K. Frank Austen ’50
Dr. K. Frank Austen of Wellesley, Mass., and Damariscotta, Maine, a noted physician-scientist in immunology/allergy and rheumatology for six decades at Harvard Medical School, died at his home in Maine on June 23, 2023, at the age of 95.
Frank was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. After high school at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, he enrolled at Amherst College. While working that summer at camp, he contracted poliomyelitis and spent several months in the Akron Children’s Hospital. By attending the University of Akron in spring and summer, he was able to enter Amherst as a sophomore in the fall. Frank joined Theta Delt. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in chemistry and was accepted into Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Austen served three terms as a trustee for Amherst College and continued to serve for another 18 years as a life trustee. Frank and his wife, Joyce, became involved members of the Amherst community. They donated a portion of their art collection to the Mead Art Museum. They also created the Joycelyn C. and K. Frank Austen 1950 Student Science Research Fund at Amherst. Frank’s daughter Leslie ’83, son-in-law Willis ’83, and grandchildren Matthew ’12 and Elizabeth ’20, as well as Elizabeth’s fiancé, Kevin Zhangxu ’20, also attended Amherst.
Dr. Austen entered into his obligatory military service as a captain in the U.S. Army in 1956. During this time, he began research in the area of immunology. His many contributions to medicine were recognized by his election to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and by his induction into the Royal Society (UK) as a foreign member.
He is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. —Leslie Parsons
Morton D. Baron ’50
Morton Baron passed away at age 94 on Jan. 22, 2023, in his hometown of St. Louis. Affectionately known as Big Mo, he had intelligence, curiosity, humor, kindness and wise counsel that put him in a class of his own among family, colleagues, friends and employees. His big smile, big heart, generosity and sense of fun endeared him to all, especially Norma, his wife of 68 years, as well as three children, seven grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Morton enlisted in the Navy at 17 to do his part in WWII. After Amherst, Mo graduated from Yale Law School and practiced commercial and estate law in St. Louis, first with Baron & Liberman and then with Thompson Coburn (now Thompson Mitchell) for 35 years. A student of physics, history and current affairs, Morton loved to discuss topics ranging from religion to science to human nature.
His dedication to others and to making a difference in the world was manifested in his service to the city and schools of Clayton, Mo.; to Camp Sherwood Forest; to Russian immigrants; to Amherst; and to individuals who reached out in need. In 1973, Mo went to Israel during the height of the Yom Kippur War to report back to the St. Louis community and raise humanitarian funds for Israel. His passion for justice, truth, understanding, Israel and peace is embodied in his children and grandchildren, who continue on the path set by Mo and Norma.
Morton and Norma’s love for each other, dedication to family and care for others was legendary. They loved traveling, entertaining, fishing, theater, opera and symphony well into their 90s. Mo always had a funny story, engaging question and kind word. Among his final words of wisdom: “Always be kind to others, and take good care of my good wife!” —Mimi Baron Jankovits
David Nicholas Laux Jr. ’50
David Nicholas Laux Jr. died on July 2, 2023, surrounded by family, at his home in Sarasota, Fla., where he retired in 2015 with his wife of 36 years, Elna Laux.
Born in Garden City, N.Y., David grew up in Dalton, Mass. After World War II, he enrolled in Amherst, where he was a psych major and member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the debate and ski teams. Two of his daughters attended Amherst: Sara Jane Murphy ’84, who predeceased him in 2015; and Cynthia Kreidler ’88. His brothers Dean Laux ’54 and Michael Laux ’63 graduated from Amherst, as did his nephew Dennis Laux ’79.
After graduating in 1950, David began what would be a 40-year career with multiple federal agencies, starting as a CIA operative. An expert in U.S.-Sino relations, David was known for his skillful behind-the-scenes work that enhanced U.S. relations with both the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). David served as a China policy expert on the National Security Council during the Reagan administration. In 1987, he was appointed chairman and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan. He retired from government service in 1990.
David had an exceptional taste for adventure, long before the term “extreme sports” was coined. A mountain climber, David was also a scuba diver, paraglider, cyclist and runner. He ran his first marathon at age 50 and completed his final marathon at age 80.
David leaves behind his wife, Elna Laux; his two daughters, Emily Laux and Cynthia Kreidler (Jim); six grandchildren; five stepchildren; and 12 step-grandchildren. —Emily Laux
Allen Martin Jr. ’50
Word has come in belatedly that Tim Martin died in January 2020. Tim went to high school in Pelham, N.Y., and finished up at Deerfield.
At Amherst he excelled in racket sports, winning his A in both squash and tennis multiple years. He also played baseball and was active in the Chest Drive and Mardi Gras committees. He belonged to Alpha Delta Phi.
Tim went into the U.S. Air Force for four years and then was employed by Carborundum between 1954 and 1958. He moved on to J.T. Baker Chemical Co. in Houston.
He is survived by his wife, Lois; five children: Linda Bowerman, Debra Godbold, Thomas Martin, Erin Thomas and Blake Martin; and seven grandchildren. —John Priesing ’50
Charles A. Winans ’50
Chuck passed away on May 24, 2023, less than a year after he had an accident.
He came to Amherst from The Peddie School in New Jersey, majored in math and joined Delta Upsilon. Chuck was appropriately proud of the fact that he became a Little Three wrestling champion, although he had never been on a wrestling mat prior to college. I remember Chuck as a gregarious guy who had numerous friends.
Following three years in the Navy as an officer, Chuck got his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent his 35-year career in banking, including a stint in London, retiring in 1991 as a vice president of Fleet Capitol.
During retirement, Chuck and his wife, Abigail, spent eight months of the year in Vero Beach, Fla., and the balance in Hyannis Port, Mass. He enjoyed competitive sailing, golf and tennis and was a pickleball fan. He also was very active as an officer of the Amherst Association of the Treasure Coast.
