Marvin Newman ’46
Marvin “Moose” Newman passed away peacefully at age 94 on Jan. 10 at Norwalk Hospital. His lifelong optimism and welcoming smile will forever be missed. Son of Simon and Lillian (Levy) Newman, Marvin was born Aug. 31, 1925, the youngest son of five children. In 1942, he graduated from Poly Prep Country Day School and started at Amherst. That October he joined the United States Navy (V-12) and was sent, along with 99 other Amherst men, to Williams. He served four years, becoming a quartermaster on an LST. His superior officer was Bill Gazeley ’46. Wartime took him to Guam, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, Okinawa and Tokyo Bay. He earned the Asiatic Pacific and WWII Victory medals. In later years, he often spoke to middle-schoolers about his naval experiences and had done so on Veteran’s Day 2019.
Upon naval discharge, he returned to Amherst and earned a B.A. in economics. In 1953, Marvin married Frances Karpas, who survives him, as do their children Pamela Newman Pooley ’82 (Eric) of North Salem, N.Y., and Bruce Newman (Meredith) of Old Saybrook, Conn. He had five grandchildren and always remembered their birthdays.
In the 1950s and early 1960s he was an account executive at advertising firm BBD&O in New York City, then worked as a marketing consultant. In 1970 he entered the health and life insurance business, ultimately running his own agency until age 90.
Marvin lived in Greenwich, Conn., from 1966 to 1993, moving to New Canaan when his marriage ended. Active in the Senior Men’s Club, he helped launch their Amateur Chefs group. He enjoyed playing bridge and paddle tennis into his mid-80s.
Marvin suffered a fatal stroke while preparing for his weekly tai chi class. His memorial was held at the Schoolhouse Apartments in New Canaan, Conn., his home since 2010. —Dick Banfield ’46
George D. Fox ’49
My father, George Dewey Fox ’49, passed away peacefully on Jan. 7 at 93, surrounded by family. Dad was born in Dracut, Mass., in 1926, son of Warren Wyman Fox, class of 1904. He raised our family in Topsfield, Mass., then Sudbury, Mass., where he lived for more than 50 years. He graduated from Dracut High School, and then from Amherst.
From 1943 to 1945 he served in the U.S. Army, ultimately in the supply department at Ellington Field (Texas). That led him into a career in purchasing, including employment with Sperry Corp./Unisys and Raytheon Co. He was president of Purchasing Management Association of Boston from 1970 to 1971 and recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the Association’s highest honor, in 1977.
Dad and my mother, Natalie Fox, were married from 1946 until her death in 2013. They had four children and seven grandchildren, including myself, wife Jane and children Willie and Amanda; and my three sisters: Meredith Fox, husband Richard Finkelstein (both Williams ’75) and children A.J. and Lucy; Linda Fox Pobuda, husband Larry and children Kate and Ben; and Alison Fox, husband Philip Zekos and daughter Zoe. George was predeceased by his brother, Roswell ’46, in 1997.
Dad will be remembered as thoughtful, wise and gracious. He enjoyed spending time with family, keeping up with the news and sports and socializing. He often visited Amherst, particularly enjoying attending football games. He played golf and tennis and enjoyed hiking and travel, especially around New England. He was a longstanding member of the Appalachian Mountain Club and loved their Three Mile Island Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, where he vacationed annually for most of his life. George was a longtime member of Memorial Congregational Church in Sudbury, where he and Natalie developed some of their closest friendships.
We shall miss him greatly and are thankful for the many memories that he helped to create. —Jim Fox ’72
Robert W. Speier ’49
Robert Walker Speier, 95, of Whittier, Calif., died at his home Nov. 1, 2019, of heart failure. He passed peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his family.
Born on May 15 in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was the son of the late Charles and Gladys (Walker) Speier. Robert was a radio operator, staff sergeant, in the 327th Ferrying Squadron of the Army Air Force, stationed in southern France, Italy and North Africa. He received the theater service medals and was honorably discharged at 21 in 1945.
In 1957, at age 33, Robert married Marcia King in Westfield, N.J. They had met while studying at Yale. They had three children, Naomi, Brooks and Grant.
Robert was a graduate of Garden City High School, a 1949 graduate of Amherst and a 1955 B.F.A. and M.F.A. grad of Yale. He received his M.A. from Hotchkiss, where he was the art instructor from 1956 to 1962.
From 1962 until 1970 he was at the University of Washington. He then chaired the art department at Whittier College from 1970 to 1990. His career as a painter spanned several decades. This was his passion; he finished his last painting in 2019.
He was passionate about life, inspired all ages in conversation and embraced the future. He daydreamed about living in Avignon, France, enjoying the wine and traveling throughout Europe. A lifelong lover of hi-fi music, he constantly adjusted his stereo speakers to get the perfect sound. He played tennis until age 90 and watched all the football and tennis matches. He was witty, clever and a joy to be around.
He is survived by daughter Naomi and son Brooks, along with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A private service will be held in the future.—Jason W. Ashley
Edward H. Rowen Jr. ’50
Ed passed away on Dec. 11, 2019, in Arizona from heart failure. He was 92.
Born in New Haven, Conn., he prepped at Staunton Military Academy and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Ed joined Chi Phi at Amherst and went on to earn a master’s degree. His entire career was spent with Warnaco. When he retired in 1988, he was director of quality assurance for upwards of 14 plants worldwide in the intimate apparel division.
Widowed from Jeannine Lefebvre in 1999, he married Vera Ann Anderson in 2002 in Chapin Chapel at Amherst, in a ceremony performed by the Rev. Thayer Greene ’50. Ed and Vera Ann then enjoyed their time at either a house on the ocean in Guilford, Conn., or on the golf course in Sun City Grand, Ariz.
Ed was a warm, engaging person and a strong supporter of our class, invariably attending reunions. He will surely be missed by many.
He is survived by his wife; a stepson, Charles Anderson (wife Teresa); and twin
step-granddaughters. His brother, Don, predeceased him. Ed is also survived by sister-in-law
Jane Rowen, nephew Steven Rowen and niece Donna Hunt. —John Priesing ’50
William F. Woehrlin ’50
For over 31 years, Bill served Carleton College as a professor, retiring in 1993 as Laird Bell Professor of History, specializing in Russia.
At his death at 91 in January of this year, he was called by a colleague “one of the all-time ‘greats’ on the faculty” and by another, “the soul of Carleton College.”
One former student said he “mourned for Bill but also for all the future students deprived of his instruction.” Bill was known for his gripping lectures on Nazi Germany and Russia. He and his wife, Molly, regularly opened their home to the Carleton community. A very talented, caring guy.
Bill came to Amherst from Brooklyn Technical High in New York City. He was president of Theta Delta Chi, played football and lettered as the starting catcher on the baseball squad. He was also elected to Sphinx.
Bill graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a newfound interest in history. He went on to receive an M.A. in 1951 and a Ph.D. in 1961 in history, both from Harvard. He served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1954, training troops bound for Korea. He returned to the town of Amherst as an instructor in history at the University of Massachusetts before moving on to Carleton.
In retirement, Bill helped found and organize the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium in the Northfield, Minn., area. A very popular lecturer, he concentrated on delving into Russian novels as he grew older.
