Deceased November 8, 2019

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In Memory

1972 Tom Urban, center
It was with great sadness that the class reunion committee learned of the passing of Tom Urban ’72 on November 8, 2019. Tom started out in James Hall as a graduate of Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia. Many remember his quick wit, friendly smile and avid interest in political science and religion. I roomed with “Urbs” during our initial year at Boltwood House, the unique service house that a group of us proposed to the College as a use for the defunct Beta House.

Life at Boltwood House became a new family for us with our new live-in faculty advisor Mel Kuntz and his wife, Karen. Tom especially enjoyed the periodic happy hours they hosted in the first floor apartment. Tom also enjoyed the various service projects the house sponsored and was a permanent fixture at the Saturday morning film festival that we ran for local children for several years. Several of his Boltwood buddies, Tom Moss ’72, Jeff Craven ’72, Jim Maitland ’72 and Greg Ellis ’72 fondly recalled Tom channeling Hugh Hefner while walking around smoking a pipe and wearing a robe holding his latest issue of Playboy. Greg recalled receiving a phone call at his law office in 2010 from someone looking for “The Unmade Bed,” a nickname Tom coined for Greg while at Boltwood. Greg hadn’t heard from Tom since graduation but was moved by Tom reaching out to congratulate Greg for the publication of his first novel.

1972 Amherst Dudes - Tom Urban, second from right
A favorite college picture of mine is Tom, Tom Moss, Bob Kingman ’72 and myself dressed in tuxes borrowed from Glee Club friends on the steps of Boltwood House. We embarked on a memorable road trip to Lincoln Center in Tom Moss’s Corvair with a jug of Gallo to see Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie on Easter Sunday. We assumed it was a “black tie” affair. We were wrong as we learned when most of the chic crowd kept asking us for directions to the restrooms assuming we were the ushers! 

I kept in touch with Tom during his years as a municipal planner in Northern Virginia and D.C. He was married briefly to Vicki (Mount Holyoke ’72) right after graduation. Tom attended my wedding in 1989 and retired early at age 55. We lost touch soon after, as Tom stopped responding to calls and letters. Tom never was one for social media, and if he ever had an email address, he never shared it with me. Following learning of his passing, I was unable to find much of an Internet trace about him but was able to locate some history on his high school 50th reunion site. Pictures showed Tom with a walker and notes describing his failing mobility issues and his love for his high school days. 

His Boltwood buddies will miss him, his smile, his snarky wit and his fellowship. He concluded his high school reunion comment with “May we always have what we may never know again.”

Peter Shea ’72