Albert N. Whiting ’38
Albert Nathaniel Whiting, who was the last surviving member of the class of 1938 and was believed to have been the oldest surviving Amherst alumnus, passed away at age 102 on June 4, 2020, in Columbia, Md.
Albert was born to Hilda and Hezekiah Whiting on July 3, 1917, in Jersey City, N.J. After Amherst College graduation, he earned a master’s degree at Fisk University and a doctorate in sociology at American University.
During World War II, Albert served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He married Lottie Luck Whiting on June 10, 1950, in Danville, Va., and was the father of Dr. Brooke Whiting and an adopted daughter, Dr. Lila Ammons.
Albert served as professor of sociology at Bennett College and Atlanta University and as faculty dean at Morris Brown College. He served as assistant dean/dean of Morgan State College, 1957–67.
In 1966, Albert was elected president of North Carolina College at Durham, which became North Carolina Central University (NCCU) with the addition of the school of business in 1972. As president/chancellor, he increased enrollment from 3,000 students to more than 5,000, and he oversaw substantial growth of the physical plant, which included the construction of 12 buildings. Albert initiated the first major fundraising campaign aimed at creating a university endowment for NCCU, helped to establish the NCCU Foundation Inc. and increased the operating budget from $5.5 to $34 million.
After retiring from NCCU, Albert relocated to Columbia, Md. There he served on the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents and the on the Board of Directors of the university’s hospital.
Continuing his connection with his alma mater, Albert received an honorary degree from Amherst College in 1968
—Everett “Skip” Jenkins ’75
David P. Rosen ’41
Ashley Montagu, the British-American anthropologist, once observed, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.” In this, as in so many other endeavors, Dave Rosen succeeded admirably.
Dave passed away at age 101 at his home in West Hartford, Conn. Dave grew up in the South End of Hartford, the son of immigrant parents. He was the recipient of the first Jacob L. Fox Scholarship, which, together with on-campus jobs, enabled him to attend Amherst.
An economics major, Dave immersed himself in academic pursuits. As a Jew, Dave was not welcome to join a fraternity at Amherst. Notwithstanding exclusion from this element of the social life of the College, throughout his life Dave felt an enduring bond to the sense of place Amherst represented for him.
Following graduation, Dave planned to attend business school, but World War II intervened. Dave joined the U.S. Army after Pearl Harbor, eventually rising to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps while stationed in Italy. He was married to Doris Manheim in 1943, and they were together for 55 years until her death in 1996.
After the war, Dave embarked on his long and successful career in the life insurance industry, assuming many industry leadership roles and garnering many honors. He was also active in a variety of civic and community affairs.
Dave delighted in his family and was a friend and mentor to many. He was widely known for his quick wit and ready smile, as well as his unfailing humility, honesty and sense of fairness.
Dave is survived by his two children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He will be missed deeply, but there is much for family and friends to celebrate.
—Mark Rosen ’72
Archie Allen Messenger ’45
Archie died peacefully on July 8, 2020, at his home in Rochester, N.Y., after a brief illness. He was 97. Quiet, humble, disciplined, successful, he set an example that leaves a strong and enduring legacy among his family and friends. Born in Colorado Springs, Colo., Archie grew up in Hinsdale, Ill. He enjoyed bird-watching and Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.
Archie followed his brother James L. “Jay” Messenger ’41 to Amherst, where he sang in the Glee Club, ran track and cross-country and belonged to Phi Kappa Psi. Archie’s college experience was dramatically altered by the bombing of Pearl Harbor toward the end of his first semester. He served in World War II as a fighter pilot and squadron leader with the Navy Air Corps in the Pacific theater, participating in the Battle of Okinawa and winning a Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. Finishing up at Amherst after the war, he then graduated from the University of Michigan law school and served as an attorney in the law department of Union Carbide Corp. in Chicago and New York. He was active in church and community affairs in Larchmont, N.Y., from 1962 through 1985. He competed internationally for decades with USATF Masters Track and Field, where he set records and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Archie raised five children with his first wife, Elizabeth “Buff” Barss, who died in 1988. He married Jane Ashton in 1990 and lived with her in Waterville Valley, N.H.; Lake George, N.Y.; and Boxford, Mass., through her death in 2014. He is survived by his sister Adele, four of his children and numerous direct and step-grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
—John B. Messenger ’74
Robert Grant Conner ’45
My father passed away peacefully on May 8 in the exceptional care of Holyoke Medical Center due to complications from COVID 19. Dad graduated in 1947, his college years interrupted by two years of service in the U.S. Army. Dad was a stereotypical member of the Greatest Generation. As such, throughout his life, he sacrificed his own interests to those of commitment to his family and service to his community.
He was a dedicated husband to his wife, Bernice, and the best father ever to three boys. He introduced his children to nature, hiking and trout fishing. A creature of habit, Dad brought the family on vacation every year to the best place on earth: Kennebunkport and Goose Rocks Beach, Maine. His prioritization of parenting informed me on how to raise my son, Nick. Bob was also committed to service in his community. He served for nine years as a selectman of the Town of Easthampton and 15 years as a town meeting member. He took great pride in being selected as Easthampton parade marshal for the 1992 Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade!
Bob’s years at Amherst shaped him and instructed his thought process throughout his life. Bob last attended the 50th reunion with his class in 1995, reuniting with his best friend, Jerry Driscoll. Otherwise, Dad gravitated to the class of 1979 tent at Homecoming. He was a guest at several class of 1979 reunions. He was delighted and perhaps invigorated to hang out with my classmates. He visited our 40th reunion only last year, connecting with several of my best friends. See the pictures on his In Memory web page of the two of us on campus together. No regrets! May he now rest and be at peace.
—Thomas “T.C.” Grant Conner ’79
Worthington “Bill” Mayo-Smith ’49
You would be hard-pressed to find any better, more complete life than Bill enjoyed. He came to Amherst from Deerfield Academy, joined Chi Psi, lettered in tennis, sang in the Glee Club and was a member of Sphinx. During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps from 1943–45.
After college, he earned his MBA at Harvard Business School, married Margaret Collett (Smith ’49) and moved to Bedford, N.Y., where he resided for 63 years. He started with the Pittsburgh Coal Co. but, after four years, joined Merrill Lynch and began a very successful career in investment banking.
In 1970, Bill joined a client, Lewis Cullman, as a director and major investor in Cullman’s leveraged-buyout firm. Bill was there for 28 years and, along with his own investments, admitted to producing substantial personal rewards.
He was active in a number of industry associations and president of two of them. He was very active in many Bedford organizations—president of Rippowam Cisqua School, a trustee of Northern Westchester Hospital, a warden of his church and vice president of the United Way, among others—as well as several national charitable organizations.
Yet, in the middle of all this, he and Margaret traveled all over the world on foot or bikes—the mountains of Europe, the Andes, the Himalayas and almost any country you could mention, plus a trip to Antarctica with their son.
Like many of us, Bill took his greatest satisfaction in his wonderful children and their great careers. The last time I saw Bill was at his wife’s memorial service a few years ago, having known her since school days in Pelham, N.Y. He is survived by three children and seven grandchildren. A wonderful life of accomplishment, service and love. We all should be as fortunate.
—Gerry Reilly ’49
Frederick R. Knight ’50
Fred passed away at the age of 95 on Jan. 2, 2020. A World War II Navy veteran and philosophy major at Amherst, he kept a home in New York City while on overseas assignments for American Express. He spent 37 years with the company and was a manager in the commercial department. There are no known survivors.
—John Priesing ’50
Walter W. “Nick” Nichols ’50
Nick went back to Michigan after freshman year, graduating from Kalamazoo College after serving in the army. He held a number of positions with Nichols Motor (Plymouth and Volkswagen) in Battle Creek, including the presidency. Nick then spent time in natural gas leasing before moving to California, where he died at 91 in January 2020. His wife, Aurora, survives.
—John Priesing ’50
Richard Edgecombe Quaintance Jr. ’50
Richard Edgecombe Quaintance Jr. died from a stroke on June 28, 2020, in Boulder, Colo., at age 92.
He was called “Edge” or “Q.” He grew up in Katonah, N.Y., and came to Amherst from Phillips Andover with several classmates, including Paul Marier ’50, our faithful choragus. At Amherst, Edge played lacrosse; was in the Glee Club, choir and news bureau; and belonged to Phi Alpha Psi.
At the suggestion of our chaplain, John Coburn, Edge taught for two years at Robert College in Istanbul. Then he served in the U.S. Army in Germany and earned a Ph.D. in English from Yale in 1962.
He had a great career as a professor at Rutgers for 30 years, with a wide range of interests, including his favorite, the 18th-century literature of British landscapes and gardens; he was a fine gardener himself. He retired in 1997 but continued teaching, including at our class reunions, and in his ministry as a lay leader in the Episcopal Church, especially at St. Luke’s, Metuchen, N.J., where he will be buried when the pandemic permits.
