Deceased September 22, 2014

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25th Reunion Book Entry 

In Memory

Allan Damon died at his home in Somers, N.Y., on Sept. 22, 2014, from complications of leukemia and MDS. He passed away swiftly and without pain, preparing to go out for medical-related treatments.

Allan was born the older of identical twins in Ware, Mass., in 1934. (He had an older sister too.) His family moved to Springfield, Mass., where he ultimately graduated from Classical High School in 1952 and where he began dating Claire Poulin during their senior year. He married her in 1957. After Amherst, he spent time at Yale Divinity before earning an M.A. from Columbia University in American History in 1958. Allan then taught American history for 33 years at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y., retiring in June 1991. Upon retirement, he completed his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia in 1994 and spent many years as a trustee and treasurer of the National Council for History Education. In addition, he was a researcher, writer and contributing editor for American Heritage and a contributing writer to The Dictionary of American Biography and to Scribner's Encyclopedia of American Lives.

He is survived by Claire and their sons, Jeffrey (spouse Heather) and Jonathan (spouse Oswaldo) and two grandsons, Sam and Eric. Family and friends mattered most to him, and he was fiercely loyal to them. He was a voracious reader and an enthusiastic traveler, always happy to get to Maine, where the family spent time every summer.

He loved Amherst and was forever proud and grateful that he went there. He was thrilled that both of his sons graduated from Amherst, majoring in American Studies, with honors, as he had done.  He guided a number of talented students to the college and taught with its ideals in mind. Allan also gave his time freely to Amherst, serving in several roles, including as reunion chair, as vice president and as class agent for two terms of five years each. He was part of the core team that secured 100 percent participation by the class of ’56 three times in the last 10 years (a record likely to stand unchallenged) and that several times won the Alfred Guest and Eugene Wilson awards. He treasured the friends he made at Amherst. We are sure his classmates will miss him but not nearly as much as his family does.

Jeffrey '84 and Jonathan '87

25th Reunion

On balance, the twenty-five years since Amherst have been productive and satisfying. At 47, I find myself content with my life, happy in my family, challenged by my work, and grateful for my friends. If, on occasion, I have looked at the road not taken, I have done so without rancor or regret.

I left Amherst for Yale Divinity School, but after a year I abandoned the ministry to pursue graduate studies in American History at Columbia (M.A. , 1950). I have taught American Studies and English at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY, for twenty-three years, with time off for further study at Columbia in 1966 and the University of London in 1976. In addition, I have been both a researcher and (currently) a contributing editor to American Heritage since 1958. From time to time I have been a free-lance editor for several other publications.

I married Claire Poulin (Bates '56, Yale '57) in February, 1957. She has taught English at Horace Greeley for fifteen years. We have two sons: 0, (Amherst '84), and Jonathan, 15, a high school sophomore.

I remain in Amherst's debt for h3r continuing influence on much that I do. The College taught me a great deal about myself and awakened me to possibilities that have enriched my life ever since. I, in turn, have tried to transmit to my own students something of Amherst's spirit and meaning, encouraging them to develop an informed skepticism, a commitment to responsible action, and an appreciation of intellectual rigor joined to humane principles.

In my immodest moments, I think I have lived well. I am enthusiastic about my work, convinced that I am very good at what I do and that what I do is worth doing. I have been rewarded with deep and lasting friendships with my colleagues and with the love and support of my wife and family. Modest achievements, perhaps, but well worth earning.

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