John McLean Favour ’44
John often said the first best day of his life was when his father took him to Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration, where he witnessed unforgettable political leadership. John was born in Prescott, Ariz., but his father wanted his son to go back East to experience his roots.
At Amherst John was on the wrestling team, skilled in math, interested in history, wanting to learn—the first peer many of us met who was interested in the views of others and possessed a cool, dry wit.
John designed a Frank Lloyd Wright-type house and invited three Chi Phi brothers (Al Eaton ’44, John Burrows ’44 and me) and a friend from Massachusetts to live in his home for the summer. With his mother’s wonderful cooking, we worked 8 to 5 each day to build this house; the only professional at hand was a master chimney mason.
John served in the Army Air Corps as a navigation instructor. Then he married his high school sweetheart, Betty Ogg, and designed and built another home in Tucson, where he studied for his law degree. Years later I visited him in the third home he designed and built, in Prescott, where he was a principal in his law firm. His pride was in explaining to me his arrangement of accessible subfloor piping that provided remarkable radiant heating. Then he turned to me: “But Betty and our family are the best-best gift I’ll ever have.”
He was an example to me of the supple strong, courteous balance I have spent my life consciously striving to build, to this day. My tears for the loss of him are suffused by gratitude for having found him and remembering him for his own sake and for you who read this farewell.
John is survived by his daughter and two sons, as well as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. —Andrew J. Foley ’44
James A. Corrigan ’49
Jim was the second of the four classmates we lost this June, passing away June 18 at the age of 94 in Evanston, Ill. He was born in Asheville, N.C., in 1924 and raised in nearby High Point. He attended Davidson College until he entered military service in 1943.
After his tour of duty with the U.S. Air Force, he came to Amherst and was a member of Psi U, where he formed a host of lifelong friendships. He then earned an M.B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, leading to a seven-decade career in finance and education.
He returned to North Carolina for a few years, putting his education and training to work, but I have been unable to learn precisely what he did at that time. In 1955 he headed to the Midwest (via Canada) and made his living in Chicago, working in the investment and education fields with lots of interesting travel along the way. His work took him to the treasury department of the University of Chicago, and, finally, he served as a consultant to the Educational Testing Service, from which he retired at the age of 84.
A rather private person with a very warm personality and numerous friends, Jim never married but was affectionately close to his nieces, nephews and their families.
A most loyal alum, Jim came to virtually all our reunions, including the 65th, even though he was residing in an assisted-living facility at the time. Ever gracious, he is remembered by his fraternity brothers with warm affection. —Gerry Reilly ’49
LeGrand S. Redfield ’49
Lee was the first of three classmates we lost this June, passing away June 12 in Long Beach, Calif. He graduated from Manlius Military Academy before coming to Amherst, where we were teammates on the track team. He was a good sprinter. We especially enjoyed the “away” meets and the colorful coaching of the redoubtable Al Lumley.
He married Carol Petry and was blessed with four sons before her untimely death. He then married Susan White, the daughter of John White ’44.
Lee’s entire career was in the field of broadcast advertising, starting in the mailroom of the American Broadcasting Company and working his way up the ladder with a variety of positions—research director, promotion manager, traffic manager and sales manager.
He sold commercial time for AM, FM and TV stations for several rep firms such as John Blair, Edward Petry and RKO and retired after 20 years as an executive with the Westinghouse Broadcast division, which is now CBS. He claimed to have sold everything, from cars to kitty litter.
He became involved with soccer with his son and the American Youth Soccer Organization—really involved—and after coaching and refereeing for years became the commissioner of the AYSO for the Chicago region, helping it grow from 300 youngsters to more than 1,500. He said he came to Chicago as a Republican but soon realized that, to get anything done locally, you’d better be a Democrat.
An active tennis and squash player, Lee was league coordinator for some 200 members of the Chicago Advertising Tennis Society. With all this, he still got in 35 years of travel, inspired by his favorite author, Clive Cussler, and his character Dirk Pitt, concentrating on Mexico, Spain, Morocco and Portugal. Lee had a full, happy life and was cheerfully loyal at reunions. He will indeed be missed. He is survived by his wife, four sons and three grandchildren. —Gerry Reilly ’49
Peter Talbot ’49
Closing that sad week, Pete passed away June 22, the third of our classmates to depart in a period of just 10 days. At age 93, he died in Media, Pa., where he spent much of his life. He is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Helga; four daughters (he should have met Lee Redfield ’49 with his four sons); eight grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
He went to Woodberry Forest School in Virginia and then to Amherst, where he was a Deke, earned his letter on the wrestling team and then graduated from Harvard law school.
Pete began his legal career in the insurance industry, then advocated tirelessly—pro bono—for environmental causes, focusing on the protection of regional water resources. Understandably, he was an avid outdoorsman and was devoted to the education of his daughters.
As you may know, he was also a gifted writer and poet whose commentary for our 50th reunion book was a lengthy and highly literate poetic dissertation, making full use of his fine education. Additionally, he was our “unofficial class soothsayer”—self-proclaimed in a former class note.
There was a Celebration of His Life Service July 6 at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Media. He was a witty and bright man who devoted so much of his talent to a most worthy cause. There are never enough of these people for our complicated and troubled times.
Proud to say the ’49-ers had their share of citizens seeking to improve the planet. —Gerry Reilly ’49
Richard E. Thacher ’49
Dick died July 26 after several health issues. He was born into the Amherst community, and that is where he will be for eternity. His father was head of B&G at the College and supervised the building of Valentine Hall.
I met Dick in the summer of 1944 as we both were trying to get in a few semesters of college before going off to military service. We each went off to sea for two years and then returned to school.
He joined Theta Delt, played tennis and soccer and, as you would expect for our beloved class choregus, was a member of the Glee Club. He had the good fortune of meeting Joy Elliot on a blind date and the good sense to marry her in 1960. A happy 57-year marriage followed.
He later joined the Gilbert Paper Co. and opened an office for them in Atlanta, whereupon this confirmed New England Yankee became a true Atlantan, with season tickets for the Falcons since the team’s founding in 1966, and an active member of the local Presbyterian Church and the Cherokee Town and Country Club. Ever gregarious and cheerful, Dick and Joy were avid bridge players and joyfully involved with their grandchildren. Once retired, they traveled whenever possible around North America and Europe.
Dick was preceded in death by his loving wife, Joy, and sisters Marietta and Elizabeth, who was married to Ed Hitchcock ’49. He is survived by brother Christopher, sister Juliana, son Jeffrey and three grandchildren.
Dick was a wonderful friend for 70 years, always cheerful no matter the health problems and fiercely loyal to the College. There was a celebratory service in Dunwoody, Ga., but his final resting place is at Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst. A burial service was held there on Sept. 22, prior to the football game against Hamilton. “Go, Jeffs!” —Gerry Reilly ’49
Jerome Balmuth ’50
Another great Amherst educator! “I believe education is not a demonstration of the knowledge of the instructor but rather an attempt to provoke the student into discovery of his or her own talents,” said Professor Jerry a decade ago. “And moral education is … ultimately in the choice of not only how to live one’s life but also how to relate to others in that life.”
Teaching philosophy and religion to more than 9,000 students in his 56 years full time at Colgate University, Jerry embodied inclusive principles in his founding (with his wife, Ruth, in downtown Hamilton, N.Y.) an interfaith Sunday school and helping to spearhead the creation of the Saperstein Jewish Center on campus. (My thanks to Colgate’s periodical, Scene.)
His World War II service included a U.S. Army assignment, as Nazi Germany fell, to Dachau concentration camp. Commissioned a lieutenant after officer school, he was an acting captain upon his discharge from the Army and his arrival at Amherst.
At Amherst, Jerry joined Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to earn a master’s degree in philosophy at Cornell before joining Colgate’s department in 1954. Colleagues there recall his fascination with language, which rendered him “ebullient,” “always in good humor.” As more than a hundred of his former students kept in mutual touch with him through their own graduate studies and teaching, Jerry himself earned all four teaching awards offered by Colgate. So upon his retirement in 2010, the Jerome Balmuth Award for Teaching and Student Engagement began to be awarded to fellow Colgate professors.