He and Charlotte Welch were married in 1951 and later divorced. Their daughter, the Honorable Kathryn Quaintance, lives in Minneapolis. Their son, Ross, sadly, was killed in an auto accident in 1985. Edge married the Rev. Barbara Crafton, an Episcopal priest, pastor, author and retreat leader, in 1989. Her two daughters and their children became a cherished part of his family.
A man of energy, wit and talent, Edge was a loyal “son of our Mother, brave and true.” He and Barbara came to many class reunions. Q had been our class secretary for the past five years.
—Kingsley Smith ’50
Robert D. Steketee ’50
Bob spent his entire career with Paul Steketee and Sons Co., a prominent department store chain
in southwestern Michigan, headquartered in downtown Grand Rapids. He and an older brother, Dick ’46, worked together in expanding the family enterprise founded in 1862. Steketee’s was sold in 1991 when Bob was chairman of the board.
Bob went to East Grand Rapids High School before arriving at Amherst, majoring in history and joining Psi Upsilon. He was a very accomplished racquets player, winning his “A” four years in squash and captaining the varsity tennis team his junior year.
After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Bob went back to life in Grand Rapids. He was on the boards of a local hospital, United Community Services and the Association for the Blind. Besides tennis, squash and golf, his interests included hunting and fishing. Several years ago, he and I found ourselves sitting one row from each other when the Amherst women’s basketball team was in the final four at Hope College.
Bob, who died at the age of 91 in June 2020, is survived by his wife of 68 years, Peggy; sons Rob (Pam) and William (Susan); and daughter Margie (David) Chism, as well as eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
—John Priesing ’50
William A. “Chuck” Stevenson ’50
Orphaned at the age of 5 in the midst of the Great Depression in Lowell, Mass., Chuck, along with his two brothers, was taken in and raised by his three matron aunts who were college professors and powerful inspirations. He learned to be a survivor through that early loss, and his bare-knuckle perseverance kept him going strong until, at the age of 91, he passed away from COVID-19 alongside rapidly progressing dementia.
While at Amherst, Chuck studied economics and music; was president of Chi Phi fraternity; started various entrepreneurial ventures, such as a laundry delivery service; and headed up The Decency League. However, after a short stint at MIT for a B.A. in chemistry, he veered off the normal path for his generation, buying a decrepit schooner in the Caribbean with his visionary brother Bob and using it to ship guns to Cuba to support the rebellion against Batista (in his own words). Countless adventures later, including starting the interracial jam session that became Preservation Hall in New Orleans and playing lead trumpet on the road with the Charlie Barnet big band, Chuck settled into a career of entrepreneurial technology development near Boston. He had a patent pending the day he died for a novel application of fiber-optic cable.
For me, his youngest son, he set an example to follow in many ways, inspiring me to earn degrees at both of his alma maters, travel extensively to tropical realms, cultivate a love of jazz and bring my horn with me wherever I went. I will miss him very much, as will his children Lori, Bill and Sarah; seven stellar grandchildren; and colleagues from the class of 1950.
—Matt Stevenson ’05
George B. Carpenter Jr. ’51
George Baton Carpenter Jr., age 91, died Aug. 1, 2020, following a stroke.
An only child, George was born in New Haven, Conn., to George B. Carpenter Sr. and Dorothy W. Whartman. He attended Hopkins School in New Haven. At Amherst he was a Beta fraternity member and played baseball and basketball.
George partnered with his parents in the Carpenter Lumber Co. in Connecticut before becoming an investment executive with Shearson Lehman Brothers and later Prudential, until his retirement.
He is survived by his children George III, Sarah, Robert and Susan and their spouses, as well as 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, who called him “Pop-Pop.” George is also survived by his beloved partner of 33 years, Judy. George and Judy were winter residents in Florida for more than 25 years, and they spent summers in Maine.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, including a devoted group of friends who remember his golf prowess, enjoyment of gin rummy and poker, welcoming manner, sense of humor and endearing smile.
George enjoyed participating in many sports throughout his lifetime, but golf was his passion. He leaves a golf legacy that extends throughout New England and beyond. He won the Connecticut State Golf Association Senior Championship in 1994 and New England Senior Championship in 1999 at age 70, and twice qualified for the U.S. Senior Men’s Amateur competition. His name is on numerous club championship plaques. Since age 68, George shot his age or under at least 1,800 times. His final 18-hole scores for three consecutive days were 82, 82 and 84. Pretty good for 91 years old!
—George B. Carpenter III
Edmund H. Damon ’51
My father passed away with courage on May 25, 2020, having lived a purposeful, authentic, creative and loving life. Amherst instilled in him the value of lifelong learning, which became a guiding principle. A double major in philosophy and religion, he was a Beta fraternity member, played varsity tennis and squash, and fondly recalled contributing to the 1951 Little Three tennis championship.
The most important thing in my father’s life was family—his wife of 64 years, Florence, and daughters Elizabeth and me, all of whom he loved deeply. He delighted in family trips to Europe and summers on Heron Island, Maine. Friends knew him for his generosity of spirit, intense intellectual curiosity, compassion and sense of humor. He was a true gentleman, trusted mentor and award-winning painter.
After graduating cum laude, my father enrolled in the U.S. Air Force. He served three years of active duty during the Korean War, attaining the rank of first lieutenant specializing in strategic air command intelligence. He became a successful, respected corporate leader and strategic planner, serving as VP of corporate development at the Singer Co., then president and CEO of the Pantasote Co. He received a master’s in business counseling and served on many corporate boards. He made the world a better place through his commitment to community, including leadership roles with United Way and American Red Cross.
After retiring to Maine, he combined his dedication to investing in young people with his passion for lifelong learning by creating the Educational Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel. The foundation enhances excellence in public schools by providing students with opportunities for hands-on learning, encouraging them to change the world in meaningful ways.
My father showed me a life well-lived. I am grateful for his example, his love and our Amherst bond.
—Leslie Damon ’81
Walter J. “Skip” Hunziker Jr. ’51
Skip died on July 19, 2020, of Parkinson’s disease on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where he had retired with his wife, Norma (Holmes), in 2015. He was born and raised in Patterson, N.J., but lived in Montclair, N.J., for most of his life.
He and I met as freshmen on the fourth floor of James, having been assigned adjacent rooms. We remained close throughout our four years at Amherst, although Skip was in DU and I was in Phi Delt. As was the custom at Amherst, we often partied in each other’s house.
He graduated from Yale Law School, served in the Navy after completing its OCS program, took specialized courses at NYU law school and joined his father in the Paterson, N.J., law firm. He chaired the Montclair Planning Board for 19 years and served as scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop in Montclair. We often would refer clients to each other. I also had the honor and pleasure of working on occasion with his dad. Upon Skip’s retirement, the New Jersey legislature passed a resolution recognizing his service, not only to the legal community but also for his enhancement of community affairs in the area in which he lived.
Skip and I enjoyed most of our homecomings together with our wonderful wives, Norma and Joan. Skip served as our class president and vice president and as an Amherst Fund class agent. He and Norma were avid bird-watchers and hikers.
Surviving Skip are his wife, Norma; his children, Robin Smith, Stuart Hunziker and Gordon Hunziker; seven grandchildren; and nieces and nephews. His family and friends will fondly remember Skip’s engaging sense of humor and his love of poetry and song.
—Gary Holman ’51
Daniel B. Schwarzkopf ’51
Dan Schwarzkopf died on May 14, 2020, having contracted COVID-19. He became ill with the coronavirus at his lifecare facility less than two weeks before his death. He had been in good health until then.
Dan majored in physics at Amherst and thereafter attended MIT, where he pursued his interest in advanced radar development. He left MIT before graduating and worked in the field of aerodynamic engineering with the Defense Department, located mostly in the Nevada desert with a team of inventors developing the paint for the stealth bomber that allowed the plane to fly undetected by radar. The test plane now sits in the National Air and Space Museum in Dulles, Va. When he retired from government employment, Dan continued working in his field as a private contractor.
Dan had a love for antique automobiles, which was started at age 15 when he pulled from a field an abandoned 1927 Marmon convertible and restored it to working condition. Throughout his life, Dan owned six or seven antique cars, including several Packards.
Dan enjoyed sailing on the Hudson River near where he grew up and in the Bar Harbor region of Maine.
Dan is survived by Connie (formerly Constance Goldsworthy), his wife of 60 years, whom he met in Nevada. They acquired a “gentleman’s” farm in Stow, Mass., where they grew food and gathered a small number of farm animals. They had no children.
Dan was a great reader who usually had a paperback book in his back pocket. Aside from his wife, he is survived by his younger brother, Peter; his sister-in-law, Marion; their daughter and Dan’s niece, Karen; and several nephews and other nieces.