Bill’s wife, Molly, a Smith graduate, died in 2016. He is survived by daughter Helen; daughter Sue and her partner, Elizabeth Burke; son Peter; son Alex and his fiancé, Linda Larson; and many nieces and nephews. —John Priesing ’50
Dean S. Woodman ’50
Dean “Woody” Woodman died Dec. 19, 2019, after suffering an aortic rupture.
He was born to a Quaker family and attended Moses Brown, a Quaker prep school in Providence, R.I. After graduating from Amherst with a double major in economics and English literature, Dean joined the U.S. Navy. During the Korean War, he became a carrier-based F-9 Cougar jet pilot. He accumulated 2,100 hours of flying time with 176 carrier landings, acquiring the call sign “Blue Leader.”
After leaving the Navy in 1956, Dean had a successful banking career. He started in New York City with Merrill Lynch. In 1965 he opened a Merrill Lynch branch banking office in San Francisco, the first West Coast branch investment banking office in the history of Wall Street banking. Dean’s office became the principal banker for many large national clients.
In 1978 he left Merrill Lynch and became one of the founders of several very successful investment banking firms. In 1993, along with his son, Nick, Dean was the cofounder of GoPRO, at that time the fastest-selling sports video camera.
In 2013, Dean, a fifth-generation graduate of the school, along with his wife, Jane, gave Moses Brown School the largest gift in its 235-year history, creating a 500-seat performance center that hosts intellectual events for Moses Brown and the broader Providence community. He also contributed to the complete renovation of the school’s library, which had been created by his great-grandfather, August Jones, ca. 1900, then headmaster.
Dean’s obituary states, “Dean exhibited a dedication to principle and held himself to the highest personal standards. He filled his homes with wonderful music and a pile of great books. He had a memorable sartorial style, made friends easily and kept them forever.” —Andy Scholtz ’50
William S. McFeely ’52
It is with deep sorrow that I report the death of Bill McFeely, one of the most distinguished members of our class and of our parent, Amherst College, since the days of its inception. Bill’s father was an alumnus of Amherst (1920), as were his son, Drake ’76, and grandson Matthew ’05.
After Amherst, Bill enjoyed success as a banker in New York City, but decided he needed a change of direction that would contribute to social progress in this country. He was accepted by Yale for its doctoral program under C. Vann Woodward, one of the primary academic leaders of the civil rights movement. Bill followed Woodward’s footsteps in a most distinguished way, promoting black studies with vigor and much success. Bill stayed on at Yale for four years after receiving his doctorate, during which time he taught Henry Louis Gates Jr., the great Harvard scholar.
After Yale, Bill became dean of Mount Holyoke College, where his combined academic and financial background was important during a difficult transition in the college’s management. He also became an outstanding professor in its history department. His seminal biography of Ulysses S. Grant won Bill a Pulitzer Prize as well as an honorary doctorate from Amherst.
After 16 years at Mount Holyoke, Bill left for the University of Georgia, where he taught for a little more than a decade. Retiring from active academic life, he became a fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and a scholar at Harvard’s African-American Studies Institute.
With Amherst now focusing so much on diversity and inclusion, it is a matter of great pride that our classmate was one of the earliest and most effective promoters of black studies. —Bill Smethurst ’52
Frank M. Child ’53
Frank met his wife, Julia, when the two biologists were in their 20s and working in the summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Julia told me that Frank courted her by bringing snacks to her while she was working on a nocturnal lab project. These meetings became a commitment not only to a 59-year marriage but also to their return every summer to Woods Hole, frequently at the MBL, and then to retirement in the town. When I spoke with Frank last year, he was still doing research at the MBL on cilia, working on a textbook and reading Roman history.
Frank prepared for Amherst at Teaneck (N.J.) High School. He majored in biology; joined the Lord Jeff Club, choir and glee club; was active in WAMF, Philosophy Club, Pre-Academic Club and Debating Council; and, with the Masquers, performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
After his Amherst graduation, magna cum laude, Frank earned his doctorate in biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to a long career teaching at the University of Chicago and at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., while also often doing research at Woods Hole.
Frank loved to sail from the local yacht club and to act with the local theater company. He served as president of both Great Meadows Trust in Connecticut for wetland conservation and of Samaritans of Cape Cod for suicide prevention.
His obituary cites Frank and Julia’s extensive travel and notes, “Their accomplished bridge playing reflected their ardent partnership in life.”
Frank died on Jan. 18, leaving Julia and their three children, Malcolm, Alice and Rachel, and five grandchildren. —George Edmonds ’53
Stephen C. Coy ’53
Steve Coy came to Amherst from the Landon School in Bethesda, Md., and, as an English major, became well-known while participating in WAMF, Sabrina and the Masquers—the latter setting him on the path to a long career in the theater.
With the Masquers, though, Steve’s wife, Jamme, claims he found a series of small roles a good way to meet girls at the all-male college.
After Amherst, Steve was in the army for two years and became a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. A brief job-testing at Life magazine while also doing some theater in Connecticut then led him to Yale School of Drama and a reunion with Curt Canfield, class of 1925, who had left Amherst to lead the school. After Steve earned his master’s and doctorate degrees, he began his 30-some-year college teaching career, in the midst of which he directed more than 60 plays. He began at Amherst for two years as director in residence and then mostly as department chair at Skidmore and Hampden-Sydney. There, from 1981 to 1993, he met the challenge of being the first chair of a newly formed fine arts department.
In retirement, Steve enjoyed and was honored for acting in 30 plays in the Richmond area, often with his actress wife, Jamme.
For Steve’s classmates, his Oscar-winning role was as cast member, along with Bob Carington ’53 and Tuck Caswell ’53, in The Compleat Works of Wilm Shkspr (abridged), presented so hilariously at the class’s 50th reunion.
Steve died on Feb. 3, leaving Jamme, son Stephen and brother Wayne. —George Edmonds ’53
John B. Holcomb ’53
John passed away on Jan. 16, 2020, in Williamsburg, Va. His wife, Jane, had died in 2004. He leaves sons Michael, David and Robert; their wives, Petra, Paula and Brona; three married grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
John prepared for Amherst at Massena (N.Y.) High School, majored in history, joined Phi Delta Theta and the Outing Club, ran track and was captain of the ski team, for which he ski-jumped. Fraternity brother Mike Johnson ’53 remembers John as one of the regular guys and a steady friend with Nate Dickinson ’53 and Mike.
After Amherst, John earned his D.M.D. at Washington University, and served in the Navy as a line officer for four years and as a dental officer for 17 years. He retired from the Navy as a captain. Then, for 14 years, he was a professor, teaching orthodontics at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, where he must have set a record for popularity, as those 14 years of students voted him Professor of the Year every year.
With Jane, he retired to the four-season Wintergreen Resort south of Charlottesville, Va., a rural place, as he wrote, where there were no traffic lights and where they could enjoy skiing, tennis and golf as well as a variety of indoor activities. He volunteered there on the boards of the performing arts center and rescue squad, and he served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. John spent his last years in a retirement community in Colonial Williamsburg.