He is survived by Abigail and three children: Charley, Robert and Elizabeth. —John Priesing ’50
Floyd S. Merritt ’51
Floyd Merritt died on Aug. 2, 2023.
At Amherst he was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and Glee Club tenor. He received a magna cum laude degree in English literature and a start in his later career by working in Converse Library. He won a Fulbright scholarship, spending two years at Pembroke College in Cambridge, England, which gave him a second B.A. degree and an opportunity to travel among western European countries. Then back to Harvard for a master’s degree and Simmons College to obtain a master’s of library science.
Returning to Amherst, he had a major role in planning the replacement of Walker Hall with the new Robert Frost Library, dedicated in fall 1963 with an address by President John F. Kennedy just weeks before he was shot in Dallas. (This writer was in attendance.) Floyd worked at the library for 25 years as head of the reference department and the archives department.
Floyd grew up on a 200-acre farm in Goshen, Mass., just north of Northampton; he was educated for eight years in a two-room grammar school and then at the local Williamsburg High School, whose principal taught Floyd Latin as an adjunct to Floyd’s continual interest in horticulture, so he could use each plant’s Latin name. This Latin interest lasted his lifetime.
In retirement, Floyd continued to live in his family’s homestead with his mother, caring for her until she passed at age 105. He was passionate about bringing together students, faculty and books. Several years ago, the homestead was sold with its acreage, and Floyd moved to a retirement community in South Windsor, Conn., to be near his brother and his brother’s family.
Floyd had a somewhat reserved, thoughtful personality. Both class and College were fortunate. —Everett E. Clark ’51
William A. Neill ’51
My father passed away Aug. 3, 2023, after a battle with melanoma. “Don’t forget to say it was a brave battle,” he would remind us with a smile—an acknowledgment that we all face the challenge of transition into the great unknown. “You can’t win a race running to the finish line,” he had years ago quoted his coach as saying. “You have to run through the finish line.” A good-natured competitiveness carried him well through a long life.
After Amherst, Bill went to Cornell’s medical school, where he had the good fortune to meet Sara Ann Mohr, who became his wife and steadfast helpmate. There followed work with the Public Health Service in Atlanta. Bill’s career as a cardiologist began in Boston at Brigham. Warm summer memories were created at the camp on the lake in Maine. In 1963, he loaded the family into the station wagon and followed the Oregon Trail to Portland. He became head of cardiology at the VA Hospital, also pursuing heart research, and teaching at the University of Oregon’s medical school. Miraculously, this still left time for camping with his family, as he swapped his love for the outdoors from the Catskills to the Cascades. Professional challenge took my father again to Boston. He taught at Tufts and was head of cardiology at the Boston VA. He finished his career at MacNeal Hospital in Chicago.
Throughout, he was supported by long friendships from Amherst and Cornell. In retirement, he took up oil painting and was satisfied when his plein air landscapes were shown in a gallery. Flourishing his butterfly net like an Audubon of insects, he put together a book on Northwest butterflies.
Bill is survived by wife Sara; children Jim, Bill and Valerie; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren from England to Oregon. —James M. Neill ’78
John R. Walker ’51
John Walker died on June 24, 2023, at his retirement community near Leeds, Mass.
After Amherst, he received an MBA from Babson College and commenced his career as a commodities broker, living for many years in Central Florida among the orange groves with his wife, JoAnne, and their four children (all surviving)—Mark, Ellen, Elsbeth and Matthew—then seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. For many of his retirement years, he and JoAnne lived in Amherst off Route 116 on its way to Mount Holyoke College.
John pursued his second career as a painter. He would capture landscape sights on his camera while driving around the Amherst hills, take the photos home and print and then paint them, reproducing the scenes pictured. He became quite good, apparently, selling some paintings locally and also holding painting classes in his retirement community. He admitted that, when JoAnne passed on, he sold their computer so he’d have more space for his paintings.
John was a kind fellow who loved to paint, travel and spend time with family and friends—the sort everyone would like to know. —Everett E. Clark ’51
Edwards R. Hopple ’52
Ed thrived on new opportunities at Amherst and later in the real world. He was elected to both Sphinx and Scarab for good reason: manager of the football team, business manager of two start-up publications (Sabrina and Context), treasurer of Olio, circulation manager of The Amherst Student and station manager of WAMF radio, plus participating in band, intramural council and Phi Delt.
While serving as a private in the Army, he married Cathy Thomas, who would be his wife for 46 years, mother of three adopted daughters and his partner in an early business venture, a small casino-hotel near Lake Tahoe. They moved to Las Vegas, where Ed joined the Flamingo hotel as advertising manager. Moving on to Bakersfield, Calif., Ed bought KWAK-AM, an undistinguished radio station and, capitalizing on the surging growth of the San Joaquin Valley’s Hispanic market, sharpened its focus to make it one of the few Spanish radio stations in California. He added two more stations to form the Spanish Radio Group, still “a powerhouse” two decades after he sold his equity in 1999, with Ed recognized as a pioneer and icon in the local radio and advertising industry.
Ed described himself as un-academic and very loose; his obituary described him as relentlessly positive, fun and always looking for a laugh. (Max Keeney, our 1952 class agent in 2007, wrote in class notes that Ed had formed an exclusive indoor bird-watchers’ society with verified identification of a ruffled spouse, rosy-breasted pushover and swift-running peewee.)
Ed’s office Christmas parties became legendary; their spectacular home holiday decorations created neighborhood traffic jams.
His family still drove Fords, avoided country clubs and were quietly generous, providing tuition for some eight students.
