John Jinishian ’41
John “JJ” Jinishian passed away peacefully in Darien, Conn., on May 19, 2020, just two weeks after his 100th birthday. JJ was admired for his down-to-earth nature, personal warmth and community-minded spirit. Born at Lenox Hill Hospital, he grew up in Forest Hills, N.Y. In 1941 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, becoming a lieutenant SG commanding sub-chasers in the Atlantic and Pacific. In 1949 he started his career at U.S. Plywood and, in 1950, married Lucy Frances Man of Forest Hills. They lived in Essex before settling in Old Greenwich, Conn., in 1960, where they raised four children.
In 1983 John retired from Champion International (now International Paper) as senior vice president of sales and marketing. From 1983 to 1998 he volunteered for International Executive Service Corps, advising businesses in developing countries and receiving an award from David Rockefeller. He also volunteered as a guardian ad litem in the Stamford Juvenile Court, with Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners in Bridgeport, Conn. He was a regular blood donor for the Greenwich Red Cross.
In 2009 John and Lucy moved to a house on the river in East Norwalk’s Marvin Beach, where they participated in Norwalk’s Tree Replacement Program, for which they received an award from the city.
JJ was a fisherman and lifetime member of Riverside Yacht Club. He enjoyed sailing his various boats, many named Lucy J, all along the East Coast. He was a prolific reader of books on history, boating and the natural world and a lifelong backgammon and tennis player.
While at Amherst, he was particularly inspired by Professors Colston Warne (economics) and Peter Odegard (political science). He kept a lifelong connection to Amherst, serving as class agent for many years. —Russell Jinishian
Montagu Hankin Jr. ’43
Monty passed away on April 18, 2020, at age 98. Born in Newark, N.J., Monty grew up in Summit, N.J., attended Summit High and, in 1939, enrolled at Amherst. He was a member of Chi Psi fraternity, ran track for three years as a 440 man and ran cross-country his sophomore year. His roommates his junior and senior years were Beige Babcock ’43 and Ham Adams ’43.
A trip with Amherst friends in spring 1943 to the navy reserve station in Springfield resulted in their enlistment in the V-7 Program—the U.S. Navy Reserve Midshipmen’s School, an expedited auxiliary naval officer training program.
After graduation, Monty went to officer training at Columbia University and then served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1943 through the end of WWII. During the war he served as a fighter director on two destroyers, the USS Reid (DD-369) and the USS Steinaker (DD-863).
During a resupply mission into Leyte Gulf in December 1944, Monty was a fortunate survivor of the tragic sinking of the USS Reid by Japanese kamikaze pilots.
Monty married Marcia Gallup in March 1945, while he was home on leave. They were married 65 years until her death in 2010. Monty and Marcia met at a dance while Monty was attending the officer training school, and they thereafter retained their love of dancing together.
They were also avid golf and tennis players. Marcia usually got the better of him at tennis. His golf game became impressive as he got older, to include shooting his age at 84!
Monty and Marcia were part of the 1943 gang that would return for reunion weekend every year. He made his last reunion trip in 2014—though he wanted to keep returning. Monty happily served as class secretary for the last 26 years. —Chris Hankin ’74
Nehemiah Boynton III ’49
After a long and fruitful life literally “doing the Lord’s work,” Bob passed away March 7, 2020, in Marshfield, Mass., at age 93. He was born in Boston, attended Andover and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Air Corps. After his discharge, he came to Amherst and graduated in 1949.
Preparing for the ministry began at Union Theological Seminary in 1950 and continued at the Hartford Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1953. He served in several churches in Connecticut; in White Plains, N.Y.; and subsequently at the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge, Mass., where his congregation became first in the nation to join the United Church of Christ. He was called to that church in South Dartmouth, Mass., in 1967 and stayed there until his retirement in 1990.
He was married in 1947 to Dorothy Thompson; they lived in the G.I. Village and had four children. In 1972 he married Frances Brayley and took on the responsibility of her six children. He had 16 grandchildren.
At age 78 Bob earned his doctor of ministry degree at Andover Union Theological Seminary with 50 members of his proud family in attendance. He was involved with many charitable organizations in two states and had a long affiliation with the New Bedford Yacht Club with his Friendship sloop, Sky Pilot.
He was predeceased by his wife, Fran, in 2018 after 46 years of marriage; a son in 1963; a daughter in 1993; and a second daughter in 2020. He leaves seven children, 15 grandchildren and a host of warm memories for the “Reverend Bob,” whose most popular phrase, repeated daily, was “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” What a fitting reminder for all his admiring classmates. —Gerry Reilly ’49
William H. Gerdts ’49
From the time he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior (and senior), we knew Bill would excel in any career he chose. After four days at Harvard Law School he determined that this field would not be his passion. He switched to Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and history department. This was to everyone’s benefit, for at the time of his passing he was referred to as a “giant” in the field of American art.
His first position was at the Newark, N.J., museum. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1966 and became associate professor of art history at the University of Maryland.
Bill returned to New York in 1969 to become vice president for research at the Coe Kerr Gallery before joining the faculty at CUNY’s graduate program in art history. As he noted in 50th reunion comments, teaching was his true love.
He was guest lecturer at museum and university exhibitions around the country and abroad, and he published at least one title every year (1954–2019), including 25 major books.
He received a doctor of humane letters from Amherst in 1992 and the same from Syracuse in 1996. From his own outstanding art collection, he and his wife, Abigail, assembled an exhibition for the Mead Art Museum in 1998.
Bill died April 14, 2020, at age 91, of complications of COVID-19. He is survived by Abigail, first wife Elaine Dee, their son Jeffrey, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A remarkable career for an undergraduate who once said that his “two best subjects” in college were math and chemistry. Clearly, he had a wide range of academic talents. His greatest pride was in his doctoral students who went on to influential positions at museums, universities and galleries around the country. Another classmate of whom we can be very proud. —Gerry Reilly ’49
John L. Middleton Jr. ’49
Following is a loving commentary from his son David, who communicated with me soon after his father died.—Gerry Reilly ’49
John L. Middleton Jr., beloved widower to Marjorie Middleton (nee Doherty), passed from life March 21, 2020. He is survived by four sons, John, Andrew, David and Thomas and five grandchildren.
Born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1925, he attended the Belmont Hill School in his youth and was drafted into the U.S. Air Force in 1944. He graduated from Amherst, majoring in physics. Working as an engineer in the fields of vacuum technology and unusual environment measurement devices for most of his career, he developed and constructed devices used in the Apollo lunar landers.
John was a Boy Scout leader for seven years in Lexington, Mass., and earned a Presidential Fitness Award for bicycling. He loved sailing, downhill skiing, birdwatching, kayaking and bowling in his leisure time and won a Massachusetts Seniors State Bowling Championship.
He was an aficionado of things related to rail transit and was an active member, guide and trustee of the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, and several model railroad groups in Massachusetts and Maine.
John was also a host docent on the Downeaster and active in that role to the last. His body will be given to UNE’s Medical School for research. The family suggests kindness toward one another as a tribute to his life.
(A postscript from a classmate to note his wonderful, worthwhile life. David told me how much his father enjoyed and profited from his college days. Another ‘forty-niner’ of whom we can be justly proud. —Gerry Reilly ’49)
Thaddeus S. Mizwa ’49
For a fellow born in Massachusetts and who was living in New York City when he came to Amherst, Tad chose a very different locale for his life after graduation. His father founded and was president of the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, and Tad served on its Board of Trustees until the fall of 1970.
He received his M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and then became a trick roper and leather tooler. (Maybe some classmate can tell us how/why he made that switch.) He studied under the best to become a world-renowned saddle maker.
He owned Tad’s Saddlery and Western Wear in Houston from 1953 to 1962 and then did post-graduate work in the spring of 1963 in journalism at the University of Houston and was editor of the Conroe Courier from 1963 to 1967.
Tad then joined the Cordovan Corp. and became the advertising manager and editor of Horseman magazine and later developed and published Western Outfitter for the western apparel trade. He authored three books in this field and A Lifetime with Boots with Sam Lucchese.
He won many awards for his outstanding services and contributions to the Western industry, served on many committees with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Association, was an elder of his church and sang in the choir for 40 years.
In his “retirement,” he did much charity work and started his saddle making again, this time perfecting historical life-size and 40 percent scale miniature saddles commissioned by various museums in the United States. One exhibit he did, for the Witte Museum of San Antonio, traveled all over the country. He died peacefully on April 3, 2019, at age 91. A most interesting and quite different career from most of our class. —Gerry Reilly ’49
Carleton D. Adler ’50
Carleton passed away on Cape Cod at the end of 2016 at the age of 91. He was a combat veteran of World War II in Europe.
We lost touch with Carleton after he left Amherst early but have learned that he was an equity analyst for 30 years for Babson Reports in Wellesley, Mass. His hobby was visiting libraries throughout the state. He is survived by a daughter, Oona Melanson; a son, Sailing; and four grandchildren. —John Priesing ’50
Ashby Bladen ’50
Ashby was a well-known national financial writer. For many years, he was a regular featured columnist for Forbes magazine. He preached fiscal conservatism; witness his call for social security reform and his 1979 book How to Cope With the Developing Financial Crisis. Forbes even referred to Ashby as their “in-house pessimist.”
Ashby was a senior vice president at both Guardian Life Insurance and Phoenix Life Insurance. Earlier in his career, he had been a research analyst at Connecticut Life Insurance and Salomon Brothers. He even ventured into the academic world—assistant to the treasurer at Cornell—as well as the manufacturing industry—manager of corporate investments at American Standard.
Storm King was his prep school and Kappa Theta his Amherst fraternity. After college, he went on to get a master’s in philosophy from Columbia University.
Ashby died from natural causes in May 2020 at the age of 91. We extend our sympathy to his wife, Virginia, and children Ashby, Virginia and Daphne Charette. —John Priesing ’50
Harold H. Bracher Jr. ’50
Harry went to Westfield High School in New Jersey before coming to Amherst and joining Phi Gamma Delta. He also served in the U.S. Air Force.