As his family describe John—loving his most treasured companion, Jane, and valuing his time with all his family; enjoying traveling, golfing, skiing and going to the Outer Banks, N.C.; and being “a dignified man who consistently put others before himself”—“he was an irreplaceable part in the lives of those he left.” —George Edmonds ’53
David R.L. Simpson ’54
We have been notified of the death of Dave Simpson on Jan. 24 at Hartford Hospital. Dave was among the White Plains (N.Y.) High School contingent who entered Amherst in the fall of 1950. He used to say he was an afterthought of a visit there by Dean Wilson but happy to have been chosen. He joined Phi Gam and was a French major, graduating magna cum laude and earning election to Phi Beta Kappa. As a member of the golf team, he was awarded the “A.” Other activities were participation in the glee club and concert choir, the Debate Council, WAMH, the Christian Association and the Amherst Christian Fellowship. He was a chapel monitor, and strict: no cheating on attendance. (I tried.)
Dave next spent a year in France on a Fulbright at the University of Dijon while receiving an M.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, followed by a stint in the Army in G2 in Berlin, acquiring the Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant.
In 1959 he began a 35-year career on the faculty of Loomis Chaffee School. Not only was he proficient in French, he also spoke Italian, German and Spanish and appreciated poetry. He held membership in the American Association of Teachers of French. Dave loved opera and classical music; he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and sang professionally at a number of churches in Connecticut. He was a strong supporter of the Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools.
Dave was single for his entire life, and we are unaware of any surviving relatives. —Hank Tulgan ’54
Robert Y. Fox ’55
Bob came to Amherst with a large group of classmates from Deerfield Academy. As an undergraduate, he was a Phi Gam, majored in American studies and earned Phi Beta Kappa honors. Along the way, Bob was in the glee club and worked on the Student staff. After Amherst, he went to Harvard Law School, graduating in 1958. His working days were spent in the legal departments of Burroughs Welcome and General Foods.
In 1976, Bob married Kathy Naeff. When Bob retired in 1989, they moved to the Upper Valley of the Connecticut River near Dartmouth. Except for a short stint of full-time living in Tucson, Bob spent his remaining years there. Bob and Kathy enjoyed taking adult education classes at Dartmouth.
Bob was a loyal classmate. He served two five-year terms as class secretary and was a regular at homecoming and reunions. In his retirement years, Bob served on the boards of several nonprofits. He spent eight years with SCORE in Lebanon, N.H., as chapter president and as a small business counselor.
Bill Duffy ’55 and Bob both went to Harvard Law School, where the two classmates decided to go camping together one summer in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Bill was assigned to buy a pup tent for shelter. Unfortunately, he purchased a tent with two left sides, leading to an uncomfortable, make-shift shelter for the night. Another night the two of them pitched their tent on a dry riverbed. In the middle of the night, a thunderstorm turned the riverbed status from dry to flooded. The two smart law school students spent the remainder of a long night huddled under a couple of picnic benches, attempting to prevent getting completely soaked. That proved the old adage: Harvard Law grads do not know everything about everything!
Bob died unexpectedly on Dec. 11, 2019. —Rob Sowersby ’55
William Henry Francisco Jr. ’55
Amherst was good to me in many ways but was at its best when it paired me with roommate Bill Francisco, who lost a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease on Nov. 21, 2019. Bill had been, while in high school, a professional radio announcer at his hometown (Middletown, Conn.) station. His gifted delivery and experience at the microphone landed him paying stints on WHMP, the Northampton station that built a satellite studio in Amherst, where Bill and I teamed for a regular program.
Radio wasn’t the only outlet for Bill’s talents—he took to the stage, co-writing and starring in our Freshman Show. Bill claimed he was “born at Kirby Theater,” and, in that Amherst setting, he ran the gamut from singing and dancing to Othello’s villainous Iago. So much “the Actor” was Bill that, when his black hair started to go prematurely gray, classmates assumed “he was doing it for a play.”
The Yale School of Drama was Bill’s post-graduate choice, and there he earned the first of two master’s degrees. The second was from Wesleyan, where he gained tenure as a professor in the theater department. Between academic stints, he racked up a remarkable string of varied directorial efforts—opera in San Francisco and PBS documentary films in New York. He directed TV’s venerable The Guiding Light and countless regional theater successes in many venues.
We were lifelong friends. Bill was best man at my 1958 wedding, and my first-born (1960) son is his namesake.
In retirement, Bill kept in touch with many of the actors, now “stars,” who had been his students. He also took up painting and became active in RSVP—Retired Senior Volunteer Program—helping the elderly, many of whom, he remarked, “were younger than I was.” —Fred Hertz ’55
Richard S. Heilman ’55
We first met on an “endless” train trip from Philadelphia to Northampton in September 1951 for our freshman year. That meeting resulted in our becoming roommates, fraternity brothers and lifelong friends. During our working years, our main time of contact was at our five-year class reunions. It was the kind of friendship that did not need constant tending. After we both retired and became minimally competent at email, we would exchange thoughts and concerns about politics and activities on the Amherst campus. After various health challenges, Dick would send out medical bulletins which could be fully appreciated only by his medical friends and colleagues. Dick had a quiet and thoughtful approach to events and issues, and his responses to them were often delivered with a small, knowing smile. Our last email exchanges were in early January in what Dick labeled “the deadly Christmas letter,” which set forth the current exploits of our children and grandchildren. After a near-death experience, Dick was quick to thank his wife of 60-plus years, Barbara, for his recovery. Ironically, in our exchanges we would often congratulate ourselves for not being the subject of Rob Sowersby’s mortuary emails.
Dick died on Feb. 7, due to a staph infection. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Beta fraternity, majored in biology, played squash and was on the Intramural Council. After Amherst he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. In 1968, he came to the University of Vermont Medical School where he was a professor of radiology for 33 years. Dick was a marathoner, running in 35 marathons, including seven in Boston. While studying in Boston in the 1960s, he met Barbara Davis, whom he married in 1968. She survives him, as do their two daughters and four grandchildren. —John Halsted ’55
Michio Mizoguchi ’55
“Mike” came to the College in 1953 as a foreign student after studying at Tokyo University. He was born in New York City on Oct. 31, 1929. As an undergraduate, Mike was a member of the Lord Jeff Club, majored in political science and was secretary of the Debating Council. John Hammond ’55 remembers that “Mike tended to be quiet, always soft spoken, kind and tactful. When I expressed an interest in coming to Japan someday, possibly as a missionary, he gently suggested I come as something else.”
After Amherst, Mike spent 40 years working as a Japanese diplomat, retiring in 1996. He served in seven countries, including three stints in Washington, D.C. After retirement, Mike worked as an adviser to Japan’s largest construction company and the Japan Chamber of Commerce. Mike was also active with several Asian and international Chamber of Commerce organizations. His interests were travel, reading, golf, bridge and playing Go.
Mike died in Japan on Oct. 18, 2019. He is survived by his wife, Fumiko, whom he married in 1959, four children and their families. —Rob Sowersby ’55
Horace C. “Hod” Moses III ’55
Hod was destined to attend Amherst early on since his father was in the class of 1929. Hod passed away peacefully from complications of Parkinson’s disease on Jan. 19, three days after his 86th birthday.
As an undergraduate, Hod was a member of Chi Phi, where he served as chapter president. He was also president of the glee club and a mathematics major. Hod was a regular at our class reunions and often would return to the College for homecoming gatherings.
In 1955, Hod began a career in pharmaceutical sales with the Kendal Co., which was later acquired by Colgate-Palmolive. He dedicated his working days to the healthcare industry and retired in 1990 as president of Colgate’s pharmaceutical division. Hod was actively involved with the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services, serving on its board for 11 years, including three as chair.