—Everett E. Clark ’51, with input from Connie Schwarzkopf and a niece, Karen Hauda
Robert D. Stecker Jr. ’51
Bob passed away peacefully on June 26, 2020, at his home in Houston at age 90.
He joined our incoming class in 1947 and majored in dramatic arts. With a flair for humor, Bob recited in our 50th reunion book a comment he received on a term paper: “If English is a second language, let me know and I’ll raise your grade!” He achieved an M.A. from Baylor University and, later in life, a Ph.D. in transformative education from Summit University. He graduated from the U.S. Army OCS and was in charge of creating the Army’s first television studio.
Throughout his life, Bob was involved in regional theaters and in marriage and family therapy, guiding people through life’s transitions, including elderly care. He developed a career helping others survive life-changing experiences, such as divorce, business change, death, etc. Bob was a bit laid-back, looking at the big picture, always challenged to separate the wheat from the chaff. He advocated solving problems when they were small, not waiting for them to grow and become more time-consuming and expensive.
He married the love of his life, Elizabeth Wear, in 1957. Unfortunately, she died in 1980. They had three children, who produced seven grandchildren, whom Bob adored, particularly when they all tried to jump into his lap at the same time.
Bob had a different kind of career than most of us experienced. He famously referred to himself as “Doc Bob.” He helped many, not with extensive and technical medical or legal knowledge, but with common sense, empathy and camaraderie. He was a good person to have around.
—Everett E. Clark ’51
Allan W. “Archie” Tull ’51
Archie passed away on Feb. 20, 2020, in Plano, Texas. He had experienced heart problems in recent years.
At Amherst he joined Phi Psi, played freshman soccer and baseball, and majored in economics. Upon graduation he joined The Southern New England Telephone Co., but with the draft coming, he applied for and obtained a spot in the Navy’s OCS program, graduating in June 1952. He married his high school sweetheart, Elaine Quavillon, the next day. In their 68 years of marriage they had two children, David ’75 and Sharon.
Archie spent three years aboard the USS Taconic, an amphibious flagship operating out of Norfolk, Va. He returned to SNET in 1955 and remained there until he retired in 1983, when he started his own consulting firm, specializing in communications and human resources management.
In 1988, he started volunteering with the AARP in its older driving program, 55 Alive/Mature Driving, and soon became its coordinator for New England. Thereafter, he was elected to the board of the AARP, serving a two-year term as treasurer. In 1994 he was elected to a six-year term, serving as vice chair and then chair for two years, ending in 2000.
In 1998, Archie and Elaine moved from Connecticut to Sun Lakes, Ariz., enjoying sun rather than snow, the Diamondbacks, new friends, etc., until 2015, when it seemed wise to move to Frisco, Texas, to be closer to their daughter, Sharon, and her family. In July 2019, on his 90th birthday, he and Elaine were joined by David and Sharon and both of their families.
Archie and Elaine traveled as much as they could, both here and abroad.
Archie was a family man, survived by Elaine, David, Sharon, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
—Everett E. Clark ’51, with input from David Tull ’75
Robert B. Skeele ’52
Bob was the ubiquitous class officer: class agent, secretary, VP, president.
From his classmates:
“When the class became conflicted regarding traditions most of us valued, he respected all points of view.”
“He was a quiet, effective leader who fostered active participation and collegiality.”
“He shared stories of Navy experiences and remembered details of friends’ personal experiences.”
“He loved the outdoors—sailing, swimming, canoeing, fishing, campfires.”
“He was a sincere human being who loved his connection with our class and was liked by everyone who knew him.”
Music was important in the lives of Bob and his wife, Nancy. They met while singing in the Houston Symphony Chorale and continued in similar groups and church choirs after returning to Connecticut. Though he was a high tenor, he spoke softly in a rich baritone range.
Quietly confident, considerate and a thoughtful leader with never an angry word, Bob had an inner sense of direction—practical, ethical and moral. To a person, the class trusted and respected him. He embodied all the estimable traits of leadership.
From son Harry ’78: “He taught me to tie my tie and a bowline, to sail, to write, to enjoy this world’s beauty and to seek love and friendship in it. I am proud of him. Much of the good in me comes from him. I loved him and miss him enormously.”
Bob was a fine man we were privileged to call our friend.
—Jack Vernon ’52
Harry D. Wilson Jr. ’52
I was very lucky to have had Harry Wilson as my freshman roommate. Our paths diverged at the College after our freshman year, but we always stayed in close touch and remained very good friends.
After Amherst, Harry earned an M.D. from the Maryland School of Medicine. His specialty was obstetrics and gynecology.
In 1959, Harry married Bodil Andersen in Denmark. After he served as a U.S. Air Force captain in France for three years, Harry and Bodil moved to Williamstown, Mass. Harry became a true country doctor and delivered hundreds of babies in Williamstown and environs. His patients still remember him with great affection. After retiring from Williamstown Medical Associates in the 1990s, Harry generously served as medical director of Sweetbrook Nursing Home in Williamstown and Crescent Manor Nursing Home in Bennington, Vt. Wow! What a guy and what a career. He was a truly beloved citizen of the town he lived in for almost 60 years.
Bodil and Harry returned to Amherst many times for alumni classes and other events. Bix and I often joined them when we came back for Amherst reunions.
Harry, we will miss you a lot.
—Bill Smethurst ’52
Richard E. Behrman ’53
Richard Behrman died peacefully at home in Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 17, 2020. At Amherst he joined Chi Psi and, at a party there, met the love of his life, Ann Nelson (Mount Holyoke ’54). As a political science major, Dick worked for JFK’s senatorial race and as junior staff for Kennedy and Jacob Javits. This helped develop his lifelong commitment to social justice and policy. It also led him to Harvard Law (J.D., 1956). Law school convinced him his path was through more direct human engagement, so he chose medicine (M.D., Rochester 1960).
Dick’s career crisscrossed the nation. Highlights include residency at Hopkins Public Health Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico; research at the NIH and Oregon Health & Science University; vice chair at the University of Illinois; chair at Columbia University; and chair and subsequently dean of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. He authored numerous studies of newborn physiology, earned the nation’s first board certification in neonatology and edited the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Throughout, he inspired and mentored generations of medical students and physicians. His interests included perinatal medicine, pediatric intensive care, palliative care for terminally ill children, health and social services, and related public policy and ethics issues.
In 1989, Dick and Ann moved to San Francisco, where he became director of the Center for the Future of Children; health affairs senior advisor at the Packard Foundation; board chairman for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford; and clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford and UCSF. He launched the journal The Future of Children, was a founding member of the Vermont Oxford Network and was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine).
Dick is survived, loved and mourned by his and Ann’s four children and their partners, along with nine grandchildren, who remember him as a staunch supporter and leader of beach trips and practical jokes.
—Carolyn Behrman ’82
John H. Albrecht ’54
John Albrecht died on April 7, 2020. He was a native of Detroit and an alumnus of Cranbrook School (Mich.) and Mercersburg Academy (Pa.).
At Amherst, John was a history major. He was a member of Chi Phi, ran track and cross-country and belonged to the ACAA. He was the cadet colonel of the campus Air Force ROTC for nearly three years.
Following graduation, he served in the USAF as a squadron commander. John took
advantage of the GI Bill following his discharge and attended the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia, earning a master’s degree in divinity in 1959. He next served as Marquis Fellow at Christ Church Cranbrook and became a deacon. In 1960 he was assistant chaplain at Cranbrook School, following which he was ordained as a priest, returning to Cranbrook as an assistant minister. John was appointed a fellow in the College of Preachers in Washington, D.C., and delivered an opening prayer for the House of Representatives.
Next, he was rector at a number of churches in Michigan. On a hiatus from 1978 to 1982, he worked as a stockbroker for Shearson / American Express. In retirement, he became chaplain/estate planner at Christian Memorial Cultural Center in Rochester Hills, Mich., and then assumed roles as interim priest at churches throughout Michigan, finally returning to Christ Church Cranbrook as a parishioner while continuing to perform weddings and funerals for friends. He was quoted as saying, “Old ministers never retire; they just serve where required.”
John is survived by his wife, Christa Tews Albrecht; children Dr. Catherine Albrecht (Michael Romary), Jeffrey Albrecht ’80, M.D., Susan Albrecht and David Albrecht (Susan); grandchildren Emily, Katrina, Julia, Esther, Henry, Rebecca and Julian; and several siblings and their families. One daughter, Lyn, predeceased him.
—Hank Tulgan ’54
Richard C.E. Anderson ’54
We have received late news of the passing of Dick Anderson on Sept. 3, 2015.
He came to Amherst from The Thacher School, Ojai, Calif. He was a history major and a member of Kappa Theta. His activities as an undergraduate included the Debate Council and the Amherst Outing Club. Dick also served on the Amherst Student staff.