He was an insurance agent for 25 years before going into real estate. He also kept busy towards the end of his life, working at Walmart in Phillipsburg, N.J. He died at the age of 85 in 2012 and left no survivors. —John Priesing ’50
Richard R. Fernald ’50
Richard Fernald, class of 1950 and my grandfather, passed away the morning of April 14, 2020, in his hometown of Peterborough, N.H. He was with his wife and sons, who sang and played him his favorite songs during his final hours: Frank Sinatra selections, “Lord Jeffery Amherst” and the “Senior Song.”
Dick Fernald attended Amherst from 1946 to 1950. He lived over 90 years but never forgot those four. For the rest of his life he told anyone and everyone that there wasn’t any college better than old Amherst. (Especially not that Williams school in Western Massachusetts—even though his brother went there.)
He served in the U.S. Navy after law school as a JAG officer in Europe, later teaching military justice in Newport, R.I., and California. When he was discharged, he chose a rural life over beckoning Wall Street firms and worked in Peterborough until he was 86. He was devoted to the town: serving as town counsel and as planning board chair for more than 20 years. Dick was also an avid tennis player; he competed in a local tennis tournament every year until 2014 and, deciding tennis should be year-round even in New Hampshire, founded the state’s first indoor tennis court.
Later in life, his memory slowly faded. But Amherst never did: at reunion in 2018 my grandfather wasn’t fully clear on why he was at Amherst, but he sure as hell knew where he was. And as we walked him to the car, we struck up his favorite college songs. He sang every word.
The College neither expects nor strives for such adamant loyalty from all its students. Still, it’s noteworthy that they had such a man walking the earth for so long. Richard Fernald, Amherst man, will be deeply missed. —Matt Fernald ’13 and Mark Fernald ’81
Peter S. McHugh ’50
Sometimes we hear belatedly about the passing of a classmate. Such was the case with Peter, who died in January 2010 from prostate cancer in New York City.
Peter was with us only one year before returning to his home in Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA and went on to get a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern. He served as a professor at the University of Delaware, Columbia University, the University of London and York University in Toronto. He authored several books in his field. Survivors are two children, Joshua and Caitlin. —John Priesing ’50
George N. Meeks ’50
George Nelson Meeks died March 23, 2020, at his home in Glen Ellen, Calif. George had been living with congestive heart failure for 20 years following a heart attack in 2000. He died at home with hospice care and his wife, Abbie, with him.
George came to us from Vancouver, B.C., by way of Phillips Andover Academy. After graduating from Amherst, he achieved an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1952. He worked in Vancouver for B.C. Telephone, then moved to Minneapolis for employment at J.M. Dain and Co. There followed a series of moves, including Craig, Hallum, Inc.; Piper, Jaffery and Hopwood; and Montgomery Securities in San Francisco. His work in the securities industry took him to different countries, especially the U.K. He held numerous positions as securities analyst, in trading, management and as partner. He retired in 1993.
Retirement allowed him to pursue golf with a passion. He held memberships at Edina Country Club in Minneapolis, where he was a director and president. Later he was a member and director at Oakmont Golf Club of Santa Rosa, Calif. His other avocation was his vineyard. His grapes brought him several awards and contracts with nearby vineyards.
I was fortunate to live with him in the Phi Psi house during our junior and senior years. He was charming, cheerful and energetic. He often seemed to have an important project related to the Amherst community. His conversations were usually articulate and pertinent.
In 1951 he married Sidney Young of Wayzata, Minn., and in 1958, he married Marcia Caley, of Minneapolis. He married Abigail Smith of Annisquam, Mass., in 1978. He is survived by his wife, Abbie; five children; 10 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his brothers, Roy and Gary.
It was a gift to know you, George. —Bob Dowling ’50
Harold R. Miller ’50
Harry, one of our older veterans, served in the navy from 1942 to 1946 before joining our class. He had grown up in the Oklahoma panhandle in Tyrone and went to high school there.
After Amherst and Chi Phi he joined American Express as a representative in Germany and Austria. In 1957 he was promoted to head the Cairo office and left in 1961 for a similar American Express job in Nice, France. Then he became publisher of the Tourist Daily and lived in Madrid. Unfortunately, that is the last we heard of him until recently learning of his death in 2010 in Stillwater, Okla. —John Priesing ’50
Richard F. deLima ’51
Jonathan’s father and Kirk’s fraternity brother, Dick deLima, died at home April 18, 2020, of a stroke. Dick is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sarah; their four children, Jane, Jonathan ’94, Kate and Caroline; and eight grandchildren (to whom he was known affectionately as “Grumble”).
Before the word was popular, Dick was a polymath. He earned a master’s in chemistry from Harvard and immediately thereafter a J.D. from Harvard Law School. His lifelong passions included his family and music—he was a talented bass/baritone and, quietly, an accomplished pianist. Later, he continued to enjoy music with his family, as everyone in the household sang—often together—in various groups over the years.
At Amherst Dick was a junior Phi Beta Kappa and then the College’s society president; he graduated magna cum laude and was one of two class orators at commencement. He was active in athletics (mostly track) and was a member of the Managerial Association. He was also president of his fraternity, Theta Delta Chi.
Dick served in the U.S. Navy, mostly as an intelligence officer on an aircraft carrier. He then practiced law in New York at Cravath, Swaine & Moore before becoming Firestone International’s president. Subsequently he was vice president and general counsel at Polaroid, where he led his team in defeating a corporate raider’s takeover attempt and in winning a landmark patent infringement case against Kodak.
Dick enjoyed making others’ lives happy and fulfilling without patting himself on the back. He pleasantly surprised Kirk on his 1952 wedding day by showing up at the church unannounced but in time for the wedding. Dick had driven five hours since early that morning to make it, and it was a welcome showing.
On behalf of the class, Kirk sends sincerest condolences to Sarah and the deLima family. —Jonathan F. deLima ’94 and John E. Kirkpatrick ’51
H. Keith Simpson ’51
We learned late last spring that Keith had passed away in 2018. Over the years that I have served as class secretary, I talked with Keith on a number of occasions, seeking news for Amherst magazine. He was not well during his last years, and when I called two years or so ago, his phone had been disconnected.
Keith never married and had no family other than a decades-long standing relationship with a lady friend. Keith came to Amherst from Santa Monica, Calif., and called it home for most of his life when not traveling. He was a transferee to Amherst at the start of our sophomore year, joined Chi Psi and was a three-year member of the fencing team. In our 50th reunion book, he stated he “loved my stay at Amherst, the change of seasons (which we don’t see here in SoCal), the camaraderie of Chi Psi lodge, the proximity of Mount Holyoke and Smith, fencing for Steve Rostas and staggering through the academics to a fine arts degree.”
Back out West, Keith did some portrait painting, led visitors through the Rockies and ended up working (and having fun) in the travel business “which took me all over the world.” After 40 years, he retired but continued to travel as much as possible. Much of his worldly travel both before and after retirement was driven by his love of fly fishing—South Africa, Chile, Alaska, England and New Zealand, to name a few, and, after retirement, with his lady friend frequently in attendance. He also became a devotee of international soccer matches shown on TV.
He realized that he didn’t follow the footsteps of most classmates into law, medicine, advanced study or regular business pursuits and acknowledged he was fortunate to be able to support himself while enjoying his various personal interests at the same time. —Everett E. Clark ’51
John M. Bucher Jr. ’52
That great horn is silent. John, beautiful cornet player and generous performing classmate, died April 5 of a heart attack at home in Mountainside, N.J., at 89. He was “one of the finest jazz cornetists playing today, bar none—professional or otherwise,” said New York Times music critic John S. Wilson in 1970.
John played trumpet at Pelham High and switched to the cornet at Amherst, playing countless New England college gigs.
After service with U.S. Army intelligence, he worked briefly at Time, then spent years on Wall Street and New York’s jazz scene. He played with many groups, including his own Speakeasy Jazz Babies, the Red Onion Jazz band, Woody Allen’s New Orleans Funeral and Ragtime Orchestra and the Williams Reunion Band, with whom he regaled our reunions also.
He played many Sunday nights at the Water Front Crab House in my nearby Long Island City, often inviting me to sing a few ballads, a personal thrill. Those guys were really good, as you learn well singing with them.
John leaves his wife of 37 years, Vivian; four children, Alissa, Anne, John III and Laurie; four grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; and a sadder surviving class. —Jack MacKenzie ’52
Joel M. Fairman ’52
Joel was well-prepared for Amherst, a valued classmate, successful in career, with a loving family, and a lifetime involvement with sports, community and social engagement. He was poised, confident, with an analytical intellect, but is best remembered by family and friends for “his puckish charm and wit.”
With a Central Park West and Horace Mann background, Joel achieved Phi Beta Kappa honors, enjoyed fraternity life as a DU and pursued his tennis and skiing activities. He became our class co-secretary in 2012, using this pulpit to keep us well informed in a genial style. Joel delivered thoughtful critiques in letters to Amherst’s financial officers about quality of reports on overhead trends and other matters. His membership at the Racquet and Tennis Club provided the venue for memorable mini reunion class dinners in NYC.
After Yale Law School he practiced law at Patterson Belknap, known for its supportive culture in balancing work and personal life. Then he headed the Prudential Bache Communications group before founding his own Faircom Inc. in 1982, retiring in 2004.
His growing family thrived in Locust Valley, N.Y. Claire, a Radcliffe Distinguished Service Award honoree, was a devoted community volunteer. Joel continued tennis at Piping Rock Club, ice hockey at Beaver Dam Winter Sports Club and skiing, and he chaired the Board of Zoning Appeals. He was a soloist in the Barbershop Harmony Society and played banjo.