After Ruth’s death, Jerry married Martha, who survives him, as do many children and grandchildren. —Richard Quaintance ’50
George “Spike” Beitzel ’50
Spike served Amherst with distinction and wisdom on the board of trustees for 21 years, including six as chairman and then election as chairman emeritus. When the College was debating coeducation, conventional thinking was that Amherst must follow other elite schools or lose outstanding students. Spike was not convinced until he heard a professor say he was a much better teacher standing in front of a class with different backgrounds and viewpoints.
After Harvard Business School and a stint as a Navy officer, Spike joined IBM, selling computers. He rose to become a senior vice president and a member of the board of directors and the corporate office. Along the way, he served as executive assistant to Thomas Watson, chairman, and also head of the data processing division. He was appointed to eight major corporate boards such as Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank) and Phillips Petroleum (today ConocoPhillips).
Spike’s nonprofit trusteeships were many, ranging from the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships to Northern Westchester Hospital. A favorite was the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. There he was chairman for four years and on the board for 15 years. Spike, a private pilot for 50 years, relished hosting Al Steuber ’50, Bro Park ’50 and me, with wives, at Williamsburg and flying us home.
At Amherst, Spike was president of Alpha Delta Phi, won his “A” in crew and football and was managing editor of the Olio.
What stands out about Spike is that he truly cared about helping people. He was not blinded by his laurels. I could not have had a better roommate or friend.
Spike died at 90 in June after an operation for a stomach aneurysm. He leaves his wife of more than 65 years, Mary Lou, sons Skip and David, daughter Tish, six grandchildren and a sister, Nancy Hall. —John Priesing ’50
Roger H. Clapp ’50
Roger Clapp died in Naples, Fla., in February 2015. During his life, our paths crossed on several occasions. As youths, we had both been residents of Greenwich, Conn., we both were graduates of Amherst, and we both chose Naples as the place to spend our retirement years—all by pure coincidence.
At Amherst Roger was a brother of Theta Delta Chi.
His place of birth was Scarsdale, N.Y. In addition to Connecticut, he spent his youth in Rhode Island and California. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War aboard vessels in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.
After discharge from the Navy, Roger worked for two advertising companies in New York City, Rumrill-Hoyt and, as vice president, Benton & Bowles. During his career, he served as president of International Advertising and Marketing Executives, the Mid-Atlantic Advertising and Marketing Executives and the Advertising Club of Richmond, Va. He concluded his career as vice president and advertising director of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Following his retirement to Naples in 1993, he was a counselor with SCORE Naples, counselors to America’s small business. He was author of Through the Ages, an Abbreviated History of Our World.
Roger’s wife, Patricia Townshend Clapp, predeceased him, as did his son, Roger H. Clapp Jr. He is survived by two daughters—Georgia Moyer of Richmond, Va., and Sarah Zimmerman of Naples, Fla.—and seven grandchildren.
Roger’s life was celebrated at his church of many years, the First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs, Fla. —Andy Scholtz ’50
Joseph R. Hampson Jr. ’50
Ray came to Amherst after service in the Navy. He attended Deerfield Academy.
Ray was a member of Phi Delta Theta and manager of the 1949 undefeated varsity soccer team. After acquiring his Amherst degree, he got another, in architecture, from RPI.
Up until 1978, Ray practiced in the Rochester area. Then he moved to St. Louis, where he stayed the rest of his life. He continued to work as an architectural engineer for several firms. He became an avid fan of all the St. Louis professional sports teams.
Ray passed away at the age of 86 in 2013. He is survived by three sons—William, Richard and Todd—and seven grandchildren. —John W. Priesing ’50
Charles R. “Poppy” Head ’50
To my knowledge, Charles Head was always known as “Poppy” at Amherst. His daughter Jennifer told me her dad inherited the nickname from his dad, who was also a Poppy.
When I first saw Poppy at Amherst in 1946, he looked like he had just left military school and was ready to play linebacker for Amherst. Then 1950 came, and like so many others, Poppy joined the Army; he became an M.P. in Japan.
After the war his life took a turn, and he became a farmer in down state Illinois, near the small town of Berwick. He and his three brothers built a log cabin, where three of his five children were born. From the halls of Lord Jeff to the cabin of Abe Lincoln!
On his 500-acre farm, Poppy grew soybeans and corn and raised cattle, including 50 “beefers.” Farming makes one a giver, and Poppy was one. He was very active in Rotary and 4-H Club, and was a Sunday school teacher and a church elder. Community-minded, he participated in whatever his small Illinois town offered.
One day in the early 1960s, my family drove from Deerfield, Ill., to Poppy’s farm. When we arrived, there he was in his overalls, straight as a stick. I might have been the last Amherst man to see him or his farm.
On his 80th birthday, Poppy decided a ponytail might look good. His ponytail was there until his death in January 2017. Poppy was also something of a “foodie.” One of his farming buddies claimed there was not a menu he disliked, as long as it ended in pie.
Poppy’s wife Joan; five children; and 17 grandchildren survived him. —Dick Leland ’50
George William Jourdian ’50
Bill was born in 1929. His father worked for Smith College, and he lived his early life in and near Amherst. After Amherst High School, he joined our class, majored in science and history and was a member of Kappa Theta. In the fall of 1949, he fell ill and was in the hospital for many months, but he finished his studies the next year and always identified with the class of 1950.
Bill made his way uptown and earned a master’s degree in 1953 at what was then Massachusetts State College, where he met and, in 1954, married Joan Kettell. He received a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Purdue and began a stellar career in biochemistry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Earlier this year, the biochemistry department at the University of Michigan created an honorary seminar program to be conducted each year in March. The George W. Jourdian Honorary Lecture Series sponsors distinguished scientists in the field of biochemistry.
Bill was also honored for his work on arthritis and other diseases and served on the Physiological Sciences Study Section for the NIH.
From his early years tramping about with his father in the Pelham hills, Bill was keen on hunting, fishing and, his specialty, trap shooting. He and Joan joined us for our 50th reunion “up in the hills where there is always a wind in the morning blowing.”
Bill loved Yellowstone and with his family traveled there many times, for the fly fishing and hiking. Last year (2017), Joan, along with their daughter and son, took a portion of his ashes out there and flung them into the river. He would have thought it very appropriate.
He leaves Joan, daughter Susan, son Robert and six grandchildren, one of whom made it back to the Pioneer Valley, graduating from Mount Holyoke. —Kingsley Smith ’50
Kenneth L. Parkhurst ’50
Ken came to Amherst after serving in the merchant marine during World War II. He left Amherst High School as a junior and received a third mate’s license from the Maine Maritime Academy.
He is the only classmate I can think of who spent his junior year abroad. It was in Sweden, where he found time to establish the first laundromat in Scandinavia. Following Amherst and membership in Phi Alpha Psi, Ken was a Navy officer during the Korean War.
Afterwards he earned a master’s in economics from George Washington University and a doctorate in the same field from the University of Southern California. While in California, he worked for Miocene Drilling Co. for three years, ending up as acting CEO. He also was assistant dean for administration at USC.
Then Ken decided to go into teaching. He spent 21 years as a full professor and chairman of the economics department at John Carroll University in Cleveland, from which he retired. His specialty was corporate economic systems, and he wrote, lectured and traveled extensively. In fact, he estimated he visited over 80 countries in his lifetime. Earlier he was chairman of the economics department at Northern Michigan University and an assistant professor at Western New Mexico University in Silver City.
After John Carroll, he went back to Silver City, where he retired following a one-year teaching assignment at Western New Mexico. Ken took up oil and acrylic painting, mostly abstract. He had numerous area exhibits.
He died at age 86 in 2013. Ken is survived by three children—Robert Alexander ’72, Marilyn McNamara and Andrew Parkhurst—and 11 grandchildren, plus 15 great-grandchildren and a sister, Elizabeth May Obes. —John W. Priesing ’50
Samuel H. Porter ’50
Sam, a native of Columbus, Ohio, went to Columbus Academy, entered the Navy in 1945 and came out in time to join our class and become a member of Psi Upsilon.