Following graduation, he returned to California and earned an L.L.B. degree from USC. Records indicate that he no longer practiced law after 1982. Subsequently, he and his British wife returned to New England. He was not in contact with the College for many years, but some time ago, the late Dave Esty ’54 reported that he had run into Dick and that he and his wife had purchased an 18th-century home in Rhode Island and operated it as a B&B.
His son, Richard C. Anderson II, M.D., was class of 1984, but no other information about survivors is available.
—Hank Tulgan ’54
John A. Hargreaves Jr. ’54
John Albert “Jack” Hargreaves, a native of Willimantic, Conn., died at age 87 on June 8, 2020.
After graduating from Amherst, he served two years (1954–56) in the U.S. Army in Munich, Germany, where he met his wife of 61 years, Ute. After leaving the Army, Jack took a job with the Stanley Works and remained with the company for 28 years. Jack moved frequently with Stanley, including to Brazil, where he ran Stanley’s Brazil subsidiary, and England, where he ran the company’s Europe and Middle East operations. He later joined Walter Kidde and retired from there in 1993. Upon retirement, Jack and Ute moved to Sarasota, Fla.
Jack served multiple terms as a Republican town councilman in Plainville, Conn., including a term as council president, and volunteered for many years as treasurer of the East Chop Tennis Club on Martha’s Vineyard. He treasured his Amherst experiences and connections, and he followed the College’s affairs closely. He was active in alumni relations, especially with the Amherst Association on Martha’s Vineyard, and remained in close contact with his Amherst friends throughout his life.
Jack played end on the Amherst football team and was a lifelong competitive and enthusiastic athlete, especially in golf and tennis. An avid student of history, Jack read voraciously in English, German and Portuguese, and used his unfailing recall of facts and details to debate politics and to regale his family and friends with stories of historic figures and events, including those in the family genealogy. He was also an accomplished handyman and an excellent cook.
Jack was the beloved father of son John ’80 and daughters Christine Hargreaves Ewing and Anne Hargreaves Corley.
—John Hargreaves ’80
Ralph W. Peters Jr. ’54
Ralph William Peters Jr. of Millsboro, Del., died at home on Sept. 7, 2020, after a one-week battle with peritoneal cancer, as his cherished grandfather clock struck midnight.
Born in Cincinnati, Ralph came to Amherst from Brighton High School in Rochester, N.Y.; joined Delta Kappa Epsilon; and majored in chemistry. He received his master’s in chemical engineering from MIT.
Ralph loved Amherst and was an ardent supporter of ongoing initiatives and changes, and, even when he had objections to some, he never wavered in his financial support.
His corporate career as an executive in marketing and strategic planning spanned 36 years, beginning with Eastman Kodak and ending with his retirement from Westinghouse’s Bryant Electric. In retirement, he served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware and Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and board member and president of the Governor’s Council on Housing.
Ralph was a man of great strength, love and faith, a cradle Episcopalian, smart and funny, a man of strong convictions, true to his conscience. We were soulmates in the truest sense. Ralph was most contented and peaceful when on his boat on the great bays. In later years, he played a wicked hand of bridge and loved letting me trounce him in Scrabble. He gave his love of skiing, photography, sailing and birding to his son and stepdaughter, Jeffrey and Kristen.
Ralph is survived by me, his wife of more than 40 years; son Jeffrey Franklin Peters; daughters Dana Jane Champion Peters and Kirsten Boman Peters ’81; granddaughter Sarah Sage Peters; grandsons Bradford Esty Peters and Alexander Currier Arifi; brother James R. Peters; two stepdaughters, Kristen Victoria Nelson and Lisa Nelson Peterson (Raymond); and brother-in-law Franklin K. Arthur (Eileen).
—The Rev. Rita B. Nelson
Edward S. Tank Jr. ’54
My father, Ed, passed away on May 13, 2020, at the age of 88. Ed was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., and grew up in suburban Chicago, spending summers in the north woods of Wisconsin, where his lifelong love of fishing and the outdoors was born. At Amherst he was a chem-bio major, earned an “A” in wrestling, served as VP of Chi Psi and was a member of Sabrina.
He met and married Rosalie Butterfield in 1957 while at St. Louis Medical School. He trained in general surgery at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and in pediatric surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. While working as the first pediatric surgeon at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, he completed additional training and became board-certified in urology.
In 1973 he moved his family to Portland, Ore., where he taught and practiced at the medical school and pioneered the field of pediatric urology. He was a revered surgeon and teacher with a hundred publications and too many accolades to mention; his proudest professional legacy was the generations of medical students and surgical residents he mentored and inspired.
An avid outdoorsman and fisherman, Ed took full advantage of the Pacific Northwest, with skiing, hiking, camping, mountain climbing, crabbing and river rafting. He had an adventurous spirit and traveled extensively, including a trip to Antarctica following Ernest Shackleton’s incredible expedition, hiking in the Himalayas and rafting the remote Copper River in Alaska. He was a maverick who never tired of helping others. People naturally gravitated toward his warm heart, generous spirit and friendly laugh, and he will be dearly missed by those whose lives he touched and enriched.
Ed is survived by his wife of 63 years, Rosalie; his four children, Ellyn, Julie ’83, Katie and Ted; seven grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and brother Deane ’55.
—Julia E. Tank ’83, M.D.
Donald F. Winter ’54
The College has learned of the death of Don Winter on March 4, 2020, when Matt Mitchell ’54 attempted to contact him to develop a Zoom project on global warming. Unfortunately, although he was such a successful and involved undergraduate, he hadn’t been heard from in quite a while, and a daughter alerted Matt and the rest of us to his passing.
Don came to Amherst from Rahway (N.J.) High School and majored in astronomy and mathematics. He was a member of Kappa Theta and its treasurer. He served as student advisor to the faculty as well as holding membership in many other clubs and organizations, including the Fraternity Business Management and House Management Committees. He graduated summa cum laude; was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi; and earned the Woods, Runnells, Hosmer, Brown and Travis Prizes. He participated in the Air Force ROTC and, following graduation, served two years in the USAF.
He received his M.A. in 1959 and Ph.D. in 1962 from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
For a time, Don was employed by Boeing and involved with the Apollo Program, but as federal funding dried up, he gravitated to academics, first at the University of Washington and then at the University of Redlands, and contributed numerous peer-reviewed papers on oceanography and mathematics.
Always a classical music supporter, he served over the years as president of the Philadelphia String Quartet and board member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Years ago, he became concerned about global warming and climate change long before many of us did.
Don was married twice and had three children from his first marriage. A much later marriage to Sharon Deng added yet another son. As far as we know, they all survive him.
—Hank Tulgan ’54
Robert R. Allen ’55
Though Bob followed brother Ned ’52 to Amherst and to medical school, pre-med failed to stop his exploration of the richness of Amherst’s literary curriculum. Bob rowed for four years and briefly played soccer and wrestled. At the beginning of his third year in medical school, he realized literature was his abiding passion, and, moving to Cambridge that autumn, he quickly won acceptance to Harvard’s Ph.D. program in English. After meeting and marrying Priscilla Brown—with whom he would raise two fine boys—and completing his degree, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois before moving to Pasadena, where he taught at USC, edited The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography and helped establish the Samuel Johnson Society of the West, remaining an important presence there until his death.
Bob loved books as much as he loved the literature they contained and started a rare book business while still teaching. From that, the transition into the literary appraisal work he did in later years proved easy. His success, particularly in appraising the manuscripts of prominent literary figures, depended on his expansive ability to appreciate the breadth of human experience recorded in published and unpublished texts.
Several classmates, styling themselves “Fossils,” experienced the warmth of Bob’s receptiveness to others at an annual mini reunion luncheon he and Brownie hosted over the past decade at their Cape Cod summer home. Bob welcomed everyone and their partners with the same dignity he accorded himself, gracefully tempered by a sense of self-irony exemplified in his allusion in a recent alumni note to squirrels occupying the empty spaces in his brain created by the cancer that would soon take his life. Those close to him recognized this as reflecting his determination to remain Bob, as he does in our memories, until the very end.
—Dick Buel ’55
Richard S. Baum ’55
Dick Baum, a magna cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa member of our class, died July 3, 2020. He was born in Kansas City, Mo., and moved to Detroit at age 7. We met in the sixth grade and were fraternity (Kappa Theta) brothers at Amherst. His post-college education included Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons, pediatric residency in San Francisco and a research fellowship at Harvard, where he graduated in the first class of specially trained, board-certified neonatologists in the country. In between, he served as a U.S. Air Force captain in Japan. It was in Boston that he met and, in 1968, married his beloved Marcia—a union that ended only with her death in 2011.
