George Bria ’38
George, the longtime secretary of his class, died in New York on March 18, shortly after turning 101.
A native of Rome who came to America as a child and grew up in Waterbury, Conn., he began a 43-year journalism career soon after graduation, starting at newspapers in Connecticut before joining The Associated Press in Boston in 1942, where he helped cover the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire which killed 492 people.
By 1944 he was a war correspondent in Italy, bearing witness to the death of Benito Mussolini and sending the flash reporting the surrender of more than a million German troops in Italy and parts of Austria. He went on to AP’s post-war staff in Germany, where he covered the Nuremberg War Crimes trials, and the Berlin airlift of 1948–49.
After a second stint in Rome, he returned to AP’s New York headquarters, where he spent almost 18 years as one of the key gatekeepers for world news reaching the American public, ultimately as Day Supervisor of the AP’s foreign desk, where he also mentored a generation of future foreign correspondents. In 1972–74 he took a break from the desk to serve as AP’s chief correspondent at the United Nations.
Following his formal retirement in 1981, George pursued two of his favorite avocations: tennis and gardening. He wrote more than 200 gardening columns as an AP freelancer, and played tennis well into his 90s, competing credibly in Senior tournaments.
His first wife, Mary, died in 1998. He is survived by his second wife, Arlette; a daughter, Judy Storey; a son, John; and seven grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In recent years George mused to friends that after he had written obits for so many of his classmates, there would be no one left to write his. Wrong, George. You taught me how to do it. —Claude E. Erbsen ’59
Arthur John LaMontagne ’48
Art was born Sept. 28, 1923, in Northampton, Mass. He graduated from Northampton High School and entered the Army Air Corps. He served in World War II as a pilot flying B24s and was based in London. At Amherst he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and the Glee Club.
After Amherst he moved to upper New York State and worked for the Gold Seal Co. as sales manager for the area. In 1950 he moved to Greenfield, Mass., where he worked for his family’s Lincoln-Mercury franchise in sales. 1950 was also the year he married Laurel Taferner.
In 1955 Art started Art’s Auto Sales and in 1962 obtained his real estate broker’s license and started LaMontagne Realty. He operated both businesses until 1970, when he devoted full time to real estate and appraising.
After retiring in 1988, he lived six and a half months in Naples, Fla., and five and a half months in Yarmouth, Mass., eventually living full time in Naples.
Art loved Amherst, golf, gardening, dancing and the Knights of Columbus. He died Dec. 21, 2016, at age 93 in Naples. —Celeste Ringuette W’48
M. Wallace Rubin ’48
Milton Wallace “Wally” Rubin was born in New Haven, Conn., on June 24, 1927, and died Jan. 31, 2017, in Lake Worth, Fla.
At Amherst Wally was a member of Phi Kappa Psi, the squash team, the Jeff and the Kirby Theatre Guild. After completing his studies at Amherst, he entered the navy. After his stint in the navy, Wally joined the family business, Wayside Furniture, in Milford, Conn., where he spent his entire career.
As CEO, and with his sister, Carole, and brother-in-law, Harold Greenbaum, he expanded the business to 12 stores in Connecticut and southeastern New York. Wally retired in 1998. He was very proud that the University of Connecticut named Wayside Furniture the family business of the state for the year 1996.
Among his accomplishments, Wally served as president and chairman of the Home Furnishings Association, chaired the state Retail Merchants Association, chaired the educational and research foundation of the furniture industry, and was a board member of the Connecticut State University system and a governor of the University of New Haven. He also chaired the United Way and the Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of Milford Hospital.
Wally was a member of UJA/Federation of New Haven, the Jewish Community Center of New Haven and Congregation Mishkan Israel.
Wally maintained his positive attitude throughout his life.
Wally is survived by his wife of 68 years, Rita (Rickey Epstein) Rubin; three daughters, Anne Rubin, Deborah Lerman and Sally Hurwit; a son, David; eight grandchildren; and a sister, Carole Greenbaum.
He will be missed.—Celeste Ringuette W’48
Richard M. Chapin ’49
Another of our “best and brightest,” Dick Chapin, died Dec. 6, 2016. At Amherst he majored in math, joined AD and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and commodore of the sailing club, an enthusiasm he continued throughout his life.
He attended the University of Cincinnati, graduating in 1952 with a B.S. in industrial design followed by three years of duty in the navy.
Dick was a furniture designer in New York until opening his own firm, Chapin Designs, in Charlotte, N.C. He helped to found the American Society of Furniture Designers, serving as president and winning the Daphne Award for Excellence in Design.
Devoted to family, career, sailing and music, he managed to find time for each. Serving as club commodore for Lake Norman Yacht Club he helped found and promote the Highlander fleet, Laser fleet and junior program.
With family as crew, Dick was club champion in 1966 and 1973. He campaigned his boat, a Highlander class center boarder, and built the LNYC fleet to be the largest in the class. He was president of the Highlander class in 1970. But here is my favorite part: He was also an accomplished musician and taught himself to play the bagpipes! Thus there would be a piper at the Highlander regattas. He joined the Charlotte Caledonian Pipe Band in 1970 and was pipe major from 1972 to 1975.