In 1972, Hod and his parents completed construction of a vacation home in New London, N.H. This provided many years of treasured memories for his family and became his permanent residence beginning in 1990. There, Hod was known for his conviviality and hospitality, not to mention his bartending and barbecuing techniques. His favorite pastimes include fishing, reading, tennis and doing The New York Times crossword puzzles.
In retirement, Hod developed a keen interest in travel. Between April 1994 and May 2015, Hod and wife Lela took 13 trips with Katie and Hugh Moulton ’55. Often it was an annual trip to a destination of interest that none of them had visited before. On several of those trips, the four were joined by Birgitta and Dom Paino ’55 and Jocelyne and François Steeg ’55.
Hod is survived by his wife of 47 years, Lela; three children, including Mary ’81 and Louise ’87; and their families. —Hugh Moulton ’55 and Rob Sowersby ’55
David M. Van Hoesen ’55
Dave was born in Boise, Idaho, but grew up and spent his adult years in California. He came to Amherst with the class of 1953 and joined a U.S. Marine reserve outfit freshman year. The Korean War caused his group to be activated from 1950 to 1952; Dave rose to the rank of sergeant. Upon his return to the College in 1952, he affiliated with our class. While an undergraduate, Dave was in the Deke fraternity, majored in physics and was involved with the crew, cross-country, sailing and Christian Association organizations. His outstanding talents were on display in the pool, where he was the top diver on the swim team.
After Amherst, Dave returned to California and graduated from Stanford Law School. He settled in the East Bay section of metro San Francisco, where he practiced construction business law for 32 years. Dave represented contractors, owners, engineers and suppliers chasing money on construction projects. He also did estate planning work and arbitrated cases for local courts.
In the summer of 1954, Dave met Kay Gaskin, a sophomore at Mount Holyoke, on a boat to Europe. They were together for the rest of their lives, marrying in December 1955. The Van Hoesens bought a home in Orinda, Calif., and lived in it thereafter. Dave used his knowledge of homebuilding to put an addition on this house and to construct a cabin in Soda Spring, Calif. It was there Dave suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke on Dec. 23, 2019, and died two days later. Dave is survived by Kay, their four children and their families.
Dave admirably served as our class agent for a number of years. Shep Sheppard ’55 remembers Dave as having a good sense of humor and being willing to step forward to help others. —Rob Sowersby ’55
Hans Anthony “Toni” Huber ’56
We lost Toni Dec. 27, a loss that has left a giant hole in the life of all who knew him and couldn’t help loving him. This was no ordinary man. Toni had an easy, original and irresistible charm. He was extremely funny and didn’t know how to tell a dull story. It was hard not to love him.
“Toni Hans Anthony Huber is my name and bold adventure is my game,” he would announce on almost a daily basis. He was a pilot, boatman, woodworker, ace skier and excellent marksman. He knew flora, fauna, geography and physics and did end-of-the week New York Times crosswords.
“Parfait du shay.” “Habo gazabeo.” “Check blamp.” Don’t know what these phrases mean? Neither did anyone else in his family; Toni managed to be both a terrible curmudgeon and a very jolly man. To him, the glass was always three-quarters full. He never complained. His powerful personality ruled the world around him. It was (almost always) a joy to be in his orbit.
Toni is survived by his four daughters, Lisa, Shelley, Catherine and Andrea; six grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and his wife, Laurel, who will miss him every second of every day for the rest of her life.
We last saw Toni two years ago when he drove from Maine to St. Sauveur, Quebec, to come see me. He stayed a couple of days, and we had a wonderful time with remembrances, toasts and new stories. It was always our intention to return the visit. I spoke to him in early December, not long before we left for the winter. He was cheerful as usual. We were taken by complete surprise when we heard the news; it will be some time before we will be able to fully realize and process our loss. —Allister McLellan ’56
Cornelius S. Hurlbut IV ’56
Neil died Nov. 27 from complications associated with mesothelioma. The latter is caused by exposure to asbestos, which for Neil probably occurred more than 60 years ago while aboard ship in the Navy. That said, he was active and vital up until the last few weeks of his life.
Neil came to Amherst from Belmont Hill School, pledged Theta Delt, majored in history and played tennis (captain, senior year) and basketball. Upon graduation, he spent three years in the Navy, after which he joined the Travelers Insurance Co., where he rose quickly through the management ranks, retiring in 1988. Neil and his then-wife, Liz, had two children, Chris and Hope. He is also survived by two granddaughters, Sophie and Nikki; a younger brother, Marc; and a younger sister, Patty.
Neil spent 23 of the last 28 years living in Tucson, Ariz., where he and his now deceased wife, Barbara, made a life for themselves playing tennis, traveling the world and enjoying family and friends. In 2015, Neil met Natalie Ashburn, and the two became essentially inseparable, traveling extensively in Europe and in 2019 cruising through the Panama Canal. A few years ago, Neil added pickle ball to his athletic skills, with Natalie joining him to make a most formidable mixed-doubles tandem.
Always an exceptionally talented athlete, Neil is arguably the best tennis player ever to attend Amherst College: witness his three national No. 1 age rankings, four selections to the U.S. World Cup Team resulting, 12 personal national championships and two world team titles. Recently, his tennis club in Tucson honored Neil by establishing its main court as “Neil’s Court” with a nice plaque so stating.
As an ambassador for his sport, his college and his community, no one could ask for better representation than Neil Hurlbut. —Peter Levison ’56
Richard T. “Chuck” McCarthy ’56
Chuck died Dec. 17—peacefully, courageously and with equanimity after a long illness. He is survived by Pat, his wife of 64 extraordinarily close and happy years; son Kevin ’81; daughter-in-law Kate; and grandson Bob.
At Amherst he was a Chi Phi, majored in history, played basketball and was a ROTC participant. After his mandatory U.S. Air Force stint, he began a successful career in the plastics industry, a 60-year profession he never left because of his many close client relationships and their deep respect for his integrity.
David Schwartz ’56 and Chuck were lab partners in sophomore geology. Neither could tell one rock from another, but they laughed and bonded, struggling through the course. Chuck loved the College, attending many Amherst events and volunteering his energy to make our reunions successful.
Upon graduation, the USAF assigned us to Ellington AFB, Houston, where the relationship between the four of us, (including Pat—they married before graduation) was cemented. A Sunday ritual was going to the Galveston beach, drinking beer; returning, Chuck would lead us in song; and we can easily recall his voice booming one of his favorites: “Bung, bung, bung, bung, bung. Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream…”
We shared a lifetime of joyous get-togethers: parties at the McCarthys’ Longmeadow home, homecoming gatherings, family celebrations, ski trips and annual summer weekends at the Lewis’ Cooperstown lakefront home. Chuck relished life, his friends, good food, travels with Pat, reading, crossword puzzles, golf, fishing and much more.
He was a great storyteller, always laughing and reliving our adventures over the years, and a fine, competitive athlete (as his golfing friends know). He lived and breathed the Red Sox, Patriots and Boston Celtics (owned by Wyc Grousbeck, son of Irv Grousbeck ’56).