Ed coped with metastatic cancer for 33 years. He died March 8, 2020, as recently reported to the College. —Nick Evans ’52
James T.M. Prest ’52
The headmaster of Shattuck Military School near St. Paul, Minn., advised Jim to apply to Amherst. Dean Wilson approved, so Jim arrived in 1948 after changing trains, catching a bus and walking to campus with one suitcase. He was clearly from Lake Wobegon years before that became famous, and he later comfortably adopted this persona with his East Coast friends.
Jim joined DU, majored in poli sci and English, and always attributed his love of writing to Robert Frost’s influence. He “remained an eternal student at heart,” his son recalled.
Post-Amherst, Jim found government work in Washington and then got drafted but was soon reassigned to Washington to continue as a “code breaker.”
He entered law school at George Washington University, leaving early to help his father in his St. Paul business. Jim continued law studies part time, graduating in 1958 from St. Paul College of Law (where Harry Blackmun had served as professor and trustee). This began his 45-year professional career.
Libby, whom Jim married in 1960, was a California transplant who graduated from Shattuck-St. Mary’s School and the University of Minnesota with a skiing background, librarian credentials and an art history degree. After moving to Duluth, Minn., they bought their “first and forever” house, a grand but faded Tudor Revival in need of major renovation to emerge as a warm home for family, large dogs and entertaining. Jim added two tennis courts on its extensive grounds that became a popular community spot for all comers, with Libby a constant doubles partner and son Will gaining the skill to become captain of his college team.
Volunteer work was a given for the Prest family, extending currently to the InnerCity Tennis foundation, which reaches 6,000 young people.
Jim died Jan. 13, 2023, and Libby only five months later. —Nick Evans ’52
Robert W. Boden ’53
Robert Walter Boden passed away peacefully on May 31, 2023, in a Cincinnati hospice, in the company of his family.
Bob grew up on Long Island and graduated from Garden City High School. At Amherst, he majored in English and history, lettered in tennis and squash, and graduated cum laude.
After earning an MBA from Harvard and serving three years as a finance officer in the U.S. Army, Bob launched a long, successful career as a business problem solver. He began as a consultant with McKinsey in Chicago, where he met and married Mary Melody Mauritz, a graduate of Wheaton who had started her career in advertising. Their first child, Andrew, was born in 1958; David and Martha followed by 1965. Then Bob sampled “big biz”—working at Steelcase in Michigan and Jostens in Minnesota.
Bob supported his children in their various athletic endeavors: tennis instructor, sailboat captain, accomplished equestrian. He also made sure they understood the importance of a hard day’s work, as all three held part-time jobs starting in junior high.
After owning several small businesses, Bob returned to business consulting, specializing in “turnarounds.” This led him to an opportunity with Cincom in Cincinnati, and he and Mary moved to Ohio. Bob served as a board member for Lighthouse Youth & Family Services and, for decades, the Cincinnati Opera.
After Mary died in 1996, Bob eventually met Marlene Baer at a Cincinnati opera event, and they married in 2001. Bob and Marlene built a wonderful life together, guiding and supporting their combined family, which included Marlene’s two sons, Michael and Jeffrey. Bob also treasured his five grandchildren: Andy’s daughter, Emma; Andy’s sons, Charlie and Spencer; and David’s daughters, Mariel and Alexa. Both Andy ’81 and Emma ’20 are Amherst graduates. —The Boden family and Rich Gray ’53
Blake Cady ’53
Blake grew up in Providence, R.I., attending Moses Brown School (class of ’49), as I (Buck) did, but I did not really get to know him well until Amherst, when we were both members of Tug Kennedy’s swimming team. Blake and Don Simon ’53 competed in the backstroke. He was a member of Theta Delta Chi, and he and Don were roommates for three years.
Blake’s remarkable career after Amherst occupied a full column in small print in his obituary in The New York Times (July 25, 2023): surgeon, educator, adventurer and outsized influence against the causes of cancer, particularly in his successful confrontation of the tobacco industry. He was a model and personal influence for many young colleagues. He was a forceful, thoughtful, intellectual leader in all fields he touched and never shied away from adventures, intellectual and nautical, throughout his life. His immense influence and contributions were recognized in all the many organizations in which he participated, including a professorship at Harvard Medical School, and the presidency of and many awards from professional societies. His publications numbered more than 300 articles. Everything he did with his full energy and keen intellect.
He was an avid skier, sailor and early champion for change to address the climate crisis. He will be remembered for his innovative design of his cat-ketch Wobegon Daze. A member of the Cruising Club of America, he sailed the Canadian Maritimes and the Caribbean, sailed transatlantic and circumnavigated Newfoundland.
He leaves behind his children from a previous marriage—Brian of Deerfield, Mass; Suzanne Stapleton of Gainesville, Fla.; Pamela of Arlington, Mass.—son-in-law Michael Stapleton, and grandchildren Nathaniel and Benjamin.
Blake’s loving and devoted wife, Dorothy, along with hospice, cared for him at home. He was fully himself to his last day. —Buck Greenough ’53 and Don Sutherland ’53
Manson Phillips Hall ’53
Manson passed away peacefully on June 7, 2023, surrounded by family. Born in Newton, Mass., he attended Newton schools and Governor Dummer Academy. At Amherst, he was a good scholar and valued athlete in soccer and in hockey, which he co-captained (and still played competitively in his 80s). After college and Army service in Korea, Manson earned his master’s in education from Harvard and started on a doctorate from Columbia.
Manson married Merilyn Boyce in 1957, and they spent a year in Aleppo, Syria, where Manson began teaching. Returning to the U.S., Manson taught history in high schools, first in New Canaan, Conn., then in Newton, where their five children were born. But tragedy arrived in 1967, when Marilyn succumbed to cancer. Manson, now sole parent of five, soldiered on. Completing his doctorate, he moved into school administration.