His medical career began at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where he created a neonatal ICU. My wife and I were visiting them in 1972 when they came home from the hospital with the elder of their two daughters. They later moved to Austin, Texas, where Dick served as the medical director of the NICU at St. David’s Hospital and where we attended the wedding of that very same daughter.
After an illustrious career, Dick settled with Marcia in Denver, where he developed an interest in maps to complement his devotion to art, music and restaurants. There we also saw them.
As a Renaissance man, Dick was truly an Amherst product—broadly knowledgeable, yet insatiably inquisitive. An ardent raconteur, he loved nothing better than to walk the streets of his Cherry Creek district, where he reigned as “unofficial mayor” and delighted in conversing with his neighbors.
Dick is survived by his sister Jane; two daughters, Becky, a nursing supervisor, and Jessica, an artist and rescue dog helper; and two grandchildren, Caleb and Hannah. As a BFF, he leaves me to grieve with them.
—Jon Desenberg ’55
James D. Brayer ’55
Jim Brayer died suddenly on June 19, 2020, at his home in Fairport, N.Y. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; children Margaret, Deborah, Thomas and Douglas; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Jim prepared for Amherst at Monroe High School in Syracuse, N.Y.
He arrived at Amherst with a great head start in knowing what life at Amherst would be like. His father was a graduate of the class of 1923 and his brother, Shel, was in the class of 1952. Jim, following Shel, joined DU and served a term as chapter president. He was an economics major and played in the marching band. Jim liked the moment the band formed a semi-perfect “A” at the Pratt Field 50-yard line. He also served on the Prom Committee.
In 1957, after Army service, he married Barbara Beale and joined a printing firm. In 1978, Jim, the sales VP, struck out on his own as a manufacturer’s representative, selling advertising specialties and decorated sportswear to the corporate market. Jim’s choice was great good luck for our class. He was responsible for a number of our reunion gifts, including the purple and white umbrellas, tan windbreakers, white golf shirts with logo and purple caps.
Jim always came to the Amherst-Williams games, even the ones in Williamstown. Rob Sowersby ’55 remembers Jim guiding several classmates and wives to the warmer, drier side of Pratt Field during Homecoming 2004. He also attended many Amherst athletic events in upstate New York.
Jim was deeply involved in his community. He was a founding member of the Church of the Transfiguration in Pittsford and served on the finance committee, as a lector and as an adult acolyte. He was a volunteer driver and spent 14 years as an umpire for the Pittsford Little League.
—Norm Douglass ’55 and Henry Keller ’55
Victor Maccagnan Sr. ’55
Victor Maccagnan Sr. (B.A., M.Ed., J.D.), 88, died in Princeton, N.J., on July 15, 2020. Vic was born on Jan. 14, 1932, in Hackensack, N.J., a first-generation U.S. citizen.
A brilliant student and an exceptionally gifted athlete, Vic excelled in the classroom and on the playing fields. He starred for the Lord Jeffs for four years in both varsity baseball and varsity football. However, his true focus was in the classroom and on learning. Nicknamed “Hollywood Vic” by his friends because he moved through his life so happily, handsomely and effortlessly, he was at heart an extremely humble, studious and honorable man.
His athletic talents (hitting home runs, at Amherst specifically) drew the notice of the Boston Braves (predecessor of today’s Atlanta Braves). Urged by the Braves to play in the prestigious Cape Cod league, then and now a grooming ground for ballplayers with professional potential, he turned the opportunity down, as he had previously committed to work on the family farm that summer.
Attending Georgetown Law after graduation, he began teaching while still a student, to feed himself while sitting for the bar. He also met and married Mary Elizabeth Finstad (known as Mitzi), who would be his loving wife of 60 years, although, sadly, she predeceased him.
Vic never stopped teaching. He had a gift and a passion that he never stopped using, shaping the lives of countless young men and women for more than 55 years. He served as headmaster, dean of students, department head and other senior positions over the years, but his greatest joy was found as a simple teacher with a book, a board and some chalk in front of a class.
Vic is survived by three brothers and a sister, three sons, two daughters (including Suzie Maccagnan ’85), seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
—Suzie Maccagnan ’85
Kurt H. Asplundh ’56
Kurt left us in May 2020. He joined our class as a sophomore, thereby cleverly bypassing Arnold Arons, who “could have easily done me in.”
Kurt’s entire career was devoted to the Swedenborgian Church. After Amherst, he immediately trained as a Swedenborgian minister and served his Church of the New Jerusalem in Bryn Athyn, Pa., as a pastor for 36 years. After retirement, he traveled for the church to Australia and England. He was beloved by his parishioners, one of whom eulogized: “He had an instinctive knowledge of leadership and firm commitment to the doctrines. He was a man of great integrity and warmth.”
And more from a ditty by his daughter:
“Dedicated Swedenborgian—A Priest for the Church,
Giving comfort to the dying—He left none in the lurch.
Didn’t lead a flashy life.
No big diamonds for his wife.
Gems of Doctrine—That’s the jewel.
Read the Word—It is the tool.
Loved the Church.
Loved his wife.
Lived a calm
And principled life…”
Kurt is survived by Martha, his wife of 64 years; four children; and nine grandchildren. He was always quick to point out that his youngest son is a person with Down syndrome. Kurt was very active in the Down syndrome support community.
Kurt wrote, “As a transfer, missing freshman bonding, I haven’t felt as connected to the class of ’56 as most of you. I am amazed at the strength of the class and its commitment to each other and to the College and feel privileged to share in that association.” To honor Kurt and his appreciation of class and College, Martha sent a generous posthumous donation in Kurt’s name.
An exemplary life well lived. An asset to class, College, church and country. Kurt, you are sorely missed.
—Peter Levison ’56
Jack H. Feinberg ’56
Jack died with his son, U.S. Navy Capt. Jeffrey Feinberg; daughter, Suzy ’88; and granddaughter, Tenley; at his bedside after a prolonged illness.
Jack entered Amherst with his eye on Harvard Business School, and, while a student, his instinct for business resulted in ridding the Phi Psi house of a long and encumbering mortgage. But fate is fickle; after one year at Harvard, he switched to medicine, a decision that resulted in a very successful and rewarding career as a cardiologist in Scottsdale, Ariz.
His death was preceded by the passing of Judy, his beloved wife of 54 years.
Jack dearly loved Amherst and will be missed by his friends and family.
—Charles Winkelman ’56
Eliot N. Vestner Jr. ’57
Eliot died on July 10 following a two-year contest with sarcoma.
In his family memoir, Meet Me Under the Clock at Grand Central (referring to his parents’ first meeting), Eliot wrote that, with his father away in the Army, “From the beginning, I was a hard case,” frequently found fighting in the school hallways and labeled a “problem child” by the principal of his elementary school. Later he spent three years in Heidelberg, Germany, where his father was stationed.
“Amherst sent me a rejection,” Eliot recounts, “but the dean of admissions said it was ‘by mistake.’ I don’t think that happens very often.” Eliot kept all his freshman English papers. Comments from his professors were often longer than the paper itself. Eliot concluded, “What they were doing was just what I needed—to be hit over the head by a two-by-four, all the easy assumptions, illusions, fuzzy thinking and sloppy clichéd writing knocked out of me.”
After Amherst, Eliot received a master’s in English at the University of Michigan, and then, changing to a law career, he received a J.D. from Columbia University. He worked at an eminent New York law firm and later at the New York State banking department, ultimately being appointed superintendent of banks. Following five years of public service, he became general counsel of Irving Trust Co. and then a senior executive at Bank of Boston, retiring in 2000.
After retirement, Eliot began a research and writing career. He published his family memoir in 2010. His deeply researched and clearly written biography of William McKinley, Ragtime in the White House, was published shortly before his death.
Eliot is survived by his wife, Louisa; two children; two stepsons; and five grandchildren.
—Robert M. Riggs ’55 and Louisa Vestner
John F. Wilber ’57
Dr. John Franklin “Jack” Wilber ’57 died peacefully on July 25, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla.
At Amherst, he majored in biology under Professor Oscar Schotte, was Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, received the Frank Fowler Dow Prize and graduated magna cum laude. He spent a semester abroad in Madrid and a summer as a volunteer on a Navajo reservation in Bluff, Utah. He played lacrosse, swam under coach Hank Dunbar, was a manager of the football team and was treasurer of his fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi.
Jack attended Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1961 cum laude, was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha and received the Moses Maimonides Award from the Boston Medical Society. From 1963 to 1965, he was a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health, where he developed the first successful TSH radioimmunoassay, a major advancement in the diagnosis of thyroid disorders.
He was a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Medical School, chief of endocrinology at Louisiana State University Medical Center, head of endocrinology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and president of the American Thyroid Association from 1989 to 1990.
Jack traveled widely in the United States and Canada, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Russia and China, both as a lecturer and with Doctors Without Borders.
