Joseph E. Banta ’50
Joe Banta passed away on April 1, 2023, in Sharon, Conn.
Joe spent early years in Weimar Berlin, where his father, Kenneth W. Banta 1915, headed up Europe for First National City Bank. There, as a child, Joe observed the rise of the Nazis and believed he might even have caught a glimpse of Hitler.
When Joe duly arrived at Amherst, he studied economics but also majored in travel. He spent a year abroad in Switzerland, skiing, hiking and studying, in that order.
Joe went from Amherst to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Rumor has it that the school was a prime recruiting ground for the CIA. Joe became a CIA agent, based in West Germany, where he and his new wife, Joanne, carried out secret assignments for the agency in the Eastern Bloc.
In 1956, the birth of son Ken ’78 brought Joe and Joanne back to the United States and a new career for Joe as a banker with Morgan Guaranty. Joe worked as an executive for Morgan in New York, Frankfurt, Milan and newly liberated Eastern Europe after the Cold War, coming full circle with his CIA escapades.
Joe and Joanne lived life to the fullest, attending opera and ballet at La Scala in Milan, skiing and hiking in the Swiss and Italian Alps, enjoying summers on Lake Champlain, sailing to the Galápagos and other exotic destinations and finally, late in their travel careers, embarking on a memorable safari trip to Tanzania, where they communed with a clan of monkeys in their tent.
Along with Ken, Joe is survived by his other son, John; daughter-in-law Susan; son-in-law Tony; grandchildren Arlo and Tess ’16; and a treasured array of nieces, nephews, friends and relations across two continents. —Ken Banta ’78
Donald F. Bozarth ’50
Don passed away in January 2022. After receiving a master’s degree in city planning from the University of North Carolina Asheville, Don spent his entire career with the U.S. National Capital Planning Commission as an urban planner living in the Washington, D.C., area.
He went to Walpole (Mass.) High School and Deerfield. At Amherst, he ran both cross-country and outdoor track and was co-captain of both. Don was a member of Kappa Theta and was active in the student council, the Political Union and the pre-law club.
Don had four children with his wife, Rena, who survives him. —John Priesing ’50
Harold H. Owen Jr. ’50
We belatedly learned of the death of Hal Owen in 2019 at the age of 94 from self-described “high mileage.”
Hal was a very prominent teacher of English and theater for many years at Andover (his alma mater). He took great pride in heading up the department of theater and dance and was a strong advocate for the arrival of coeducation.
Hal spent three years in the Army, with assignments as a staff sergeant in Germany and Japan. He then came to Amherst, where he was elected to both Phi Beta Kappa and Sphinx and was a member of Chi Phi. He also participated in soccer and track and led the prom committee.
He retired to the Camden, Maine, area with his wife, Sally, who passed away in 2004 after 54 years of marriage.
Hal is survived by five children: Caitlin Hunter, Matt Owen, Skip Owen, Megan Owen and Abbie Read. —John Priesing ’50
Stanley H. Richards Jr. ’50
Stan passed away on April 15, 2023, in the New London, N.H., area. Stan was blind the last few years of his life but could recite from memory Robert Frost poems, Shakespeare and lines from hit songs. He had met Frost a number of times at Amherst. This had a lasting impact on him.
Stan retired in 1989 from a vice presidency at the Cabot Corp., manufacturer of specialty chemicals and performance materials, headquartered in Boston. Stan possessed a broad range of interests and skills: he was a furniture and cabinet maker, licensed pilot, ornithologist, boat builder, computer programmer, piano player and beekeeper.
He came to Amherst from Lawrence Academy, majored in English, joined Kappa Theta and then served in the Air Force during the Korean War.
He received an MBA from Boston University in 1957 and an Advanced Management Certificate from the Harvard University Business School. His first job was with Worthington in a number of plant-management roles.
Stan was predeceased by his wife, Judith, in 2001. He is survived by four children—Charles, Sarah, Stuart and Peter—and 10 grandchildren, as well as a sister, Caroline. —John Priesing ’50
Reed F. Stewart ’50
Reed passed away this year. Reed was one of our veterans, U.S. Navy 1944–46, where he was an aviation radioman. A longtime educator, he taught primarily in Africa and at Bridgewater University in Massachusetts.
He and his wife had five children when he was a teaching missionary in Liberia from 1950 to 1958. After a stint as a Massachusetts high school teacher, he served in the department of education in Kenya from 1965 to 1968.
Geography and anthropology were his subjects as a professor at Bridgewater.
Conservation and the environment were causes he pursued in various community programs.
Reed was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He was president of the Masquers and was a participant in the Outing Club.
A second wife, Virginia, survives him, as do five children: Karen Pettengill, Michael Stewart, Julie Bagchi, Kimberly D’Angelo and Claire Fitzgerald. Two other child-ren died. —John Priesing ’50
Peter H. Greene ’51
Peter Greene died Jan. 29, 2023.
He grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, but graduated from Horace Mann-Lincoln High School in New York City. His parents recognized his talents in mathematics early on, when he taught himself mathematical relationships far beyond his age level.
Peter matriculated at Amherst in fall 1947, was a member of the Lord Jeff Club and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in mathematics. He was drawn to embryology, biology and related fields. He entered the University of Chicago, achieved a Ph.D. in the new field of mathematical biology and was on the faculty there until 1974, when he joined the Illinois Institute of Technology to begin its Department of Computer Science’s program in artificial intelligence. He continued teaching and research at IIT until 2003, when he received emeritus status.
Along the way, with money from a naval research grant, he discovered two world-class Russian mathematicians researching the same new fields of mathematics, hosted them in Chicago, and arranged translation and publication of their work, for which he wrote the introduction. A co-worker remembers Peter as a kind and welcoming colleague, always ready to converse about research or pedagogy.
Peter married Judith in April 1967. They had two sons (and now 10 grandchildren), one son with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Northwestern, the other with a physics degree from MIT and a law degree from Boston College, now practicing intellectual property law.
Although Peter didn’t play an instrument, he was extremely knowledgeable about musical structure and composition. (One classmate attended a concert with Peter, who discussed nine points where he claimed the musicians had erred.) He also loved the outdoors, backpacking, rock climbing and camping. Peter often joked, “I have lots of papers to get rid of, but I have to copy them first!” —Everett E. Clark ’51 with Judith Greene
D. Jeffery Hartzell ’51
Jeff died on Oct. 13, 2022, at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.
After graduation, he spent four years in the CIA and the Army Signal Corps and several years in a family business.
Inspired by a doctor’s compassionate treatment of his ailing son, Jeff decided to become a doctor at age 30—with three children, little money and no pre-med education. He graduated from Pennsylvania Medical School in 1966 and carried on his medical practice there and later with a private firm. Jeff was a co-founder and first medical director of a groundbreaking hospice care program at Pennsylvania Hospital. Colleagues and patients regarded him as “a really great physician.” His daughter, Jane, attributed his stellar reputation to his “exquisite human sensitivity and ability to key in on what ails someone.” He was doctor for two decades with the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team and alternate physician for the Philadelphia Orchestra, with which he traveled overseas several times.
Jeff acquired a passion for nature and its revitalizing beauty by attending a wilderness canoe-tripping camp on a lake in northern Ontario, Canada. This experience led him to becoming a part owner of a lodge on the same lake and purchasing a second home in Vermont.