In 1973, he married fellow educator Alison Kenney, and they had a daughter in their marriage of more than 30 years. Manson became principal of Watertown High School in 1976 and often brought his children to hockey games and other school events. After retiring, he and Alison enjoyed foreign travel and spending time in Chatham, Mass., their home, until Alison passed away in 2007.
Manson never stopped teaching or helping others. Retirement meant working nights at a homeless shelter and serving as team leader in Boston for City Year. He tutored in local schools, helping young immigrants and struggling students.
In 2010, Manson married Ann Ferguson, and they split their time between Chatham and Naples, spending holidays with family—and still volunteering.
His survivors include Ann; his children, Phil Hall (Kelly Campbell), Catherine Green, Scott Hall, Daniel Hall, Thomas Hall (Lisa) and Carolyn Hall (Chelsea Clark); and his grandchildren, Sharon, Scott, Emma, Elizabeth, Tyler, Kaylee, Siobhan, Conor, Daniel, Campbell, Eliza, June and Samuel. —The Hall family and Rich Gray ’53
W. David Slawson ’53
Dave Slawson was a self-effacing guy with a good sense of humor. He was also one of only two members of the class of 1953 to graduate summa cum laude—with highest honors—while also being a campus leader in many ways.
His career was highlighted by 37 years as a professor at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.
Dave was 92 and living on Orcas Island off northwest Washington state when he died July 17 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Dave came to Amherst from East Grand Rapids High School in Michigan. He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and president of the undergraduate section of Phi Beta Kappa, the Student Council and Scarab, the senior honor society. He majored in mathematics.
He earned a master’s degree in theoretical physics at Princeton but decided it was too abstract a subject for his career, so, after Army service, he used the GI Bill to start at Harvard Law School, graduating with high honors in 1959.
Dave was in private practice and politics in Denver when he was called to work as a junior lawyer with the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President Kennedy.
Eventually, Dave’s path led to USC, where he taught contracts and insisted they be written in terms everyone can understand, an indication of his commitment to justice and equality of access. Upon his retirement in 2004, the law school dean praised Dave as a “true Renaissance man. He is universally admired and ranked among the best. And he is really a nice human being.”
While retirement on Orcas was slower-paced, Dave still found time to take part in and lead community activities. He is survived by Kaaren, his wife of 54 years, and numerous devoted in-laws. —George Gates ’53
Charles M. “Sandy” Strait ’53
Sandy was the founder, in 1950, of the Zumbyes—the well-known Amherst a cappella group that is still singing strong today. Hundreds of Zumbyes have continued his legacy.
Sandy died Aug. 10, 2023. He loved Amherst as a student and an alumnus; he was an honors student, goalie on the soccer team, first baseman for the baseball team and member of Psi Upsilon.
He followed the Dodgers until they left Brooklyn and New York Giants football all his life. Music remained a lifelong passion also, as he played piano at home and cast his discerning ear on pop and a cappella music.
Sandy grew up in Montclair, N.J., and graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., before coming to Amherst. He went on after graduation to become an officer in the Navy, serving aboard an aircraft carrier.
Then he began a career at the Bank of New York and Kidder, Peabody & Co. and later at Citytrust Bank in Bridgeport, Conn. In nearby Fairfield, Sandy and his first wife, Joan, brought up their children: Jody, Don ’81 and Sara.
Sandy enjoyed a wonderful life with his second wife, saying in the Summer 2023 Amherst magazine, “Agnes’ companionship is priceless.” Their home was in Flower Mound, Texas.
Sandy considered his years at Amherst among the happiest of his life. Countless classmates gave him joy—friends he made while a student, those he got to know at reunions and those he corresponded with while serving as class agent.
We lose loved ones but still have their memories, their impact on countless others and their compassion for those around them. Sandy’s life and influence will live on in many hearts and minds. His music will never be silenced.
Sandy and I were best friends for 80 years. I will miss him terribly. —Reid Spencer ’53
Robert H. Hornberger ’54
The College has been informed of the death of Robert Hornberger on Feb. 7, 2023.
Bob came to Amherst from Bordentown Military Institute and joined the Lord Jeff Club. In Strangers Once, our 50th reunion yearbook, he reported that he had come from a dysfunctional family, which caused him to have few relationships with classmates. That also inspired him to major in psychology, an interest that led him to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Iowa and to his career as a psychologist, initially as director of the Eastern Maine Guidance Center and then primarily for 30 years at the U.S. VA medical center in Gainesville, Fla., where he also conducted a small private practice. He retired in 2000 but continued his interest in existential psychotherapy. Bob also published four articles in the professional literature.
Despite alluding to his few friendships as an undergraduate, he was president of the Philosophy Club and a member of the ACAA, Christian Association, Sailing Club, Debating Council and Rotherwas Society.
In Florida, his interests included sailing, kayaking, swimming, dancing (both square and round), bicycling and bridge.
Bob’s wife, Anne, predeceased him in 2003. They had two adopted children, Lynn and Todd.
No other information about survivors is available. —Hank Tulgan ’54
Harold S. O’Brian Jr. ’54
Harold S. “Hal” O’Brian Jr. died on March 13, 2023, in Wyomissing, Pa., at the age of 91. He matriculated with the Amherst class of 1954 from Philadelphia, where he had graduated from the Episcopal Academy. While at Amherst, Hal was an American studies major and a member of Alpha Delta Phi, and he played lacrosse and soccer, as well as wrestling. In his spare time, he worked on the prom committee. A member of the AFROTC at Amherst, he went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force.