Sam’s professional life centered on being a prominent trial lawyer following graduation from law school at Ohio State. He was the lead lawyer for the Columbus Board of Education in a case versus Penick, a seminal class action lawsuit on segregation in the Columbus public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court (where Sam argued the case) ruled for the plaintiffs in a controversial split decision. This led to busing in Columbus.
Sam’s law firm—Porter, Wright, Morris, Arthur—founded by his father, had 11 lawyers when he joined and totaled 240 when he passed away. I enjoyed a visit with Sam when I was called to the firm on a corporate lawsuit.
Sam was active in the American Bar Association, serving as chair of the Public Utilities, Commercial and Transportation Law section and had been nominated to be on the Board of Governors of the ABA before his death. He was appointed by the governor of Ohio to the chairmanship of the Ohio Public Defenders Commission and was often chairman of the Ohio Legal Rights Foundation. Sam took a particular interest in the rights of criminal indigent defenders. For 15 years he enjoyed teaching a seminar for Ohio State law students.
He was elected to the board of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Columbus School for Girls and the Mt. Carmel and Adena Health System. He also served in many other community organizations.
Sam died at the age of 85 in 2013. He left his wife, Lucy; sons Sam and Bill ’78; daughters Kitty Young and Sarah Good; and 14 grandchildren. —John Priesing ’50
John L. Sisk ’50
John died peacefully on Nov. 25, 2015, at the age of 87. He was born on July 15, 1928, in Madison, Wis., and went to the West Side High School before going to Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H.
At Amherst he was an active member of Delta Upsilon and played on the lacrosse team. He began dating Anne Learoyd, who was at Mount Holyoke, and they were married in 1951. Anne and John had three sons: Jonathan (wife Tanya), Robert (wife Aude) and David (wife Janet); eight grandchildren: Matthew, Geoffroy, Anne, Adelaide, Jean-Charles, Katherine, Morgan and Conner; and two great-granddaughters, Eleonore and Josephine, all of whom referred to John as “Grandpa, Sir.”
John worked for 30 years at Sears, Roebuck & Co. in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana and in 1980 joined the retail division of W. R. Grace & Co., where he served as executive vice president until 1983, when he joined Herman’s World of Sporting Goods. There he became vice chairman after serving as president and CEO.
In 1989 he retired to Punta Gorda, Fla., where he renounced wearing socks and continued his lifelong passion for sailboat racing and cruising. John and Anne were active members of the Isles Yacht Club in Punta Gorda. They cruised the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and as far away as Tonga in the western South Pacific during the ensuing 30 years.
In John’s submission to our 50th anniversary album, he reminisces: “remember the great times we had at Amherst in the late ’40s—the mixing of the World War II vets with us innocent 18-year-olds” and “the good times at the DKE and DU houses on the weekends but, most lasting and important, the wonderful lifelong friends we all made.”
So true, John. —Dave Sinclair ’50
J. William Thompson III ’50
Bill was a graduate of the John Burroughs School in St Louis. A member of Phi Delta Theta, he participated in freshman football and basketball.
After Amherst it was back to St. Louis for medical school at St. Louis University. He joined the Navy in 1955 after serving an internship at St. Louis City Hospital.
Between 1957 and 1961, Bill was on a fellowship for general surgery at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. Then he was a resident thoracic surgeon at a veteran’s hospital in Illinois before going into private practice in St. Louis, following that with a move to the San Diego area. He authored a number of articles for medical publications.
Unfortunately, we lost track of Bill in his later years. He died in February 2013. He had a daughter, Marjorie, and a son, Jonathan. —John W. Priesing ’50
David C. Fulton ’51
Dave Fulton died on Aug. 12, 2018, after a long illness, surrounded by his family. His packed memorial service was at the Congregational church where Dave worshiped. Hobie Cleminshaw ’51 and Tom Bushman ’51 attended.
Dave and I became lifelong friends at Cleveland Heights High School in 1944 and were both on the swim team. We worked together summers as tree surgeons while the regulars were in the war. We had a truck, shot BB guns at rats at the dump and earned 60 cents an hour.
After Amherst, Dave became a Navy officer on a ship based in Philadelphia. While there, Dave met and married Stella O’Brian, his charming and wise partner for 63 years.
Following the Navy, Dave returned to Cleveland, earned a law degree and for 30 years partnered with his two brothers at Fulton & Goss. Later he became chief executive of Inland Mortgage in Indianapolis, where he increased profits and expanded the firm nationally.
While retired in Cleveland, Dave was on many civic boards, often as chairman. He read widely. Stella and he were regulars at the Cleveland Symphony. On a good day, Dave played golf in the 80s. He fished at least once a summer at his lodge in Ontario, often with male family members.
A regular at 1951 reunions, Dave was devoted to Amherst and our class. He served for a term as class president. Phil Knowles ’51 recalls being overwhelmed when he was asked to be reunion chairman; Dave provided him comfort and direction.
During the last year, Dave and I talked often on the phone, Four months ago, I told him to stay put because he was the only Republican friend I had. He responded with his delightful chuckle.
Dave is survived by Stella; their four children: David ’78, Christopher ’80, Margaret ’83 and Laura; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. —Phil Alexander ’51
John Waterman ’51
John Waterman died in Rhode Island in May. He was 89. John was a man of three passions: his family, serving others and tending to his Colonial (1698) home in Rehoboth, Mass.
John was born in 1929 and raised in Providence, R.I. He came to Amherst in the fall of 1947 after having graduated from Choate (now Choate Rosemary Hall), where he was a member of the crew. At Amherst he majored in political science, was a member of Chi Phi fraternity and was a founding member of Amherst’s original crew. Following Amherst, John, like most of us, went into the service for the Korean War; John served in the Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Boxer.
After his discharge, John worked for J. Walter Thompson, the global advertising firm, in New York City, and while in New York worked for the Amherst capital campaign. In 1961 he married his first wife, Paula Johnson Waterman, with whom he had two children: a son, Jay, and a daughter, Caroline. In the early 1960s, John and Paula moved to Rehoboth, Mass., and John lived there for the next 46 years, tending a 10-acre gentleman’s farm and an old Colonial house. John’s first marriage ended in divorce, as did his second marriage, to Jean Palumbo.
Following his retirement, John turned to volunteer work. He served his church and his local community, most notably with the Samaritans suicide prevention hotline. He loved to sail (mostly with his sister and brother-in-law) and loved the history of the sea. This led him to collect old prints of clipper ships and the histories of their voyages.
John was a kind and considerate gentleman. We shall miss him. —Van Tingley ’51 and Jay Waterman
Peter Kruidenier ’53
Peter Kruidenier died in his sleep on May 16 in La Jolla, Calif., near Scripps hospital, where he was born. His early years were spent in Des Moines, Iowa. After his secondary education at Phillips Exeter Academy, he followed his brother-in-law, Tom Shepard ’40, to Amherst.
My personal recollections of Peter center on two occasions. The first was on Dec. 27, 1952, when a large group from Psi U descended on New York City for the wedding of Peter and Liz Pitlik—after which they returned to live in Amherst’s G.I. village.
The second occasion was in 2014 when Paula and I journeyed to the San Diego Air and Space Museum to see our granddaughter, who was married to a marine stationed nearby. This enabled me to catch up with Peter’s life story.
Upon graduation Peter spent two years in the Army, after which he Joined Look magazine in New York. Success came rapidly. He later invested his savings in a small oil drilling company in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he moved with Liz and their two daughters. A divorce from Liz, and a second one later, sent Peter to an alcohol treatment center. His successful treatment enabled him to remain sober for life and to counsel others.
Shortly before our 2014 meeting, Peter’s family coalesced to persuade him to move to beautiful Casa de Manana in La Jolla, where he had a clear view of the Pacific. Although he suffered from macular degeneration and was declared legally blind, Peter impressed me as someone totally at peace with his life at last. May he rest in peace. —Mike Palmer ’53
Philip Herbert Mitchell ’53
Phil died on June 22 at home in Orleans, Mass. A graduate of Amherst High School, he was in our class for only one year, then joined the Army during the end of the Korean War; in 1955 he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 1959 he graduated from Andover Newton Divinity School with a divinity degree and in 1979 earned a doctorate in ministry from San Francisco Seminary.