Among his many interests and hobbies were woodworking projects, grand opera and overseas travel, which included trips to Japan, South America and Europe. Jeff was a uniquely humble man who, according to Jane, “had no need to tout his accomplishments, because he was secure in who he was.”
On a blind date at Amherst, he met his wife, Ann, who predeceased him after 56 years of marriage. Jeff is survived by daughter Jane, son Anderson, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. —Hobie Cleminshaw ’51 and Jane Hartzell
Clifford D. Anderson ’52
Cliff died on June 2, 2023. Lord Jeff Amherst soon shed a tear upon learning that another devoted member of Amherst College 1952 had passed away.
For years, a purple-and-white banner hung proudly in Dad’s home, reading, “For God, For Country and For Amherst.”
“What about ‘For Family’?” you might ask. Alas, the banner spoke of the Three Great Priorities for 1952 classmates.
Dad loved attending Amherst dinners in New York, after which he and others tirelessly and proudly worked the phones, raising money to benefit all students, staff and faculty, regardless of their opinions about Lord Jeff.
Even better were trips to the Pioneer Valley every four or five years for September class get-togethers. In these “off-reunion years,” many classmates and wives assembled at the beloved Lord Jeff Inn for cocktails, more cocktails, reminisces and a terrific dinner. As years passed, these mini reunions were held in Valentine Hall.
Best of all were the years ending in 2 or 7, when Amherst welcomed back her sons in June. Class of ’52 members were forever delighted to see each other again.
The grandest times occurred during every get-together, after dessert, when the class of 1952 rose as one and proudly belted out the Lord Jeff fight song. They forever remembered the lyrics and always sang in tune, even in 2022, when only five members attended their 70th reunion.
From Jack MacKenzie ’52: “I was grateful for Cliff’s joining our reunions; he swelled our diminishing ranks. He was always glad to see us, as we were glad to see him.”
From Nick Evans ’52: “Cliff and Bebe were amazing in their ability to shake off bypass surgery, new back operation or broken hip, etc., just in time to attend a class function. He was always upbeat and positive in outlook.” —Mark Anderson
Robert A. Darrow ’52
Bob lived outside the prevailing fraternity life at Amherst, focusing on experimental science with honors work under Tom Yost in the biology department. The discipline of the New Curriculum exposed Bob to the humanities, which may have initially been only a diversion but, 45 years later, materialized in his master of humanities degree at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, with his thesis on Kierkegaard and Kafka.
Before Amherst, Bob was valedictorian of his Solvay High School class in a suburb of Syracuse, N.Y.; post-Amherst, he earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, served in the U.S. Public Health Service, then was a postdoctoral fellow in London at the British equivalent of NIH. There he married an English girl, Ruth, his wife of 60 years, who raised three children during her own career as a skilled laboratory technician and co-contributor to many publications.
For five years, Bob was on the Harvard faculty, where, in his words, he “tortured a couple of Amherst graduates in my biochemistry section.” With two children approaching school age just as the busing issue hit Boston’s public schools, Bob and Ruth moved to new opportunities in Yellow Springs, Ohio, an Eden with green spaces, safe biking and diverse friendships in an academic setting. Bob’s best work, funded by a private foundation, not government, started there at Kettering research laboratory, which embraced a vast range of exploratory projects developed through cooperative effort.
Bob underwent cochlear surgery about 40 years ago that resulted in severe facial paralysis but also his resolve to expand his interests beyond the laboratory to opera, chamber and orchestral music, theater and the coveted ability to solve New York Times crossword puzzles neatly in ink—never pencil.
Bob died March 6, 2023, at home under hospice care, leaving Ruth, as well as three children and six grandchildren. —Ruth M. Darrow and Nick Evans ’52
Robert Kramer ’52
Bob’s family moved frequently during his younger years, but as an adult, he settled early in Brookline, Mass., building a rewarding 50-year career after graduating from the Harvard School of Design as an architect primarily of K–12 schools but also several buildings for Harvard.
He entered Amherst from Greenwich High School; joined the swim team (“in the stern wake of [Don] Wasie, [Paul] Geithner and [John] Herzog”) and Beta fraternity; and served as coordinating editor and chairman to help nurture two new publications on campus: the humor magazine Sabrina and the more literary Context.
Bob majored in English (even discovering that Armour Craig’s ever-present initial “G.” stands for George), and long remembered his introductory courses in art and music.
Two Amherst activities became lifetime strengths: daily half-mile swimming in the town pool for fitness, and communication skills developed from course study in the English department—more useful than “his drawing pen” in explaining architectural proposals to clients.
Bob served with the Seventh Fleet in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines after graduation. His later extensive community activities included chairmanship of the Brookline Planning Board and presidency of the Boston Society of Architects.
Bob died March 24, 2023. His wife, Jean Hiatt (Smith ’52), predeceased him, leaving two children and four grandchildren. —Nick Evans ’52
Roy A. Graeber ’53
Roy Graeber died on Feb. 28, 2023, at his home in Norfolk, Va.
Buck Greenough ’53 remembers: “Roy and I met at Morrow dormitory September 1949. We bonded as we were both swimmers for Tug Kennedy’s freshman swimming team. Roy became captain of the successful varsity team as a senior. We roomed together our last two years at Kappa Theta. Roy had a wonderful sense of humor, which hid a steel will. He led our team in the finals for the New England regional championship less than a week after an emergency appendectomy.”
After graduation, Roy joined the Navy, underwent officer training, served on a destroyer in Korea and left the service as a lieutenant. One result: He met Beverly, his wife of 66 years, when in Norfolk.
After a managerial career with Bell Telephone Laboratories and AT&T, Roy retired to Norfolk in 1987. Along the way, he led a life of community service. He was a Sunday school teacher, Scout leader, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Presbyterian church elder, soup kitchen leader and school tutor. He chaired the Virginia State Board of Corrections and served on the Norfolk Mayor’s Task Force on Violence and Crime Reduction and the Norfolk Civil Service Commission.
Roy and Beverly provided a home and comfort for a variety of refugees through the years, including foster children fleeing Castro’s Cuba.
Besides Beverly, Roy is survived by a son, Scott Graeber ’84; a daughter, Martha Thomas; two granddaughters; a foster daughter; a foster granddaughter; and a step-granddaughter.
Let Buck finish: “Roy was my closest friend at Amherst, and we have been in touch since by computer and telephone. He called me when he made a decision to go for comfort care after a series of complex health issues, and died peacefully at home.” —George Gates ’53
Robert P. Mason ’53
Bob Mason combined studies at Amherst and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to further a career as a physicist. In retirement, he used his love of nature and Chesapeake Bay as the basis for great community service.
Bob died March 27, 2023. He resided in Easton, located on his beloved Maryland Eastern Shore.
Bob was at Amherst as a member of the class of 1953 for three years before heading to MIT for three more. In the class 50th reunion book, Bob wrote: “I found that the two bachelor’s degrees in physics, one from Amherst and one from MIT, served me extremely well, both in securing jobs I wanted and in performing them.
“The intellectual environment at Amherst was totally different from that at MIT. The contrast was so remarkable that it immediately drove home to me the wisdom in seeking a more broad-based preparation than would be found at MIT alone.