Talk about “a man in full”: Dick was that in spades, excelling at everything he attempted and loved by many friends. His was a wonderful long life; he will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife, Eve; four sons; 10 grandchildren; a great-grandchild; and two brothers who also went to Amherst. It may sound trite, but “it doesn’t get much better than this”—another classmate of whom we can be genuinely proud.
—Gerry Reilly ’49
Woodward Kingman ’49
Woody died at age 91 from complications of a stroke suffered four years earlier. He grew up in Wayzata, a western suburb of Minneapolis, and graduated from Blake School in 1943 as head boy. Three years of army service followed before attending Amherst.
Woody was a warm, gentle man who like many in our class was in a hurry to make up for time spent in the army. He was captain of the ski team, vice chairman of the Student and president of Psi U. He graduated with honors and many friends. Years later, he became an alumni trustee.
Woody graduated from Harvard Business School in 1951 and then began a life centered on banking, investments, politics, public service and dangling off of ropes in dangerous places, mountain climbing.
He became involved in New York City politics and was appointed to the City Council by Mayor John Lindsay. President Nixon appointed him the first president of the Government National Mortgage Association, which under his leadership rapidly grew into one of the country’s most important sources of mortgage financing. He spent 10 years in San Francisco as head of the trust department at the Crocker Bank and then came back to Washington to serve as associate director of the U.S. Information Agency under Presidents Reagan and Bush. He returned to San Francisco in the investment business.
Mountain climbing was a passion. He climbed in the U.S. and Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Nepal, Tibet, the Alps and Antarctica. Many were major climbs.
Woody was quick to point out that the best part of his life started when, as a 71-year-old bachelor, he married Claire McAuliffe, a San Franciscan originally from Marblehead, Mass. His friends agreed. They lived in Belvedere with a view of San Francisco Bay and enjoyed a richly deserved good life in Northern California.—Joe Kingman ’49 (Woody’s cousin)
George C. Pendleton Jr. ’49
Perhaps quieter than some and brighter than many, George passed away Jan. 13, 2016, at age 92 after a distinguished career as a petroleum geologist and independent producer.
He came to Amherst after serving in the U.S. Army Airborne Division from 1943 to 1946. Some of you may have heard him discuss his military experience; regrettably, I did not but would imagine that he saw his share of action. A European history major, he graduated magna cum laude and continued his education at the Harvard Business School, earning his M.B.A. in 1951.
Next he went to the University of Oklahoma from 1954 to 1956 to attain his degree in petroleum geology. He was a scholastic geological member of Sigma Gamma Epsilon and then settled into his career. By the time of our 50th reunion, he had already logged 43 years in the oil and gas business, centered mainly in southern Oklahoma and northeast Texas where his work led to the discovery of several very significant fields, and he had an equity position in some of them.
He was very active overseas, primarily in the UK where he again made prominent discoveries, including a few in the coalbed and methane gas fields in North Staffordshire. He traveled in Western Europe more than 250 times and along the way collected antique English 18th-century furniture and additional pieces from the Biedermeier period in central Europe.
During these sojourns, he developed a particular fondness for the art, music and cuisine of Vienna, which, sad to relate, he could not share with a wife since he never married. But for that, a wonderful, successful life with genuine achievements in his chosen field. Wish that I had gotten to know him better along the way. A real plus for our class.—Gerry Reilly ’49
Samuel Stanton Greene ’51
Samuel Greene was born in 1927 in New London, Conn., where he spent his childhood. He died Nov. 27, 2016, at home in Brunswick, Maine. Sam entered Amherst as a freshman in 1945. Two years later he enlisted in the army and served in Germany for two years as a medical corpsman. He then returned to Amherst and graduated in the 1951 class.
Sam was devoted to music. He sang in the Amherst Choir, and classical music from his radio seeped into the Chi Psi hallways. He was a fine tenor who later performed in church choirs and often sang simply for pleasure.
In 1953 Sam married Martha Payne. They had five daughters: Meg, Georgia, Julie, Sarah and Lydia. Sam had a long career as teacher, student adviser and administrator in prep schools. He taught math and coached the cross-country team at Mount Herman School in Gill, Mass. He was headmaster at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh from 1966 to 1976, where he was described as a “visionary leader.” Under his guidance, Shady Side was changed into a “co-educational school with an ethnically and racially diverse student body.”