During his ministry, he served churches in Charlton, Mass.; Hollis, N.H.; and Binghamton, N.Y. In retirement he also served as interim minister on Cape Cod in South Dennis, Hyannis and Pembroke. Phil was an author of several books, and he served as a trustee of Andover Newton, as chaplain and lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and as an active advocate for social justice.
Phil was married for 54 years to the late Barbara Fay (Madden) Mitchell, and together they had two adopted children, Christi Ann Mitchell and the late Timothy Paul Mitchell. —George Edmonds ’53
Sterling L. Weaver ’53
Sterling Weaver, who died in Pittsford, N.Y., on Sept. 5, was a fine student, an accomplished athlete and a constant friend. Those who knew him well had learned that his gentle nature coexisted with his relentlessly competitive athleticism and that he could ask the most pertinent, penetrating questions in his soft voice and pleasant manner.
Weave played well on the freshman soccer team, but his prowess in basketball, where he captained the freshman team (and later the varsity), made it easy to decide which sport to relinquish when course work and his job as a campus “sandwich man” demanded more of his time. However, he still managed to play intramural touch football one year—and was named the all-star receiver.
Weave majored in American studies, which fit his inquiring mind. He also explored other disciplines, graduated with honors and entered Columbia law school. After earning his law degree, he joined the Rochester law firm of Nixon, Hargrave, Devans and Doyle. Over time, he became a partner, led their tax department and chaired tax sections for county, state and American bar associations. He served his community as president of the Landmark Society of Western New York, the First Unitarian Church of Rochester and the Center for Environmental Education.
Weave lived the words he wrote about Amherst for our 50th reunion: “Using our capacity for rational thought, we were firmly convinced that some exposure to many intellectual disciplines was essential to understand the complexity of our lives and to make a meaningful contribution to furthering human progress. I hold that belief as tenaciously today as I did when we started.”
Sterling is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Jean Carty Weaver; four children (Leslie Petzing, Lisa Bejian, Loren Weaver and David Weaver) and their spouses; and seven grandchildren. Our love and condolences to them all. —Rich Gray ’53, Manse Hall ’53 and George Edmonds ’53
Thomas M. Woodbridge ’53
Tom Woodbridge of Freeport, Fla.—the son of John A. Woodbridge ’24—passed away peacefully on April 18 with his usual smile on his face. He was under tender Vitas hospice care.
At Amherst, Tom was a member of Alpha Delta Phi and was active in the theater. In the final year, he transferred to Montana State College to earn a degree in animal husbandry.
He and his wife, Martha, shared 64 years of love and adventure starting with his service as a Korean War Naval officer. He worked on the Boeing 747 in Seattle, was manager of the Bar C Ranch in Kaycee, Wyo. (site of the famous Johnson County wars between cattlemen and sheep ranchers), and then became a county agent in Montana when the ranch was sold.
He spent many years working for Monsanto in St. Louis and Mobil Chemical Co. in Richmond, Va., in the agricultural chemical divisions. Finally, he went into business for himself. He was co-owner of Car Pool Auto Wash, with five locations in Richmond, and the colorful and well-known Tom and Jerry NASCAR race car. He and Martha retired to the Florida Keys.
Tom was a man of great integrity and caring with a thunderous laugh. He was a Unitarian. He was a member of the Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Barbershop Singing in America, singing lead in the award-winning Richmond Virginians and in Great Expectations in Florida. His additional interests were fishing and reading, especially naval and Civil War history.
He is survived by his wife, Martha; a son, John; daughters Martha Monds, Gertrude Anderson and Francesca Simmons; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. —Martha Woodbridge
W. Richard Gordon ’54
We have just learned of the death of W. Richard “Dick” Gordon on Aug. 2, 2016.
He entered Amherst from Salem (Mass.) High School and Philips Andover Academy with the class of 1954. His major was geology. He became a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and participated in both football and outdoor track but left in 1953 to join the U.S. Army as a codebreaker, returning to graduate with the class of 1958. However, he continued to identify with our class and supported the Amherst Fund as such, although he was not a presence with us at homecomings or reunions.
Dick earned an M.S. in geology in 1961 from the University of Kansas and left a doctoral program at the University of Illinois for a career in marketing aviation fuel worldwide for Gulf Oil, Chevron and Cumberland Farms.
In 1967, Dick met and married a recent widow, Sjaane Molenveld Reef Bauer, from the Netherlands, and adopted her 2-year-old son, Dennis. They located in Mattapoisett, Mass., where Dick became a bird watcher, gardener, tennis player and more.
The Gordons subsequently moved to New Hampshire after his retirement, where they pursued outdoor activities that included kayaking and cross-country skiing, and then relocated to Florida in 2006. The Gordons summered in the Netherlands in his wife’s hometown, Hengelo, a place he considered his own second home and where, after suffering from Alzheimer’s in his last years, he died of pneumonia.
His survivors include Sjaane; son Dennis (Noreen); daughter Carla (Andrew), a journalist who supplied much of the material for this obituary; and granddaughters Nell, Tara and Amy Gordon and Meg and Kate Russell. A brother, Bruce Gordon, also survives.
We regret having lost touch with him over the years. —Hank Tulgan ’54
Charles Morrow Grimstad ’54
I first met Chuck Grimstad the beginning of freshman year. We lived on the second floor of Stearns and became fast friends. We sang tenor all through college, and Chuck became co-chairman of the Glee Club. His love of music continued throughout his life as an active member of the Pittsburgh Oratorio Society and supporter of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Chuck was especially devoted to the campus newspaper, The Student. In his senior year, he was managing editor and received recognition with the Samuel Bowles prize in journalism.
As roommates, we spent endless hours discussing campus affairs, he from a journalistic perspective and I from a student government point of view. He majored in both political science and history and was a skilled debater. His keen intellect was formally acknowledged by his election to Phi Beta Kappa.
Following graduation, Chuck, along with fraternity brothers David Lundeen ’54 and Seth Dubin ’54, entered Harvard law school. After graduating and passing the bar exam, he was called by Uncle Sam into the Army and served at Fort Dix, N.J., rising to the rank of corporal.
In 1959 he joined the Pittsburgh law firm of Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart and Johnson, where he became a partner, and practiced until 1998. On April 20, 1963, he married Julia Howard, a native of Pittsburgh and graduate of Wheaton (Mass.) College. He was an active member of Calvary Episcopal Church, serving as vestryman and junior and senior warden. He was also on the Board of the Ellis School in Shadyside.
Chuck died on June 9, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Julia Howard Grimstad; three daughters, Katharine Quinn, Ann Lee and Betsy; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Little could I have imagined in September 1950 that 68 years later I would be writing the obituary of such a bright and warm-hearted friend. —James J. Barnes ’54
Duncan A. McIntosh ’54
We have belatedly learned that Dunc McIntosh died on Nov. 2, 2016, after a lengthy period of disability. Dunc came to Amherst from Bronxville (N.Y.) High School and became a member of Chi Phi.
His activities at Amherst were truly eclectic. He captained the soccer team and earned a second “A” for lacrosse. Meanwhile, he was a member of the choir, Glee Club and Zumbyes. He was honored by being named to Sphinx.
His major was biology, and after graduation, he joined a number of our classmates at the University of Rochester Medical School, from which he obtained his M.D. He interned at King County (Wash.) Hospital, did his internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at the University of Washington and became board certified in both.
He served as a medical officer in the U.S. Air Force, specializing in nephrology, from 1958 to 1977 and then practiced with the Intercommunity Medical Group in Fairfield, Calif., until illness caused him to retire.
Dunc was also a published poet, and some years ago, when I was editor of the Berkshire Medical Journal, I was privileged to include one of his poems in an issue, and readers responded with accolades.