Our hearts are sad at losing Chuck, but we will forever smile, cherishing memories of his company, humor, warmth and friendship. —David Schwartz ’56 and William Lewis ’56
Robert L. Asher ’57
Bob Asher, 83, died on Dec. 6, 2019, from complications of respiratory failure exacerbated by a fall. Known as “Yogi” during our college years, he majored in economics, joined the Deke fraternity and was an announcer on WAMF. After college, Bob served in the U.S. Air Force, after which he hosted a radio show on WDOV in Dover, Del. By the early 1960s, Bob was firmly ensconced in his career with the Washington Post. He rose from copy boy, to reporter, to senior editorial board member, covering local politics.
In 1972, Bob taught journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C. This gig would last as a part-time job for 30 years. He would mentor many students, some of whom, including Benilde Little, became well-known writers.
In 1991, Bob was awarded the Eugene Meyer Award, which recognizes Washington Post employees with at least 12 years of service, for best exemplifying the principles of Eugene Meyer, owner and publisher until his death in 1963.
In 1963, Bob married Jane Deegan, who worked at the Post for cartoonist Herb Block. They lived in Washington, D.C., and owned a house in Rehoboth Beach, Del. They had a son, Bobby, a teacher at Georgetown Day School, and a daughter, Julie, a TV personality in Washington for the French TV broadcasting company TF1. The next level of progeny included six charming granddaughters who exhibited their charm and poise at Bob’s memorial service, held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 25.
Bob was active in our class, attended most of our reunions and served a term as class co-secretary. He will be missed for his fellowship, humor and friendship. The class extends its deepest sympathy to his widow,
Jane; his son, Bobby; his daughter, Julie; and his grandchildren, Andie, Madison,
Ellie, Emma, Jamie and Cate. —Chuck Evans ’57
Lewis Emerson Knight ’57
Lewis Emerson “Kif” Knight, 84, of Durham, N.H., died Sept. 6, 2019, of systemic amyloidosis, having survived 25 years after being treated for widespread melanoma. He is survived by his wife, Anne Haskell Knight; three children, Christopher Knight ’85, Catherine Haig and Julie Swart; and 10 grandchildren, including Lauren Knight ’20. He was predeceased by his brother, Joseph “Smitty” Knight ’56. He was an intelligent, empathetic, funny, unpretentious man who laughed and carried others with him in laughter. An enduring quality of Kif’s character was his loyalty and dedication to his friends and family.
At Amherst, Kif distinguished himself as an outstanding defensive guard on the winning (17–3) varsity basketball team, as treasurer and vice president of Chi Psi fraternity and as co-chair (with Jack Wilber ’57) of the Fraternity Business Management Committee, improving financial and contractual systems under their leadership. Kif graduated with a B.A. in mathematics and with a passion for teaching mathematical concepts, especially to those with math anxiety.
After serving in the U.S. Army and Reserves, he earned master’s (MAT, Harvard) and doctoral (Ed.D., Stanford) degrees in math education. He obtained teaching positions at Winchester High School (1962) and then at the Thompson School (University of New Hampshire), where he was named Teacher of the Year. He served on the faculty of UNH (Manchester and Durham) until 2005, where he received the Balomenos Memorial Award (1997) honoring teaching excellence in New England. He also edited math textbooks for Addison-Wesley Publishing. —Peter N. Walsh ’57
Donald Chase Jenkins ’59
Donald Chase Jenkins, a longtime resident of Bronxville, N.Y., passed away on Dec. 16, 2019, after a short illness.
Don grew up in Schenectady, N.Y., one of four sons of William and Pearl Hathaway Jenkins. He attended Albany Academy and graduated from Deerfield Academy, where he captained the varsity basketball team. After graduating from Amherst, where he majored in history, he attended business school at the University of Hartford. Don spent most of his career as a financial analyst for the investment banker and philanthropist William T. Golden and later for the investment firm run by Mario Gabelli. Don and his wife, Carla Donkin Jenkins, a graduate of Smith College whom he married in 1961, raised three sons, who attended the Bronxville Schools: McKay ’85, now an author and professor of environmental studies at the University of Delaware; Brian, a technology businessman in Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Denny, a general surgeon in Virginia Beach, Va.
A lifelong (and long-suffering) fan of the Boston Celtics and New York Giants, Don was also an avid (and long-suffering) tennis player and a champion bowler at the Bronxville Field Club, where he served for many years as president. In addition, he was an avid gardener and longtime member of the town’s Working Gardeners Club. A deeply intelligent and well-read observer of economic and world affairs, Don was visibly pleased when his son McKay and grandson Steedman ’23 joined the Amherst family.
Don is survived by two brothers, his three sons, three daughters-in-law, seven nieces and nephews and nine grandchildren. —McKay Jenkins ’85
Donald M. Sykes Jr. ’59
Skip Sykes died Nov. 26, 2019, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Frances; three children; their spouses; and seven grandchildren.
A native of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., Skip graduated from Episcopal Academy, Merion, Pa. At Amherst, Skip majored in American studies, was a member of Alpha Delta Phi and was named an All-American soccer player his senior year. He later established the Amherst College Class of 1959 Soccer Fund.
After college, Skip taught and coached varsity soccer at Episcopal, where his teams won several Inter-Academic League championships.
He then earned an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to leadership, academic and coaching positions at St. George’s School, after which he served as head of school at St. Edmund’s Academy and then Rumson Country Day School. He also served on the boards of the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools and the SSAT.
Following these engagements, Skip established his own independent educational consulting firm, co-managed a privately owned reliever airport in Virginia and thereafter acted as interim head of Pennington School and then Montgomery School.
For over 30 years, Skip also sat on the board of trustees of the Oceanic Free Library in Rumson, first as secretary and then as president, and was always active in the church where he lived.
On a personal note, Skip and I knew each other from our Episcopal days and then roomed together for all four years at Amherst (which probably says a lot about our relationship). We kept in touch through the years, and I should add that to me he was simply a special, caring friend and wonderful human being. What a loss! —Dick Bond ’59
Stephen L Nisbet ’60
Stephen Nisbet died on Dec. 1, 2019, from injuries suffered from an automobile accident in Grand Rapids, Mich. At Amherst, Steve was an economics major and member of Alpha Delta Phi. While he hoped that his admission was based on his “outstanding academics, extracurricular activities and determination,” he suspected that his father’s classmate, Dean Eugene Wilson, may have been a key factor.
Following Amherst, Steve took a marketing position at Quaker Oats. Shortly thereafter, he entered Navy OCS, where he received some praise when his unit was inspected by an Amherst classmate who was company commander. He did well enough in Navy Supply School to have a “remarkable two-year stint in Hawaii with travel in the Far East.” After directing marketing for a small Atlanta firm, Steve and an Amherst fraternity brother joined in a business partnership, but “the 70-plus-hour weeks led to divorce and a midlife career correction.”
Steve joined government service in the IRS, where he worked in the returns department as a manager. He retired shortly after 9/11. Thereafter, he did volunteer work for a local food pantry, our local hospital and various church projects. His hobby was woodworking—he especially enjoyed making toys and games for his nieces and nephews.