Late in his life, Sam connected with Phyllis Gansz, a teaching colleague he had known many years earlier and all but forgotten. Both now unattached, they had a brief courtship, married and moved to Yarmouth, then Brunswick, Maine. They grew fond of tramping along the Maine coast and ultimately moved to a retirement cottage within easy reach of the shore.—Bill Neill ’51
Max P. Pepper ’51
One of the instruments in my orchestra is muted. Max Pepper died on Sept. 22, 2016. Max was born March 4, 1930, in Hoboken, N.J. The son of a tailor, Max unexpectedly had two opportunities: to become a virtuoso pianist or to attend Amherst. Max chose Amherst and medicine. While at Amherst, Max (“Red Pepper”) accompanied the Glee Club and worked his way through playing the organ in the South Amherst Church. He played a Mozart piano concerto with the Smith-Amherst orchestra as his senior thesis. Max bicycled weekly to Northampton for piano lessons with John Duke and to court Anita, who died in 2001 after a distinguished career as a professor of nursing and public health.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Max taught at Yale and went on to a distinguished career at the University of St. Louis, where he became head of the School of Public Health. Max’s strong social interest led him to become active in international public affairs, including assisting in the foundation of the School of Public Health at Birzeit University (Palestine). He retired to Montague, Mass., where he continued to play the piano and harpsichord and composed in his head a Cantata for Rachel Corrie, which unfortunately was never written down. A lifelong socialist, Max was active in the progressive movement in the Pioneer Valley, where his warm personality made him many friends. He kept in contact until his death with friends in Palestine and Israel as well as South Africa. He leaves two children, Sara and Thomas.—W. Bruce Hawkins ’51
William M. Schlangen ’51
Bill Schlangen, who died on Aug. 6, 2016, was a jolly giant of a man with an intellect to match his size. He was a highly successful real estate developer and vineyard owner, and a dear friend to me and many of our Amherst classmates.
A native of Springfield, Ill., Bill had a distinguished career at Culver Military Academy. At Amherst, he was an excellent student, a DKE and an accomplished member of Tug Kennedy’s fine swim team. After graduating, Bill entered the Navy OCS program at Newport, R.I. He received an important active duty assignment as assistant engineering officer on the cruiser USS Princeton in the Pacific. Following his naval service, he attended Harvard Business School, and, with his M.B.A. in hand, was employed by Bethlehem Steel. However, soon the West Coast beckoned, and Bill entered the commercial real estate field. He became a builder and owner of a large retail/office complex in the San Francisco area. Eventually, he sold his real estate holdings and purchased a cattle farm in the Sonoma Valley, which he converted to a rather large vineyard. As his grapes matured, Bill found willing buyers among several wineries, including Kenwood, as he embarked on another successful career.
Over the years, Bill and I and our wives exchanged home-and-home visits, the last of which was in 2013 at Bill’s lovely home nestled among the verdant hills of his vineyard estate in Sonoma, where, as we parted for the last time, I received an affectionate bear hug from my close genial, giant friend.
Bill is survived by his sons, Wes and Charlie; his daughter, Susie; and two grandsons.—David C. Fulton ’51
Stephen B. Espie ’53
In his years after Amherst, Steve Espie developed a love of travel and exploration of the world’s culture. His career in Foreign Service fit nicely. Steve’s life ended on Christmas Day 2016 in Charlottesville, Va., where he had moved in 2009 to be near his son Jason.
Steve grew up in Ridgewood, Queens, and graduated from Grover Cleveland High School. At Amherst, he joined Phi Alpha Psi fraternity, ran cross country and was a member of the Philosophy Club. His senior roommate, Bill Pritchard ’53, recalls Steve pursued a “bookish career,” majoring in English, writing a thesis on metaphors of color in Joseph Conrad’s novels and graduating magna cum laude.
“One remembers his copies of the [Conrad] books well marked-up and highlighted appropriately with different colors,” Bill remembers.
A Fulbright Scholarship took Steve to New Zealand for a year to write a dissertation on 19th-century English novels. On the way home, he toured Europe, developing a passion for fine wines, mountaineering and world travel. Shortly after he became an editor for Time-Life, Steve met Alberta Jackson. They were married in 1957.
Steve joined the Department of State Foreign Service in 1966. His first posting was Manila, working for the U.S. Information Agency. He went on to edit a USIA magazine in New Delhi and serve as director of USIA’s Regional Program Office in Vienna, where much of his time was spent on official visits to Eastern European countries. There was a second posting in New Delhi followed by Pakistan before he retired from diplomatic service with the esteemed rank of counsel.
Steve enjoyed 19 years of retirement in India, having developed a love of the culture and people.
Besides Jason, Steve is survived by another son, Ethan; and a daughter, Serafina Culhane.—George Gates ’53
David N. Keightley ’53
David Keightley developed a rare combination of knowledge and skills to become a leading scholar of early Chinese history. He was able to uncover China’s distant past—more than 3,000 years in the past—by decoding inscriptions on animal bones unearthed in archeological digs.
David died in his sleep in Oakland, Calif., on Feb. 23. He was 84.
From 1969 to 1998, David taught early Chinese history at UC Berkeley. In reporting David’s death, his history department colleagues remembered him as a “scholar of great imagination and range.”
They said: “He was a scholar of towering erudition, one of the first Western historians to master the oracle bone inscriptions and archeological remains that are the primary sources for the history of Bronze Age China.”
David continued his research as a professor emeritus, winding up as author of six books and numerous articles. In our 50th reunion book, he explained why he kept going: “I have invested too much in learning modern Chinese, Classical Chinese, Shang (Dynasty) Chinese, modern scholarly Japanese and the whole field, both archeological and historical … to want to turn away from it now, indeed nothing interests me as much.”