He was married twice; his second wife, Marilyn, predeceased him in 2014. His surviving children are Douglas (Dawn), who informed us of his passing, Lori Gartley (Robert) and Bruce (Nurmi), as well as stepdaughter Kristine Madsen (Allen), stepson Kent Leslie and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. —Hank Tulgan ’54
William R. Cole III ’55
Bill died on June 10 after a brief illness. He came to Amherst after graduating from Amherst High. As an undergraduate, Bill was a whirlwind of campus activities. He was a member of Chi Psi fraternity and a psychology major. The latter qualified to satisfy his academic requirement. Bill led an active social life, dating girls from both Smith and Mount Holyoke. Since he was a resident of the town of Amherst, Bill had access to “wheels,” with which he was generous in giving rides to classmates seeking rides to the ladies’ colleges. Bill was on the track team and was the director and drum major for the student band, on the Olio staff and vice chairman of The Student. After college, Bill spent his working years in the computer industry in California before living a quiet life in the Seattle suburbs. —Rob Sowersby ’55
Michael Sahl ’55
Michael Sahl, prodigy, musician, composer, brilliantly talented member of our class, died March 29, peacefully at home after a long period of poor health. A lifelong resident of New York’s Lower East Side, Mike was the only child of a nonobservant Jewish family, whose religion was philosophy, the arts and progressive politics.
Mike was twice married, twice divorced, with a son, Benjamin, from the first marriage; a daughter, Isadora, from the second; and a stepdaughter, Jenni. He also leaves four grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and his companion of many years, Margaret Yard.
Composing was the center of Mike’s life. After Amherst he studied at Princeton, UCLA and, as a Fulbright Scholar, in Italy. He was a staunch anti-modernist, among the vanguard of neo-romanticist classical composers. His works include concert music and musical theater works with several collaborators. Forty-seven of Mike’s scores and 43 audio files are conserved at the University of Buffalo library. His film credits include Scent of a Woman, True Lies, Waiting for the Moon and Adam Clayton Powell (a documentary). A number of recordings of his music are available online. Early in his career, he was Judy Collins’ music director for several years.
Mike and I were members of the Lord Jeff Club, where we were junior year roommates along with Ralph Allen ’55 and Ned Phelps ’55. I remember Mike as a torrent of music and leftist political opinion. In addition to piano, he was an accomplished banjo player and guitarist. His repertoire included bluegrass, blues, Appalachian ballads and labor songs. Mike Robbins ’55 remembers his giving a harpsichord sound to our bar piano by inserting thumbtacks in the hammers. He coached us into winning the inter-fraternity sing one year, singing “Simple Gifts.” He added a lot to our lives. We will miss him greatly. —John Hammond ’55, with much help from Ben Sahl, Michael’s son
Harold C. “Harry” Gotoff ’56
Harold “Harry” Gotoff passed away July 31 in Cincinnati, leaving his wife of 48 years, Margot Jacobson Gotoff; children Leila (Josh) Stolberg and Daniel Robert (Lauren Burns) Gotoff; brother Dr. Samuel Gotoff; and four grandchildren.
Harry came to Amherst from the Bronx’s Horace Mann School. At Amherst, he pledged Phi Psi and played hockey (goalie) and lacrosse.
In 2006 Harry wrote for the 50th reunion yearbook, “Once I decided to forego an almost certain career as a professional hockey goalie, my actual career fell into place. I acquired a bunch of degrees—A.B. Classics, Cantab (Peterhouse—my personal favorite) and began my life as a professor of Greek and Latin.”
Harry taught at the University of Cincinnati from 1986 to 2010 as professor of Latin and of romance paleography. A distinguished scholar of Latin literature, he made lasting contributions to the understanding of the transmission of the text of Lucan and of the style of Cicero’s speeches in relation to their rhetorical effects.
“Amherst and Horace Mann shaped my life and sensibilities. I wish that the humanities, from classics to jazz, were still as central to education as they were in the ’40s and ’50s. Books and talk about books seem still to be the conduit for knowledge, along with solitude, the requisite for absorbing and processing knowledge. On advice? Take it rarely and never give it—except this once.”
Harry, we will miss you, a true Amherst man who learned how to think and write. —Peter Levison ’56
Thomas D. Nickerson ’56
Tom died June 29 in Meadville, Pa. He was a constant source of entertainment to his Amherst classmates, a superb storyteller, especially as a “Maine Guide,” a skillful master and presenter of jokes. He was a clever and creative craftsman, making all sorts of toy-like devices for fraternity brothers to use and enjoy. For a Classic Suppressed Desire Psi U Fraternity Party, Tom constructed stilts for his five-feet-four pal, making him six-feet-four and the winner of that costume party and many more for years to come. It was a gift that has lasted a lifetime. Tom was always like a breath of fresh air and a joy, a dispenser of love and help for his family and friends.
Left behind is his loving wife of 62 years, Jane Cushman. They married shortly after graduation in June of 1956. He is also survived by two sons, Thomas Nickerson Jr. (Susan) of Rhinebeck, N.Y.; Douglas Nickerson (Robin) of East Amherst, N.Y.; and four grandsons: Christian Nickerson Esq. (Jessica) of Los Angeles; Dr. Morgan Nickerson of Erie, Pa.; A. Taylor Nickerson of Studio City, Calif.; and Cade Nickerson of Rochester.
In 1958 he earned an M.B.A. from Harvard. Tom’s business career involved a long progression of manufacturing companies of all sizes—with positions ranging from sales and marketing to manufacturing to product development to president—in the Midwest and Northeast.
Tom retired to Meadville in 2000 and took a keen interest in his four grandsons’ playing for the Meadville Bulldog club hockey team. Tom sharpened skates and did whatever necessary for the team’s needs, serving the group for many years. He was a major factor in their success—a pal, inspiration and mentor to the entire team, always adding his light and joyful touch. —Peter Weiller ’56 and Peter Levison ’56
Victor V. Dahl ’57
Vic Dahl died on June 22.
At Amherst Vic majored in English. He was on the staff of The Student and the College radio station.
Vic remembered Chi Phi as a wonderful mix of guys from jocks to nerds. He didn’t think he belonged to either category.
After Amherst Vic attended the New York School of Interior Design. He had many years in retail at Marshall Field & Co. in Milwaukee and Chicago. Later he worked in residential real estate.
Vic married Carol Eckert, Smith class of ’60. They later divorced, and they had no children (to brag about, he said), but life was full in other ways.
In 1999 Vic purchased a tiny co-op overlooking the Atlantic in Delray Beach, Fla., where he escaped part of the winter each year. He was a member of the co-op board.
In Milwaukee, Vic was an active board member of Friends of Villa Terrace, which raises funds for a David Adler-designed Mediterranean villa.
Vic’s favorite professor at Amherst was Alfred Kazin and most memorable experience was calling on Robert Frost at the Lord Jeff Inn, to ask for and obtain his signature on Vic’s copy of his poems. —Bill Patrick ’57
Avrum M. Gross ’57
Av died on May 8.
At Amherst, Av majored in mathematics and was a member of Psi Upsilon. He was active in the outing club, the debate council, the intramural council and Masquers.
Av had planned to study graduate mathematics in Israel. But instead he decided to attend law school. Although he had not taken the LSAT, he was accepted conditionally at Michigan based on his college record and received his J.D. there.
Av expected to practice law in New York, but he wanted first to take a couple of years off and go fishing in Alaska. He fell in love with Alaska and stayed there. He began work in the Legislative Affairs Agency and drafted many laws for the new state. He was attorney general of Alaska from 1974 to 1980. He played a key legal role in the challenges involving the Alaska Permanent Fund, federal-state Native land issues, providing schools in remote villages and a revision of the state criminal code.
As a child, Av studied violin at the Juilliard School. He said he became quite good at it, but he hated it because his father made him practice at 5 a.m. and yelled at him that he wasn’t doing it right. When he went to college, he gave it up. Many years later in Alaska he became interested in fiddle music and started playing again. He played with a band in the Juneau Folk Fest and won a state fiddlers championship.
Av helped form Alaska’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He was an initial director of the State Museum, a charter Juneau Symphony member and board member and chair of Alaska Pacific Bank.
Av is survived by his partner, Annalee McConnell; and children Jody, Alan ’85, Elizabeth and Claire. —Bill Patrick ’57
J. Dickinson McGavic ’57
Dick McGavic died on Jan. 5.