Claire died in 2011, and daughter Betsy Weyerhaeuser in 2013—equals in beauty and talent. Joel moved to Hobe Sound, reporting to classmates: “After 44 years of raising a family, making great friendships and leaving activities I cherish, starting a new life here is daunting.” Joel took his last months of uncertainty about congestive heart failure with courage, his full life ending March 24, 2020. —Nick Evans ’52
James B. Lyon ’52
Jim was best known to us for his love of the competitiveness of football, becoming Lord Jeff captain, playing both offensive and defensive right guard. Then, while at Yale Law School, he was assistant Yale football coach, continuing as an Amherst recruiter of top talent for many years and capped by the National Football Hall of Fame, Connecticut Chapter, Distinguished American Award in 1983.
As a Phi Beta Kappa jock himself, Jim took pleasure from the fact that the grade point average of his football squad exceeded that for the college as a whole. He chaired the Executive Committee for the Amherst College Alumni Council and received Amherst’s Eminent Service Medal.
At reunions, Jim displayed new athletic skills as he wielded a tennis racquet with loosened strings to deliver a wicked topspin winner. Tennis and golf became lifelong outlets, but it was on Hartford’s paddle tennis courts that he reigned supreme.
After Yale, his legal career at Murtha Cullina in Hartford focused on tax-exempt and charitable organizations. He became a John Woodruff Simpson of Law Fellow, designated one of the Best Lawyers in America, was an American Bar Association Fellow and was on the editorial board for the Connecticut Law Tribune. Jim was a prolific author of professional journal articles and frequent letter writer to the Hartford Courant.
The range of Jim’s civic involvement is astonishing, exemplified by his long trusteeship and board presidency at the nation’s oldest art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Jim developed close friendships, saying, as a bachelor, that his friends were his family, and he had a full social calendar. Our class president, Bob Skeele ’52, visited him in his retirement community near Hartford not long before his death on Feb. 11, 2020, and found Jim in great spirits and full of Amherst football lore. —Nick Evans ’52
Robert O. Dehlendorf II ’53
Bob prepared for Amherst at Scarsdale (N.Y.) High School and became an important pitcher for the baseball team and quarterback for the football team, a leader for Chi Psi fraternity and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate. Roommates Bob Brinker ’53 and Don Simon ’53 remember him as an all-around, lively Amherst guy, stayed in touch with him over the years and marveled at his dynamic career and life.
After Amherst Bob married his high school sweetheart, Patricia Landis, earned his M.B.A. at Harvard and served in the army as an officer in the finance corps. After helping to found a microwave company he became the CEO of a timber company and created a conglomerate with 10,000 employees.
After Patricia’s tragic death in 1971, a second marriage that failed and then what became a 42-year marriage to Joan Gustavson, Bob made a new start in land development, buying a cattle ranch in Montana and later a ski area and a film company.
However, Bob wrote that he wanted to be remembered for trying “to right the wrong inflicted on innocent people.” He succeeded by serving on the federal council on minority opportunity and personally going to places like Kosovo, Macedonia and P.S.#1 at Ground Zero to seek out and assist the afflicted.
While living in northern Italy for a year, Bob and Joan met an Italian man, an unsung hero from WWII, who revealed his dramatic story. Determined to make it public, Bob found author Mark Sullivan to write an historical novel that became the bestselling Beneath the Scarlet Sky, now becoming a film—another highlight in Bob’s active life and his wish to live it to its fullest.
Bob died on March 5, 2020, in Monterey, Calif., and leaves his wife, Joan; daughter Deborah; son Scott; five grandchildren; and mourners all over the world. —George Edmonds ’53, with help from Scott Dehlendorf and Mark Sullivan and also Rich Gray ’53, Bob Brinker ’53 and Don Simon ’53
Joseph R. Katra Jr. ’53
Time stopped peacefully for Joe Katra on March 26, 2020, in Palm Harbor, Fla. Joe and his wife, Mary-Jane, went to bed the night before their annual physical exam appointments, and she woke up in the early morning to see Joe had passed.
Ironic that we don’t know the exact time, given Joe’s passion for clocks, something he developed early in their marriage. Over many years, Joe collected a variety of clocks for their home—including three grandfather clocks, which will go to his three children—joined several horological societies and wrote a book, Clockmakers and Clockmaking in Maine, 1770–1900. Maine became a special feature in Joe and Mary-Jane’s lives, they worked there, raised their children, researched clocks and continued to visit.
Joe came to Amherst from close-by Northampton High School, was honored in American studies, wrote an honors thesis on tariff protectionism, joined Theta Delta Chi and played basketball.
He then proceeded to have a series of prominent positions. In the Navy for three years, he served mostly in the Caribbean in communications and as the admiral’s aide. Working for 31 years in several states for New England Telephone/Bell Atlantic, Joe had a successful career as an executive for labor relations and accounting. In Maine he served on the Governor’s Management Task Force. For the clock collectors, he became their national treasurer.
A frequent traveler to Europe with Mary-Jane, Joe also prized two recent trips with son, Michael, who took Joe on an Honor Flight for veterans to Washington and also conducted his mother and aging father on a visit with Michael’s family in Phoenix. Michael hopes his father is remembered especially for his humility and kindness.
Joe leaves Mary-Jane, his wife of 65 years; daughters Ann and Elizabeth, son Michael, and their spouses; sister Dorothy; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. —George Edmonds ’53 with assistance from Mary-Jane Katra and Michael Katra
John Quayle “Jack” Cannon ’54
The College has learned of the death on Dec. 27, 2017, of Jack Cannon, a member of the class of 1954 during our freshman year. He came to Amherst from Moorestown (N.J.) Friends School, and after he left our class, following service in the U.S. Army, he graduated from Bates College in 1957. He subsequently earned a master’s degree from Brigham Young University. After holding a position as a distribution analyst for Mobil Oil Co. in NYC, he became director of financial aid and career planning at Southern Utah University for the remainder of his career. He was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and with his wife, Susan (Daniels), whom he married while at Bates and who predeceased him in 2009, served as an ordinance worker in the St. George Utah Temple, in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, from 2001 to 2003 and as a bishop of the Cedar 12th Ward. Jack is survived by four children, 18 grandchildren, 21great-grandchildren and two sisters. —Hank Tulgan ’54
David F. Lundeen ’54
David came to Amherst from Fergus Falls in Minnesota, a town of about 15,000, three and a half hours northwest of Minneapolis.
Amherst recognized David’s writing ability early by awarding him the Armstrong Prize in composition. He majored in English and wrote his senior thesis on the critical reception of Robert Frost. He sang in the choir, glee club and chamber singers and was president of both the Philosophy Club and Phi Alpha Psi. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
David went on to Harvard Law School and worked three years as an army lawyer. During that time, he married Mary Watson (Wellesley ’59), whom he met when he was at Harvard.
David and Mary settled in Fergus Falls and raised three children. He joined a prominent law firm in town and soon became a partner. He withdrew in 1993 to a solo practice of estate planning and tax law.
The Lundeen family bookshop and printing business serviced the grain elevator communities throughout western Minnesota and the Dakotas. David was an active director and counsel to the business.
David was a leader in bringing a Minnesota community college to Fergus Falls, was instrumental in creating the Fergus Area College Foundation, served as the organizer and chair of the Lundeen Foundation to support local cultural initiatives and was a director and counsel for the local industrial development corporation. He chaired the Otter Tail County Bar Association and the tax section of the State Bar Association.
One hardship for David while he was east every fall was that he repeatedly missed duck, pheasant and grouse hunting season back home. So in his last year at Harvard, when we were apartment mates, he disappeared for a week and returned with a substantial supply of game birds for our pleasure. —Seth Dubin ’54
Stephen Kirschenbaum ’55
Steve was born April 27, 1934, in New York City. He prepped at the Bronx High School of Science. At Amherst Steve was a Phi Gam and worked on The Student. He majored in English but took many reading courses in French, which he had studied in high school. After college Steve spent two years in the U.S. Army, primarily in the chief of information’s office in the Pentagon.
Steve’s first few years in the working world were with NBC in a succession of marketing/promotion assignments for the New York radio and TV stations. He then moved to Time, Inc., which was the publisher of both Time and Life magazines. At age 30, Steve was sent to Australia to establish a marketing department for the two magazines. He later returned to New York to become the international marketing director for Time.
In 1974 Steve established Beekman Marketing, with The Economist as his first client. The company evolved from magazine promotion to dealing with museums and other not-for-profits. In 2010 Steve sold the business and moved to Paris, where he spent his remaining years. He had a grand apartment on Avenue New York. Steve enjoyed the ambiance that is unique to Paris, as well as vacations in villages in Normandy. He had a love of reading, looking at pictures, listening to music, history and politics. He died May 16, 2020.
I got to know Steve sophomore year in Amherst. We roomed together at Phi Gam senior year. Steve had a black convertible that year that he generously shared with me. We dated girls who were friends in Hopkins House at Smith. Steve had a gift for friendship and sociability, made and kept friends wherever he lived. We saw each other many times over the years, at his homes and mine. —Jim Andrews ’55
Frederick E. McLendon Jr. ’55
Fred was born March 6, 1935, making him easily the youngest member of our class. He prepped at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta. Both his parents were doctors. As an undergraduate, Fred was a member of Phi Psi and majored in political science. He was actively involved in many extracurricular activities around the campus, starting right out as manager of our freshmen soccer team. Fred was involved with the Christian Association, Debating Council, Managerial Association, Pre-Law Club and radio station WAMF. He was on the executive committee of the Rotherwas Society.
After Amherst Fred went to Northwestern, where he received a law degree in 1958. He then worked as an attorney in Chicago for several companies including Borg-Warner from 1970 to 77. Fred was chair of the Hyde Park Co-op Society in Chicago from 1969 to 1971.