David was born in London and experienced the Blitz in his youth. His family moved to the United States in 1947, and he completed his secondary education at Evanston High School, north of Chicago. At Amherst, he was president of the Lord Jeff Club and graduated magna cum laude with a major in English.
In 1986, David received a McArthur “genius” award and used some of the money to buy a hand-crafted Italian bicycle to further his passion for long-distance bike riding.
David is survived by his wife, Vannie; and two sons, Steven and Richard.—George Gates ’53
Marshall N. Terry ’53
Such was Marsh Terry’s devotion to Southern Methodist University that he was called “Mr. SMU” in the headline of his obituary in the Dallas Morning News. Marsh, who transferred out of Amherst after freshman year, died of complications of Parkinson’s disease on Dec. 24, 2016, at the age of 85.
Marsh was born in Cleveland and came to Amherst from Cincinnati. At Amherst, he developed a reputation for figuring out what English 1 was about and drew classmates to his James Hall room seeking advice. Marsh went on to Kenyon College for a year and then headed to SMU in 1951. There, he found a home for life. He graduated from SMU with a bachelor’s degree in 1953 and earned a master’s degree in 1954.
He was the founder of SMU’s creative writing program, a popular creative writing teacher, a university administrator and the author of a dozen novels during his 50-year presence at the Dallas school. He is credited with playing a role in shaping the school and writing its master plan, which honed the university curriculum and educational philosophy.
In a tribute to Marsh, SMU President Gerald Turner said: “He will forever be remembered as an SMU treasure whose legacy will live on through his own acclaimed work and the writing of his students and others whose work he influenced over generations.”
Marsh is survived by his wife, Antoinette Barksdale Terry; daughters Antoinette of Los Angeles and Mary of Atlanta; and four grandchildren.—George Gates ’53
James A. Nixon ’54
Jim died peacefully at home Dec. 19, 2016. A devoted alumnus and an active member of our class, he served five years as class secretary. He leaves his wife of 62 years, the former Liz Fitzwater (Mount Holyoke ’56), sons Jeff and Rick ’84 (Anne) and five grandchildren.
Jim prepared for college at Kingswood School in West Hartford, lettering in football, basketball and baseball. At Amherst, he played freshman baseball and joined Theta Delta Chi and the staff of the Student. As seniors, Jim, Maury Childs ’54, Jim Clyne ’54, Jack Hargreaves ’54 and I were roommates in rather compact quarters which became more crowded with “Pudda,” our adopted stray cat, and “Bairn,” a large, energetic Irish setter Jim brought back from vacation. An exciting place to live but not good for concentrated study.
Jim minored in physics and majored in economics, working closely with Professor Willard Thorp, and graduating cum laude. He went to Harvard for his master’s degree in economics, followed by two years in the army. He had a distinguished career in the marketing of consumer products, with positions of increasing seniority at Campbell Soup, Miles Laboratories and the Clairol division of Bristol-Myers, retiring in 1997 as the executive vice president and general manager of the U.S. business of the French firm L’Oréal.
In retirement, Jim and Liz spent winters at their waterfront home in St. Croix, where they welcomed frequent visits from family and friends and where Jim pursued his passions for golf, his fishing boat and his books. He was a member of the Pine Valley Golf Club and the Greenwich Country Club.
In accordance with Jim’s wishes, his ashes were scattered in the sea at St. Croix, in a private family memorial service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of the Library fund at the College (amherst.edu/library/about/support/friends).
—Clifford B. Storms ’54
Bourdette Rood Wood Jr. ’54
The College has been informed of the death of Rob Wood on Feb. 16, 2017.
He came to Amherst from Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he attended the University School. His fraternity affiliation was with Phi Gam, and he majored in economics. Rob earned his ’54 numerals for freshman soccer, was a member of the Masquers and served on the News Bureau while at Amherst. Following graduation, he spent two years in the U.S. Air Force and continued to hold a private pilot’s license for many years. Next came Harvard Business School, which prepared him for his success in career sales, predominantly as president and owner of Donald Sales Manufacturing Co., a chemical manufacturing and distribution firm, until his retirement.
In 1962, he and Nancy Anita Butler, who attended Stephens College and the University of Illinois, Urbana, were married and settled in Whitefish Bay, Wis., in Milwaukee County, where they lived for 35 years and raised their family. Then they moved to Mequon, Wis., wintering in Bonita Springs, Fla. He had a reputation as a skillful cook and was known as an avid reader, golfer and sailor. And, not surprisingly, Rob was a diehard Green Bay Packers fan. He also helped his brothers build farm houses in Ohio and Nova Scotia.
Although Rob did not frequent Amherst for homecomings or reunions, until he became incapacitated he was always a faithful supporter of the College.
Nancy predeceased him in 2008 as did one brother. Survivors include three daughters, five grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, two brothers and his dear friend and partner, Phyllis Viall.—Hank Tulgan ’54
Michael N. Cowan ’55
Mike died on Feb. 5, 2017. As an undergraduate, Mike majored in biology, was a member of Phi Psi fraternity and was an active thespian with the Masquers. A picture of The Crow’s Nest, which he directed, hangs in Kirby Hall. He was also in The Merchant of Venice. Mike was very appreciative of the many opportunities Amherst gave him to reach out to others.