After 35 years of being single, Steve met and married his widowed sister’s husband’s sister, Peg Saupe Nisbet, leading him to wonder if he had become “my own brother-in law.” He moved northward to Ohio, where he and Peg made a busy life, “volunteering and traveling to Eastern Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and all around the good old USA.” —Dick Weisfelder ’60
Clergue Jones ’63
Clergue Jones died Dec. 12 in Bangor, Maine, after a long illness. When at Amherst, Clergue hated it—or so he wrote in letters published in the 20th- and 25th-year class of 1963 reunion books. However, Clergue, in the second letter, did add that his Amherst education “contributes enormously to my life.” And a varied life it was.
Born in Washington, D.C., Clergue came from Phillips Exeter to Amherst in the fall of 1956. He left in January 1958, vowing never to return. After work as a stage technician and study at the University of Chicago, he did return in the fall of 1961.
The second time at Amherst, Clergue lived in Seelye House, “a refuge for deviates and then the only alternative to dorms and fraternities,” he wrote, admitting later that during senior year he actually lived with a girlfriend in an apartment behind the police station. He graduated with the class of 1963.
Clergue recalled vividly the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the roar of B-52s flying overhead while he was studying for his history comprehensives. After graduation, he worked for 17 years in juvenile corrections in New York City. In 1988, he wrote that President Ronald Reagan had “changed the nation’s priorities so that now I am finally doing something useful: selling life insurance, mutual funds and the like.” He then lived briefly in a commune, participated in Brooklyn politics and drove a taxi.
Clergue ended up in Maine. In his 50s, he earned a master’s in public administration from the University of Maine and worked as town manager in Cherryfield, a community of about 1,200 east of Bangor near the Atlantic coast.
He is survived by a daughter, Rachel ’94; a son, Joshua; three grandchildren; a sister; and many other family members. A graveside service was held in Bangor. —Neale Adams ’63
Charles R. Millar ’67
Charles Rosier Millar died in Richmond, Calif., on Dec. 15, 2019, after living with cancer for 12 years. At Amherst, Charlie shared freshman rooms with Mike Driver ’67 and the late Jim Greene ’67. Soon he met the love of his life, Marilala “Laila” Campbell (Mount Holyoke ’68). After two years, Charlie transferred to Marlboro College to complete his B.A., and he later received a master’s in international administration from the School for International Training. Chuck and Laila shared remarkable life adventures and had two children, Annie Dimakatso Millar Desmond, who died of cancer in 2018, and Rowan Campbell Millar.
Like many students at Amherst in the mid-1960s, Charlie was attracted to the College psychologist Roy Heath’s book The Reasonable Adventurer (1964). When he set off for Alaska in the summer of 1965, he put the thesis to the test when, for instance, as a summer forest ranger sent to prevent illicit salmon fishing, he glimpsed poachers once (they escaped) and was treed by a bear. Charlie and Laila hand-built and lived in a lovely log cabin in the woods near Putney and then truly proved their mettle in Botswana, where , through the Mennonite Central Committee, they spent three years. Charlie ran a center for job-skill development and agricultural education. Returning to the States, he received a Ph.D. in psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and such training informed Charlie’s long practice as a most effective counselor. He was also a perceptive teacher and editor, and he had a lifelong passion for small-craft sailing. As he hoped would be his epitaph, Charlie really was a wonderful friend to a great many around the world, always sympathetic and wise while retaining a distinctly quirky and altogether engaging sense of humor. The world is a better place because of Charlie Millar. —Al Roberts ’67
Jeffery J. Tucker ’67
Our classmate and friend Jeffery James “JJ” Tucker died Dec. 11, 2019, after a recurrent illness. He was born in Evanston, Ill., March 27, 1945, and was raised in Houston. He was a graduate of the St. John’s School before matriculating to Amherst. His father, Garrett Jr. ’36; uncles Henry McCormick ’34, Edward Burnell ’33 and James Tucker ’41; and brother Garrett III ’59 were all graduates of the College. A biology major at Amherst, Jeff graduated from Tulane Medical School in 1979 and then returned to Houston, where he trained and then taught and practiced orthopedics for more than 30 years. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. At Amherst, Jeff was a varsity crewman and a loyal brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon. He was an avid hunter, skier and fisherman both in Colorado and in his beloved Texas hill country. He was a member of River Oaks Country Club and St. John the Divine Episcopal Church.
He is survived by his twin daughters, Julia and Catherine; their spouses; and four grandchildren. Also surviving is his wonderful wife, Anne, to whom Jeff was deeply devoted. They met in high school and were married for 52 years.
Jeff’s over-the-top personality matched his 6-foot, 4-inch frame. Physically imposing yet personally gentle, he was a great friend, a wonderful father and a loving husband. He was a highly respected and greatly admired physician. Personally and professionally, he achieved greatness. May his memory be a source of comfort to all his friends and family. —Mike Boxer ’67, Chuck Woodard ’67, Rick Clarke ’67 and John Rhodes ’67
Daniel C. Cochran ’68
Dan Cochran passed away Dec. 1. After graduate work at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and several years in the foreign service, Dan moved to the business world, first with Exxon in 1974 and then with Merrill Lynch, through which he rose to chief administrative officer for the Asia Pacific region. From 2010 to retirement in 2015, he was with UBS in U.S. Wealth Management.
Classmates will remember Dan’s many contributions to our lives on campus, perhaps most visibly as a cheerleader at Amherst football games but also as a mainstay of the editorial board of The Student. Those of us who also knew Dan on the dance floor in the Phi Delt basement on many Saturday evenings will recall his eagerness to bring all into the fun. Many also knew Dan as a good and wise friend.
Dan and his spouse and beloved companion of over 50 years, Greg Sutphin ’71, were mainstays among volunteer leaders in New York, with the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and the Metropolitan Opera, on whose board of trustees Dan served. The Met noted that Dan “was admired by his fellow board members for his deep appreciation for opera and for introducing innumerable friends and colleagues to the art form.” Bringing people together and to things he valued wasn’t limited to opera. The New York Times noted, “Throughout his long career, Dan was an early door opener for African-Americans and for gay people.”
Dan loved his creature comforts, good times with friends and sharing a very sharp sense of humor, but he was also dedicated to helping others, making the world better. Many of us enjoyed the energy he brought to all these dimensions of life at Amherst. The friends, family, co-workers and organizations he joined together and inspired throughout his life will miss that expansive energy. —Edwin B. Fisher Jr. ’68
David Corcoran ’69
David Corcoran, a distinguished journalist and science editor, died of leukemia Aug. 4, 2019, at home in Corrales, N.M. He was 72.
Editors and reporters alike marveled at David’s graceful writing and deft editing touch. Friends delighted in his kindness, insatiable curiosity, wide-ranging intelligence and good humor.
“The main thing about David is, he was the most considerate person in the world,” said his wife, Bonnie Stetson, a high school friend with whom David reconnected in 2009. They married in November 2018.
David is also survived by his brothers, John Corcoran and William Diebold; former wives Susan Cooper and Karrie Olick; and three children—Thomas, Daniel and Kat.
Even when he talked about fighting cancer in the past year, Stetson said, “David always kept his equanimity. ‘I know it sounds crazy,’ he would say, ‘but I am a happy man.’”
An English major, David was an editor and reporter for The Student. After graduation, he joined the Record, an influential New Jersey newspaper, and later led its editorial page. He moved to The New York Times in 1988 and held several top editing positions, including editor of Science Times. He was in the thick of stories like 9/11, the anthrax scare, the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia, the hunt for the Higgs Boson and the Ebola epidemic. He also reviewed New Jersey restaurants.