In his later years, he took up scuba diving in Mexico and golf in Florida. He kept his mind active by playing chess and cribbage, and in contract bridge he achieved the level of Bronze Life Master in 2012.
Jack is survived by his wife, Joan, of Bradenton Fla.; sons Douglas ’87 and Damon; daughters Margaret Estes and Jennie Wilber-Corrales; stepson Daniel Eddleman; 13 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by his stepdaughter, Abbie Stephens.
—Douglas Wilber ’87
David E. Sheppard ’59
David Elson Sheppard, aged 82, passed away on July 28, 2020, in Glen Mills, Pa., from complications due to pancreatic cancer. Classmates remembered Dave as a serious student, and his academic career at Amherst bore great fruit, as he became an internationally known geneticist. In 1971, he received the University of Delaware’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and his name is inscribed on a brick in Mentor’s Circle on UD’s Newark campus.
University of Delaware Provost Robin Morgan called Dave’s work on the bacterial arabinose operon “nothing short of outstanding.” Morgan explained, “The ara operon … didn’t follow the usual rules of the times. Dave had the courage and integrity to stand up for his results and present them with pride and dignity. Time proved him to be correct!”
Born on Jan. 16, 1938, in Chester, Pa., the only child of Ruth Crosier Sheffield Sheppard and Howard Blew Sheppard, Dave attended Chester public schools through ninth grade and graduated from Mount Hermon School for Boys (1955). He received a B.A. (biology) from Amherst College (1959) and a Ph.D. (biology-genetics) from Johns Hopkins (1964). He taught at Reed College (1963–65) and held an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in biology sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1965–1966). He taught courses in genetics and biochemistry and performed research in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware (1967 until retirement in 2005). David embraced the non-theological fellowship of the First Unitarian Society of Wilmington, Del., and was an active member for over 50 years.
David married the love of his life, Gayle Lea Drummey, on Aug. 20, 1960. His devotion to her was foremost in his actions. They were together until his death. David is survived by Gayle; children Rebecca (Christopher), Paul (M.
Sharon) and Marc (S.J.); and grandchildren Daniel, Benjamin, Joshua and Thoreson.
—John Liebert ’59
Robert A. Thomases ’59
Bob Thomases died peacefully with family at home in Rockland County, N.Y., on July 30, 2020, after several years of illness. A proud graduate of Amherst, Bob was born in the Bronx and educated at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, N.J. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Joanne Goodman; four children; three grandchildren; three siblings; and many nieces and nephews.
A physics major, his Amherst activities included soccer, track, WAMF and Delta Upsilon, where he was vice president. We remember Bob’s love of all kinds of music, especially jazz and big band swing; his listening to records; his electric bass playing; and his playing sax and washtub bass in DU’s loosely organized band. He joined our bluegrass band for a class reunion. Years ago, Bob, Dave Borden ’59 and I enjoyed a memorable tour of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, N.Y.
We remember Bob as a serious student, working after hours in the physics lab, then reading for recreation almost every night in bed before sleep. Interested in others, Bob was a good and patient listener who got to the point effectively when he had something to say. At our recent reunion, showing the effects of neurological illness, he struggled to converse but wanted to engage, and he impressed us by working hard to sustain in-depth conversation.
A devoted lifelong horseman, Bob loved riding, hanging out at the stables and communing with the horses.
After Amherst, Bob’s textile processing business established three East Coast factories that provided second-chance employment opportunities and mentoring for formerly incarcerated workers. He actively opposed racism, sexism, violence and all forms of injustice. The conclusion to his published obituary echoes Bob’s strong commitment to democracy: “In lieu of flowers, vote!”
—Fred M. Newmann ’59
Leon B. Gibbs Sr. ’63
Leon B. Gibbs Sr. passed on July 23, 2020, after a short illness. He grew up in Middletown, Conn., near Wesleyan University.
After viewing Amherst and speaking with Admissions Dean Eugene Wilson, he joined our freshman class of more than 250 students. Leon was a dedicated, hardworking student who majored in psychology. He graduated as one of three African-Americans in the class of 1963. he was active in the Lord Jeff Society and was the leader of a band that played live music throughout the Five College area.
After graduating from Columbia University in 1965 with his MBA and a master’s in international affairs, Leon worked for a number of national pharmaceutical companies. He eventually retired from a permanent position at Johnson & Johnson, which had operations in 68 countries, where he had assumed management responsibility for the company’s operations in Puerto Rico and Panama.
Leon was an avid golfer who traveled to professional tournaments with his wife; his hobby was following Tiger Woods in his prime. After 40 years of playing in senior golf tournaments, Leon got a hole in one at Twin Lakes Golf Course; his family keeps the framed photo!
For years, Leon had considered ways to give back to Amherst as a thank-you for the enormous impact the school had on his life. He reached out to his two African-American classmates, Hugh Price ’63 and Bill Davis ’63, and the three decided to set up a scholarship fund for students of color, with a goal of $1 million. The dollar goal of the Asa J. Davis–Leon B. Gibbs Scholarship Fund was met this September, thanks primarily to gifts from Gibbs and his 1963 classmates.
Leon is survived by his loving wife, Dorris Veneda Gibbs; son Leon B. Gibbs Jr.; daughter-in-law Tonya Therese Gibbs; and two grandchildren.
—William A. “Bill” Davis Jr.’63
Stephen J. Rodefer ’63
Steve Rodefer had no desire to run his father’s glass factory in Bellaire, Ohio. After high school in the town and at Western Reserve Academy, he headed to Amherst to study English and art and became a poet and artist.
His reputation as one of the original American “Language poets” is growing. Steve produced a dozen books of poems, five plays, translations, articles, reviews and many other works.
After graduation, Steve married Mount Holyoke graduate Penny Kaplan. He earned two master’s degrees, then took a job at the University of New Mexico. They had two boys, Benjamin and Jesse, but the marriage lasted only 10 years. Steve took off to Mexico with a graduate student, Summer Brenner, with whom he had his third son, Felix.
Steve once recalled sitting at the feet of poet Robert Frost, “playing enraptured student” for a film. Steve’s first volume of poems came in 1965; his first widely recognized book came in 1976, a translation of the 15th-century French poet François Villon. In 1982, he published “Four Lectures,” a long poem considered his masterpiece.
Throughout the 1980s, Steve worked at universities in California, teaching and writing. In 1992 he was the first American poet to be offered a fellowship at the University of Cambridge, England. In 1994 he moved to Paris, where he was to live for the rest of his life, except for two years at New York University. He married a French woman, Katrine Gallou, and had a fourth son, Dewey.
In Paris, Steve turned to painting. He died in his workshop in August 2015. The College only recently learned of his death at age 74. His papers (1955–95) were purchased by Stanford University.
—Neale Adams ’63
Richard T. Schotte ’64
Richard Schotte died June 28, 2020, in Camden, Maine, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Richard grew up in Amherst. His father, Oscar Schotte, was a professor of biology at the College. Richard, known as “Dick” at Amherst, majored in economics and was a member of Phi Gamma Chi. He received an M.A. in economics from Columbia University (1966).
He started his career in the international division at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. (NYC), followed by a decade at Massachusetts Life Insurance Co. (Granby, Mass.). In 1978 he moved to Los Angeles, where he was president of the Capital Group’s American High-Income Trust, a high-yield bond fund that financed many emerging growth companies. Richard possessed a clear vision of the role that the cellular, cable and satellite companies would come to play. He developed a strong reputation and served as mentor to many younger analysts at the Capital Group, who profited from Richard’s analytic skills and disciplined investment approach.
His lifelong friendship with Tom Turgeon ’64 drew Richard from the West Coast to Maine, where, he flourished. He met his wife, Mary Jane; helped design a beautiful house overlooking Penobscot Bay; and became a passionate sailor. He collaborated with a well-respected boatyard in the area to build four custom sailboats. Two were well over 70 feet long. Captaining those boats, he won many local races and participated in the Newport-to-Bermuda race one year. Although retired, he remained active in corporate circles, serving on several corporate boards.
Richard loved the sea and the Maine woods. He enjoyed good food, lively conversations with friends and travel. Richard was a devoted husband to Mary Jane and kept close, loving relationships with all members of his family.
—Fred Moon ’64
Henry H. Eide ’65
Henry Hoy Mons Eide died in Middleburg, Fla., on Aug. 9, 2020.
Henry was born in Portland, Ore. He grew up in Missoula, Mont., graduating from Missoula County High School in 1961. He thought, with his background in spacious Montana, that Northampton was a large city.
At Amherst, he earned a degree in classics. Freshman roommate Pete Swerdloff ’65 remembers Henry’s total mastery of Latin and how he would translate racy parts of Satyricon for dormmates! Geoff Parker ’65’s room was adjacent on the top floor of James; he remembers the warmth of Henry’s smile and wondering, then and since, if everyone from Montana is as friendly as Henry.