In the early ’80s Fred returned to Atlanta, where he spent the rest of his life. I last talked to him in February 1999, when he indicated he was struggling with health issues. Fred died March 19, 2004. —Rob Sowersby ’55
Peter W. Scott ’55
Although we have not seen Pete for many years, we remember his exploits on the basketball court. Our senior year Pete averaged 16 points a game, many as a result of his memorable set shot, often from beyond today’s 3-point arc. He set a team record with a 39-point game against MIT. Pete was on the first team of the Springfield Union All-Western Massachusetts team that year. Team captain Gerry Benson ’55 sent me a copy of the newspaper article describing the Feb. 19, 1955, game in which the Jeffs upset previously undefeated Williams, 68–60. Pete paced all scorers with 25 points in spite of playing much of the second half with four fouls. It was Pete’s greatest game of his career. He shared the team’s Captain’s Trophy in 1955.
Pete was born Jan. 31, 1934, and came to Amherst from Lyons Township High School in suburban Chicago. He was a Theta Delt and majored in religion. Pete was in the glee club and was a member of the Zumbyes junior year. In the fall of 1954 Pete and Harvey Schick ’55 worked together to organize a Christian Science religious group at the College. Bud Sorenson ’55 lived with Pete two years at Amherst and remembers him as a wonderful friend and roommate.
After graduation Pete earned a law degree from George Washington University in 1971 and worked in the Washington, D.C., area as a management consultant. Fellow Zumbye Ron Gregson ’55 looked him up when he was in the D.C. area in the mid-’70s. Ron said Pete was not happy with reaching middle-age, saying memorably, “My mother never told me I’d be 40 someday.”
Well, Pete did live to age 40 and then some. He moved to Mexico in the 1980s and lived there until his death on Aug. 7, 2014. —Rob Sowersby ’55
William H. Farwell Jr. ’56
William “Bill” Henry Farwell Jr., 84, passed away peacefully on Aug. 28, 2018. Bill was a seventh-generation Vermonter, born and raised in Rutland. He graduated from Rutland High School, where he was captain of the football team. Norman Rockwell featured Bill in his painting “The Toss,” which appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in October 1950.
He attended Amherst for only one year. He lived on the third floor of James, played freshman football and pledged Chi Psi. He transferred to the University of Vermont and graduated in the class of 1957. It was there that he met Dolores “Lorrie” Buehler from West Orange, N.J., and they were married in 1957. Bill graduated UVM with a B.S. in business and a commission in the U.S. Army Artillery, having completed ROTC. Bill took a job with the Charles Bruning Co. (now Oce), where he spent his 50-plus-year career.
Bill was always active in his local community, coaching Pop Warner football, acting in community theater and volunteering with local events.
Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lorrie; daughters Karen Farwell and Susan Farwell Mapes; and five grandchildren: Mackenzie, Madison, and McGuire “Macko” Saffin and Anne and Elisabeth Mapes. —Peter
Frank T. Gutmann ’56
Frank was born March 9, 1934, in Lewiston, Maine, and died in Exeter, N.H., March 2, 2020, after a brief illness. He came to Amherst from Phillips Exeter Academy. He was a member of the Lord Jeff Club and a math major. Frank rowed crew all four years and co-captained senior year. He earned master’s degrees in mathematics from both Yale (1957) and Bowdoin (1964).
In 1965 he married Lois Marilyn McGee, and they had two children, Timothy and Cynthia, and two grandchildren, Sarah and Katie Morgan of Auburn, Maine.
Following military service, Frank taught mathematics at Exeter for 48 years, retiring in 2007. He served on many faculty committees, headed the mathematics department and was director of student activities for many years. He particularly enjoyed coaching crew.
Frank and Lois lived 40 years in Exeter and, beginning in 2005, at RiverWoods Exeter, a CCRC of which he was one of the founding trustees. Many summers and vacations were spent at the house he helped build in Jackson, N.H.
Frank enjoyed numerous extracurricular activities but never had nearly enough time for them: photography, hiking, camping, rowing, canoeing/poling. He sang with two choral groups. He was a registered Maine guide. Frank loved travel. His favorite places included Austria, the Isles of Shoals, Holland, Iceland, the Yukon (Liard River), Alaska (Kongakut River), the Grand Canyon and the Galapagos. Favorite Maine rivers included the Allagash, St. John, St. Croix and Marsh Stream in Belfast. He visited Baxter State Park on many occasions to camp, hike and sit for hours on the rock at the far end of Sandy Stream Pond, watching for moose.
Frank was predeceased by his son, Timothy (2007), and by his wife, Lois (2009).
You made your world a better place, Frank. You are missed by all you touched. —Peter Levison ’56
Eric L. Radin ’56
Eric died April 26, 2020. At his Zoom funeral and shiva, Eric’s grandchildren kept describing him as “a force.”
But we’ve known that for decades. Frosh weekend, Eric wrote an original musical comedy—with choreography by Gloria Steinem, Smith’56. By sophomore year, Eric had decided on a medical career. Reason was simple: his penmanship was illegible.
Eric loved the doctor-patient relationship. He loved academic medicine even more. Lecturing was enough like theater that it felt “familiar.” His Harvard Medical School teachers got him interested in orthopedics—particularly why joints wear out and how to slow or stop that process. Eric was simultaneously on the faculties of Harvard and MIT prior to decamping for the West Virginia University Medical Center and then the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. At West Virginia he became, in his own words, “radicalized about healthcare delivery.” His senior positions allowed him the freedom to focus on the need for effective and efficient medical training, and to verify whether his teaching ideas had validity.
Eric sailed summers up the Maine coast with wife Tove and daughters Melissa, Jessica and Allison—some of the most enjoyable times of his life.
Starting in the 1990s he sailed Tanqueray several times to Bermuda and the Canadian Maritimes. Each winter, with second wife Crete, he researched harbors, tides, dates and airports. They sailed into the farthest reaches of the Bay of Fundy. With Crete and classmates (Sandy Chaitovitz, Arnie Poltenson, Mike Ritter, Larry Young and Jay Jacobson), Tanqueray circumnavigated Newfoundland and covered the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
No project gave Eric more delight than editing our 50th reunion book. His joy in being a part of the class grew greater and greater over the decades.
At one of our last visits I asked how he would sum up his life: “Definitely the most interesting experience I’ve ever had!” —Jay Jacobson ’56
John Duke Stackpole ’57
John Duke Stackpole, 84, a retired meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service and a professional parliamentarian, died on Jan. 12, 2020, at his home in Solomons, Md. The cause was pancreatic cancer.
He was born in Boston and attended Milton Academy (1953), where his father, Pierpont Stackpole, taught English literature. He received his bachelor’s in physics from Amherst College and his Ph.D. in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964.
In 1964 he and his wife, Laurie Eveleth Stackpole, moved to the Washington, D.C., area as he began a 30-year career at the Weather Service, focusing on numerical weather prediction and computer-based methods and models of forecasting. After retirement he pursued a second career as a registered and certified parliamentarian.
He leaves his wife of 59 years; his sons, Mark and Paul Stackpole; his daughter, Jean Stackpole Brown; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and his sister, Antoinette Stackpole Russin. —Antoinette Stackpole Russin
Stephen Lake Yale ’57
Stephen Yale passed away on April 8, 2020, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Steve grew up in Belmont, Mass., and was a high school athlete, primarily basketball. At Amherst he played freshman basketball and throughout his life was an avid follower of all the Boston sports teams and March Madness. He was an equally avid student of political science, his major, and was principally responsible for bringing Billy Graham to Amherst his sophomore year and Robert Frost to do a reading of his poetry at Steve’s fraternity. Steve had remarkable social skills and was able to instantly connect with all kinds of people.
Following Amherst, Steve earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Andover Newton Divinity School in Boston. Upon graduation and ordination he served as youth minister at Manhasset, N.Y., Congregational Church and then minister of the Kingston Congregational Church in Kingston, R.I. He then returned to Philadelphia, where he served on the boards of a wide variety of civic organizations, especially those related to social justice. He subsequently worked for a time in the human resources department at Comcast. After that he took a position as special assistant to the president of Santa Fe (N.M.) College focusing on student retention, finally returning to Philadelphia. Throughout his life he was a wide-ranging reader and writer.
Steve was a founding member of an eight-member group of Amherst ’57 members who met annually at White Oak Pond, N.H., to remember college days and share yearly more embellished stories, of which Steve was a master. He leaves a sister, Stephanie, and two sons, Palmer and Stephen Douglas. His remarkable storytelling ability and keen sense of humor will be sorely missed. —Stuart Tuller ’57 and Pierce Gardner ’57
James W. “Jim” Northrop ’58
In crew, the ultimate team sport, each oarsman must follow orders, “pull his weight” and help keep the boat on an even keel. As a crewmate and as a man, Jim Northrop, who died March 23, 2020, in Summit, N.J., at 83, could be counted on to do all three with a pleasant smile and positive attitude.
At Amherst Jim majored in political science; pledged Theta Delta Chi, where he was elected vice president; lettered on the crew team; belonged to the Harlan Fiske Stone Law Society; was on the FBM; and served as business manager on the Olio.
While getting his J.D. at Cornell, Jim developed an interest in “things international.” He studied international law at the University of Manchester and Trinity College, Cambridge, before beginning a career in international corporate law, working for several New York corporations.
In 1964 Jim married Elizabeth Reynolds “Renny” Ohoro, a graduate of Elmira College, whom he had met on a blind date.
During their 48-year marriage, Jim and Renny experienced more than their share of illness and adversity. Prior to Renny’s death from a brain tumor in 2012, they lost two of their five children as well as a beloved grandson. In addition, Jim had suffered from breast cancer and, after 18 years, had been downsized from a job he loved.
After retiring in 2007, Jim found greater joy in creative writing. He wrote weekly commentaries for his church and contributed essays and columns to the newsletters of various nonprofit and civic organizations. He also organized and ran numerous children’s programs for his church, visited the sick and infirm and helped distribute weekly meals for the needy.
