Deceased July 25, 2013

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50th Reunion Book Entry

In Memory

John Rather, who had an interesting career as a librarian and antiquarian book dealer, died in Chestertown, Md., on July 25, 2013.

John came to Amherst from Brooklyn, N.Y., and joined the Lord Jeff Club. Following graduation he served in the U.S. Army for three-and-a-half years, principally as a cryptographer in India.

After his release from active duty, he worked in trade magazine editing for five years (Chess Review, travel magazines, Medical Economics) before deciding on a change, due to writer's block.

After receiving an M.A. in library science from Columbia, he joined the Library of Congress as an intern and then as a cataloguer of Spanish and Portuguese books. Aside from three-year stints at the University of Buffalo as assistant director for libraries and at the U.S. Office of Education as a specialist for college and research libraries, John continued to work for the Library of Congress until his retirement in 1976.

He then embarked on a third career as an antiquarian book dealer with a worldwide clientele, specializing in chess, magic and mountaineering. He continued this occupation into the 21st century.

On the personal side, John met Mary Helen Wright in 1952. They were married in 1953 and had two children, Susan and Bruce. Tragically, Mary died of cancer shortly after their 10th anniversary.

John married Lucia Johnson, also a librarian with the Library of Congress, in 1964. She subsequently became head of a Library of Congress division, with 700 employees, and retired in 1991.

In retirement, John and Lucia enjoyed traveling, particularly to Great Britain, while John's principal hobby was participating in backgammon tournaments.

John is survived by his wife, Lucia, and his son, daughter and daughter-in-law, all of whom have Ph.D.s.

Ted Heisler '42

50th Reunion

My war-time service lasted three and a half years, mostly as an Anny Airways Communications System cryptographer in India. Happily discharged, I ventured into trade magazine editing (Chess Review, Travel Magazine, Medical Economics). Five years of that and severe writer's block made a change attractive.

After earning a master's degree in library service at Columbia University in 1951, I joined the staff of the Library of Congress (LC), first as an intern, then as a cataloger of Spanish and Portuguese books. Further graduate study lured me back to Columbia in 1954. Then came positions as assistant director for libraries at the University of Buffalo, 1956-58, and specialist for college and research libraries with the U.S. Office of Education, 1959-61. Coming full circle, I returned to LC in 1962 as assistant chief of my former cataloging division. Subsequently, I became assistant chief, then chief of a research office at LC, supporting development of the use of computers to control bibliographic data.

Retiring in 1976, I embarked on a third career as an antiquarian book dealer specializing in chess, magic and mountaineering with a world-wide clientele. This caters to my personal interests and uses expertise acquired during a life of dedicated dabbling.

In 1952, I met Mary Helen Wright of Davenport, Iowa, at LC and we married in 1953. Our children, Susan and Bruce, were born in Buffalo. Tragically, Mary died of cancer shortly after our tenth anniversary and her 35th birthday.

In 1964, I married Lucia Porcher Johnson, who had been a cataloger at LC five years before my return. Despite admirably filling the role of instant mother to my five- and seven-year-old children, she continued her career with characteristic intelligence, energy, and effective interpersonal skills. Advancing steadily, largely in library automation, she became Director for Cataloging overseeing divisions comprising some 700 staff members and participating in efforts to promote international library cooperation. She retired last January and is now toiling on a dissertation for a doctorate in U.S. diplomatic history.

In fact, I will soon be surrounded by Ph.D.s. My daughter Susan graduated with highest honors from Denison University and earned a doctorate in art history at the University of Delaware. An assistant professor at the U Diversity of Texas in Austin, she has a scholarly book in press. Bruce, who graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and his wife are finishing their Ph.D.s on clinical psychology at the University of South Florida.

Lucia and I share a tum-of-the century house with Chelsea, a Shetland sheep dog (child of our old age), Victoria, an imperious cat, and thousands of books. We enjoy traveling, especially to Britain, where business has taken me one or twice a year since 1983. It's a good life!