Upon graduation, Mike applied to and was selected to be a navy pilot at Pensacola, but his mother wanted him to go to medical school, so devoted son Mike went to the NYU School of Medicine. He then headed to California, where he earned his pilot’s license and spent the rest of his life flying. Although Mike’s practice was primarily in the fields of allergies and asthma, he particularly enjoyed practicing air medicine. Mike set up the first air ambulance companies, one in California and the other in Hawaii. He was a consultant to airlines and aeromedical transportation services. Mike had his pilot’s license for 50 years and received an award for flying those 50 years accident-free—over 14,000 hours! He was a senior flight examiner for the FAA and cleared air traffic controllers. Mike was a good tennis and squash player and an excellent bridge and chess player. He was a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan and went to all their home football games.
In 1961 Mike married Honey Honick. They had a marriage that lasted more than 50 years. He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren. Mike was an adored husband, father and grandfather. They lived in Auburn, Calif., from which Mike would fly his plane into the Bay Area, where he would practice air medicine three days a week an.—Beth Cowan ’85, Rob Sowersby ’55
R. Lee Hildreth ’55
Lee died on Nov. 25, 2016, after a prolonged illness. He was a very popular member of our class and an excellent athlete at West Springfield High, Deerfield Academy and Amherst. Lee was a member of Chi Phi, majored in history and was in the AFROTC program.
After graduation Lee went on active duty with the air force, which included time in Korea. When he left the service, Lee remained in the Air Force Reserve, assigned to the Massachusetts Air National Guard in Westfield, Mass. He retired as a major.
Upon leaving active duty, Lee went to work at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. for 33 years, retiring as director of the Eastern Region Underwriting Department. Lee’s love for sports never faded, as he continued to be involved by officiating high school football games for 33 years and basketball games for 25 years.
Throughout Lee’s life he attended Amherst football games, homecoming events and class reunions and was always the “go to” guy for help in providing food and beverages at any event. For many years he and I would meet with several classmates for a mini-reunion over lunch in Enfield, Conn. We talked for hours, catching up and enjoying each other’s company.
Lee married his high school sweetheart, Aida, in our freshman year, and they lived in Coach McCabe’s house. We remember Aida working at the snack bar in Valentine Hall. Sadly, Aida died unexpectedly in 1995, as did their only child later, at age 51. Lee’s second wife, Nancy, also died suddenly when fatally struck by an automobile. With his third wife, Beverly, Lee enjoyed a life of travel and cruises. Lee had much sorrow in his life, but he also had much happiness, including the love of three wonderful wives.—Frank Downey ’55
Joel Minster ’55
Joel died on Jan. 11, 2017, after a long battle with COPD. He was born in Philadelphia and came to Amherst from Upper Darby High School. As an undergraduate, Joel majored in economics, was treasurer of the Student and president of Phi Delta Theta. There Joel endeared himself to Hal Kolb ’55 by typing up several pages of Hal’s somewhat overdue thesis!
Upon graduation Joel returned to Philadelphia and joined Bell Tel of Pennsylvania, working for the company for 37 years in a variety of staff and managerial positions. There he met Judy McLaughlin, a coworker. Joel and Judy were married in 1963. Interestingly, Joel took Judy almost from their honeymoon in October 1963 to Amherst to hear President John Kennedy dedicate the Robert Frost Library.
After Joel retired in 1991, he looked around for something to do. He found it as a paralegal, earning a paralegal certificate from Penn State and then working as a paralegal specializing in elder law for a Philadelphia law firm until he retired again in 1999. Joel then became the “entertainment committee” for his four grandsons.
For more than 20 years, Joel was an associate class agent. In 2004 he typed all the responses from questionnaires that would become the text for our 50th reunion book. When asked if he felt imposed upon to do all that typing, Joel replied, “Not at all; I get to read all those interesting responses before the rest of you!” He was honored at our 50th reunion banquet with a stunning color picture of Johnson Chapel.
Joel was a loyal classmate and a true friend. He is survived by Judy, daughter Megan, son Andrew and six grandchildren.—Rob Sowersby ’55
Edward L. Jewell ’57
It was not until recently that we received word of Ed Jewell’s death on Oct. 15, 2016, in Warren, R.I. Burial was in nearby West Greenwich. Biographical details were few, but, as classmates may remember, Ed was in many ways a private person, a friend who enjoyed good company and who was never overbearing. His Amherst profile listed his major as “Independent Scholar,” an appropriate description of his productive college days on campus and his activities thereafter.
From Exeter, Ed came into our college midst and was a member of Alpha Theta Xi, with a keen interest in poetry. He loved Amherst, especially the poets and writers in residence while he was there. Among them were Robert Frost and Amherst graduate/poet/critic Rolfe Humphries ’15. Childhood friend and longtime companion Susan Anderson cites Walt Whitman as another strong influence on Ed’s writing. Ed—himself a prize-winning poet—crafted many of his thoughts and words during his final years from his home in Warren. We can only hope that his works will be rediscovered and live on for all of us to enjoy.—Bob Asher ’57
Arne Johnson ’57
Amherst lost one of its most loyal and engaging sons with the death on Nov. 10, 2016, of Arne Robert Johnson after a long illness (progressive supra nuclear palsy).