He wrote, “Now I understand the lasting joy that comes from giving a boost to another person, a helping hand, to walk with them.” —Ned Megargee ’58
Christopher Merrifield “Kitt” Schemm ’58
Christopher M. “Kitt” Schemm, M.D., died of heart failure in an extended care facility March 2, 2020, shortly after his 83rd birthday. Although he never fully recovered from the stroke he suffered in July 2019, Kitt retained his sense of humor and ability to communicate. Denise, Kitt’s wife of 52 years, remains in the same facility’s memory care unit, suffering from Alzheimer’s.
At Amherst Kitt majored in biology, was on the swimming team and pledged Phi Alpha Psi fraternity. He earned his M.D. from the University of Utah in 1967 and completed his residency in allergies and immunology at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas.
In 1966 Kitt met his future wife, Denise Biemond, a Dutch Montessori teacher who was teaching in California. An adventurous soul who loved to travel, Denise accepted a Schemm family relative’s casual invitation to visit their rustic family cabin in rural Montana. There she met Kitt, who was studying for his medical exams. They were married in 1967, and the first of their four children was born in 1968. They also have nine grandchildren.
During his 23-year U.S. Army medical career, Kitt served in a variety of duty stations, ranging from large army hospitals to small clinics in the Eastern U.S., Europe and the Sinai. Taking great pride in his work, he especially enjoyed caring for people.
Retiring from the army in 1993, Kitt established a small practice in internal medicine in Grafton, Vt., home to Schemms for five generations. He became involved in numerous civic activities—library, church, historical society, nature museum—and read insatiably. Before her activities were curtailed by her progressive dementia, he and Denise traveled extensively, visiting children who were scattered from Nebraska to Vermont in the United States and to Amsterdam and Morocco overseas. —Ned Megargee ’58
Norman Rohde Vester Jr. ’58
Norman Rohde Vester Jr. died April 26, 2020, at the age of 83 with his family by his side. After a private ceremony, he was buried in the St. Albans Bay, Vt., cemetery.
Norm came to Amherst from Springfield, Mass., where he attended Classical High School and Suffield Academy. At Amherst Norm earned his freshman numerals in football, majored in fine arts and pledged Delta Kappa Epsilon.
After marrying Nancy Norwood, his wife for 63 years, Norm fathered five children, one of whom predeceased him. He was survived by Nancy, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Norm pursued a successful career in banking, real estate and investments. Friends commented on his wealth of knowledge and noted he often suggested ideas for others to act upon. One wryly wrote that Norm taught him how to run his bank and many other things, whether he wanted to hear it or not.
Norm was an enthusiastic fisherman, a fierce bridge player and an avid golfer. His bridge partner recalled that Norm “played bridge like he lived life—with enthusiasm, positive attitude and a keen sense of competition.” Norm was also a talented artist.
Later in life he and Nancy divided their time between St. Albans Bay, Vt., and Bonita Springs, Fla., where they took over the Bonita Beach Plantation Resort on the Gulf of Mexico, with Norm serving as manager and resident agent.
Enthusiastic environmentalists, in 2007 they established the Norm and Nancy Vester Marine and Environmental Sciences Research Field Station by donating the resort property and more than $1 million to the Florida Gulf Coast University Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences. Devoted to ecological education and research on preserving the marine environment, it hosts researchers from 15 nations and over 1,000 future young marine scientists annually. —Ned Megargee ’58
Lee N. Lindeman ’59
We lost the captain of our basketball team and a good friend to many on campus; Lee Lindeman passed away on Oct. 15, 2019, at a healthcare facility near Eastham, Mass., at age 82. Lee was born in Oneonta, N.Y., on May 21, 1937, to Henry Valentine Lindeman and Helen Bridge Lindeman and lived with his family in Easton, Pa.; Westfield, N.J.; and Fairfield, Conn. He was a graduate of Roger Ludlowe High School and was a member of the basketball team that won the New England Championship Basketball Tournament in Boston Garden his senior year in 1955. Lee was a member of Chi Psi fraternity. Following graduation from Amherst he worked in the Bauer & Black division of the Kendall Co. for 18 months in Johnstown, Pa.; Chicago; and Seneca, S.C., before moving to Atlanta to take over as CEO of Southern Belting & Transmission Co.
He is preceded in death by his son Richard and is survived by his other three sons, Kenneth Lindeman (Margaret), Peter Lindeman (Celeste), Henry Lindeman (Amy); two daughters, adopted in his second marriage to Audrey Rankine from 1983 to 1987; 10 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
Following retirement as president of Southern Belting & Transmission, Lee relocated back to the New England area he so loved and spent his last 30 years with his loving companion, Betsy Wagner, in the Eastham, Mass., area. They attended the Federated Church of Orleans together, where he sang for years in the choir. Most of this information was obtained from The Cape Codder, published last November. —John Liebert ’59
Albert S. Pasternak ’59
Al died on March 26, 2020, at age 82, in Florida, a victim of COVID-19. Al came to Amherst after graduating from Eastchester (N.Y.) High School. He followed his brother Herb ’56 and, like Herb, joined Phi Delta Sigma fraternity. A talented musician, Al played trombone in the Sweet Sixteen Band, majored in geology and participated in intramural sports.
After Amherst he received a graduate degree at Columbia Teachers College and returned to his native Westchester County, where he taught at both the middle and high schools and became assistant principal. He became president of the teachers union, was a founder of the Scarsdale Teachers Institute, served as principal of Briarcliff High School, held executive positions in two New York State education departments and ended his career teaching chemistry in Bedford, N.Y. After retiring in 1996, Al and his wife enjoyed their love of opera, theater and baseball; divided their time between Harpswell, Maine, and Venice, Fla.; and traveled extensively, visiting all seven continents and over 80 countries. Al is survived by his wife, Karen, whom he married in 1994, and by his sons, Jonathan and Jeffrey.
Jack Bryer ’59 has this remembrance: “Al was my close friend from the day I arrived at Amherst in September 1955. I came to Amherst not knowing anyone and more than a little apprehensive. On that first day, I went to the common room of Stearns and spotted a fellow freshman on the couch, looking totally relaxed and comfortable. I introduced myself, and our friendship was born. My initial perception of Al never changed: there were many times over the next almost 65 years when I relied on his warmth, congeniality and counsel. It is very hard for me to think I can no longer do so.” —Karen Pasternak and Jack Bryer ’59
John Grosvenor Cross ’60
A physics major who could quote Shakespeare, an economist who loved to sing, John Cross embodied the liberal arts. His inquiring mind and wide-ranging interests enriched his life and others. For John, learning was lifelong. He and his wife, Cynthia (Mt. Holyoke ’60), had just returned from an adventurous trip to Egypt when John was hospitalized with an unspecified pneumonia that led to his death three weeks later on April 5, 2020.
John and I were roommates at Amherst, where we sang in the glee club, and at Princeton, where his enthusiasm for opera led us to several performances at the Met, of which he became a lifelong patron.
John, a tenor, continued with the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers during his time as a professor of economics at the University of Michigan. As visiting professor at the University of Nairobi, John became a committed photographer. For his stunning photographs of birds, animals and landscapes, from Antarctica to Svalbard in the Arctic, the Galapagos, Australia and Scotland’s Isle of Lewis, John wrote meticulously detailed notes.
Music, photography, woodworking and art were serious hobbies. In the field of economics, John authored or co-authored four books, the last of which, Off-Track Profs: Nontenured Teachers in Higher Education, grew out of his years as associate dean of the liberal arts college at Michigan. John’s breadth and enjoyment of administration led to his last position, eight years as vice president for finance and administration at Bloomfield College, a small liberal arts school in New Jersey.
This final career choice paralleled his Amherst experience. For our 25th reunion, John wrote, “I express my deepest gratitude and sense of indebtedness toward the College for the intellectual awakening and growth of opportunity which those four years afforded me. … For me, Amherst set a standard by which all education can be judged.” —Carlton T. Russell ’60
Peter A. Gross ’60
Bob Madgic ’60 was Peter’s Theta Delt fraternity brother but remembers him best from reunions. “I found him a most conversant, pleasant and measured individual, who radiated knowledge and intelligence. Another connection with Peter was through his supervision of a resident M.D., our son’s father-in-law, who spoke almost reverently of Peter and how vital a role he was playing in his specialty.”
Michael Taylor ’60 described Peter, his freshman roommate, as “warm, friendly and generous.” Michael had no prior experience of anti-Semitism. But after witnessing unfriendly treatment of Peter by a classmate and reading The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Michael became more aware of prejudice: “Peter and I became even closer thereafter, as I learned of the subtle signs of biased behavior that have helped me navigate life. I owe Peter a lot.”
Bill Cantor ’58 “had met Peter on several occasions as physicians in Bergen County, N.J., where we learned of our shared Amherst backgrounds. Peter made major contributions to the practice of medicine well beyond Hackensack. He was head of the department of medicine as Hackensack Hospital became the Hackensack Medical Center and expanded into a new medical school.”
Peter’s contribution to our 50th reunion book was exclusively about his family, with not a word about his leadership roles within his infectious diseases specialty. Characteristically, for our Summer 2020 class notes, he wrote, “First and foremost in my life is the importance of family as they nursed me through a five-month hospitalization for open heart surgery, pneumonia and sepsis at Cornell. A family member was with me every day, encouraging me to hang in there.” Peter was professionally active until his death on March 20, 2020, of complications from heart surgery; his book, Pathways to a Successful Accountable Care Organization, will be published this summer by Johns Hopkins University Press. —Bill Cantor ’58, Bob Madgic ’60, Michael Taylor ’60 and Dick Weisfelder ’60
John Anderson Quisenberry ’60
Reflecting on their lifetime friendship, Charlie Johnson ’60 says he “was fortunate to have shared many life experiences with Quis at Bronxville High School, at Amherst, at University of Virginia Law School and then at Fort Dix, and thereafter at his homes in New York City and skiing in Vermont. Quis succumbed to the coronavirus following a long series of health issues on April 9, 2020.