Hal lived a wonderfully full life, traveling internationally, playing soccer, sailing and participating in ice dancing and ballroom dancing. Hal was a great scholar, earning numerous degrees after Amherst, from the University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Columbia and Rutgers. He shared his great learning by teaching at Princeton and Rutgers. He was happiest when he was on the beaches, boats and bay of the shore of Strathmere, N.J. A life well lived! —Marshall Rutter ’54
Albert Walker “Bud” Allen Jr. ’55
Bud (to use the name by which we knew him) lived in Florida most of his life. We were fortunate to have him with us in the early ’50s. At Amherst, Bud was a history major, a member of the Deke fraternity and in the ROTC program. He was an outstanding member of the College’s basketball and golf teams.
After three years in the Air Force, primarily doing pilot and single-engine instructor training, Bud spent five years as a salesman with IBM. In 1964, he switched products to insurance, joining Connecticut General. Bud earned both CLU and CHFC accreditation at American College to begin his new profession.
Bud had a succession of top-grade assignments in sales and management with CG over the years. One success story is that in 1972 he opened an office from scratch in Jacksonville, Fla. After retiring in 1988, Bud devoted time to sales as a consultant with CIGNA Financial Services in his own practice. Bud specialized in business succession and exit strategy as well as retirement and in-depth estate planning.
Bud was a dedicated golfer. He was a member of the Society of Seniors and always enjoyed relating stories about his challenges on the golf course. Do you think Bud ever mixed golf and business on the golf course? That easygoing Southern drawl, with his accompanying smile, were “tap-ins” for many!
Bud died after a short illness on Aug. 20, 2022. He is survived by his wife, Anne, and a son, Albert Walker Allen III. —Rob Sowersby ’55
Bruce W. Beaven ’55
As an undergraduate, Bruce was on the swim and track teams, in the Christian Association, a poli sci major and a member of Alpha Delt fraternity. His military service was spending two years in the Army’s Transportation Corps. Then Bruce earned an MBA at Northwestern, followed by several years in investment banking in Chicago.
In 1974, Bruce found life in Florida more to his liking, so he moved to Clearwater, where he spent the rest of his life. In our 50th Reunion booklet, Bruce said he “loves Florida. It is like being on vacation even when working.” Florida and exercising had kept Bruce in excellent health. Bruce worked for a small home products company. He enjoyed restoring homes and condos.
Bruce was a devout Christian. He attended Rochester Divinity School in 1955–56 to examine his faith. He became very active in his church in Clearwater, where he accumulated an in-depth knowledge of the Bible. He particularly enjoyed exploring the Bible with friends and with the children in his many Bible classes.
Bruce said that his fondest memory occurred when he was a senior in high school. Bruce was the anchor on the freestyle relay. At the state meet, he beat out the adjacent team’s anchor to garner the state championship for his school. Bruce was pleased when he recently met with his former swim coach, who recalled Bruce’s swimming accomplishments. Of course, Bruce continued to be an outstanding competitor on the Amherst swim team.
Given his total commitment to his religious beliefs, many of Bruce’s friends would not be surprised if St. Peter welcomed him at the Pearly Gates. Bruce died on July 18, 2023, following a fall and brief hospitalization. He is survived by his wife, Harriette, and two sons. —Hardy Patten ’55
Samuel Chase Davenport ’55
Our class lost a very special person on June 21, 2023, with the death of Sam Davenport. Sam remained active into his final years, despite a progressive battle with leukemia. His athletic life at Amherst is well remembered: four years of varsity hockey and position of co-captain, four years of varsity baseball and a place on the 1951 undefeated freshman football team.
After earning his MBA at Columbia in 1960, Sam gave 31 years to the Norton Co., where he managed four different manufacturing divisions and provided human resources services for both the international and domestic operations.
In the midst of his productive vocational life, Sam became a lay reader and senior warden at St. Francis Episcopal Church of Holden, Mass. He taught business courses at Clark University in Worcester as adjunct faculty, served as a tutor to newly released convicts seeking employment opportunities and played a key role in the formation of the Worcester youth hockey program. Sam became an avid outdoorsman, delighting in fly-fishing, camping and hiking.
In 1962, Sam married Shirley Mattocks, the youngest daughter of an Episcopal minister. With their two children, the Davenports created a profound bond that included an annual family reunion every summer somewhere in New England. Shirley and Sam were regular participants in the class of ’55 reunions. They only missed one since graduation day!
Sam developed a special talent for carpentry over his adult years and even helped build son Dwight’s log home and his daughter Heather’s horse barn in New Hampshire. But Sam had already built and maintained a solid foundation and friendship with the class of 1955, by whom he will be greatly missed. His was a life of diligence, faith-based service to others and love of his family. —Al McLean ’55 with Dick Wright ’55 and Rob Sowersby ’55
Charles Paul Pydych ’55
Charlie came to Amherst from nearby Deerfield Academy. As an undergraduate, Charlie joined the Deke fraternity and was in the Sailing Club, band, Christian Association, freshman sub-council and ROTC. He majored in history, and Professor Salmon encouraged Charlie to take history honors. In our 50th reunion booklet, Charlie wrote, “I loved all that the College offered—campus, classes, fraternity and great faculty. Evolution was a profound experience. Amherst is the hub of my life, the golden haze of college days.”
After graduation, Charlie spent three years in the Air Force. Following jet training, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, where he was a bombardier/navigator, stationed at bases in Texas, Arizona and Louisiana. During that time, he was able to fly a plane to visit and court a Smith student, Connie Roberts. (I remember Charlie relating how he landed the plane at that small airport next to I-91 and the Connecticut River near Northampton!) The two were married in September 1957.