“In three out of four career endeavors, I rose quickly to positions of technical leadership, an achievement I attribute to interpersonal and communication skills acquired at Amherst.”
As a physicist, Bob worked for the government and multiple small companies, culminating in the development of instruments that measure color.
Bob enjoyed volunteering at the Pickering Creek Audubon Center, where he helped establish a bluebird monitoring system and was on call when equipment needed fixing. He logged more than 8,000 volunteer hours as a docent for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. As part of the Riverkeeper organization, Bob took regular readings at designated locations to monitor the health of the water as it flowed into the bay.
Bob is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Marilyn Turner; two sons; and four grandchildren. —George Gates ’53
Robert B. McPhail ’53
Sports played an important role in Bob McPhail’s full life. Whether as a participant, coach, administrator, fan or father, Bob was there all the way. He died peacefully at home in Norwich, Conn., on Aug. 25, 2022.
Bob came to Amherst from Bulkeley High School in New London, Conn., where he was class salutatorian and football quarterback. He left the College after two years, served in the Coast Guard during the Korean War and completed his education at the University of Connecticut, earning high honors in business administration and, eventually, a master’s degree in education.
Bob worked in data processing management for General Dynamics until 1969, when he began a new career with the Norwich Free Academy, developing a curriculum in computer technology, teaching and coaching sports teams, including service as head coach of boys’ golf.
Except for service as NFA athletic director from 1981 to 1993, Bob coached golf until he was 85. He started a girls’ team, traveled to matches all over Connecticut, founded a state tournament, led teams to more than 700 wins and was ultimately named boys’ golf coach of the year by the National High School Coaches Association. Bob was inducted into two local sports halls of fame.
Bob and his wife, Jane, traveled extensively, especially to places where golf was possible. They made many journeys to watch their son, Marlin, play baseball, first as an All-American at Cornell and then during a 10-year career in the minor leagues, mostly in the New York Mets farm system. Bob and Jane were also regulars at the games of the highly successful UConn women’s basketball teams.
In addition to Jane and Marlin, Bob is survived by daughter Cynara, four grandchildren and four great-granddaughters. —George Gates ’53
Harry C. Rubicam ’53
Harry Rubicam’s obituary got it right: “His quietly irreverent sense of humor and gift for storytelling were enjoyed by everyone who knew him. He had a way of making others feel valued and appreciated, maintaining friendships from every era of his life.”
Harry died peacefully in Scottsdale, Ariz., on March 11, 2023.
His survivors include his wife of nearly 70 years, the former Cindy Pendelton (Mount Holyoke ’53). They had both grown up in Pelham, N.Y.; dated some in high school; and, by the end of their college sophomore years, decided it was true love and were together from then on. They were married a few days after both had graduated.
After service in the Army, Harry began a 32-year career with Time Inc., including positions as promotions director for Sports Illustrated and marketing director for SI Enterprises. Next, he and Cindy started an antiques business, doing shows for 12 years before deciding it was too much work for too little return. They moved to Sharon, Conn., where Harry served as president of the historical society, the library and the country club, as well as a member of the board of education and other town committees. He was a trustee of Dickinson College.
Harry and Cindy raised three children, Lynn, Peter and Wendy, in a 19th-century home in Old Greenwich, Conn. All three survive him, along with seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A love of sports was a constant in Harry’s life, and he passed that love to the children, cheering them at Little League baseball and hockey games, figure skating and horseback riding competitions, and swimming and diving meets. He sailed with Cindy and captained the family boats. After moving to Scottsdale, he continued to play tennis and golf into his late 80s. —George Gates ’53
Franklin A. Wurman ’53
Frank Wurman, a gregarious storyteller with great affection for his family, Amherst College and the card game cribbage, died on April 29, 2023. Frank was 90 and lived in Elkins Park, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.
At Amherst, Frank was a history major and a member of Theta Delta Phi fraternity and was involved in many activities. He earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and practiced the profession well into his 80s. “He loved Amherst very much,” recalled his widow, Nancy. “He must have had a wonderful time there.” She said he had several CDs of Amherst songs and often played them when they were driving.
Frank was an avid cribbage player and enjoyed encouraging friends and family members to join him. For decades he hosted a monthly grassroots tournament. Through the years, he built a large collection of antique cribbage boards in which pegs are placed in holes to keep score. But most notably, he once achieved a “29 hand,” the best a player can get and so rare that the chance of its happening are said to be 1 in 216,580.
Frank was a loyal fan of the Philadelphia Flyers NHL team and a season ticket holder for many years.
In addition to Nancy, his wife of 64 years, Frank is survived by three children—Bryna, Joseph and Richard—and six grandchildren. He took great joy in watching his family grow and loved to cook at gatherings. “Everything he cooked was great. I especially liked his chicken curry,” said Nancy.
She continued: “He lived a great life. He’ll be missed. He was very conversational. It’s very quiet here.” —George Gates ’53
Melchior Peter Amacher ’54
Peter (nobody called him Melchior) chose Amherst after some research on endowment-per-student and faculty-per-student ratios.
Fifty years after graduation, Peter observed, “My only distinction at Amherst was in pioneering the Underachiever Program [designed to shock students into trying harder to reach their potential]. I was put on probation first semester of junior year, violated all the terms of my probation and was suspended for the spring semester.” (Dean Bacon found him a place at Reed College for that semester.)
While at Amherst, Peter drove a series of classic cars, including a 1936 Packard 16-cylinder limousine and a 1934 Pierce-Arrow two-door phaeton, acquired at fire-sale prices in the Berkshire area.
Shortly after graduation, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Germany. He returned with a love of the opera; in many years thereafter, he and Don Lindberg ’54 would spend a week at the Santa Fe Opera.
Following his military service, Peter acquired a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and went on to teach the history of psychiatry and neurology at UCLA. He later ran a medical research conference program for the Kroc Foundation. Our 50th reunion found him deeply involved in analyzing American security policy since WWII.
During his Los Angeles years, Peter was a serious mountaineer, climbing regularly in the Sierras as well as challenging peaks in New Mexico, Colorado, the Andes, Bhutan and Switzerland.
He celebrated his 75th birthday with his sophomore roommates Tyler Abell ’54, Don Lindberg ’54 and Ralph Pagter ’54. He is survived by Mary Utton, his longtime partner; his son, John; two grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends. —Matt Mitchell ’54 and Tyler Abell ’54
Justus C. Pickett ’54
Justus Pickett entered Amherst from Western Reserve with the class of 1954 but left the College after freshman year. He subsequently received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University and M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia.
After residency training in orthopedics, he initially practiced in Ohio and, in 1970, moved to Napa, Calif., where he was on the staff of Queen of the Valley Hospital. He was a member of numerous community associations and professional societies and served as an officer in the Air Force Reserve.
His wife predeceased him. Survivors include three children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. —Hank Tulgan ’54
Jeffrey Andrew Fillman ’55
Jeff was the son of an Amherst alum and the father of another. His father, Henry 1917, was so proud to call himself an alumnus that he named his only son after Lord Jeff (including the middle initial). Jeff was a husband to Susan; a father to three children, Deborah, Sarah and Josh ’07; and grandfather to 11 more.