“Quis was blessed with friends who understood his generosity as a host, art collector, golfer and benefactor, as well as his brilliance as the ‘George Washington of mortgage-backed securities,’ having almost single-handedly pioneered the crafting and marketability of bundled mortgages with Brown-Wood in New York. Yet it was his caring for those who valued his friendship, including the late classmates John Bartlett ’60 and Fred Kelley ’60, that characterized his life. His gift to Fred’s son of a state-of-the art viola exemplified his generosity.”
Joe Zgrodnik ’60 considered it “a bit of social engineering to have a sophisticated Bronxville guy room freshman year with two farm boys. As Quis put it, ‘I bet I am the only guy at Amherst with two roommates with RFD home addresses.’ After being labeled an ‘underachiever’ by Dean Porter, Quis switched from physics to American studies; his grades shot up. Searching for a ‘gut course,’ we settled on fine arts. Isn’t it ironic that Quis’ major legacy to Amherst will be his donation of his priceless Hudson River School paintings!”
Hugh Jones ’60 recalled “Quis’ extraordinary hospitality when he hosted gatherings of Amherst classmates at his ski house in Okemo (Vt.). Quis, by the way, was a reluctant but accomplished skier. He was also an essential part of our annual gathering of classmates for a winter basketball game or two at Amherst. He was such a gracious, sensitive and generous friend and will be sorely missed.” —Charlie Johnson’ 60, Hugh Jones’60 and Joe Zgrodnik ’60
Richard Moulton Howland ’61
Dick Howland died Nov. 7, 2019, after a lengthy illness. His grandfather, father, stepfather and several uncles attended Amherst. He prepared at Deerfield Academy. Dick was president of Chi Phi, played soccer and squash, managed the hockey and lacrosse teams, played saxophone in the band and clarinet in a Dixieland jazz band, served as co-editor of the news bureau and was president of the Lord Jeff Society.
Dick had a varied and illustrious career. After Amherst he worked briefly at Merrill Lynch and then served as a U.S. Naval officer, seeing duty in Asia. Then Columbia Law School, graduating during the ’60s riots, driving a New York City taxicab.
His first legal job was with civil liberties activist Leonard Boudin. Dick then went to UMass Amherst to serve as the first student legal services officer. He wore a dashiki, a beard, a peace medallion and a Vietnam Veterans Against the War pin, being a founding member. For four years, he helped 25,000 student clients. He created Rooms to Move, a program offering safe havens for students with substance abuse issues.
Worn out, Dick started a private law practice in Amherst, becoming a successful trial lawyer. He committed himself to public service, serving on boards of many not-for-profits, and was president of the chamber of commerce, president of the Leverett Arts Cooperative, Leverett Town Moderator and member of the Amherst Planning Board. He officiated at youth soccer, track and field, swimming and diving events. He taught part time in an inner city high school.
Dick was a well-known personality in Amherst, a gentle man with a commanding voice and a biting wit, willing to engage anyone in conversation. He spent his life helping young people and those in need. He is survived by his partner, Marjorie Levenson; his brother, Dr. John Howland; two daughters, Gillian Vanesse and Kimberly Nelson, and their spouses; and four grandchildren. —Ted Ells ’61 and Paul Bracciotti ’61
Robert S. Rosengard ’61
Bob Rosengard—“Gandalf” in his later years—died on April 8, 2020. He grew up in Brookline, Mass.; attended Boston Latin School; majored in English; wrote a senior thesis on Blake; graduated with honors; and was a continuing source of joy to his friends. He taught English and headed the department in the Monticello (N.Y.) Central School District for 25 years and also taught in the local community college and in two local prisons. He served on the Board of Education. Bob hosted a weekly program on WJFF in Jeffersonville, N.Y.: “Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf.”
At Amherst Bob had a wonderful, wild vitality, speaking his mind vividly, holding his ideas with passion. In the staid 1950s, he lived with some flamboyance. He hosted poker games with Roger Sale in Valentine senior year. He read Tolkien before it was fashionable and later took on the name of a Tolkien character. Charlie Husbands ’61 visited Bob in recent years and reports that wherever they went in the area, people greeted him affectionately as Gandalf.
Bob’s life was generous and useful, but his last months were difficult. In August 2019 New York State authorities decided Bob was incapable of looking after himself and confined him in a nursing home. Amherst classmates Dick Dimond ’61, Dick Klein ’61, Andy Olesker ’61 and Ron Daitz ’61 helped Bob’s sister, Rose Subotnik, get Bob released so he could move to a senior living community near her. But Bob fell and broke a hip, had to go to a rehab facility and as he was about to move to what Rose hoped would be his long-term home, he caught COVID-19 and died.
As Jews say of the departed, “May his memory be a blessing,” as his life at Amherst was for those of us who knew him. —Peter Berek ’61
John L. Brandley ’62
John L. Brandley, 74, of Attleboro, Mass., passed away peacefully on May 30, 2015, at the New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton, Mass. He was the husband of the late Fredda G. Megan Brandley. Born in East Walpole, Mass., John was a graduate of the former Pawtucket West High School, now known as the Charles E. Shea High School, in Pawtucket, R.I. He matriculated at Amherst in 1958 but withdrew in his first semester. Later he enrolled at the College of Holy Cross, where he earned a B.A. in accounting and economics in 1963.
John had a career in the financial industry and worked both in the Boston Financial District and Wall Street. John was an avid reader, enjoyed listening to classical music, gardened, traveled and was a passionate Patriots and Red Sox fan. His Catholic faith was extremely important to him. The source of this In Memory piece was principally an obituary crafted by Duffy Poule Cremation and Funeral Services, Attleboro, Mass. —Sandy Short ’62
Jeffery Edward Buck ’62
Jeff Buck died on July 31, 2018.
He was a member of Chi Phi, majored in economics, enjoyed playing cards and was a very private person. Jeff earned an M.B.A. from New York University.
Dr. Mark Luther, director of the Ocean Monitoring and Prediction Lab in the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, has provided helpful information about Jeff’s career. Jeff was the general manager of the Tampa Bay Pilots Association, which was instrumental in getting the U.S. Congress to fund and cause the improvement of environmental and safety capabilities in Tampa Bay in 1991 following an accident some years before when a bulk carrier rammed the Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, killing 35. Dr. Luther has written that Jeff spearheaded the implementation that year of the first in the U.S. Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) in Tampa Bay. PORTS collects and disseminates real-time meteorological and oceanographic data within major harbors around the United States. This data, Dr. Luther says, “are essential for maintaining the efficiency and safety of maritime operations” and the reduction of such accidents. Jeff was also president of Greater Tampa Bay Marine Advisory Council–PORTS Inc., the nonprofit corporation that actually operated TB-PORTS from its founding in 1993 until his death. “Buck was instrumental in the establishment and continued operations of TB-PORTS. His influence is greatly missed.” —Sandy Short ’62
Jonathan P. Rice ’62
Jon Rice passed away peacefully at home on March 19, 2020, surrounded by family. For many years he had been following every possible palliative treatment offered by Dana Farber Cancer Institute for neuroendocrine cancer. He bounced back to health after each treatment, keeping up with an active life of tennis, golf, travels and hobbies. He really felt well until about two years ago and then had much shorter intervals between treatments.
Freshman year in James, he stood out as the tallest member of our class. With Courtney Bryant ’62 and Burt Fretz ’62, we all joined Phi Delt and remained friends long after graduation. Jon dated Tom Nash ’63’s cousin Sue Nash (MHC ’64), and she introduced Burt to Anne Jordan (also MHC ’64). Marriage followed for both couples, and they have remained close. Sally and I would meet up with the Rices and Fretzes at reunions and through annual Christmas cards, and we suspected this past year that something was wrong when their card was not from a painting by Jon, the artist.
He played basketball at Amherst. Being so tall, people would ask if he had ever played. Sue says he would always respond, “Of course,” and inform them that he spent most of the time on the bench! Many fine tributes from friends all praise him as a “true gentleman.”
Following his Yale law degree, Jon and Sue lived in Longmeadow, Mass., and Jon pursued a career in probate, estate administration and elder law in Springfield, Mass. After retirement, in 2014 they moved full time to their beloved family summer home on the Cape. There he explored his creative interests in drawing, watercolor and acrylic art, joined a bridge group and played tennis and golf. He is survived by his wife, Sue; daughter Laura; son Philip; their spouses; and seven beloved grandchildren. —David H. Arbuthnot ’62
Stephen E. Arkin ’63
Steve Arkin died of duodenal cancer on May 6, 2020, after a yearlong battle. Throughout that battle, Steve maintained his optimism, kindness, sense of humor and decency.
Steve grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School as valedictorian and class president. In 1959 he entered Amherst, where he majored in English. He declined to join a fraternity, preferring an independent path, and he and I became good friends when we both lived at Seelye House.
Steve was always a superb student, but, in addition to his intelligence and knowledge, he had a wicked sense of humor and a fun, occasionally wild side. We played music together in a bad makeshift quartet, Steve on drums. We jumped off the Seelye roof into snowbanks in the winter and played touch football with Smith women in the spring.
After graduation he held a Fulbright grant and taught in a lycée in France, a country he came to love and to which he frequently returned. He then completed his Ph.D. in English at Yale. Moving west, Steve taught English at San Francisco State from 1967 until his retirement and was chair of the English Department for 20 years. Besides being honored by his colleagues, he was very popular with his students, many of whom continued to keep in contact with him after graduating.
Steve was proud of his family, loved them dearly and spoke of them often. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Barbara Ann Koenig, and their daughter, Miriam, and son, Sam. None of them, and none of us who cared for him, will be the same without him. —Peter Hemenway ’63
Charles B. Houghtlin ’63
Our dear friend Charles Benjamin “Tod” Houghtlin died in the early morning of March 14, 2020. His wife, Helen Burton, was with him.
Born and raised in Evanston, Ill., Tod majored in history at Amherst, joined Delta Kappa Epsilon and made friends across the campus. Working with a breakfast crew at Valentine Hall, he developed deep lifelong friendships. In recent years four of that Valentine “gang” met for dinners nearly every month and made bike trips together to Canada, Cape Cod and Berlin. The trips were joyous, aided by Tod’s seemingly supernatural historical knowledge and also his love of music.