“He could cut through to the heart of things,” said Alan Finder, a longtime colleague, “but he always did it in a gentle way.”
After “retirement,” David joined the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT and edited The New York Times Book of Science.
David was a Renaissance man—a phrase he’d probably reject, but so be it. Besides all the foregoing, he was a published poet, jazz lover, avid runner, foodie and baseball fan (except for the designated hitter). —Don
David A. Heinlein ’69
Sandy grew up in Central New Jersey and attended Rutgers Prep, where his father was headmaster. He and I (and Paul Machemer ’69 and John Marks ’69) spent our first three years at Amherst living in Morrow, Valentine and Psi U and eating in West. Sandy was Archon (president) of Psi U for a semester our senior year. During our last three years, Sandy and I drove to and from New Jersey on vacation breaks, singing along with Top 40 AM radio tunes.
Sandy was a top student and a wonderful friend. He graduated magna cum laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and particularly excelled in foreign languages—it was hard to grasp that his “entry-level” foreign language course as a freshman was French 49. He pursued Chinese and Japanese courses offered through the Four-College program.
The Sandy we knew in college was transformed by his two years in Japan as a Doshisha Fellow. Afterwards, he returned to New Jersey and spent the rest of his life pursuing his interests in martial arts, calligraphy (in multiple East Asian languages), Japanese, poetry and self-realization. His 2019 poem, A Man of Seventy Years Practices His Martial Arts, catalogs the many things “a man of 70 remembers” after noting at the start: “The man is no longer 25 years old.” Perhaps he spoke for us all.
Although he visited Amherst from time to time, Sandy chose not to return for our 50th—perhaps because he knew that the Sandy we had known in the late ’60s no longer existed. But he still stayed in touch, and still called me Bobby, so, somewhere inside, the essence of our old friend remained. —Bob Dwyer ’69
Marvin M. Gross ’70
Marv Gross passed away on Nov. 5, 2019, succumbing to complications of Type 1 diabetes.
Marv’s Amherst experience foreshadowed his remarkable life as a rabbi and social justice activist. A religion major, graduating cum laude, Marv volunteered at the Northampton State Hospital, spent his junior year abroad at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was active in the Amherst-Smith Hillel and the antiwar movement.
Following graduation, Marv served as a community organizer in Chicago, leading a campaign against redlining and as an organizer and fund-raiser for Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Subsequently, Marv became a rabbi, serving congregations in San Francisco and Glendale, Calif., for many years. He was social action chair of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, leading interfaith and interracial coalitions campaigning for a higher minimum wage and humane treatment of immigrants.
In 1994, Marv left the life of the pulpit rabbi to focus on lifting the homeless. For 21 years, Marv was CEO of Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena, Calif. His vision, inspirational leadership, personal warmth and fund-raising skill enabled the transformation of Union Station from a tiny feeding center into the largest and most comprehensive agency serving the homeless in the San Gabriel Valley. Marv’s Place, a unique facility to house homeless families together, is named in his honor.
Marv combined special qualities of passion and pragmatism, warmth and wit and intellect and insight. Following a never-failing moral compass rooted in his commitment to the highest values of Judaism, he served and comforted those most in need. Like Noah, the Torah portion read the week of his death, he was a truly righteous person. I miss our talks and the inspiration he provided. His memory always will be for a blessing. —Larry Sidman ’70
Peter M. Levine ’70
Peter died peacefully, in the company of family and friends, on April 23, 2018, after a long struggle with complications from diabetes.
He came to Amherst from James Madison High School after growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was affectionately known as “Yogi” by his Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers, which was a nickname shared with his brother Carl ’64, also a member of DU.
Peter reminisced fondly about watching basketball games in the cage, throwing shot for the track team and long hours in the chemistry lab working on his honors thesis. He often told the story of how his thesis adviser modified a piece of glassware that allowed him to successfully complete his experiments that would not have been possible otherwise. He prided himself on being somewhat of a nerd and not being a big partier.
On a blind date during his time at Amherst, he met his future wife, Melanie, a student at UMass. After graduation, he and Melanie married. He attended medical school at Tufts, graduating in 1974, just a few days after the birth of his first son, Todd ’96.
Completing an internal medicine residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston, he moved his family to Longmeadow, Mass. Peter was an internist and medical administrator in Springfield, Mass., loved and respected by his patients and colleagues. His biggest strengths were his abilities to connect with people and lead with his heart.
An avid sports fan, he supported his sons (Todd ’96, Evan and Jay) through all of their lacrosse and basketball games and kept his love for watching the Knicks and Giants, despite living in Red Sox and Patriots territory. He fell in love with weekends and vacations spent at the family summer home in Sturbridge, Mass., where he could be seen floating and swimming peacefully on Quacumquasit Lake. —Todd Levine ’96, Carl Levine ’64 and Paul Levine ’92
Neil P. Parent ’74
Our great friend Neil Parent died on Jan. 30. Neil was born in Shrewsbury, Mass. He led a colorful life, both before and after Amherst. Before setting foot on campus in the spring of 1973, he had flunked out of UMass twice and worked as a private detective and a Manhattan art dealer, and as personal assistant to renowned artist Chuck Close. He’d also married and fathered a son, whose existence he learned of only within the past several years.
Though he joined our class late, Neil quickly found a circle of friends. He and his wife, Cynthia, were soon Phi Gam regulars, and he followed Bill and Bronc onto the rugby pitch. Neil was a born raconteur; his ready wit and engaging personality, as well as his wide-ranging intellectual curiosity and love of argument, made him a lively companion and a regular at fraternity taps.
After law school at Boston University, he joined Brown & Wood in New York, served a brief stint as a corporate counsel, then turned to investment banking at Drexel Burnham Lambert. He did well at Drexel, and he and his second wife, Laura, traveled regularly to Europe and indulged their love of sailing with boats in the Hamptons and St. Kitts.
Neil spent most of his working life in Rye, N.Y., where he and Laura raised their daughter, Nora.
Neil’s health deteriorated badly over the past decade; he suffered two strokes and dealt with kidney problems as well. Last May, Neil was told he had six months to live. During the past nine months, he taught us a great deal about life, death and courage. He faced his demise with exceptional grace and equanimity and with the generosity of spirit that marked his entire life. We will miss him terribly. —Dave “Bronco” Werner ’74, Bill Weaver ’74 and Scott Frew ’74
R. Christopher Williams ’74
Our friend and classmate Chris Williams died on Jan. 29 from a massive heart attack while working in his gravel pit in Great Barrington, Mass.
At Amherst, Chris played baseball and football. Teammate and friend Tom Hickey ’74 recalled, “Man, he could hit. I loved watching him spray line drives all over the field.”
As gifted an athlete as he was, Chris Williams was above all a good person and a true friend to all who knew him. His friend Patrick Teague eulogized him with these words: “We will miss our dear, loyal friend, a true gentleman, blessed with the spirit of goodness and kindness and a passion for life.”
After graduating from Amherst, Chris earned a master’s degree in accounting at Northeastern University. In 1976, he and his brother Bill revived W.E. Williams Paving, a company founded by their father. They built it into one of the most respected and successful paving companies in the Berkshires. In 2007, Chris started Chris Williams Excavating, building another successful enterprise with his son Andy.
