless you now and always.
Peter Kranzler ’76
‘Life is more like a marathon than a sprint.’
Life can be broken down into: 1) What you do, 2) What you have, and 3) Who you live with. All these segments are intrinsically intertwined and develop over time.
I left Amherst College for a stint at Cambridge University. Everything I owned could fit in the trunk of my '67 Dodge, a car I gave to my girlfriend (Mt. Holyoke '76) before boarding the QE2 for Southampton. The time in England was spent learning how to put up with the English weather, to love bitter beer, and to row a boat as fast as possible.
After Cambridge I jumped on the physician train (medical school, internship, residency, fellowship, etc.). The vicissitudes of medicine are well known, but the nature of a profession which deals with mortality or severe infirmity offers a unique perspective on the human condition. Some of my more memorable experiences seem to be taken out of the script of a TV show. I was moonlighting in the ER as a first year resident. A relatively young father of three came in with a cough and proceeded to die of an MI (heart attack}. As a young know-nothing, that bloody two hour code was bad enough, but the memory of breaking the news to the wife and kids can still wake me from a deep sleep. On the positive side, last week a blind eight year old boy had his sight restored by repairing a giant retinal tear.
Like most of our class, my greatest achievement and challenge is as a husband and a parent of three, our only true legacy.
Amherst College was the most intellectually, socially and athletically broadening experience of my life and I loved it. I would be delighted if any of my kids attended Amherst (as long as they behave better than I did).
My advice to Clive Sell of 1976 is about perspective. Life is more like a marathon than a sprint. Neither success nor failure is a permanent or even long-lasting event but a constantly changing process to be enjoyed along the way.
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Sell, Clive. Neuroscience. Commager Fellow, Cambridge University 1976-1977; Vanderbilt Medical School, M.D. awarded 1980; Internship at Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco 1980-1981, and Residency in Ophthalmology 1982-1985; Fellowship in Vitreo-Retinal Disease, Duke University Eye Center 1985· 1986. Academic Faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical School 1986-1987; Private Practice in Retina-Vitreous Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona 1987; Co-founded Associated Retina Consultants 1989; President and Senior Partner of the practice 1992-present; Director of Resident Instruction of Retinal Services, Maricopa County Medical Center 1992-present;Author of multiple academic publications concerning vitreoretinal surgery too boring to list. Married (Miriam Latker)1987; children Ben (10), David (6) and Madeline (4). (8633 N Why Worry Ln, Phoenix, AZ, 85021; +1 602-997-5827; firstname.lastname@example.org).