Although he was born in Bridgeport Conn., it was New Britain, Conn., that was his true hometown, as it is mine. He prepared for college at the Taft School. Behind Arne’s wry smile was an immense zest for life, for friendship, for civic responsibility and for Amherst. He attended many reunions, served on the board of Alpha Theta Xi and even married his wife of 39 years, Nancy (Rodgers) Johnson, in Johnson Chapel.
In senior year, on those fine idle golden afternoons after turning in their honors theses, Arne, Jeff Crane ’57, Phil Pfatteicher ’57 and Peter Tilley ’57 liked to pile into Jeff’s white-painted and gold-grilled Studebaker and go “ghouling.” This involved driving out into the country until they came upon an old cemetery. They would stop, get out, enter the cemetery and read the old grave stones. Arne’s zest for such activities was boundless. He knew how to enjoy life while also being an immensely hard worker.
From Amherst he went on to Harvard Law School. After graduation he was for many years a corporate attorney until one winter a hazardous commute from Boston to his home in Newport, R.I., finally convinced him to shift the focus of his legal work. Thereafter he practiced family law in Newport, retiring in 1999. He immensely enjoyed sailing in his cabin cruiser, Sequal, and participating in many civic organizations.
His essential spirit is captured by his Newport friend Ken Brockway: “Arne was a loyal and committed Rotarian who truly believed ‘service above self’. ... we older Rotarians ... will miss his wry humor and, of course, his passion for the Red Sox.”—John H. Underhill ’57
Donald J. Hicks ’59
Don Hicks died last Oct. 14 of sepsis following aortic valve replacement surgery. He was 79, a Boston native raised in Worcester and a graduate of Governor Dummer Academy. At Amherst, Don was a member of AD and a four-sport letterman: basketball, soccer, squash and tennis.
In eulogizing his father, Jeff Hicks ’88 said family was the guiding light of his life and career, organized “so he could be home for family dinner, available whenever needed and present” in his and his sister Laura’s life. He described his mother, Marilyn, as “the uncontested apple of Don’s eye for their 55 years of marriage,” a relationship that “set a standard for what it means to commit one’s self to another person.” They had met in 1960 and married in 1961.
After graduation, Don worked for General Electric and then for the CBS Miami affiliate in advertising sales. In 1972 he founded his own advertising agency, which he built into a major regional agency and ran until retiring in 1998.
Jeff says his father gravitated to kids and loved spending time in their company. Not just his own kids and seven grandkids, or friends’ kids, but also those he ran into at a supermarket checkout or while visiting a rural village in Kenya while indulging his love of travel.
Don’s personality “was rooted in hope and positivity,” Jeff said in his eulogy, and that’s how he came to be in our class. When Don applied to Amherst, Dean Wilson called his father Everett ’29 suggesting that he might be a better candidate at another school, but Don asked for a chance to prove himself. Four successful years later, as he picked up his diploma, Dean Wilson shook his hand and said, “I guess I was wrong; what you cannot measure is determination.”—Claude E. Erbsen ’59
John H. Spencer Jr. ’59
Jack Spencer died Feb. 19, 2016, peacefully in the company of his two loving daughters, Kathy and Ann Marie.
Roommate Fred Wood ’59 writes that Jack was a great guy, good-natured, good-humored, insightful, cheerful and fun to be with. He was truly the salt of the earth.
Jack was a daily student of The New York Times and a voracious reader in general. He took a non-credit speed-reading class at Mount Holyoke in which he doubled his speed from 1,000 words per minute to 2,000, along with an increased level of comprehension. He could read almost as fast as he could turn the pages.
Jack loved politics. Near the end of the 2016 campaign, he said he was so disturbed by the race that he had decided to stop watching TV and was only reading the newspaper.
Jack received master’s degrees in education and history. Over his 47-year career as an educator, he taught sociology in high school and served as a middle school principal. He and a fellow teacher developed the first high school curriculum in the country studying the Holocaust. His class program became a book published by Bantam, The Holocaust Reader. He retired as a revered teacher and mentor for generations of students. How lucky his students were to have had such a fine and caring teacher.
Jack was active in civic affairs in Stockbridge and served on numerous committees and boards, including the Town Planning Board (chairman), the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Stockbridge Library Board (president).
Jack was a devoted family man. He and his beloved wife, Judy, raised two daughters and were blessed with four grandchildren. Jack had a good life that was well-lived, and he was loved by many.—Fred Wood ’59
Phillip Hutson McClure ’60
Phil McClure died peacefully in his home on Feb. 18, 2017, surrounded by his devoted wife of 41 years, Maureen, and his family. Phil came to Amherst from Chickasha, Okla. The three of us were assigned to Stearns 407. On our first day Dean Wilson knocked on our door and asked the two of us to come into the hall. He wanted us to watch over Phil, as he expected him to be homesick. Phil, the shyer and less athletic roommate, within a little time adjusted very well to life at Amherst. We three remained roommates for four years, joining DU during our freshman year.