Chris also served his community, chairing the building committee for the Berkshire South Regional Community Center.
In recent years, Chris spent time with his family and close friends, enjoying his other passion—Maine’s northern woods—where he bought some land and built a cabin.
Many of Chris’s classmates attended his calling hours and memorial services, standing for hours to honor our friend and support his grieving family.
Chris is survived by his wife of nearly 43 years, Phoebe (Kapteyn) Williams, and their children, Andy, Molly and Sam. —Peter Webber ’74
Lawrence D. Nash ’75
Sadly, our classmate Larry Nash died in Seattle on Jan. 17. Larry had struggled following the most recent in a long string of hip and back surgeries, this one a complicated affair with his back.
I’ll never forget Larry. Neither, if you knew him, will you. At high school in Arlington, Va., Larry combined scary smart with selection as captain of both the football and wrestling teams. At Amherst, Larry migrated from football to rugby and continued wrestling for Henry Littlefield, who became a good friend. Freshman year he was that entertaining, even magical, and definitely “want him on your side in event of trouble” floor-mate at Morrow. Later, he was one of those familiar room-bosses at Valentine and senior-year dorm adviser. Larry was fluent in English, Hebrew, French and Spanish.
After college, Larry for many years operated a successful advertising business in Seattle. He retired in 2008 when his largest client, Washington Mutual, went out of business. As figures, Larry served as captain of the Seattle Rugby Club. For the past seven years, he taught Spanish at Rainier Beach (Wash.) High School. He also spent a good deal of time over the years in France and Israel. It was in Israel where, many years past, Larry had the misfortune to be hit as a pedestrian by a motorist, which led to his subsequent surgeries.
I have vivid memories of Larry as a young dad with three small kids. Those children are now grown—the oldest, Jeremy (with two children of his own) resides in Chicago; Benjamin, in London; and Sylvia, who worked with her dad in the advertising business, in Seattle. Larry is also survived by siblings Miriam, Michael and Julie—and by his mate with a good many ties to Amherst, Winnie Chapin Young. —Charlie Davis ’75
Stephen Perniciaro ’75
Steve Perniciaro of Ware, Mass., died on Jan. 16, 2020, after battling prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Shirleen; son Giuseppe; daughter-in-law Alissa; and two grandsons. Steve got a low draft number in the fall of 1971. He subsequently joined ROTC and then spent three years in Germany as an artillery officer and several years in the Army Reserves back in the States. Steve earned his professional engineer designation and worked for many years in the firearms industry. He was an accomplished pianist, achieved a second-degree black belt in karate and was an avid outdoorsman.
Steve, Blake Wilson ’75 and I were roommates in Pratt 108 freshman year. Steve, from Chester, Vt., was the quiet one. Blake recalls that he worked regular hours at a local gas station freshman year. We didn’t see much of Steve since he was very busy working and studying. In the spring of our sophomore year, Steve got married to his high school sweetheart, Shirleen Harrington, in Vermont. Many of his Pratt dormitory friends attended the ceremony. One of the wedding gifts was a set of Amherst College chinaware in use at the time. Steve was a good man, served his country and worked hard at everything he did all his life. May he now rest in peace. —Bruce D. Tahsler ’75
Richard Callanan ’77
Richard Callanan, known to all of us as Cal, passed away Feb. 27 after an 18-month battle with non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma. Cal was from the West Roxbury section of Boston and went to the Roxbury Latin School. That’s where I met him in seventh grade. He and I roomed together in Pratt freshman year. It was our very first night at Amherst, on the porch behind Pratt—with a keg, of course—where we met the guys who became “our group.” We all joined Chi Phi together, studied together, played sports together, worked different jobs together and, of course, partied together. We have been to each other’s weddings, celebrated the ups and shared the downs of our lives, and are still great friends to this day.
Cal and Paula enjoyed 36 years of marriage and made a life for themselves living in Needham, Mass., where Paula is a Realtor. They have two great kids; Sarah lives in Boston and Charlie in Charlotte, N.C. After graduating, Cal joined companies in the medical device industry, most recently Kinetic Concept, selling to some of the country’s biggest and best hospitals in Boston.
Cal was a great friend, one of my very best friends. He will be missed by many, many people. —Chris Buckley ’77
Jeffrey L. Gilfix ’77
Make new friends / But keep the old / One is silver / And the other gold.
Jeff Gilfix was pure gold: funny, engaging, loyal to the core. We met as pledges to Theta Delta Chi. When it came to frat life, Jeff (aka Harpo for his humor and hair, truncated to Po for the economy of syllables) had skills. Back in the day, 18 was the drinking age and 3.2 percent beer was the vice Jeff could monkey chug (drink while hanging upside down) and when lubricated could divide any big number into any giant number instantly. If calculators then existed, he’d blurt out the quotient before you could hit “enter.” That wasn’t his only rathskeller trick: He had an encyclopedic memory of movies (plotlines, actors, awards) and music (song, album, group). He knew Russian literature—books by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov, spines broken by study and piled high—but with the country still in the fog of the Cold War, it was a curious obsession. He could quote esoteric Russian literature and with flawless mimicry recite whole episodes of The Three Stooges.
As often happens with ancient friends, our lives wove in and out of each other’s orbit, but for us, mostly in. I would rely on Jeff to contribute to every conversation, add thoughtfully to debates and flavor the discussion with cascades of dry wit. Despite a vast trove of facts, he would entertain every opinion, and if any were uninformed, he’d never let you know. He was genuine and generous, with a heart many times bigger than his Massachusetts birthplace. Which brings us to Jeff’s only fault: He was a Red Sox fan.
Goodbye, old friend. You proved the poem right—you were gold. —Michael Loeb ’77
Brian J. Austin ’83
Our dear friend Brian Austin passed away on Jan. 27 after a long, courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Brian was born in Pittsburgh and spent his early years in Dudley, Mass., before moving to his permanent hometown of Keene, N.H. True to his New Hampshire roots, Brian and his brothers, Gary and David, enjoyed a traditional upbringing in which academics and athletics were core family values. Brian was a natural athlete, and his love of “everything sports” developed into a passion that would shape his entire career. After a postgraduate year at Exeter, Brian matriculated to Amherst, where he majored in English, caught for the baseball team and was a member of Delta Upsilon. Upon graduation, Brian completed a master’s in sports administration at the University of Massachusetts. For his entire career, Brian continued his love of sport by working in athletic administration at Syracuse, Cornell, Transylvania and Dartmouth.
Our friendship began freshman year in Stearns, and every year since graduation we have gathered for our “Windham Open” golf outing in the Catskills. Windham is a treasured occasion for us to catch up; Brian would always lead with his family and then, inevitably, speak passionately about college athletics.
As a sophomore, Brian met Beverly Blaney ’83 in an economics class. They were married nine years later, and we will always remember Bev’s tears of joy at the altar. Family was always first to Brian; he was fiercely proud of his daughters, Sarah and Kristina, and all they have accomplished. “Austie” was admired by all who knew him for his independence, keen mind, honesty and relentless work ethic. Brian’s personality combined New England stoicism, a great sense of humor and a kind sensitivity. He was well-read and an outstanding writer. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends and colleagues. —John Snow ’83, Mark Fitzpatrick ’83, Jack Arena ’83 and Dave Buonfiglio ’83