After Amherst, Jeff attended Harvard Law School and practiced for many years in New York, Chicago and Hartford. However, his most rewarding professional endeavors came in the classroom as he served as an adjunct professor at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut. Outside of the office, Jeff enjoyed traveling the world on scuba-diving expeditions, golfing near his home in Connecticut, and nervously pacing the corridors of Orr Rink (while humming out of superstition) as he watched my hockey games during my undergraduate days.
As Seth Frank ’55 said, “Jeff was hard-headed, with a keen and incisive mind, and he brooked no nonsense.” His intelligence was as undeniable as his grasp of sarcasm was nonexistent. In his later years, his interest in marine biology drove him to volunteer at the New England Aquarium, where his passion for teaching found a new home. While it was apparent to everyone he encountered that brevity was not a strength, his stories were always fascinating, with a heavy dose of nuanced wisdom.
Although Jeff’s frustration with the direction of the College grew over time, he truly cherished the memories and friendships he built during his Amherst years. When I married another alum, Danielle Brick ’08, it helped him regain his understanding of what makes Amherst special.
In as great a compliment as you can pay those who have departed, Jeff left those he was closest to much better off for having known him. —Josh Fillman ’07
George S.B. Morgan ’55
Going to Amherst College did not involve any packing or long travel for George. He grew up in Amherst, the son of a professor of fine arts. In our 50th reunion booklet, George wrote that he had lived in Amherst and knew most of the professors at the College: “They were unlikely to be too harsh on a colleague’s kid.” As an undergraduate, George joined Alpha Delta fraternity, where he was their vice president; majored in fine arts; and was involved with skiing and, of course, the Masquers.
Classmates Seth Frank ’55 and Bob Lehrman ’55 vividly remember being in Masquers plays with George. Bob said George was one of his sons in Death of a Salesman. Seth felt George was the Gregory Peck of our troupe, remembering “his distinctive good looks and red hair.”
Following graduation, George was in Army intelligence, serving in France, where he “stayed on awhile.” He briefly tried the Fletcher School of law and diplomacy at Tufts but quickly opted for theater, which became his lifework. Over the next decade, George appeared in many New York plays, Hollywood movies and New York underground films with Robert Downey. His career ended in the ’70s as the original Father Mulcahey on M*A*S*H due to a severe eye problem that sidelined him permanently.
This early retirement led George to delve into his interest in 12th-century history, in which he remained permanently and happily fixed. He lived in Chilmark on Cape Cod, where he enjoyed woodcutting and kayaking. Skiing was also a major hobby. George died on Oct. 18, 2022. —Rob Sowersby ’55
Ernest Van B. “Van” Seasholes ’55
Van was one of a distinguished group of 11 men from Ohio’s Shaker Heights High School who contributed so much to our class and our country. As an undergraduate, Van joined Alpha Delt fraternity, where he became president; was a history major; and played quarterback on the football team, earning an A.
Following graduation and 21 months in the Navy, Van stepped into his chosen field—education. He earned an M.A.T. from Harvard in 1959 and a Ph.D. in 1970. In the early ’60s, Van and a group from Harvard and the junior high school in Newton, Mass., where Van first started to teach, spent two years in western Nigeria, establishing a school there. Shortly thereafter, he became principal of that Newton junior high.
Van was promoted to principal of Newton South High School in 1973. In our 50th reunion booklet, Van stated he “loved being a principal, working with students, faculty and staff.” He tried to bridge the gap between teachers and administrators by teaching a class and taking extra duties. He figured he attended at least 100 high school games annually as a spectator! He was twice given sabbaticals for travel and study. After Van retired, Lexington High needed him as an interim principal for a year, which turned out to be three years.
Van said he owed much to Amherst. He was a vigorous proponent of the core curriculum. He served on the Committee to Elect Alumni Trustees 1990–93. The College awarded Van an honorary degree in 1988.
Our class is most indebted to Van for serving as our reunion chair from the early ’90s through our on-site reunion in 2015.
Van died peacefully on March 11, 2023. John Halsted ’55 summarizes what we all felt about Van: “From the football field on, a quiet leader.” —Rob Sowersby ’55
Bruce William Steinhauer ’55
Bruce was born in Toledo, Ohio, and went to public schools. At Amherst he majored in biology, joined Theta Xi and was president of the Outing Club. He went on to Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1959 to begin an immensely successful and giving 60-year career in medicine.
Just as Bruce was finishing medical school, he met wife Gillian at the coffee hour after a church service. They were married six months later and are the parents of four children, including Alison ’83 and Eric ’85.
Following his internship, two years as a medical doctor in the Army and then a year’s fellowship in infectious disease, Bruce headed off to Detroit and 27 years at Henry Ford Hospital. There he began taking on growing responsibilities as a hospital administrator. Bruce became an expert in medical business models and models for patient care. He was always up to speed for improving care and new approaches such as the then-novel HMO. In 1975, he helped his hospital launch one of his system’s first three satellites as its medical director.
After Detroit, Bruce returned to the Boston area in 1992 and spent six years as CEO of the Lahey Clinic, a multi-specialty clinic with a single site. By the time he left, Lahey had 29 sites due to a merger he had shepherded, most of them primary-care locations.
Bruce’s final professional move was to Memphis in 1998. He started as president/CEO of the Regional Medical Center.
Bruce stayed on past his expected 18-month term for almost nine years, working with staff, city, county, state and federal government to keep an indispensable Memphis institution healthy. He was passionate about both welcoming and training new physicians.
While there, Bruce was a professor of clinical practice for the University of Tennessee’s medical school. —Eric Steinhauer ’85
Michael Ira Goldman ’56
Michael passed away in New York City on March 16, 2023.
He prepped at Barnard School for Boys. At the College, he was an English major and a member of Kappa Theta. Besides Amherst, he held degrees from Teachers College and NYU’s Graduate School of Arts & Science.
He was an English teacher at Tottenville High School for 44 years and later an associate professor of English at CUNY. He served on the boards of the Staten Island JCC and Mental Health Society.
He authored A Dictionary of Literary Works, an alphabetized reference guide to some of the greatest books and authors of the past millennia, representing a labor of love. This volume encapsulates Goldman’s 50 years of teaching. Over that time, Goldman seems to have held on to every piece of literary knowledge gained, including saving copies of each lesson plan he wrote, as well as notes from his own college and graduate courses.
One Amherst course in particular, English 1–2, served as a turning point of inspiration for his literary journey. The class focused on how to “see inside” a text and locate a relevant perspective, through which one might identify a meaningful trope or the like.
This concept got Goldman’s analytical juices flowing for the next half century. And so, armed with decades of experience in reading and discourse, textual references and an enduring passion for the art of storytelling, he set about composing this love letter to literature.
Michael is survived by Therese, his beloved wife of 61 years, and by their daughter, Amy Goldman Harter; son David Goldman ’89 (Abigail); and four grandchildren, Emily, Charlotte, Sam and Ben. —Peter Levison ’56
Kenneth Fulbright Teasdale ’56
Ken came to Amherst from John Burroughs School in St. Louis. He majored in fine arts and pledged Psi U. He graduated first in his class from Washington University Law School in 1961 and was appointed to the Antitrust Division of the U.S. DOJ under the U.S. Attorney General’s Honors Program. He became general counsel to the Democratic Policy Committee of the U.S. Senate. As legal assistant to Mike Mansfield, the Senate majority leader, Ken wrote a large part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was in Washington that Ken met the love of his life, Elizabeth Langdon, marrying in 1964. He returned to St. Louis and began working with his father at Armstrong Teasdale, eventually becoming chairman.