After Amherst, Phil attended medical school at Emory University. He practiced radiology for 45 years, including 35 in Petersburg, Va. From 1990 to 2001 he was chairman of the radiology department at Southside Regional Medical Center.
Phil contributed countless hours serving his community. He served on the boards of the Southside Virginia Emergency Crew, the United Way, Rebuilding Petersburg and Habitat for Humanity. Phil was a longtime member of Rotary and was involved in Meals on Wheels. As a devoted parishioner of his Episcopal church, he participated in mission trips to Central America and Passport Camp for Teens.
Phil was a man of many interests and accomplishments. He was a photographer, a master gardener and a master woodworker. He built many pieces of beautiful furniture and doll houses for his family.
Phil also morphed into a more adventurous person. At his memorial service, the Episcopal priest, a friend of Phil’s for 26 years, described him as a person with a “zest for life.” He was a private pilot, as well as an avid sailor and skier.
Dean Wilson had a knack for seeing the potential in his students.
Phil will be sorely missed.—Bob Weiser ’60, Bill Vickers ’60
Charles Cunningham ’67
Charles “Skip” Cunningham, 76, of Fairfax, Va., passed away on Jan. 2, 2017. Born on Dec. 5, 1940, he was the son of Robert and Mildred Heydt. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Cunningham; his daughters, Wendy Littman ’95 and Betsy Cunningham; and four grandchildren.
Skip left high school in his senior year to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served for four and a half years and received his GED. Upon leaving the military, he earned an associate’s degree from Norwalk Community College and a B.A. in geology/physics from Amherst. While at Amherst, he met Cher Cunningham, a UMass student, and they were married on Aug. 10, 1968.
After Amherst, he continued his education, earning a M.S. in geology/chemistry from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in geology/chemistry from Stanford University, where he mapped the Italian Mountain intrusive complex in the central Colorado Rockies.
He left Stanford in 1973 for a teaching position at Syracuse University but was soon lured back to Colorado by the promise of sunshine and funding to do cutting-edge research at the U.S. Geological Survey.
He found a home at the USGS, where he served as a research scientist and administrator for 40 years. A prolific writer, he authored or co-authored more than 250 publications. But while he enjoyed collaborating on papers, his main love was being “in the field,” and he spent many months each year mapping precious metal deposits all over the world, including Utah, South America and China.
Skip was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1999, and with his unusual ability to “make lemonade out of lemons,” he continued to travel, spend time with family, friends and colleagues and bring a smile to the faces of all those he encountered. —Wendy Littman ’95
Paul Salmi ’72
Gifted cellist. Fiercely intelligent. Wicked sense of humor. Intense love of skiing. Effortless sailor. Physics major. Reflections on Paul Salmi’s life from classmates, faculty, friends and colleagues describe him as an individual with unusually wide knowledge and passions.
Professor of Music Emeritus Lew Spratlan, who conducted the Amherst–Mount Holyoke Chamber Orchestra, remembers Paul as “a poetic and thoughtful cellist who enriched music at Amherst throughout his time at the College. He was serious about learning in a way that many of his student colleagues weren’t quite. There was a quiet but determined musing going on in him at all times, it seemed. He also had—one of his most appealing qualities—a wicked sense of humor.” Paul met his wife of 42 years, Marietta Cheng (Smith ’74), while playing in the Smith-Amherst College Orchestra.
Dave Levenson ’72 recalls that while Paul had a reserved demeanor most of the time, he was not shy of opinion when pressed. Dave elaborates, “This was perhaps a reflection of his Finnish heritage. Being a Finn probably also explained his intense love of skiing, regardless of the weather. One could always tell the outdoor temperature from Paul’s attire: a sweater (but no jacket) meant 10 degrees. Gloves meant zero; and an added scarf suggested minus 5.” (See Dave’s full tribute to Paul and other remembrances at
Former colleagues in the legal department at New England Electric, where Paul worked after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1975, recall that he was extremely and effortlessly bright. His post-legal career was as a cellist in the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes and the Colgate University Orchestra.
Paul passed away after a long illness on Jan. 7, 2017, leaving upstate New York orchestras, and those who loved him, with an empty seat that will be impossible to fill.—Compiled by Eric Cody ’72
Russell M. Cleveland ’73
It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Rusty Cleveland. Rusty came from UMass, funded by the GI bill. He was nine years older than me, having served in the military, though managing to not have to go to Vietnam, before returning to college. Rusty grew up in Massachusetts and had a thick Boston accent. “Saw-ring” was what you did with a “saw” and what birds did in the sky. We lived in Hadley in a house populated by Amherst, UMass and Smith students and one bird dog named Harvey. Several first loves and one marriage came out of that house, which Rusty ruled. Failure to catch your quota of mice or to keep the kitchen clean was met with reprimands from Rusty, all done in a superbly playful and stern manner.