Dick majored in biology at Amherst and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies. He was a member of Psi Upsilon. His extracurricular activities included the concert choir, swimming and track.
After Amherst Dick received his M.D. from Harvard and completed a residency in anesthesiology. He was a member of the American Society of Anesthesiology and served on the board of directors.
Dick’s hobbies included genealogy, photography and bird watching, and he had a love of classical music and opera.
Dick is survived by his wife, Brenda, and four daughters. —Bill Patrick ’57
Martin L. Feingold ’58
Martin L. Feingold died peacefully in hospice two days after his 81st birthday of complications from Alzheimer’s and a recent stroke.
Marty came to Amherst from Brooklyn, N.Y. A pre-med student, Marty majored in biology, pledged Chi Phi and sang in the Glee Club. He wrote in our 40th reunion book that he valued “the ideals Amherst taught us, to strive for excellence and to reason and think independently … .”
In 1959, Marty married Judith Rose, his high school sweetheart, the week after she graduated from the University of Connecticut.
Marty got his M.D. at the University of Rochester in 1962 and interned at Montefiori Hospital in the Bronx. After his residency, he served two years in the Uniformed Corps of the Public Health Service in Baltimore and at sea.
Marty practiced internal medicine and gastroenterology in White Plains, N.Y., for 40 years. An old-fashioned, patient-centered physician, he loved the practice of medicine but chafed “at the interference of the HMOs, the insurance companies and, last but not least, the government.”
After Marty retired in 2008, the Feingolds traveled together to Europe and Southeast Asia and enjoyed their shared activities and hobbies. An avid photographer, Marty decorated their home with his professional-quality photos of their travels. At home, they indulged their love of the arts, frequently attending the opera, ballet and shows. As his Alzheimer’s progressed, they still engaged in their activities as much as possible, but eventually Marty required assisted care. However, “he was still Martin,” Judith said, enjoying recorded music and conversing by telephone with four of his six grandchildren the night before he died.
In addition to Judith, his wife of 58 years, Marty is survived by daughter Ilysse, son Steven, their respective spouses and six grandchildren. —Ned Megargee ’58
David M. Hicks ’58
Jacksonville, Fla., businessman, civic leader and philanthropist David M. Hicks died unexpectedly on July 9. Dave is survived by Ann Curry Hicks, his wife of 58 years, three children and 10 grandchildren.
David came to Amherst from Governor Dummer Academy, where he was the initial recipient of the academy’s all-around athletics award. At Amherst he majored in economics, captained the squash, tennis and soccer teams and was all-New England in soccer. His Alpha Delta Phi fraternity brother Peter Fernald ’58 describes David as gritty, talented and highly competitive.
In 1960, David married Ann Curry (Mount Holyoke ’59) and got his M.B.A. from Harvard. Relocating to Jacksonville, Ann’s home city, David began his career in mortgage banking with Stockton, Whatley, Davin, leaving in 1967 to found Computer Power Inc., which used David’s software to process residential mortgage loans. By 1997 Computer Power employed 1,100 people and had achieved a dominant market share, processing 43 percent of all U.S. mortgages.
After selling his firm, David began his second career as a civic leader and philanthropist. While he contributed to a wide range of causes, his chief passions were higher education and decent, affordable housing for low-income individuals. Over the seven years he served as its chair, David turned around the Jacksonville Housing Authority. He also worked closely with HabJax, the Jacksonville branch of Habitat for Humanity, helping it become the No. 1 Habitat affiliate in the country.
He and Ann were major benefactors to the University of North Florida. Their generously endowed initiatives included a scholarships program for low-income students in Habitat and public housing and the Hicks Honor College designed to create, in David’s words, “a small Amherst College in the midst of our vibrant university” for highly qualified students. —Ned Megargee ’58
Peyton F. McLamb Jr. ’58
Before Peyton McLamb died peacefully at home of mesothelioma on June 16, he told Emily, his wife of 54 years, that he had achieved everything on his bucket list. He is survived by Emily, three daughters, three sons-in-law and four grandchildren.
Steve Waite ’58, one of his lifelong Delta Upsilon friends, summed up Peyton as “a happy man who led a wonderful life.”
At Amherst, Peyton majored in biology and chemistry. He belonged to the Christian Association and Masquers, served as DU secretary and was active in intramural sports. Later in life, golf would become his passion. Peyton earned his M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1960. He served in the U.S. Army Security Agency from August 1960 through March 1961 and later was recalled for 11 months during the Berlin crisis. Peyton married Emily Ann Ahrens, who was flying for TWA, in February 1964.
Peyton’s business career spanned three decades in the hospital service and supply industry. A self-described “conservative with a preference for the traditional lifestyle and beliefs,” he preferred living in the “dairy country” of the Midwest, where residents go back several generations, to the more frenetic and transient urban life.
Over the years the McLambs enjoyed camping vacations, hiking and whitewater rafting in national parks in the American and Canadian Rockies. After retiring to Hilton Head, S.C., in 1995, Peyton and Emily traveled abroad as well, and also wintered for a month each year in Sedona, Ariz. He was also involved in community service and frequently arranged reunions and get-togethers with his DU brothers.
A memorial service was held on June 27, with subsequent burial next to his parents in the McLamb plot at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. —Ned Megargee ’58
Lawrence Weiss ’62
Larry died June 1 after a long battle with leukemia.
Larry and I served many years as co-agents for our class of ’62 Annual Fund drive. Larry enjoyed contacting our classmates and coaxing some dollars for the Annual Fund, culminating with our victory over the Williams class of ’62 for the highest giving percentage during our respective 50th reunions. Attendees at our 50th reunion enjoyed two kegs of local beer at the expense of our Williams counterparts. Larry was a generous supporter of the College, particularly through his establishment of the Lawrence and Suzanne Weiss ’62 Fund for the support of the Amherst Center for Russian Culture.
I met Larry freshman year when he was selling parkas to naive freshmen like me who had no idea of what a New England winter was like. Thus began a 60-year friendship that included fellow Theta Xi members Rich Siegler ’62, Irwin Buchwald ’62, Ralph Myrow ’62 and our spouses.
Larry is probably best remembered as an exceptional jazz pianist who over the years enjoyed playing with our classmates, among others Ed Johnson ’62, Fred Rodgers ’62 and Larry Beck ’62 and also Dick Klein ’61 and Dave Lahm ’63. Indeed, Larry met his lovely wife, Suzanne, while playing piano at a summer resort. Larry, Rich Siegler ’62 and I went on to attend Harvard law school, following which Larry practiced real estate law for several years. He eventually left law to join his father in the construction and crane rental industries, becoming a highly respected leader in the field.
As his son, Rob ’91, recalls: “I was blessed to have worked side by side with my dad for over 26 years, and I cherished every minute of it.”
In addition to his son and wife, Larry is survived by his daughter, Liz, and six grandchildren. His jazz improvisations will be greatly missed at our future reunions. —Jeff Epstein ’62 and Rob Weiss ’91
Fred C. Schaschl ’65
Fred Schaschl died this spring of complications from pneumonia. As a freshman, Fred lived in James Dorm but was rarely in his room, as his concerns to keep up with what he viewed as more brilliant classmates led him to leave any sociable distractions behind. Fred did play freshman football, lining up against the likes of Bassos, Cousens, Eastman and Longsworth, which did nothing to help anyone’s confidence! And when I reached Fred after 20 years out of Amherst, he did not feel he had anything to contribute or share with classmates, so recollections are scarce.
Fred was from Hartford, Conn., and after Amherst attended law school, then got his M.B.A., worked for General Mills for a short time and then was employed in the banking industry. Finally, he became a partner in a limo service in Minneapolis. Fred did some of the driving himself, and his high school sweetheart, Sharon, to whom he was married for more than 20 years, reported that this brought out the best in Fred. He truly enjoyed helping people, transporting them; clients requested that he be their driver year after year. The Schaschls had one son, Chad.