With his military responsibilities fulfilled, Charlie went to Wharton, receiving an MBA in 1961. He was a bond salesman and then an aerospace analyst and bond analyst for First Boston Corp. for 13 years. From there, he spent time in portfolio management for several banks and money managers. After that ended, Charlie was a flight instructor for a year and then worked for the Internal Revenue Service until he retired in 2006.
The class of 1955 was fortunate to have Charlie serve as our class treasurer for many years, until the College took over that activity. Charlie was a kind, caring person, never uttering a harsh word about anyone. We should all emulate those characteristics of his. He was a true gentleman. Charlie died peacefully in his sleep on June 11, 2023. —Rob Sowersby ’55
Ralph M. Lee ’57
Ralph Lee (July 9, 1935–May 12, 2023) will live forever among our nation’s creative heroes. He dazzled audiences with menageries of puppets and masks portraying creatures of myths and folktales from all cultures—lizards and wizards, sorceresses and spiders, cockroaches and kings. Many loomed larger than life, gracing stages from the Metropolitan Opera to St. John the Divine; strutting the streets of Greenwich Village in the renowned Halloween Parade he created; or performing at venues in Upstate New York with the Mettawee River Theatre Co., founded in 1975 by Bennington College students, including Casey Compton. Ralph became the company’s artistic director, and the couple made it their life’s work; they married in 1982 and in 2023 won an Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement.
But Ralph’s most “notorious” puppet was the “land shark” he designed for Chevy Chase to wear on Saturday Night Live; in several sketches airing in 1975, it showed up without warning to eat any female victim who opened her door.
Ralph was my Amherst roommate. That good fortune forged my path as a translator of ancient Greek plays, and we remained lifelong friends. Our first collaboration at Kirby Theater was my version of Euripides’ satyr play Cyclops; the second was Nostia, a play I wrote based on an episode of the Odyssey; Ralph directed and also danced and sang in the role of the minstrel Demodocos. In 1958–59, we connected briefly in Paris, where Ralph studied mime, and we traveled together to Spain. Then, in 2013, we collaborated on Taliesin, adapted from a Welsh tale by Ralph and Casey, for which I wrote the script.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Casey, and their daughter, Dorothy Louise Compton Lee ’06; children from his first marriage (Heather, Jennifer and Joshua Lee); six grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. —Robert Bagg ’57
Clifford J. Ronan ’57
Cliff was my lifelong friend; we met at Amherst and continued to see each other until last year. He had a wonderful way with people and mixed easily with people who had a wide variety of interests and personalities.
We roomed together at Phi Psi senior year and then went to Europe. Cliff always credited that trip for changing his life’s direction. Exposure to all the historical sites and cultural events in Europe redirected him toward teaching.
After returning to the U.S., he taught at an inner-city high school, but, to my delight, he then decided to teach at a college level and to get a doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, where I had already been for a year. We roomed together for three years, along with Howie Bonnett ’58.
During his Amherst years, Cliff worked summers at a high-end hotel on Cape Cod, where he made friends with many interesting people. But it was Denise Shual, a fellow graduate student at Berkeley, whom he married at the end of 1960. Children David and Michelle arrived in the next few years.
Cliff left Berkeley in 1965 for a faculty position at the University of Texas at Austin and later moved on to Southwest Texas State in San Marcos. He never lost his love for New England, and he bought a place on the coast of Maine. He and Denise spent summers there; my wife and I visited them many times, often sharing lobster dinners on the docks.
Shakespeare was a lifelong interest of Cliff’s. His doctoral thesis and subsequent research revolved around Shakespeare and his times. And it was Shakespeare who had the most cogent words for the end of life: “To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream ….”
Sweet dreams, my good friend. —Jim Mollenauer ’57
W. Miller Brown ’58
The class of 1958 has lost one of its most multidimensional members. Wesley Miller Brown died peacefully on July 27, 2023, surrounded by his daughters (Mara, who attended Amherst in 1985–86, and Shana ’93) and stepdaughters (Robin and Jasmine). His wife, Hilary, a retired psychotherapist, was too ill to be with him, but he knew she was with him in spirit.
Miller made a mythic American journey from West to East and back: Hutchinson, Kansas; Amherst; Sorbonne (Rotary Fellowship); Harvard for his doctorate, with a thesis on J.S. Mill; then an impressive career at Trinity College as professor and dean (1999–2004) until his retirement in 2015.
After publishing articles mainly on the philosophy of sport (he was a marathon runner), Miller turned to nonfiction: a memoir, In Places Remembered: A Narrative of My Life in Academe (2020), including, of course, a chapter on Amherst that captures (with some memorable photos) the atmosphere of the 1950s and reviews the pros and cons of the New Curriculum.
He followed this significant book with a well-crafted, charming and thoughtful collection of ruminations about objects in his Glastonbury, Conn., study that represented Wordsworthian “spots of time” in his life and our generation’s: A Palette of Recollections (2020). That year was his literary annus mirabilis.
One chapter, “Tidal Pool,” describes summers spent with family on Provincetown Bay and Cuttyhunk Island. Miller, ready to laugh, knew nonetheless about tides: the ins and outs of emotional combers and the rips and risky currents of most lives.
His post-philosophic autobiographical writing adds an asterisk to Robert Frost’s comment about a “long ago and far-away” recording of Amherst songs: “The better for having been held in check a while.” Miller’s life shall continue to reach the shores of those who were privileged to know him. —Howard R. Wolf ’58
Henry Clay Hart III ’58
Born in Providence, R.I., on July 1, 1936, Henry Clay Hart III attended Moses Brown School before matriculating in 1954 at Amherst, where he majored in dramatic arts; pledged Beta Theta Pi; competed in freshman football, baseball and track; and joined the Glee Club and Zumbyes.
Although Clay started out as a foreign credit analyst at Irving Trust Co., he quickly moved to what would become his real love, the music business. Handsome, pleasant and gifted with a smooth singing voice, Clay was destined to be a performer.