Henry married the day he graduated from the College, then joined the Air Force and spent some years in England.
Henry is survived by a brother, Bruce, in Phoenix, who remembers Henry’s love for animals and great sense of humor. Henry’s passing will be a great loss to all his friends.
—Paul Ehrmann ’65
Hugh Peter McGrath ’66
Hugh Peter McGrath died in his hometown of Annapolis, Md., on July 15, 2020. His widow, Karen Helm, described the cause of death as “AFib and cardiac arrest.” In addition to Karen, Peter leaves two sons, Alex and Evan McGrath, with his first wife, Susan Seliger.
Peter’s interests at Amherst were many and varied. He came from an academic family and was particularly interested in politics and international relations. After college, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1974, not anticipating the ministry but studying religion in preparation for a professional life of words and ideas. After grad school, Peter did freelance writing, served as press secretary for Rep. Tim Wirth of Colorado (1975–77), edited the Washington Journalism Review and Washingtonian Magazine (1977–81) and eventually became foreign editor at Newsweek. He also developed an online presence for Newsweek and became the magazine’s AOL guru. He had a sense of future possibilities in media and predicted back in the 1980s that we would all someday be carrying small video communication devices.
Peter was also an accomplished bluegrass musician. At Amherst, he founded the Turkey Creek Valley Boys, which played numerous gigs at Smith and Mount Holyoke and various bars in the Connecticut Valley. He was a formidable mandolin player, and his clear tenor voice perfectly conveyed the mournful message of the genre.
At Amherst, Peter was known for his wit, his wisdom and his perceptivity. He understood the workings of the world, and he was generous with his time and experience. He was a serious analyst and writer and a warmhearted friend.
—David Browder '66
Ronald S. Bashian ’68
After a long battle with cancer, Ron Bashian died on Sept. 7, 2020. We were roommates at Theta Xi for two and a half years, and Ron was diligent in both work and play. Always looking for something to which he could dedicate himself, he found it in medicine. After graduating from Downstate Medical School in New York and serving a tour as a Naval medical officer, Ron spent the better part of his career practicing pediatrics in Arlington, Va. He also spent many hours doing volunteer work, including a great deal of time at Covenant House in Washington, D.C.
When serious illness, including leukemia, put an end to his medical practice, he started a career as an online coach for ADHD students and adults, again combining his caring nature with professional expertise. He had strong concerns about online video gaming, with regard to his ADHD clients and to the general younger population, and he made this concern known emphatically.
Ron also found something to which he could dedicate himself in his Christian faith. Perhaps late-night bull sessions at Theta Xi sparked something that burst into flame later. His faith was real, and it was profound. When we last spoke, he said he was spending his time looking forward rather than backward.
Ron is survived by his wife, Kathleen, to whom he was devoted for 49 years; their children, Mark, Kathleen and George; and three grandchildren. He is interred in Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia. Ron lived a life that had meaning, and all who knew him mourn his passing.
—Dave McElroy ’68
Eugene R. Gaddis ’69
Eugene Richard Gaddis died Aug. 18, 2020, at 72, after a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Gene was a man of many parts: actor, raconteur, scholar and bon vivant. He was a history major and member of Kappa Theta. After Amherst, Gene earned his Ph.D. in history at the University of Pennsylvania.
He worked for the Connecticut State Archives, then spent three decades as archivist of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford and also its curator of the Austin House, a career perfectly suited to his passion for art and history. He wrote a remarkable biography of the mid-century director of the Atheneum, A. Everett Austin, entitled Magician of the Modern, published to critical acclaim by Alfred A. Knopf in 2000.
Gene spearheaded the restoration of Austin’s remarkable neo-Palladian house and attracted support for the house and the Atheneum from a stellar group of American icons such as Lincoln Kirstein, Philip Johnson, Angela Lansbury, Virgil Thomson and John Houseman. The Austin house was subsequently designated a National Historic Landmark.
Gene lectured widely and was eagerly sought out for his brilliant insights and astounding ability to mimic accents to bring life to the characters involved in the house and in the Atheneum’s history. He was a kind and gentle man with a gift for making lifetime friends, and he could always make you laugh at the rich comedy of the human experience.
He leaves his beloved wife, Dr. Alison Lane-Reticker; his son David (and David’s wife and two darling sons); and a daughter, Elizabeth. He was predeceased by his son Jonathan in 2018. “Goodnight, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”
—Coleman Casey ’69
Dennis L. Winn ’70
Dennis, Keith Goggin ’70 and I were Pratt roommates. Dennis hailed from Texas. He was intelligent and reserved and had a wry sense of humor. He was good at fencing.
After freshman year, our paths diverged. However, in 1977 I was doing an anesthesia residency in San Francisco and bumped into Dennis by good fortune. He had returned to Texas after Amherst and had learned to refurbish antique furniture from a master. He then set up a woodworking shop in the San Francisco Mission District and developed his craft; he had several pieces in the Smithsonian.
On a chance, I asked if he might help me make a Shaker-style dining room table. For the next six months, he patiently guided me step by step, from milling rough oak to applying the final finish on my trestle table, which sits in our dining room today.
I have spent many happy hours trying to remember what Dennis taught me: “You must live in the moment to pay attention to small details” and “If you make a mistake, forgive yourself and remember: a craftsman is just someone who can hide his mistakes.”
—Jeff Morray ’70
Roger W. Rhodes ’71
Roger Walker Rhodes died on Sept. 3 of pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife, Jayne; sons Zach, Will, Ben and Jeff; Zach’s wife, Kendra; and Zach and Kendra’s son, Colby.
Roger graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1977 and practiced as an obstetrician/gynecologist in Minneapolis until he retired in 2018.
Roger’s Amherst friends remember his joy in life, his vitality, his humor, the twinkle in his eye and his curiosity about so many things. He was an artist, singer (1969 Glee Club World Tour) and athlete (co-captain of the Amherst ski team). Many still sport leather belts (with two metal clinching rings) and sandals crafted by “Mr. Lotus.” Roger was talented and brilliant, but more importantly, he was kind, considerate, helpful and loving, a friend who could be counted on always.
Roger died at peace, with gratitude for a life well spent and for the people he loved and who loved him.
—Rebecca Rom ’71
Walter C. Greenough ’72
Wally Greenough died on June 3 after a short bout with a brain tumor. We remember Wally’s discriminating mind, quick wit and predilection for pranks—qualities which he retained through adulthood (in his annual holiday newsletters, for example). We remember his forays into music (Collegium Musicum), sports (frosh soccer), theater, journalism, political satire and practical jokes—a Renaissance man, in Bill Ward’s description. We remember how comfortably he wore the effects of a privileged upbringing and education. We remember how quickly he shifted from cynical humor to heartfelt concern—as easily as brushing back his cowlick (constantly). We remember him not dating anyone seriously until he met Nan Sedergren and then never dating anyone else.
The arc of Wally’s adulthood reveals a fulfilling and happy life, bending toward dedication, humor and caring. He found in Nan a lifelong partner who was an appreciative equal in mind and wit. He found a rewarding career in Chicago, at home in the same firm for some 44 years, with unbreakable connections to colleagues. He found community in Winnetka, Ill., with plenty of service and community theater. He found fatherhood with Alex (affectionately known as “the wretched child”), taking much pride in his son’s accomplishments in school and in engineering. He found generativity in mentoring younger lawyers and thespians. Add in strong friendships, some memorable travel, a koi pond and generations of West Highland terriers, shake with some pranks and serve with a big smile. We wish he had stayed longer.
For details of Wally’s family, his legal career and his community and cultural contributions, please see the Chicago Tribune obit. Nan has made available a wonderful 30-minute video of his outdoor memorial service. There are links to both the obit and the memorial service on Wally’s In Memory page on the College’s website.
—Steve Gang ’72
John W. Buscaglia ’74
After a long and very brave struggle with pancreatic cancer, John Buscaglia passed away on Aug. 14 in Wyoming, R.I.
John and I became friends within days of my arriving at Amherst as a sophomore-year transfer student. I saw right away how whip-smart, charismatic and independent-minded he was—qualities that never faded throughout his life. We shared a social dorm on campus for two years and then lived together in a house on East Street, part of a fabled communal living situation with several other Amherst College students and their significant others.
From those long-gone days, I remember our long talks about philosophy, politics and life in general. John’s views, while sometimes acerbic, were never downbeat or negative. He was inquisitive, questioning of all dogmas and one of the great friends of my life.
John’s love of learning led him to further degrees in Chinese studies at UMass and Asian religions and philosophy at Yale. His later pursuits spanned a wide array of interests. These included translating writings from Japanese into English, owning and operating a wood-turning studio for nearly 30 years and working at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, where he played an integral role in the popular tourist destination’s formal galleries, ships and trades.
