Deceased November 14, 2019

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In Memory

Jack died unexpectedly on Nov. 14. I first met Jack during rush at Phi Psi, where he later became president. While at Amherst, he managed the lacrosse and swimming teams, was business manager of the Student and was elected to Sphinx. After graduation, he became class secretary.

Jack graduated from Cornell Medical School and spent his entire career in academic medicine, teaching first at Cornell, then at Case Western and finally at Columbia Presbyterian and Harlem Hospital Center in New York City.

Jack met Robert Frost the fall of our freshman year, and they became close friends, with Jack as his driver to many meetings and poetry readings. Jack also met the then-current Lord Jeffery Amherst and said Lord Amherst was the role model who helped shape his life. Jack worked closely with Frost Library at Amherst, where he worked on the bibliographies of Richard Oliver and James Merrill.

Jack retired in 1991 and lived in Water Mill, N.Y., with his husband, Tom Fleming. They also had two beautiful and comforting summer homes in Maine, one in Belfast and one by a lake near Belfast. Jack developed macular degeneration in his later years but continued to read (with help), travel and enjoy life. He always said, “I owe a lot of my good fortune to my Amherst experience.”

Several classmates have shared comments about Jack. Gordie Forbes ’55 said Jack helped him grow as a person and as a Christian. Van Seasholes ’55 remembers that Jack always had a kind word for those he met. Al McLean ’55 described Jack as a “gracious, caring guy whom I always respected and appreciated.”

Amherst awarded him with the Distinguished Service Award in 1986.

He was a true gentleman, kind and caring, and a good friend.

Ted Ruegg ’55