In 1960, he married Smith alumna Libby Thompson. A year later, they moved to Clearwater, Fla., where Clay worked in a recording studio by day and sang in local clubs at night. They had two children, Hank and Lizzie.
Moving to New Jersey, Clay performed at clubs throughout the Northeast. After hearing Clay in 1969, bandleader Lawrence Welk recruited him as the Welk show’s featured country singer. Clay recorded albums and was nominated for a Grammy Award for best country vocal performance for his 1969 single “Spring,” losing to Johnny Cash. These years “fulfilled a lifelong musical dream.”
In 1974, Clay married fellow Welk performer Sally Flynn. Clay wrote, “She has been my singing partner, business partner, best friend, wife and soulmate ever since.” In 1975, they left Welk and created their own band, performing around the world for the next 15 years, including at our 25th class reunion.
In 1980, they moved to Nashville for 20 years. They founded KeepSack, Inc., a “moderately successful” manufacturing company that produced tote bags for Walt Disney and Warner Bros. / Looney Tunes. In 2000, they moved to Cocoa Beach, Fla., for “fun in the sun.” For the last 13 years, Clay increasingly struggled with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He died July 28, 2022, in Cocoa Beach. —Allen Clark ’58
William J. Ryan ’58
William James Ryan of Concord, Mass., passed away on June 3, 2023, at the age of 87 after a brief illness. Born on May 30, 1936, Bill, as he was always known, entered Amherst College from Summit, N.J., in 1954.
At Amherst, Bill majored in economics and pledged Chi Phi, serving as social chairman. He used his height to good advantage, earning freshman 1958 numerals in basketball and rowing on the crew. (As coxswain, I could always count on Bill to “pull his weight,” an accolade for any oarsman.) While at Amherst, Bill married Barbara Hilyer and moved off campus to a flat in town.
“Upon realizing that no one seemed interested in hiring me despite my distinguished record at Amherst,” Bill later wrote, “I managed to wangle admission to Harvard Business School.” There he delivered the morning paper, played on a championship basketball team (he claimed he had very good teammates), sired his first daughter and, in 1960, earned his MBA.
The MBA led to a job in product management with Procter & Gamble in Ohio, where a son and a second daughter were born to Bill and Barbara. In 1975, Bill joined Gilette toiletries.
Sadly, Barbara died in 1992. Subsequently, Bill married Martha “Marty” Stengel. In addition to Marty, Bill is survived by two of his three children with Barbara and by four grandchildren. —Ned Megargee ’58
George Pleasant Willis III ’58
George Willis died on May 19, 2023, of heart failure.
George came to us from El Campo High School in Texas. At Amherst, he majored in Spanish and Spanish history and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon.
To say that George was “larger than life” is perhaps something of an understatement. To quote his daughter-in-law, Holly Willis, “He was of a physically imposing stature (read Tall Texan with all its iconic grace and swagger) with a brilliant mind, excellent education, wry humor, sharp wit and boundless yet measured energy.” He loved hunting and fishing, gambling, drinking good wine and visiting the cattle on the farm, among other things. However, George also had a penchant for mischief, something that may have been his undoing at Amherst, as he was expelled in his junior year at the order of President Cole and Dean Porter. The exact cause of the expulsion is not clear, but there has been speculation. George referred to the matter at rather great length in his contribution to the class of 1958’s 50th reunion class book and maintained that the expulsion was not justified and that he had been made a scapegoat.
George went on to study law and received his LL.B. from the University of Texas in 1960. After serving in the Army, George practiced with his father’s and grandfather’s law firm, Willis & Willis, until almost the day he died.
George was predeceased by his former spouse and the mother of his children, Gail Stanton Willis. He is survived by his beloved wife of 37 years, Gwen Dohner Willis; daughter Nicole Ruth Willis; son George Willis IV and wife Holly; a sister; grandchildren; and nieces and nephews. —John E.G. Bischof ’58
F. Lawrence K. Mann ’59
F. Lawrence Keith Mann of Perkasie, Pa., formerly of “Tallyho,” Solebury, Pa., passed away peacefully on Oct. 23, 2022, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Born in Philadelphia to F. Nelson Mann and Grace (Fontaine) Mann on Sept. 29, 1937, Larry is survived by his beloved wife, Judy (they celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on June 3, 2022); loving children Eric Mann (Amy), Laura Manchester (Robert) and Scott Mann (Dianne); grandchildren Jiali, Minli, Robert Jr., Grace, Emily, Dylan and Olivia; and great-grandchildren Samantha and twins Bobby and Maggie.
Larry graduated in 1955 from Pennsylvania’s Cheltenham High School and in 1959 from Amherst, where he was a member of Chi Psi fraternity. He proudly served in the U.S. Army, receiving an honorable discharge in 1964.
He was the president of Jalkem Industries, Inc., a manufacturer’s representative to fiber and steel drum companies.
He coached community soccer and Little League baseball and owned Ormsby’s restaurant in Easton, Pa.; several racehorses; and a chemical manufacturing business in Glenside, Pa.
Larry and Judy were founding members of Lookaway Golf Club in Buckingham, Pa., where one of his proudest moments was his hole-in-one on Hole 2. He was a member of Doylestown Presbyterian Church for 56 years.
Not only was Larry a caring husband and father, but he was also a mentor to his children’s friends.
A man of great faith, he approached each day as an opportunity to love and laugh, to grow and serve. His services were private. —Judy Mann
Leon Joseph Du Bois II ’60
Leon arrived at Amherst from his home in Rochester, N.Y. While in public high school, he had been a student at the Eastman School of Music, studying both the violin and the piano. He continued his musical interests at Amherst and was president of the Glee Club in his senior year. He and I played piano duets in the basement of James during our freshman year and became fast friends. In the late ’50s, Amherst had only a few Black students (perhaps seven), but that was never an issue. Phi Alpha Psi had almost all of them, so it was natural for Leon to join the fraternity. As a good friend, I followed him there.