His charitable activities included serving on the boards of trustees of the St. Louis Science Center and the St. Louis Art Museum, as well as chairing the board of regents at St. Louis University. Ken loved travel, music, art, theater, wine and history. He spent his vacations on the shores of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Fla.; the muddy rivers of Missouri; the frigid depths of Lake Charlevoix in Northern Michigan; and the meandering waterways of Europe, usually by barge.
He truly loved being an attorney, as it allowed him to flex his incredible emotional intelligence muscles, and he kept a stuffed porcupine on his desk as a reminder never to take himself too seriously.
Ken is survived by his former wife, Elizabeth Langdon Teasdale of St. Louis, Mo.; his sister, Suzanne Teasdale Zorn (Ted) of St. Louis; his daughters, Caroline Walker (Andrew) of Rye, N.Y. and Cindy Teasdale of St. Louis; his son, Doug Teasdale (Jennifer) of St. Louis; and his eight grandchildren, Nate, Elliot, Ava, Kate, Maren, Walter, Hal and Gus. —Peter Levison ’56
John Randolph Tyler Jr. ’56
Randy arrived at Amherst from Canandaigua Academy in New York. At Amherst, he majored in economics, pledged Chi Psi and earned a cum laude degree. He graduated from Harvard Law in 1963 and spent his entire law career at Nixon Peabody, eventually heading the firm’s banking and lending groups.
He was a self-professed ski bum during his pre-law days in Utah. Later he realized a downhill dream, helicopter skiing in the Bugaboos of British Columbia. Other trips included rafting the Colorado River, a sailing adventure in the British Virgin Islands (complete with kids), Adirondack fishing trips, African safaris, Caribbean cruises and ski trips to Europe.
Besides skiing, Randy’s life was very much guided by two other seasons: duck hunting and fishing. He landed a record-setting lake trout at Little Moose Lake and was forever impressed by the intricate markings of brook trout.
An excellent craftsman, whether it be a complicated corporate negotiation, model sailboat or productive vegetable garden, he crafted things with care, creativity, honesty and detail.
When a 2010 stroke put a damper on some of his favorite activities, Randy repurposed an empty tennis ball can to help anchor his fishing rod. He also continued to ski for several years, holding his own, but with one less pole. He loved a good party and a cold gin and tonic after a sweaty game of tennis. He reveled in a river full of rises and a marsh full of mallards. He cherished lifelong friendships, family reunions and early morning expeditions with duck-hunting partners.
Randy is survived by his devoted and eternally optimistic wife, Janet; his son, John (Danie) of Edwards, Colo.; his daughters—Barrie Hillman (Mark) of Poulsbo, Wash.; Cynthia Sims (Shay) of Wellesley, Mass.; and Heather Gray of Rochester, N.Y.—and grandchildren Luke, Talia, Julie, Tyler, Sam and Summer. —Peter Levison ’56
Peter James Zucker ’56
Peter passed away in Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 15, 2023.
He came to Amherst from Cleveland Heights High School. At college, he majored in political science and pledged Beta Theta Pi. He was chairman of the Olio yearbook and a four-year member of the hockey team.
Peter is survived by three sons—Chris (Mary) of Howell, Mich.; Todd (Christine) of Stony Point, N.Y.; and Scott (Heather) of Mooresville, N.C.—his brothers—Roger (Donna), of Naples, Fla., and John (Patricia), of Dunedin, Fla.—six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Gale Emerich Zucker (married 61 years), and daughter, Kim Dziabis (Dave), preceded him in death.
Peter and Gale retired to Williamsburg, Va., in 2005 from Westport, Conn. They loved hosting family reunions, which provided great and lasting memories.
Peter’s career spanned many decades in the retail and wholesale clothing industry.
He enjoyed managing the annual charity golf tournament and serving at Jamestown Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg, Va., where, as treasurer, he managed the church’s finances with great skill and accuracy. He even developed an automated system for tracking income and expenses that saved a lot of time. During his tenure, the church was able to retire its mortgage and become debt-free.
Peter was a mentor to others through his local Alcoholics Anonymous organization. He will be remembered for his selfless love and caring for his wife, Gale, who battled dementia for many years. In addition, he had a great passion for ice cream and enjoyed watching the Dallas Cowboys. He always had a pen and paper on him to take a note, and he loved his dogs, Boots and Amber, whom he walked daily. —Peter Levison ’56
Charles K. “Kay” Smith ’57
Charles K. Smith, who was my fraternity brother in Phi Psi, died on March 24, 2023. He was born in Boston but grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kay, as we called him, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and came to Amherst on the GI Bill.
After pursuing graduate studies in English at Brandeis University, Kay became a distinguished and beloved professor at UMass Amherst for 40 years, where we were colleagues in the English department. His teaching reflected his research interests and his attempt to integrate knowledge of the sciences, particularly biology, with insights gained from the humanities, particularly literature. “Because I have been a lifelong student of the sciences and humanities,” Kay wrote, “I love them both and have never felt a split between them.” Not surprisingly, he published in a wide range of subjects and styles, including essays such as “Darwin’s Style” and “French Philosophy and English Interregnum Poetry”; his popular text on how to write well, Styles and Structures; and prose poems he composed in later life.
In a stanza from a 2014 poem, Kay gently instructed his children on how to view his eventual death:
Your sadness will be doing me no favor.
Happy resonance is what I’ll savor.
Instead of funeral dirge, a garden party
among roses and lilies aromatic.
Kay is survived by his wife of 37 years, Katherine M. Conway; their son, Andrew; a daughter, Miranda Kay Smith Dow, from his first marriage, to Helen Sootin; Miranda’s husband, John F. Dow; and their triplets, Kay’s grandchildren: Emil, Harrison and Helen. A celebration of his life will be held later this year. —Robert Bagg ’57
Peter N. Madden ’58
Pete Madden entered our class from the Breck School in Minneapolis and was a member of Beta Theta Pi. After first semester sophomore year, Pete returned to St. Paul to complete his studies in 1958 at the University of Minnesota, majoring in pre-med.
He followed up with an M.D. at the university in 1962 and served as captain in the USAMC from 1963 to 1965. He completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic in radiology (1966–69) and worked at Elmbrook Memorial Hospital for more than 27 years.
Pete was a voracious reader who loved to travel and listen to jazz and classical music, and who loved his glass of wine. He was a lifelong sailor and enjoyed golf and tennis as well as gardening, bird-watching and spending time in nature. Above all, he enjoyed his time with his family.