What I remember most about Rusty, other than his obsession with collecting Coca Cola paraphernalia, was his unending curiosity about the world. The opportunity for him to be in a place where people wanted to talk about everything and anything was a gift, even if he often chafed against the privileged backgrounds of his classmates. Rusty was wise beyond his years, a quality that affected all around him, I gather, for the rest of his life.
I was often in New Mexico, not far from Durango, where Rusty lived. I thought about swinging up there to see him, but between work and kids I did not make the time, and when I finally did, it was only to learn he had passed away. We are all “in the zone” where we should not assume people will be there. If you have school friends you were particularly fond of, go spend time with them. I did not…; forever my loss.—Philippe Sommer ’74
Michael Clancy ’81
If someone had told me on that warm, sunny day in September 1977 that 40 years later I’d be writing a remembrance for the freshman roommate I had just met, well…
I met Mike for the first time in our room in James. He and I became fast friends—a rarity for me. After the parents were off, we spent the rest of the day exploring the campus and comparing the experiences, interests and aspirations we shared. We were catchers on our high school baseball teams, were planning to play on college teams (hockey for him, football for me), had girlfriends named Cindy and were interested in history and politics and in pursuing legal careers.
There were differences, of course. I liked beer, he preferred orange soda. He liked poker, I preferred backgammon. He could play the piano, I was tone deaf. Mostly, he was as warm, engaging and enthusiastic a fellow as I had ever met. Mike made an impression.
Our paths diverged sophomore year when Mike moved off campus (love!) and then got married between junior and senior years.
Then came law school. We went to Boston College following graduation, were moot court partners, worked a summer in the same law firm, shared an apartment and worked off our rent by building a not insubstantial barn. Did I mention Mike knew carpentry?
After law school, I found my way to Vermont and Mike, after a few years in Worcester, Mass., found his way back home to Illinois working with his grandfather, and then his father and siblings, all lawyers. He was skilled, successful and prominent among his peers.
Picturing Mike on that warm, sunny September day when we first met, when so much lay ahead and seemed possible and attainable, is how I always will remember him.
—John Evers ’81
Allan W. Oxx ’86
Allan Oxx passed away unexpectedly in his Longmeadow, Mass., home on Jan. 21, 2017. He is survived by my mother and his wife of 26 years, Susan Dudley-Oxx; and two daughters, my younger sister, Kathryn, and me.
My dad arrived at Amherst later in life after several detours. In the 10-plus years between his graduation from Lutheran High on Long Island and matriculation at Amherst College, he hitchhiked across the country with friends, rented a semi-weatherproof “shack” in a neighbor’s backyard and spent six years sailing around the world with the U.S. Navy. While others in his class complained about dining at Valentine, my dad was grateful to have a consistent free meal and access to enough oranges to learn how to juggle in his dorm room. He also devoured the opportunity to learn alongside some tremendous professors, including a few who were close to his own age. Like so many other political science grads, after graduation my dad moved to New York, where he found his first suit-and-tie job with Shoeman, Marsh, Updike, and Welt. After a few years in the city, he moved back to Western Massachusetts, started work with Travelers Insurance, enrolled in law school at Western New England, married my mother, started our family and took ownership of the first Saturday tee-time at St. Anne’s Golf Course with his longtime foursome Tom, Dave and Paul.
For more than 25 years he continued to work in insurance law, most recently for the Hartford; to golf each Saturday (at least) with his friends; and, in his words, to “live vicariously” through his children as we graduated from high school and college and started to navigate adulthood. After an unconventional start, he found his comfort and purpose in our tight-knit family life. —Lindsay Oxx ’14
Christopher Faulkner Herron ’98
Some of us met him as a wily card player, others as a fierce opponent on the squash court, or as a devotee of social entrepreneurship and stalwart believer in equality and social justice; but we all came to know Chris for his kindness, wit, integrity and loyalty. We mourn our loss—and the world’s loss—of our most earnest, brilliant and sometimes wickedly acerbic friend.
Christopher Faulkner Herron ’98 passed away on March 12, 2017, in the company of family and friends at his home in Somerville, Mass. He had been bravely coping with a brain tumor for the past four years.
Chris came to Amherst after graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy and later earned his M.B.A. at Yale School of Management.
At Amherst, Chris majored in psychology and Russian. Always committed to fostering community, he served as a resident counselor and, after graduation, as an area coordinator.
Following college, extending his belief in the power of social connections, Chris joined and eventually ran a Facebook predecessor called the Daily Jolt, where he helped build online student communities on many college campuses.
After receiving his business degree, Chris dedicated much of his career to promoting entrepreneurship to help remedy social injustices. He worked for several organizations, including the One Acre Fund and Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Capital Partners. Most recently, Chris was an associate partner at New Profit Inc., where he assisted innovative nonprofits to improve the lives of low-income families across the country. Finally, he merged his interests in games, philanthropy and community by founding a philanthropic game league, “Yes We Catan,” that continues to thrive and constitutes one of his many legacies.
Chris is survived by his sister, Abigail Herron Churney; his brother, Patrick M. Herron III; and their spouses and children. —Lila Corwin Berman ’98, Tom Nassim ’98