Laird Stuart ’65 was close with Fred at Amherst and afterwards. Then they did not interact for 30 years, but when they did meet, Fred’s “good will, the energy, the wit were all there. …” Amid the storms of Fred’s life, it was a great reunion, and Laird remains grateful for it. —Laird Stuart ’65 and Paul Ehrmann ’65
S. Lawrence Kahn III ’68
Larry Kahn died Aug. 29 following an 11-year battle with cancer. As his friend Sean Clancy ’78 remarked, “Larry was the epitome of grace and Southern gentility.” Family was most important to him—his soulmate, Susan, to whom he was married for nearly 50 years, and their children: Lowell ’97, a physician; Lani, Larry’s business partner; and Lauren, a photographer.
After Amherst and Navy OCS, Larry served in Japan and Vietnam, then attended Harvard Business School and graduated with high distinction. He entered the construction industry, where for 30 years he was a leader in South Florida’s home-building boom. He emphasized value and elegance, qualities reflected in his stately home in Coral Gables.
Larry served on corporate boards including Levitt Corp., Florida International Bank and Great Florida Bank, and many nonprofit boards, among them the Miami Dade Affordable Housing Foundation Trust and the Miami Downtown Development Authority. He was president of the Builders Association of South Florida and of the Miami Chamber of Commerce, a trustee of Florida International University and vice chairman of Baptist Hospital. He was instrumental in establishing Baptist’s Miami Cancer Institute.
Always devoted to Amherst, Larry was chair of the Alumni Fund 1821 and the Lives of Consequence Campaign/Southeast Region. His committee was the best led and surely raised the most capital! Larry and Susan made a donation to Amherst’s new Science Center, where a garden is dedicated in their honor. Among numerous events they sponsored for the Amherst Association of South Florida, the sensational party they hosted for Biddy Martin will never be topped.
Larry attended his 50th reunion under medically challenged circumstances. As class president Gordon Radley ’68 noted, “It was so gracious, heroic and inspiring to have Larry. It says a lot about his feelings for the College and the class.” —Alan S. Bernstein ’63
Bruce G. Wallace ’69
We were stunned and saddened to learn that Bruce Wallace succumbed to Lewy body disease on July 13. I was fortunate to room with Bruce and share many courses with him, starting with first-year calculus and later the biophysics curriculum. Both then and now, Bruce evokes superlatives. Bruce was flat-out brilliant. While most of us struggled, he flew through calculus. Pound for pound he may have been one of the best athletes ever at Amherst. An outstanding sprinter, he was also gifted at pole vault and javelin. After graduation, we canoed the Allagash River in northern Maine; it was immediately apparent that Bruce was also a skilled woodsman.
After the biophysics major at Amherst, he completed a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. While a post-doc at Stanford, Bruce and a mentor, Jack McMahon, learned that motor nerves release signals that organize nerve receptors on muscle and then discovered and named the first such factor (agrin). The importance of this pioneering discovery is reflected in more than 1,000 subsequent papers examining its biology. In 1990, Bruce joined the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. There he continued his research and played pivotal roles in teaching neuroscience. Bruce’s importance as a teacher was also manifest in a book he co-authored, From Neuron to Brain, now reprinted in several languages, that became one of the most widely read introductions to neuroscience.
While a Ph.D. student, Bruce married Jill Nelson from Vassar. Bruce and Jill had three sons; Bruce was a dedicated family man. Despite his disease, Bruce had moments of clarity and joy throughout his illness, particularly on meeting his fourth grandbaby this June. We extend our condolences to Jill and the family, with the assurance that our deep admiration for Bruce—extraordinary scholar, athlete, teacher, father—will not fade. —Robert H. Brown ’69
Richard S. Thompson ’70
Richard “Grak” Thompson, of Silver City, N.M., died July 1 of brain cancer.
He came to Amherst from San Bernardino, Calif., with a full scholarship. He, Bob Spielman ’70, Rick McNeer ’70 and I spent a lot of time in the Morrow basement playing bridge. Instead of saying “pass,” he would say, “grak,” and thus tagged himself with a name he would answer to.
Grak had as much integrity as anyone I ever met, although it was according to his unique code. The kind of challenge he relished was passing the final exam in a math course that he never attended. He didn’t.
He majored in English but didn’t graduate until 1973 as he explored life via his two passions, driving and music. He took me and many others in his Plymouth on every back road of Western Massachusetts, with hardly a word spoken and the radio tuned to WKBW. Grak hosted a show on WAMF. He collected thousands of 45s and became over his lifetime an authority on the music.
Grak developed a third passion when he met his future wife, Suzanne. He worked hard for the next 31 years to keep up his legendary gruffness as he became a truly happy man.
Grak became fascinated with computers and did well for himself as an independent consultant. But he never talked about that. He talked about music, and he drove. When we held a bridge marathon in Chicago in 2001, Grak drove there from Connecticut via Canada.
He showed up in Amherst a few weeks after our 45th reunion. With Melinda and Sherm Edwards ’70, we once again found ourselves with Grak at the wheel driving the back roads of Western Massachusetts.
I last saw Grak and Suzanne in 2015 with John Grahame ’70 in Silver City. Grak took us for one last wild ride in the mountains, shifting smoothly through the gears of his six-on-the-floor Cadillac CTS. —S. Wylie Smith ’70
Steven R. Hazen ’72
Our class remembers Steve Hazen fondly. Classmates knew him as friendly, helpful and solid. Rad Hastings ’72 recalls, “Steve was our resident hippie. He owned a gorgeous, tricked-out VW bus. He was a good guy and could party hard.”
He played hard too. Eric Cody ’72 remembers playing alongside Steve on the freshman soccer team, praising him as fast and scrappy with a powerful kick.
Steve lived life fully and sometimes threw caution to the wind. John Welch ’72 remembers a long-ago conversation he had with Steve at the Chi Phi bar. “Steve was one cool dude. I remember a story he told me about an adventure in his native New Mexico with a cave-exploring buddy. They violated rule #1 (never separate when exploring a cave). Steve was descending down a narrow funnel so tight he had to stretch his arms directly in front of him to inch forward, trying to get through into another cavern. His canteen, strapped to his waist, got wedged against the cave wall, stopping his forward progress and preventing him from backing out. Steve became trapped. ‘What the hell did you do?’ I asked. He took his helmet off, turned off the light and went to sleep! An hour later his buddy found him and pulled him out by his boots. The incident didn’t stem Steve’s love for cave exploration.”
Professionally, Steve was a well-known builder in his hometown of Tucson and for the last few years was passionate about Old Pueblo Trolley, a local nonprofit that restores old streetcars, buses and trains to their prior grandeur. A tribute to Steve by the trolley organization is posted at amherst.edu/magazine in the 1972 In Memory section.
Steve passed away peacefully on May 24. Our sincere condolences to Steve’s wife, Patsy, and the rest of his family. —Eric Cody ’72
Douglas W. Silsbee ’75
Douglas W. Silsbee passed away July 30, at his home in Asheville, N.C., at the age of 64. He was diagnosed in fall 2017 with a solitary fibrous tumor, a rare form of cancer. Doug is survived by his father, Robert; wife Walker; children Alisia Parrott, Megan and Nathan; grandchildren Miles and Maxwell; and brothers Peter and David.
After graduating from Amherst with a geology major, Doug began his career as a field geologist, analyzing drill cores for a uranium mining company in Wyoming. Curious to try teaching, Doug moved to Cincinnati to teach science and administer an outdoor program for a private high school. He left classroom teaching to join the staff of the Outward Bound School in Boone, N.C. His Outward Bound experience with corporate clients led Doug to launch a private practice in life coaching for individual clients and to conduct workshops for developing effective team dynamics. He established himself as a leader in the field and created the discipline of Presence-Based Coaching and Leadership. He published three books on the subject. The last, Presence-Based Leadership, was published shortly before his death.