Pete was first married (1965) to Nancy Young, with whom he had three children: James, Peter and Katherine. He was predeceased by his second wife, Judy Schradle Madden. He is survived by his three children and two stepchildren, Kurt Helgeson and Jason Helgeson. Peter was buried at Resurrection/Catholic Cemetery in St. Paul on Oct. 23, 2021. —Allen Clark ’58
Newton L. “Larry” Jassie ’60
Larry Jassie’s career assumed an unusual trajectory when he became a State Department regional medical officer. His posts included Washington, D.C.; Conakry, Guinea; Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, Brazil; Belgrade, Serbia; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Carthage, Tunisia—always, he noted, moving where prior acquired language skills were useless! Larry wanted to practice medicine to help people and was dismayed as medical practice became a business shaped by insurance companies. He finished his career as an in-house physician for World Bank personnel in D.C. At the State Department in 1995, Larry briefed departing Fulbrighters, including his daughter, Nicole Jassie (Côte d’Ivoire), and Dick Weisfelder ’60 (Lesotho), on appropriate health precautions, advising against unnecessary inoculations resulting from “malpractice suit avoidance” medicine.
At Amherst, Larry was closely associated with Bob Glickman ’60, another classmate from Brooklyn in Alpha Theta Xi. Bob remembers Larry as a collaborator while they struggled with the pre-med curriculum. Bob recalled, “We studied together in the late hours in the library basement, and I could count on him to help solve any problem.” Jim McClelland ’60 remembered Larry’s competence in history, where “he was much more able and willing than I to answer and discuss the questions thrown out by Professor Halsted.”
In later years, Larry enjoyed traveling with his wife and life partner, Lois, on her business trips to France and vacations in Israel and Italy. But her death in 2008 was a major blow. Thereafter Larry helped organize collection of medicines for needy Russian communities and served as medical editing advisor. He loved attending baseball games with Nicole in Camden Yards. Until 2020, he served as resident babysitter for Nicole’s foster dogs, a pattern dating back to his being the caretaker of the ATX dog at Amherst. He died on Aug. 7, 2022, after a relatively brief illness. —Bob Glickman ’60, Nicole Jassie, Jim McClelland ’60 and Dick Weisfelder ’60
William F. “Bill” Vickers ’60
Bill died peacefully in the hospital on Feb. 13, 2023, surrounded by his family. He dealt with rheumatoid arthritis for 40 years. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Maureen; five children; and six grandchildren.
Bill came to Amherst from Andover, Mass., as a three-sport athlete, president of his class and an A student. Phil McClure (d. February 2017), Bill and I (Bob Weiser ’60) were three strangers assigned to a room in Stearns. We remained roommates for all four years and joined DU together.
Bill majored in religion and went on to teach math for 51 years. He typically taught AP math and special education students. He successfully coached three sports (football, basketball and baseball) and won three state championships, was elected to the Andover Athletic Hall of Fame and established a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was a particular fan of Amherst basketball coach Dave Hixon ’75, as Bill coached him while assisting Dave’s head coach dad.
I (Tom Flaherty ’60) first met Bill on the quad during freshman orientation. I said, “Punting contest?” Bill replied, “Yes.” He won! And he won for the rest of his life: husband to Maureen, his high school sweetheart; father of five; lifelong educator/coach; loyal churchgoer and friend. Upon retirement, our lives connected again, as we did breakfast once a month.
A celebration of life was held. Ken DiNisco ’60, Tom Paulson ’60, Bob Weiser ’60, Tom Flaherty ’60 and wives attended.
Bill’s feelings about Amherst can best be summarized by the following quote from his 50th reunion writeup: “No price can be placed on the quality of our education (in 1956 it was $1,500). Amherst College is a special place with extraordinary memories that have molded each one of us.” —Bob Weiser ’60 and Tom Flaherty ’60
Robert F. Denny ’61
Robert Francis Denny passed away in Williamsburg, Va., shortly after Christmas 2022. Bob is survived by wife Julie, three married daughters, five grandchildren and five sisters. It may say a lot about our redheaded, adventurous one-time class president that he came to us from within a circle of sisters in Missouri who attended, and perhaps attended to, his growing up.
Bob traveled from Mexico, Mo. (less than 30 miles north of the site of Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech); to Amherst; to Waco, Texas; to Sacramento, Calif.; to East Hampton, Long Island; to Marco Island, Fla.; to Williamsburg. Long-distance driving, from home to college and back, gave way to flying as a captain, navigator and instructor of navigators in the U.S. Air Force and to boating Florida’s inland coast and the Chesapeake Bay.
A Theta Delt at Amherst, Bob got an M.A. at Baylor University and, upon discharge from active duty, joined an insurance firm in East Hampton. By his own account, he took up insurance by actually reading contracts and learning from them as he gradually assumed charge, for a long, prosperous while, of a business where he was, according to Charlie Updike ’61, “a sophisticated professional with many clients with far more than a local footprint—and a droll sense of humor.” On his watch, his company grew to employ 125 people.
I find it easy to imagine Bob now, driving his small family when all were young, in their American sedan, from Waco to Sacramento, then from California to Long Island, since I remember well the tenacity of his driving. I’d relieve him some, but not a whole lot, as we’d drive all night and greet the morning on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, coming through the Tuscarora or Kittatinny Mountain Tunnel, looking for coffee, on our way to Amherst. —David Hamilton ’61
Andrew Mallory ’61
Andrew Mallory passed away peacefully at home in Littleton, Colo., on May 2, 2023, after a battle with Alzheimer’s. Drew was born in Philadelphia and is survived by his wife, Jan; his children, Mark (Nancy), Becky (Bobby) and Julie (Matt); and seven grandchildren, along with his brother, Joe (Wendy).
At Amherst, Drew played basketball and was a two-time All-American soccer player and winner of the Howard Hill Mossman trophy as well as president of the Chi Psi fraternity. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1965 and practiced as a gastroenterologist for 35 years. Amidst many awards for the care of his patients and for teaching, he was known as a kind, honest man with a gentle spirit, always maintaining a deep sense of humility. Drew was happily reunited with Amherst when his son, Mark ’93, attended. Much to their dismay, in the following years, Drew’s younger children, Becky and Julie, chose to go to Williams!
Drew’s close friend Jim Noyes ’61 shared that Drew captained their soccer team, the only undefeated team in school history until the Justin Serpone era. He remembers Trinity had an All-American forward, Alex Guild. “Drew shut him down, and we went on to win the game, upsetting one of the better teams in the country. He was a gentleman and a scholar.” Another friend, Ken Ratzan ’61, was close with Drew at Amherst, roomed with him in medical school and worked with him at the CDC. He loved Drew’s humility, his integrity and his dry, understated sense of humor.
Drew was a devoted husband to Jan, who provided him with love and companionship throughout their 55 years together. He was also a dedicated father and grandfather, who encouraged intellectual curiosity and treating others with respect. He will be greatly missed. —Becky Mallory Walker
James Einar Andrews ’63
Jim Andrews died on Jan. 9, 2023, from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Jim was an academic star who spent most of his career as a scientist exploring the ocean depths. He earned his doctorate in geophysics and oceanography at the University of Miami in 1967. For his exceptional research in geological oceanography, he was awarded the Humboldt Prize and elected a fellow of the Geological Society of America.
From 1967 to 1981, Jim was on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics; this included a four-year term as department chair. From 1981 to 2006, he held various senior positions in the Office of Naval Research and related Department of Defense organizations.