A person of great faith, Tod received a master of divinity from Yale in 1968 and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1976. He and his first wife, Vera Jones, moved to Concord, Mass., where he was teacher and chaplain at the Middlesex School. In 1980, Tod became chaplain and teacher at the Collegiate School in New York City; he remained there until his retirement in 2007.
Tod and Helen then moved to New Lebanon, N.Y. There he was a parishioner and an occasional minister at the Canaan Congregational Church, a worshipper at Immaculate Conception Church in New Lebanon and at St. James in Chatham, N.Y.
Tod was a human being of extraordinary kindness, gentleness and caring interest in others. He had a stunningly good memory for detail, and his sense of humor was both sophisticated and goofy.
Tod is survived by his wife, Helen; daughters Vannesa Houghtlin, Jessica Burton and Christine Cottrell; sons James Houghtlin and Allen Burton; and 13 grandchildren: Elodie, Elisa, Sylvie, Annie, Tommy, Gabi, Daven, Betsy, Gus, Charlie, Angus, Ella and John.
The morning after Tod died, Helen wrote, “God rest his sweet soul. Amen.” —Hans Bergmann ’63
Geoffrey D. Wyler ’63
The alumni office has informed us that they have belatedly learned of the death of Geoff Wyler, on Oct. 26, 2015, in the Boston area, of a heart attack. Geoff was born in 1942. At Amherst, he majored in economics. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Geoff received a law degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and practiced law in the Boston area until his death. We are sorry to learn of his death. —Neale Adams ’63
Gordon M. Pradl ’65
Gordon Pradl and his wife of 52 years, Mary Ann Carme Pradl, succumbed to COVID-19 in March/April 2020. Gordon was principal caregiver to Mary Ann for the last 15 years at their renovated brownstone in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was emeritus professor of English education at NYU, with a 39-year tenure. Gordie believed that the teaching of writing mattered. He believed, as did his mentor, the late Professor Robert J. Coles, that “it’s only through stories that one can fully enter another’s life.” During his tenure at NYU he trained hundreds of future secondary and college writing instructors. In his 1996 book, Literature for Democracy: Reading as a Social Act, he wrote, “Democracy encourages us to find ways (through mediation, negotiation and celebration of difference) to maintain a relationship with those who are different from us or with whom we disagree.”
Gordon was my roommate in the social dorms, but he maintained friendships with those living in the frat houses. It was Gordon who introduced me to the original cast album of the musical The Fantasticks and the Saint-Saens organ symphony, which blasted out of Davis Hall windows for the benefit of wildlife in the neighboring bird sanctuary.
Together we relished Sunday Foreign Film offerings on campus, and Gordon taught me cribbage at that lousy downtown pizza joint. Gordie was one of the few of us who weren’t mystified by Physics 1–2. He was my guide to the “happenings” at UMass Amherst, and I was his guide to the 17th-century gravestone art in the Pioneer Valley. Together we gained the trust of Professor Cole enough to babysit his kids. Gordy and I were part of the Valentine crew chosen to cater alumni dinner parties. We cleaned the tables by decanting all the leftover wine bottles and partied afterward with wife-to-be Mary Ann and her UMass sisters! —Richard Leyden ’65
Robert Mark Ullian ’66
Robert came to Amherst for the opportunity to study with Robert Frost. Surprised to find that Rolfe Humphries had replaced Frost as Amherst’s poet-in-residence, Robert was initially put off by Humphries’ gruff manner. But Robert persevered and eventually forged a strong bond with his professor.
Robert lived in James Hall, next door to Elliott Isenberg ’66; they remained lifelong friends. While his quiet manner led many to overlook him, Robert sought out those who would listen to his poetry and stories. Appearing in a friend’s doorway, he would shift from one foot to the other until the moment seemed right. Robert wrote in an oral tradition and enjoyed performing his poems and stories.
Following graduate work at Columbia, Robert taught at Hampshire and published stories in Esquire. Prentice-Hall and Simon & Schuster published his books: Walking Tours of Venice (co-authored with Tom Worthen ’66), Israel: Past and Present, Frommer’s EasyGuide to Israel and Frommer’s Israel on $50 a Day. Robert also wrote the Berlitz pocket guides to Venice, Jerusalem, Morocco and Bali.
During the years he lived in Jerusalem, he taught English at a private high school, where he introduced his students to Our Town by Thornton Wilder and the poetry of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. He also befriended a young Palestinian, Sadek Shweiki, and arranged for Sadek to graduate from Amherst High School and Hampshire College.
Following his travels, Robert settled in the Town of Amherst and worked as an adjunct faculty member at UMass.
Robert died in a Northampton hospital from complications of COVID-19. —Elliott Isenberg ’66 and John Merson ’66
Thomas Fletcher Worthen ’66
Thomas Fletcher Worthen, of Des Moines, Iowa, and Venice, Italy, died on May 22, 2018, three days after suffering a heart attack while walking. He is survived by his wife, Amy (Namowitz); his daughters, Shana Worthen (Colin Stewart) and Maria Worthen (Paolo Saccà); and his grandchildren, Wren, Giacomo and Pippin.
Born in 1944 in Little Rock, Ark., Tom was the middle son of William Booker Worthen and Mary Sandlin Fletcher Worthen. He attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., to finish school after segregationists closed Little Rock’s high schools. He once commented about racism in the South, “There’s racism in the North, too.”
Tom loved poetry and could recite quite a bit of it. We took a reading course in Yeats together from Professor John Moore.
His Ph.D. in art history was from the University of Iowa. An inspirational professor of art history at Drake University for 35 years, he specialized in Italian Renaissance art and was loved and admired by his students.
In Venice, Tom and Amy restored an apartment in a historic palazzo. Rowing Venetian style, he gave canal tours to friends and family.
He loved life and appreciated the small and beautiful things in nature. He had a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh. One of his favorite lines from Shakespeare was “Exit, pursued by a bear.”
Tom and Amy met in Florence. A month before he died, Tom emailed me, “The marriage you helped start 50 years ago (April 20, 1968) today has worked out fairly well, so far.”
Tom was a most kind, gentle, warm, thoughtful and caring person.
Years after we graduated, Tom sent me, to my great surprise, an oil painting of me he’d done at
Amherst. It hangs over my mantel. —Al Leisinger ’66
L. Scott Permesly ’67
Dr. L. Scott Permesly, aged 74, died on June 28, 2019. A man of warmth and wisdom, he was devoted to his wife, Roxanne (Tufts ’68), and his children, Breton and Dania, and to the patients he guided with endless kindness and insight. Scott lived for knowledge and found beauty everywhere he looked. Scott was born in Chicago to Dr. Harry and Suzanne Permesly.
After relocating to Hollywood, Fla., Scott developed his avid, lifelong passion for sailing. At Amherst Scott majored in biology. A member of Beta Theta Pi, he participated in tennis, crew, swimming and The Amherst Student and was a Doshisha Fellow. He obtained his M.D. degree at Tufts Medical School in 1971 and later spent five years at Harvard University, completing both child psychiatry and adult psychiatry residencies, serving his final year as chief resident.
Scott met his wife of 43 years, Roxanne, at a Sunday mixer at the Harvard Club in Boston. So began their storybook romance: a life of shared work, interests and deep devotion. Eventually, Scott and Roxanne headed to Princeton where Scott served as the Princeton University psychiatrist. Life was enriched by numerous trips to New York and by summers on their sailboat in Newport, R.I., and on the Chesapeake. Missing the open seas, Scott and Roxanne relocated to Florida. In 1988, Sarasota became home, and there they maintained a joint practice.
In addition to his passion for work, Scott was a true Renaissance man: a lover of music, an avid reader, a deep admirer of poetry, a strong tennis player. He spent as much free time as possible sailing with his family on the waters of Sarasota.
Scott is survived by his wife, Roxanne; his children, Breton and Dania, and their spouses; his granddaughter, Morgan; and his sister, Suzanne. —Roxanne Permesly and family
William B. Schoonmaker ’71
Husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend. Consummate professional, blending design, utility, respect and friendship into his architecture practice along with his robust community participation. Singer—a first tenor, no less!—lover of poetry, good literature, an easy sharer of intimate thought and the first to sense the need from others for comfort and never failing to deliver it. Lover and producer of fine cuisine and cream-filled donuts. Consumer of movies of all genres but especially science fiction and the just plain weird. Companion to his son, daughter their spouses and his grandchildren in so many adventures at home and abroad. Listener. A broad, infectious smile under the ever-present bushy mustache and a creative mind and spirit that led him through life as a happy and tireless explorer.
At Amherst, Zumbye, Glee Club, Phi Delt, major domo at Rapp’s Deli, Mastersinger and lifetime best friend to roommates and those lucky to know him.
Bill was born on Aug. 4, 1948, in Pasadena, Calif., and passed away of pancreatic cancer in his home in Durham, N.H., on March 22, 2020. He leaves Jill, his wife, muse and partner of 49 years; his daughter, Emily, and her husband, Tim, and grandchildren Quinn and Zadie; his son, Jesse, and daughter-in-law, Moraa; his sisters, Linda and Merrill, and their respective families. Bill and Jill. From the time they met at Amherst/Mount Holyoke they have always been to all who know them, “Bill and Jill”—words that fit together as one. —Tim Armour ’70
Alistair J. A. Catto ’73
Alistair Catto died on April 11, 2020, from complications of ALS.
In September 1969, Alistair, my new roommate, and I did not always know what the other was saying. Born in Forfar, Scotland, and a graduate of Fettes College, Edinburgh, Alistair had a strong Scottish accent. Far from isolating him, this contributed to his popularity. He attracted a crowd, especially fellow squash players and DKEs, many of whom became lifelong friends.