My wife, Lida, and I attended his Celebration of Life at Bend of Ivy, a serene retreat that Doug and Walker created from an old farm outside Asheville. Numerous friends and family members spoke of Doug’s impact through his teaching and his personal example. Afterward I shared with his children photos and a few memorable anecdotes about their father from our Amherst years. Classmates and fellow members of Chi Psi will recall them too. From his undergraduate interests in Eastern religions, photography and geology; to his love of the outdoors and his family; to his career teaching individuals and firms how to achieve personal and organizational excellence, Doug Silsbee led a remarkable life. —Robert Stewart ’75
Jeffrey Hofman Kramer ’77
Jeffrey Hofman Kramer, esteemed cardiologist and beloved husband, father, son, brother and uncle, died peacefully at his home in Cherry Hill, N.J., on May 18, after a two-year battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Jeff was born in 1955 in Quonset Point, R.I., to Albert and Eva Kramer. During his time at Amherst, Jeff met Jane Schwartz at Hillel, and they were married in 1978. Jeff was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Jeff graduated from New York University School of Medicine and completed his medical training at Stanford University and New York University. Jeff was a partner of the Cardiovascular Associates of the Delaware Valley for 27 years, where he started and directed its innovative clinical research program.
Outside of his work, Jeff enjoyed Jewish studies, traveling with his family, wine club with friends, discussing wide-ranging topics from politics to arts to sports and pushing his physical fitness to his personal limits. Recently, Jeff helped develop the Temple Beth Sholom Bioethics Initiative, which will be named in his honor.
Jeff is remembered not only for his accomplished career but for the indelible mark he left on his patients, his friends, his family and even those he met in passing. Jeff had a unique ability to make each individual feel like they were the only person in the room, an incredible intellectual curiosity, a charisma and smile that lit up the space and an endearing humor that persisted even through his hardest days. Jeff reiterated in his final moments how fortunate he was for the love that surrounds him. Jeff will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
He is survived by his loving wife, Jane; his father, Albert; his children, Rachel, Allie and Evan; his brother, Ken; and his sister, Judi. —Charles Wilmer ’77
Nancy L. Girard ’79
Nancy Girard passed away gently on July 14, after a long and heroic battle with ALS. At our first meeting at Amherst, Nancy’s vibrant and outgoing personality made a deep impression on me. With her ready smile and charming laughter, our friendship came easily. As a community college transfer, I was glad to find out that Nancy was as well. Her enthusiasm and confidence were infectious. As I look back now, I realize how profoundly she touched my heart and eased my Amherst transition.
I could see Nancy also made a particularly noteworthy impression on my shy roommate Garret Graaskamp ’79. How sweet it was to observe them falling in love during that first year! Nancy’s dauntless courage and fierce will propelled her through Amherst, into her career, in raising a family and in facing death.
In 1977, coeducation at the College was new, and male-dominated academia ruled. With indignation, Nancy would relate the condescending and patronizing attitudes she faced from her instructors. Nancy’s struggles were not isolated—many women who entered Amherst then were pioneers who endured challenges and setbacks solely because of their gender, not their intelligence. When faced with a “No, you can’t!” Nancy replied, “Yes, I will!” It is with that spirit that she co-founded, along with Ruth Koury ’79, the Sabrinas, Amherst’s women’s a cappella singing group. Nancy exuded such joy as she sang with the Sabrinas that I remember watching her perform to this day.
While accruing a long list of career accomplishments in environmental law, Nancy’s first passion was always her family. Her dedication to her children, Kelsey and Cameron, was deep and was a highlight of every communication we shared over the years. Hold Kelsey, Cameron and Garret in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve the loss of Nancy. —Peter Skillman ’79
David N. Grenier ’82
David Grenier died April 25 at age 57 after a brief and sudden illness. David was a devoted husband and father and is survived by Julie, his wife of 31 years, and sons Jonathan ’12 (and wife Rachel ’11), Christopher and Andrew.
David was raised in the small town of Lunenburg, Mass., the son of two teachers. He found his way to Amherst with help from a local alumnus who followed David’s high school baseball games. A talented and competitive athlete, David played football, hockey, baseball and rugby at Amherst. David developed strong friendships with many teammates, fellow members of Delta Upsilon and fellow geology majors. He enjoyed reconnecting with them in recent years.
After Amherst, David returned to Lunenburg and briefly taught and coached at St. Bernard’s High School, where he met his future wife, Julie. David ultimately pursued a career in financial services and settled in nearby Westminster, Mass.
David had a long and impactful career that included roles at FleetBoston and Bank of America. He was most passionate about investing and helping others achieve their financial goals. In 2003, David co-founded Cutler Capital Management, where he worked for 12 years. David recently co-founded an investment firm, Balanced Growth Advisors, based in Worcester, Mass.
David served the Worcester community in many capacities, including as a board member at Spectrum Health Systems and the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. David believed in doing his part to serve the community and focused primarily on efforts to improve public health.
David loved spending time with his family at their farm in Danville, Vt. He also enjoyed golfing, pick-up basketball games, horseback riding, hiking and traveling. David was an example to his family and friends of how to live a meaningful and humble life. —Jonathan D. Grenier ’12
William D. Brown Jr. ’98
The pride of Warner Robins, Ga., and undeniably an iconic figure from our class died last December. Along with Al Dallas ’98, he was the first real-live Southerner I ever met. And boy, did he deliver. Evoking all the positive attributes you’d expect. Charm. Friendliness. Medium-starched Tommy Hilfiger. A gift for small talk.
He was one of the most gregarious creatures to walk this planet. He made fast friends with everyone he encountered, including my parents, who dubbed him “the governor” for his unique ability to work a tailgate party and make everyone feel special.
Dave was an excitable storyteller whose eyes widened as the story swelled to its conclusion. He could have charged admission for his stories. I swear to Gawd.
He was a statesman. When the school cut Thanksgiving break in half, Dave single-handedly got the administration to change the schedule. The Student simply commented: “Dave Brown saved Thanksgiving.” He carried the gift of persuasion to D.C., where he worked for Sam Nunn.
Dave lived in Valentine, Crossett (twice, yikes!) and Tyler. There we talked about religion, sports, politics and music.
Amherst is the Singing College. But Dave couldn’t sing for beans. It’s the College on the Hill. But boy did he loathe these hills. He’d prefer to glug-glug his way to Valentine in his cherry red Mustang. But if there’s one quality of Dave’s that best captures the ideals of this place, it’s that he gave himself to others. Quite simply, Dave Gave.
I am deeply grateful for his brief presence in my life. He was an all-around exceptional guy, and I am a better person for knowing him. His passing makes me think differently about loyalty, commitment and the responsibilities of friendship. His loss yields yet another gift.
Godspeed, Dave. We miss you. —Shaun Quigley ’98
Justin Imperatore ’20
Justin Starr Imperatore, of Summit, N.J., died suddenly on Oct. 2, at home. Born in New York City, Justin lived in Englewood, N.J., before moving to Summit with his family. He attended Summit High School and was a proud graduate of the Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut.
At Amherst, he studied history and was a goalie on the lacrosse team. His loved ones remember Justin as a charismatic, ebullient, larger-than-life person who bonded with people wherever he went. An avid athlete and driven competitor, his passion in high school and college was lacrosse; some of his happiest moments were on and off the field with his teammates.
They also remember him as deeply thoughtful and sensitive, a gifted creative writer who was pursuing studies in history and philosophy. He enjoyed working with children and volunteered as a tutor; he also worked to raise awareness for mental health causes. He also enjoyed summers spent in nature with his siblings at the Keewaydin camp in Vermont and on family vacations in Nantucket and California. Justin will be remembered for his unabashed sense of humor, his loving nature and his deep commitment to his family, teachers, mentors and friends, and to the institutions that formed him.
Justin was predeceased by his grandparents, Helen Imperatore of Fort Lee and Kevin Starr of San Francisco. He is survived by his parents, Marian Starr Imperatore and Arthur Edward Imperatore Jr. of Summit; his siblings Arthur, Alexander and Augusta; grandparents Sheila Starr of San Francisco, and Mei Ling and Arthur E. Imperatore of Cliffside Park; cousins Andrew, Alicia and Amanda; Emma and Olivia; Raquel, Ava and Stella; his aunts and uncles, Armand Pohan and Nancy Rieger, India Imperatore, and Jessica Starr and Michael McEvoy; and his devoted nanny, Maureen McCann.