Jim was beloved by his Amherst classmates, especially his fraternity brothers at Phi Delt. Jim noted in his 50th-reunion yearbook statement that “as a junior, against all reason and three years short of any legal status, I became the Phi Delt social chairman. This meant that, despite looking about 14, I was implicitly trustworthy and of age in the eyes of the local liquor stores.” Notwithstanding his youthful demeanor, Jim was generally the adult in the room.
For his towering presence, Jim was affectionately known in the class of ’63 as the “whale.” Exactly how a “whale” fit into a racing shell has never been fully explained, but Jim was a powerhouse oarsman on the Amherst varsity crew.
Jim Andrews’ life reflected the high values and meaningful achievement our alma mater seeks for all of us: he truly lived a “life of consequence.” Jim is survived by his wife of 43 years, Nona, and son Jay. —Alan S. Bernstein ’63
J. Timothy Parsons ’63
Tim Parsons, who died Jan. 8, 2022, was probably the most activist member of the class of 1963. Throughout his 80 years, he never stopped fighting for equity and justice.
During freshman year, Tim participated in a 1960 March on Washington in support of sit-ins in the U.S. South. At Amherst, he was elected president of what became Amherst Students for Racial Equality. Next summer, he took a bus south and was himself briefly arrested for participating in a sit-in. The next year, at Morehouse College in Atlanta, he took a class in civil disobedience from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tim left Amherst in 1962–63 to join the Northern Student Movement urban education initiative in Philadelphia. That meant he was at Amherst when President John F. Kennedy dedicated Frost Library. Tim organized a silent vigil to urge Kennedy to act on civil rights legislation. This annoyed College President Calvin Plimpton, who wanted no demonstrations. Tim graduated in 1964.
Tim became a teacher and taught in elementary schools in Harlem, N.Y., and Newark, N.J. He earned a doctorate in education from Union Institute & University. He worked in many jobs in education. His last was executive director of Youth Building for the Future Inc., in Burlington, Vt., where he lived.
After a diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2016, Tim visited Cuba with wife Anne Judson. He had tried to enter Cuba in the summer of 1961 via Mexico City, but the Cubans wanted no U.S. visitors right after the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Tim loved the outdoors and cycling. He exercised, danced, cycled shorter distances and walked to ward off the Parkinson’s as much as he could. In his last email to me, he wrote, “Right now, I’ll walk to the polls and vote for our neighbor Bernie Sanders.” —Neale Adams ’63
Robert M. Krughoff ’64
My husband, Robert, known at Amherst as Bob, loved life and lived it with energy and passion. He died of a brief illness shortly after turning 80.
After White Plains High School and Amherst, Robert went to the University of Chicago Law School and embarked on a career of advancing the public good. For two years, he taught underprivileged eighth-graders in Harlem, N.Y. He then directed the office that evaluated how well the programs of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare were doing.
After returning our car to the auto repair shop three times because it kept breaking down within a mile or two after he’d picked it up, Robert, the evaluator, had a vision: There should be a Consumer Reports-type organization that rates service providers.
With a startup grant from Consumer Reports, supported by its board chair and Amherst professor Colston Warne, Robert established the nonprofit Center for the Study of Services. The center publishes unbiased, research-based ratings of everything from plumbers to veterinarians to hospital emergency rooms in seven metropolitan areas and does national patient surveys and ratings of health plans and medical providers.
Robert loved playing pickup basketball and, later, tennis. He painted watercolors, gardened, liked hiking and canoeing and, with friends Penny and Jim Guest ’62 and me, made many foreign travels. With persistence and goodwill, Robert led the revitalization of a public park and other community projects near us on Capitol Hill.
In 2022, Robert and I hosted a weekend gathering of 10 Amherst classmates, plus spouses / significant others. The camaraderie, memories and fellowship were great fun and underscored Amherst’s lasting impact.
Greatest of all, Robert and I raised two extraordinary children, Alex and Anna, who, with their mates and children, have brought us unbelievable joy. A good life well lived. —Gayle Krughoff
Robert W. Longsworth ’65
Robert Whitten Longsworth was born in Hicksville, Ohio, son of Robert and Alice (Whitten) Longsworth, and died on April 21, 2023. A precocious 7-year-old, he drove grain wagons from family farm fields to Hicksville’s grain elevator. A National Merit Scholar and multi-sport athlete, Rob matriculated to Amherst from Hicksville High School.
Hallmark strength and quickness led to a starting position as center on the freshman football team and, eventually, an integral role in successful varsity teams, losing only three games in four years. His senior 1964 season was the College’s first undefeated season, a lifelong source of pride. Fond memories of crew practices and regattas also abounded.
A biology major, he earned a graduate degree in molecular biology from Syracuse University. Married in 1973, he and his wife lived in Denver. The boom times and his genial personality brought Rob success in the office furniture business. He spent tremendous energy on his children, teaching, coaching and cajoling them in academics, athletics and life. He fostered in them an abiding love for nature and her powers.
A hand-built house in Breckenridge, Colo., was prelude to an eventual move to Indiana and a career as a residential contractor. Rob spent his last 15 years in Aurora, Colo., supervising a local shooting range, tying beautiful flies and studying ballistics. Several elk hunts in Colorado’s high country with his son and friends were highlights.
Though he faced difficulties in later years, Rob’s love of a good laugh never left him. A gathering weeks before his passing brought a few to his bedside one last time. His daughter arranged excellent hospice care.
Survivors include his sisters, Judith Wachter and Ellen Longsworth; his children, Catherine and Rob ’99; daughter-in-law Katherine; granddaughter Philippa Alice; grandson Robert Wade; and adoring cousins and friends. —Rob Longsworth Jr. ’99, Ellen Longsworth ’71 and Paul Ehrmann ’65
Robert M. Strimer ’65
Dr. Robert Merrill Strimer Jr., of Greeneville, Tenn., passed away peacefully after a brief illness. Bob was born in Parkersburg, W.V., and grew up in Delaware, Ohio. He attended Amherst College and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a surgeon and completed his urology training at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H.
Bob was cheerful company on the Amherst freshman football bus in the fall of 1961. His sense of humor never deserted him. He and wife Diane enjoyed touring the country in their Mazda convertible. Bob reported they never put the top up, as that would “void the warranty.”
He married Diane in 1970 after a whirlwind courtship. They moved to Greeneville in 1976 to set up his urologic medical practice. Bob was an active member of St. James Episcopal Church there.
As a young man, Bob taught himself to play guitar and became a gifted picker. He joined the Candlelight Players in Greeneville and always had his guitar ready for any gathering of family and friends. He also sang in the St. James choir for many years, making lifelong friends.
As a physician, taking care of others was Bob’s passion and his life’s work. After retiring in 2007, he served as a volunteer to advocate for children in his community. Bob was also a rules official with the Tennessee Golf Association, thus staying connected to his love of the game. He and Diane spent their retirement years traveling, relishing time with their friends, children and grandchildren and finding new adventures together. Bob also made time to tend to a garden described as “bountiful.”
Bob is survived by his beloved wife, Diane; his siblings, Judy and Steve; his children, Kirstin, Bobby and Rebecca; and four grandchildren. —Paul Ehrmann ’65
Thomas G. Plate ’66
“Don’t pronounce the h in Amherst!” I was surprised, when we first met, by the near ferocity of that outburst—one that Tom repeated several times in the early days of our 43 years together—but later understood that it sprang from his deep love for Amherst rather than irritation with me.