Irrepressibly cheerful, Alistair discussed business and quoted poetry. He spoke at length about political correctness (didn’t like), George Orwell (liked) and Queen Elizabeth II (revered). There was no meanness in his speech, but there was much humor.
Amherst softened Alistair’s accent and changed his life when he met his future wife, Bonnie MacNeill Catto (MHC ’73). After he graduated in 1974, they lived in Philadelphia and then South Hadley. Alistair served in Amherst’s Development Office, worked in aerial photography and golf retail and managed investments.
Western Massachusetts suited Bonnie and Alistair, who enjoyed watching birds and other animals from their home next to a golf course. Having a course so close was convenient, as Alistair was a devoted player who won acclaim for his skill. With golfing friends, he traveled to many courses, and he kept fit, climbing Mount Holyoke 100 times last year, until illness overtook him.
Sickness stole Alistair’s breath and voice. During our last visit, we did not talk much. We were, he told me, like the old men he remembered from his youth in Scotland. It was enough for them to sit quietly together because they had said everything that had to be said. —Richard D. Holmes ’73
Glenn Neal Eichen ’74
Glenn Neal Eichen ’74 passed away peacefully on April 6, 2020, after contracting COVID-19 during his recent hospitalization following a stroke. With his sister Susan (Brown ’75) and her family, two dozen of Glenn’s college friends were at his bedside “virtually” through his final days.
Glenn was born in Queens, N.Y., on Oct. 10, 1952. He was an outstanding product of the New York City public schools, attending PS 179, JHS 216 (George J. Ryan), where he was in the three-year SPE (“Special Progress Enriched”) program and Jamaica High School.
Glenn was a Dean Wilson early-decision admission acceptance and a member of the last class Wilson selected at Amherst. Glenn majored in English, graduating cum laude. At the time of his passing, Glenn served our class as treasurer.
After Amherst, Glenn earned an M.B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and his J.D. in taxation from the George Washington University School of Law. He started his career at Arthur Young in New York City and subsequently worked for First Chicago in Illinois; Fleet, in Providence; Countrywide, in Los Angeles; Citibank, in New York; and TD Bank, in Philadelphia. He retired seven years ago.
Glenn had an irrepressible spirit and a fine sense of the human condition, especially in all its quirkiness. He had a wit, both wry and sly, which he displayed with genuine kindness, reflecting his gentle nature. Glenn could see the comedy in the things that would only weigh down the rest of us. Glenn was blessed with great common sense and a generosity that was singular.
We honor Glenn’s memory as classmate, friend and mensch.
A fund has also been established by his classmates in Glenn’s name at the College. —Bruce Angiolillo ’74, Frank Gordon ’74 and Cullen Murphy ’74
Mark S. Htoo ’76
Mark Sterling Han Htoo has been gone from us for 25 years. I met him in the fall of 1972, standing next to the College’s poor excuse for a computer. Both of us were working on a physics assignment with a rapidly approaching due date. At first, we were weary competitors, then exhausted friends working side-by-side. Mark and I grew close and roomed together senior year with Howard Martin ’76 and Tony Edmondson ’76.
Mark was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Always positive and generous, always expressing a wonderful joie de vivre. And then there was the driest sense of humor I have ever experienced, complemented by an endearing adolescent snicker.
After graduation Mark went on to become a physician, ending up in Manhattan. Years later we reconnected. Yet when we met, I could not help noticing that something had changed. Gone was the wonderful outlook on life, the great energy to see and do, the child-like playfulness that illuminated his wit. Although I didn’t know it, Mark had become chronically ill. Despite this, he agreed to be the best man at my wedding and welcomed my new wife into the Htoo family fold.
Ten years later I discovered that Mark was doing badly and flew up to New York to visit him. What I saw cut a swath through my heart that remains to this day. It was not the Mark I knew. It was a person with distorted facial features who had shrunk down to a frail apparition. A person who was already dead and knew it.
Mark collapsed soon after our visit and passed several weeks later, surrounded by a few close friends. His untimely death was a loss to all of us who knew him. —Mark Gusack ’76
Barbara A. Ceconi ’81
“Barb, you are truly resilient!” I exclaimed after we took a Cosmo quiz, “How Resilient Are You?” How else would recent Amherst alumnae spend their time waiting in an airport?
Truly resilient, tenacious, “smart, smart, smart” with a relentless determination are how friends describe Barbara Ceconi ’81. She was tougher than an acorn, stronger than an oak and propelled by a soft and loving heart. Sadly, she died on March 26, 2020, from complications of diabetes.
Barbara arrived at Amherst as a transfer, after recent onset blindness. What limited Barb physically in some ways, expanded her exponentially in others and challenged others to stretch as well. She defied assumptions and showed how things could be accomplished in a different way.
Speaking of her guide dog, Bruce, at AC, Barb said, “Everyone knows Bruce’s name before they learn mine.” But by graduation day, when “Barbara Ceconi!” was announced, and she walked up with Bruce to receive her diploma, a thunderous standing ovation lifted and embraced her.
After Amherst Barbara lived in Brookline, Mass. She earned an M.S.W. and started her own business, Access Umbrella, to train businesses, from corporations to museums, how to improve access for those of any
disability. She was passionate about her career and social justice. Well known in Brookline, she gave talks at schools and fielded questions like, “How do you know when you are awake?”
Barb never shied away from any challenge: tandem biking, cross-country skiing and surviving guide dogs who pulled her into the streets. She navigated for friends while they drove her around Boston!
Barbara cherished her friends and shared her sparkle and irrepressible energy. She was our communication hub, keeping us all in touch and introducing us to new wonderful people. We will forever be touched by our friendship with Barb. —Priscilla (Simon) Connolly ’80, Cindy Lane Gause ’80, Rachel Greene-Lowell ’80, Martha (Wilson) Martinez del Rio ’80, Karen McCarthy and Margie Schorr ’80
Sueryun Hahn Gutierrez ’94
Sueryun Hahn Gutierrez ’94 died peacefully after a three-year battle with breast cancer on May 17, 2020, while at home with her husband, Alexis, and daughters, Dylan and Jade. Passionate about justice, Sue received a master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government and worked with the Department of Labor to improve labor rights and working conditions. Until the cancer diagnosis she had served as the labor attaché at the U.S.
Embassy in Vietnam.
I met Sue our first day at Amherst in September 1990. We had been assigned to an all-female floor of singles in Morrow and bonded immediately over crazy advice given by Korean mothers prior to our leaving for college. Over the next four years our friendship grew as we shared our love of singing, eating and debating. Together we struggled through issues of faith, race, class and gender, and, though her path took her from Massachusetts to Mississippi, D.C. and Vietnam, we remained in touch.
At Amherst Sue was active in the Asian American House, Amherst Christian Fellowship and Terras Irradient, as well as all things political science. She also took the opportunity to study abroad in Korea, and when she returned, she was anxious to share what she had learned to play on her guitar—a song rendition of Isaiah 40:28–31, which speaks about God giving strength to the weary and power to the weak so they would soar on wings like eagles. As we grieve Sue’s death, I cannot help but be grateful that I had a friend whom God used to give strength to the weary and power to the weak, and I know that right now, my friend is soaring with eagles’ wings, smiling down upon us and telling us, “Now it’s your turn.” —Paula (Simonis) Castner ’94
Brian G. Orach ’00
Brian passed in May 2019 after a long battle with schizophrenia. He was a brilliant man and a great friend.
Brian came to Amherst in 1996 and majored in history, graduating magna cum laude. After Amherst he worked as a consultant, then moved on to Harvard for a Ph.D. in history. He withdrew from Harvard after two years and moved back to Florida to be with family.
Brian was truly brilliant. In a sense Brian’s brilliance was “public territory”—anyone who took a class with him knew he was radically intelligent. I remember a story of a history class where another student asked a professor to clarify something several times and, when they weren’t satisfied with the answer from the professor, said to the room, “Basically I am just asking Brian.” And Brian answered the question.
The other things his friends miss so much about Brian weren’t public. First was his humor. God, he was funny. He would regularly have his friends doubled over laughing. He had a way of cutting to the truth of things from an angle no one else would see. Over meals at Valentine, Brian would break down school politics, pop culture and world events with his wry humor. Brian was also an incredible friend. He was always there through every challenge. He forgave every wrong. He was willing to hang out at any hour, talk whenever you needed him and interrupt whatever he was doing—just to be there. Finally, he was a deeply sensitive soul and capable of profound kindness.
Brian, you were a phenomenal friend, a great mind and a good man—you are missed. —Tom Gray ’00
Robert Winograd ’02
We lost our friend Rob Winograd in February 2020 after a battle with cancer. Rob knew how to follow his own path, stay in the moment and appreciate life’s intricacies. I last saw Rob at our class reunion in 2017. He was happy and excited about his work and enjoyed spending time with his daughter (including going to a Krav Maga studio together). He was proud to still own the Pratt Pool record for the 1650m Freestyle—currently the longest-standing swimming record at Amherst.
In addition to his time in the pool, Rob took full advantage of the educational and cultural opportunities in the Pioneer Valley—studying a wide range of topics thanks to Amherst’s open curriculum and taking advantage of opportunities via the Five Colleges, including spending a semester student-teaching at a high school in Holyoke. He enjoyed exploring the outdoors; he taught me how to ski and enjoyed showing others places to go camping and hiking in the Catskill Mountains where he grew up.
In adulthood he relished the challenge of working a number of diverse jobs and the new experiences each job provided. Rob worked as a high school swimming coach and as a taxi driver—he was proud to drive a taxi, as this was how his father first made a living after immigrating to New York from Poland. He more recently worked as a carpenter and enjoyed the careful, methodical process associated with woodworking.
A classmate summed up Rob the best when he recalled, “Moments spent with Rob were always moments to remember. He had a fearless way of asking the questions and speaking the truths that others kept inside for the sake of ease. He challenged you but always with a loving heart and plenty of humor.” Rob will be sorely missed. —Richie Hodel ’02