John and his beloved wife, Susan Shaw, a noted artist in her own right, were organizers of HopArts Studio Trail, a network of artisans in southern Rhode Island.
Amherst College has long prided itself on helping unique individuals forge a bright, productive path in their lives. No one exemplified this quality better than John Buscaglia, whose active and engaged life ended far too soon.
—Lee Polevoi ’74
Robert John Crossland ’76
Bob Crossland died unexpectedly of natural causes on Aug. 21 in Manassas, Va., where he lived with his wife of 40 years, Janine.
Though not a “reunion regular,” Bob will be remembered for his gentle, often bemused, presence. He was a quiet guy but not “shy quiet” or uninvolved. Those who knew him—as a fellow Stearns resident our freshman year and in the AD house later on—recall his love of photography and music.
After Amherst, Bob pursued his passion for photography, as a practitioner and—to help pay the bills—managing a camera shop in Philadelphia, where I reconnected with him briefly.
As his obituary tells us, “Bob always had a passion for helping people, and he found a vehicle for that passion in his career as an insurance agent. Bob worked for Prudential, Nationwide, Morgan Stanley, Rich Insurance Agency and Capital Group Benefits before finally starting his own business, Crossland Insurance, in 2009. In his own words, he was known as ‘the benefits guy’ and had a reputation as a compassionate problem-solver. … Whenever asked if he was going to retire, he said he would when he ‘stopped having fun.’”
Some will recall Bob’s brother Fred ’74, who died from complications of ALS in the mid-1990s. After this,
Bob joined the Dale City Masonic Lodge, where he found solace and fellowship. Bob was inducted as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge for the year 2000, and he went on to serve as the Lodge’s secretary for 20 years.
Please join me in sending condolences to his wife, Janine; daughter Sarah, and her husband, Matthew MacFarland; and son Thomas, and Thomas’s fiancée, Mackenzie King.
Fittingly, Bob’s family asks that you play your favorite Beatles song in his honor.
—Dan Lundquist ’76
David Applefield ’78
David Applefield died from an apparent heart attack on July 8 in Red Bank, N.J. He collapsed on a playground while shooting baskets with his son, Alexandre, not long after losing the Democratic primary, as he had anticipated, in his race for Congress.
David helped weave the connective thread that held our class together after Amherst. He held the honorary title “Class Secretary for Life,” and David’s creative and sometimes unorthodox quarterly writing prompts challenged classmates to share the unfolding of our lives.
His unexpected death is a collective loss for our class, but it is heartbreaking for those who knew David well and cherished his insatiable curiosity, his generosity of spirit, his exuberant energy, his hunger to connect and his readiness to challenge the accepted wisdom.
He radiated fun, playfulness and joy. For me, and for Jeff Neustadt ’78, we have lost not only our best friend of 45 years, but the soulmate with whom we shared our lives—not just at weddings and reunions but on trips sailing up the Nile on a felucca, sleeping out on beaches on Greek islands and tromping through the steamy ruins of Angkor Wat. We were incredibly fortunate to have his friendship and love for nearly half a century.
During his protean career, David wrote two novels, founded the literary journal Frank and served as the Financial Times’ special representative for sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, among other pursuits. After 35 years in Paris, David chose to pursue his lifelong dream of running for Congress and moved back to New Jersey in 2019.
David is survived by his parents and two siblings in the United States and by his wife, Julia Alvarez, and their three children in France. After the pandemic subsides, a celebration of David’s life will be held at Amherst.
—David Whitman ’78 and Jeff Neustadt ’78
Stephen P. “Mac” McInerney ’82
Steve McInerney suffered a cardiac event and died on July 18.
Mac arrived at Amherst from San Francisco sporting bell-bottoms, a puka necklace and long red hair that was reminiscent of a 1960s peace protester and led to his good-natured moniker “Groovy.” He would go on to become a heroic U.S. Navy aviator, recognized with a Legion of Merit Medal and two Bronze Stars. He never once mentioned these honors.
Mac loved to read and learn and was gifted with a self-effacing wit. On a reunion panel, he explained his career journey this way: “Post-college, I was a bouncer at a bar, then solo backpacked through Europe, ending up on a kibbutz for six months … and that’s how I became a Navy pilot.” His piloting success stemmed from his keen athleticism, excellent eye-hand coordination and a measured penchant for risk.
Mac’s illustrious Navy career included flying both helicopters and jets. He led counter-electronics strikes in several conflicts but was proudest of coordinating the disaster response operations after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He became a widely hailed manager of people, leading teams with intelligence and character. His efforts led Navy air wings to be more tolerant and inclusive. He was passionate about racial justice. Offered admiral rank in 2012, Mac declined in order to devote time to his two children. His greatest joy was seeing them grow up accomplished and kind. As a civilian and at the Navy’s request, he recently led a strategic-training alliance with Australia, outfitting EF18s for their electronic warfare platform.
Mac was in a classmate group that shared annual weekends, March Madness trash-talking, birthday emails and, most recently, weekly Zoom calls, where he checked in by calling himself the “luckiest SOB on the planet.”
Mac, we respectfully beg to differ. We were the lucky ones, for the privilege of having known you.
—Tom Cronin ’82 and Robert “Bake” Shepard ’82
David G. Braithwaite ’89
I am very sad to report the passing of David Braithwaite on June 25, 2020. I remember David as an excellent and gentlemanly neighbor senior year on the second floor of Moore, and sophomore year, when he lived in Pond with ’89ers Chris Glowacki, Chris Fey, Sasha Ristic, Robert Reid and David Stearns. Sasha remembers that David Braithwaite, along with David Stearns, traveled to Boston and waited in line overnight to get tickets to see “his Red Sox” in the 1986 World Series.
David was a wicked Red Sox fan and baseball history wiz, as befitted a (mostly) lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Son of Barbara (Lavimoniere) and the late Gerard J. Braithwaite, David was born in New Bedford in 1966 and moved with his parents and his older brother to Falmouth in 1968. He graduated from Falmouth High School in 1985, Amherst in 1989 and Boston University School of Law in 1996.
He lived in Brookline briefly and then in Milton with his beloved wife of 25 years, Dr. Rebecca Southard, a podiatrist. David and Rebecca were married in Johnson Chapel on May 20, 1995. Their children are Aidan and Laura.
David practiced law from 1996 to 2014, when he began his first six-year term as an administrative law judge. He was described by colleagues as “uncommonly patient,” “an exceptional jurist and legal mind” and “an admirable judge who strove for fairness.”
Friends describe him as “thoughtful and caring,” “a true gentleman” and “sweet and gentle,” with “a wonderful, dry wit and an infectious smile that lit up his whole face.” One notes that his “quiet charm, indefatigable work ethic and quick intellect” won people over. Another writes, “So many of his classmates benefited from simply being around him. Few people make their mark so clearly among their peers. David is one.”
—Bruce Tulgan ’89
Charles Edward “Charlie” Rapp ’93
Charlie Rapp passed away on May 12, 2020, at the age of 49, near his home in Vancouver, Wash. Charlie will be remembered as a caring pediatrician; a loving father, husband and son; and a dedicated friend.
During his time at Amherst, Charlie displayed his jovial spirit, goofy sense of humor and openly authentic nature consistently during his various activities. Charlie majored in history, graduating magna cum laude; he was a dedicated member of the track and cross-country teams, and was the resident counselor in Stone dormitory his junior year.
His jovial and friendly spirit meant that Charlie was always talking to others and making new friends. This was highlighted at our 25th reunion. Charlie spent much of the time making the rounds, his laughter floating across the tent, his companion equally engaged.
Charlie’s career was as a pediatrician in Vancouver, where he and his wife of 20 years, Marla Maxfield Rapp, raised their family, including Amy (18), Hayden (15) and Julia (13). He shared with them his curiosity about the world, his love of sports and the outdoors, and his compassion for humankind. In turn, his children recognize how lucky they were to have him. His eldest daughter, Amy, put it best: “Thank you, Dad, for everything. You are the best father I could have asked for ….”
Charlie was also an outstanding pediatrician, revered by his patients. He will be remembered for how well he listened to them, the caring way he treated people and his intelligence in diagnosing rare conditions.
Charlie is also survived by his sister, Susanna Rapp Mellor, and his father, Dr. Clyde Rapp ’60.
Charlie will be missed and remembered by many as one of the most genuine and jovial people we knew. We could all benefit from living a little more like Charlie lived.
—Andrew Cleminshaw ’92, Russ Abell ’93, Doug Everhart ’93, Cliff Gallant ’93, David Gordon ’93, Jeffrey Trimarchi ’93, Kyle Yost ’93, Rob Bernstein ’94, Jeff Greenfield ’94, Steve Long ’94 and Zack Shandler ’94