Tom, who died May 23, 2023, in Laguna Niguel, Calif., loved Amherst. “It was my home for wayward boys,” he said. (The College was not yet coed.) One Thanksgiving, he often recounted, he chose not to visit a then-fractured family on Long Island and to stay instead in a safer place: the Amherst campus.
His was a lifelong love. Tom’s first gift to his first grandchild, Maximus, was an infant-sized Amherst sweatshirt. One of his last purchases, when decorating his home study in Laguna Niguel, was a purple comforter bearing the Amherst logo. A transfer student (from the University of Pennsylvania) on full scholarship, he was forever grateful.
I can’t possibly recount Tom’s myriad accomplishments in both national and international journalism or his distinguished career in academics. But I can and must say this: Tom often wondered where he’d be in life without the foundational guidance and grace of Amherst.
We, his family—our daughter, Ashley Keys; son-in-law, Sam Keys; and grandchildren, Max and Mila—will proudly carry the mantle on his behalf.
He presented twice, at his 20-year reunion and then at a 2021 reunion Zoom session. Of that last Zoom session, he wrote in his South China Morning Post column that “our discussion question was: what was the most important political event that has occurred in our lifetime?” His topic, naturally, was the rise of China. —Andrea Plate
Jeffrey L. Belden ’67
Jeff Belden was a kind and thoughtful young man when he was at Amherst. I knew him as a fraternity brother in Chi Phi and as a waiter at the Skipper in Nantucket. We all benefitted from his generosity with his car. He got us to the beach.
Passionate is not a word I would have used to describe Jeff back then, but later in life, he was passionate about many, many things—travel to unusual places; hiking (he was doing just that when he tragically fell off a cliff above the Colorado River on Oct. 19, 2022); photographing the beauty around him; and spending as much time as possible with his beloved daughter, Sarah. He made many intergenerational friends during his 30-year attendance at the Strawberry Music Festival, friends whom he entertained at his home, where it was often said that “he could always be found in ‘a pile of kids.’”
For 25 years, Jeff spent summer weekends as a whitewater rafting guide, and his love of adventure had him exploring rainforests and scaling peaks. He loved playing bridge. Through his extensive devotion to Save Our Shores and to The Marine Mammal Center, he developed a love for elephant seals; he became a docent who enjoyed mentoring new docents at Año Nuevo State Park. Jeff was the kind of man who jumped in wherever he saw a need, and he had a huge impact on the people and organizations he cherished.
Jeff was devoted to his daughter and grandchildren, and in 2017 he found love with Lynne Lenger, which brought him the kind of happiness he had brought so many others. —Arthur “Tommy” Thomas ’67
Jean-Yves F. Lhomond ’71
Sadly, Jean-Yves passed away on Nov. 24, 2022, at his home near Tours, France. He is survived by his wife, Chantal; two children, Eric and Caroline; and five grandchildren.
After his French high school baccalaureate, Jean-Yves started at Amherst (first-generation college) as a sophomore. Junior year, he studied sociology (major) abroad at the Université de la Sorbonne, France, and lived senior year off campus with his bride, Chantal. Marrying her was his best decision ever. At Amherst, he stood out for his ever-present French peasant hat; pronounced accent; and readiness to debate, never in doubt, whether right or wrong.
Postgrad, Jean-Yves planned upon a journalism career in France. Instead, he became an antiques dealer, starting from nothing. Sharp business acumen and an eye for “good stuff” earned him success. He had a shop at the Paris Flea Market (an Amherst decal displayed on the window) and, with daughter Caroline, maintained others in London and NYC. His merchandise was showcased in major antique exhibitions in the United States and Europe over the years. He was highly active in antiques organizations, including teaching about antiques at l’Ecole des Antiquaire de Paris.
Turning point: Jean-Yves came upon the then-bankrupt Royal Manufacture of Aubusson Tapestries. Seeing opportunity, he purchased a large supply of “carton de tapestry.” These are century-old, hand-painted exemplars used to standardize manufacturing of finished tapestry or wall decor. Nowadays, these models could guide historically correct restorations or give an authentic old look to new homes. Jean-Yves repurposed the “Aubusson tapestry cartoons” into framed standalone art pieces. In so doing, he founded a new antique niche and became a leading authority on their history. Such Aubusson tapestry cartoons grew into a cornerstone of his store’s offerings.
Jean-Yves was always proud of being a French Amherst man. —Harry LaRacuente ’71, Eric Lhomond and Mike Simko ’71
Kate A. Herrod ’79
Although few people realized it, Kate Anne Herrod was a California girl. Born and raised in San Francisco, where her father practiced medicine, Kate attended Tufts University before transferring to Amherst her sophomore year. There she joined the first class of pioneering women after the College became coed.
Kate had a beautiful head of thick, honey-colored hair that she wore long, favoring turtlenecks, ankle-length skirts and a smart jacket she matched with a pair of Frye boots.
Kate also had a lively mind. She was quick, smart and funny, with a strong interest in literature. Famously, she was one of three Amherst women (the other two being Dara Altman Lennon ’80 and Robbi Vander Hyden Battey ’79) who graced the walls of the bathroom in Johnson Chapel with Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Joyce’s Ulysses.
After graduating from Amherst, Kate studied at la Sorbonne and l’Institut de Touraine in France and la Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico. Kate embarked on a career in finance and real estate before enrolling in the executive MBA program at the Wharton School in 1990. In 1992, Kate forsook the world of commercial banking to join the Nature Conservancy as director of planned giving. She met her future husband, Richard Alper, there, and they were wed in 2004 before moving to Fort Collins, Colo., in 2011.
A lifelong seeker of knowledge and spirituality, Kate passed on March 19, 2023, after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. A couple of days before dying, she remarked about the passage into the afterlife, “I think it will be beautiful.”
Kate is survived by her husband, Richard Alper; her stepdaughter, Alex Alper; her sister, Kim Emig; and her mother, Ski Herrod. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her. —John J. Geoghegan ’79
Diana M. Steel ’83
We are heartbroken to share that Diana (Donahoe) Steel passed away at home in Poway, Calif., on March 23, 2023. Diana was beautiful on the inside and the outside. Her laugh was infectious. She was fun, loving, smart and adventuresome.
While at Amherst, Diana competed on the soccer team and track team (javelin), sang in the choir and was a member of Chi Psi. She majored in biology and did her thesis with Professor Goldsby. She continued her passion for science at the University of Oxford, earning a Ph.D. in pathology. It was at Oxford that Diana met her first husband, Simon Steel. She did her postdoc research at Harvard and then a fellowship at Trinity College in Dublin.
Diana left basic science research and got a J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2000 and began her career as a patent attorney with a focus on biotech. She worked at Abbott Laboratories (later AbbVie) and Sorrento Therapeutics, and most recently she was the lead counsel for Takeda California. It was through her work that she met her second husband, Peter Dini.
Diana loved to sing and joined a choir wherever she lived, including, most recently, the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus. She also loved to travel and hiked the White Mountains, Grand Canyon and Austrian Alps.
Diana’s most treasured legacy and love were her two children, Conor and Aisling. May Diana live on in us who were fortunate to have been touched by her light, laugh and love. —Kathleen Anne Finnerty-Clarke ’83