After graduation, he enrolled in Princeton for a master’s degree in music. He moved from the piano to the organ and also became a composer of church music. Soon after graduation, he declared that he was gay and moved to the Bay Area. He avoided any contact with former friends. He then obtained a nursing degree and spent the remainder of his professional life as a nurse at the San Francisco Kaiser Permanente hospital.
My wife, Wendy, and I tracked him down along the Russian River at a home he shared with his longtime husband, Angelo Proserpi. He remained upbeat and cheerful. He preferred to leave his former life behind, and we never reestablished regular contact. Leon died on Feb. 22, 2023. —Michael Taylor ’60
James Spurgeon Jackson Jr. ’60
Jim Jackson died more than five years ago, on Jan. 16, 2018, but no obituary has been located. Memories of him are unusually sparse, because he never contributed to our reunion books or class notes nor maintained contact with those who knew him best at Amherst.
He was Ralph Blume ’60’s classmate at Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, N.Y., and an Alpha Theta Xi fraternity brother at Amherst. Ralph noted, “We seemed to be very close. I was at his wedding but subsequently lost all touch with him and was never able to find him or anything about him. I felt it as a major loss.”
Charlie Cobb ’60 remembers that Jim was “my fraternity brother and roommate, but we too lost touch. Jim’s pledging Theta Xi was the reason we were expelled from that national organization. He was a good friend, an awesome high jumper on the track team and an overall positive person, not given to intense study but a committed bridge player. I am saddened by his departure.”
Bob Glickman ’60 observed that Jim “did not participate in fraternity activities, and I suspect he was not happy at Amherst, although the entire fraternity welcomed him.”
Jim was a psychology major. Classmates may remember his herculean efforts to pass the required swimming test, which allegedly persisted until the night before graduation. —Assembled by Dick Weisfelder ’60 with help from the classmates mentioned
Wade Sammis “Scott” MacConnell ’60
Scott MacConnell’s classmates at KT remember little of him during his Amherst years, because his passion for theater and commitment to the Masquers and WAMF dominated his life. His neighbor in Stearns and fraternity brother Charlie Collins ’60 recalls Scott’s “bubbling enthusiasm” and how Scott had forged a new identity: “In his pre-Amherst days, he was known as Wade, a name he never liked, so he became Scotty and then Scott for all his new acquaintances at Amherst.”
“In his later years, Scott’s hold on life was supported by the superhuman efforts of his wife, Stephanie Mykietyn,” wrote Dick Hubert ’60. “My wife, Jelma, and I connected with them during a car trip to Nova Scotia, when we visited their Waterside home. Scott and Stephanie had ‘retired’ there from their New Jersey residence and his teaching position at Montclair State University, but retirement was not in their blood. Both continued their theatrical work, with Scott designing sets for a nearby summer theater while participating in various capacities in support of the Hector, a ship that brought the first Scottish immigrants to Nova Scotia.
“As Scott’s progressive supranuclear palsy worsened over the past 17 years, Stephanie’s determination that he have as ‘normal’ a life as possible meant that her role as nurse, caregiver, cook, driver and wheelchair assist manager and more grew to epic proportions. During Scott’s visits to his physicians in New Jersey, we would meet at restaurants where wheelchair ramps were guaranteed. But the job of moving Scott to and from his wheelchair and their specially equipped van seemed impossibly taxing. We marveled at Stephanie’s commitment that Scott survive without being institutionalized. Upon Scott’s death on April 30, 2023, Stephanie arranged for a celebration of his life in Nova Scotia and also organized a remembrance at Montclair State.” —Charlie Collins ’60 and Dick Hubert ’60
Denis J. Clifford ’61
Denis was an English major (disciple of Roger Sale), Columbia Law Review editor, clerk for a federal judge in Manhattan and staffer on the first Ted Weiss congressional campaign. He joined the group of early, aggressive legal service attorneys in California who sued local officials on behalf of poor clients, thereby putting to socially beneficial use his sometimes pugilistic temperament.
He changed greatly after Amherst, as he has written, becoming less angry and able to be intimate with others, but he always loved a good argument. For most of his career, he rejected practicing law as a profession, writing instead legal do-it-yourself books for Nolo press, guiding readers in situations where the expense of an attorney was unnecessary. The success of these books allowed him to spend time on other aspects of life he loved: painting in his studio, reading, writing (essays, letters and stories), poker, basketball, attending French conversation and poetry reading groups, exercising at the Berkeley YMCA four times a week, and taking self-guided biking trips with Naomi throughout the U.S. and Europe.
It was impossible to keep track of all his passions. For him, living was “process, not results.” Denis did return to law in his 60s, providing estate advice in situations for which he deemed an attorney necessary.
Denis and I were scheduled to meet for our annual face-to-face conversation the day before he suddenly died. With so much energy always bursting from him, I never expected that he would be the one to break tradition by succumbing in late June to a cerebral hemorrhage.
He is survived by his life partner of 40 years, Naomi Puro; by five sisters and brothers; by many close friends in California; and by a number of us who cherish his memory. —Jan Beyea ’61
Alexander Stevenson Twombly III ’61
Ike would probably prefer “Ike” to have been put in place of his full name, so concerned was he to not be labeled a “preppy.” His uncle was headmaster at the Brooks School in New Hampshire, from which he graduated. Ike was a steadfast member of the freshman and varsity hockey teams who brought a notebook of the punchlines he could not remember to the jokes told in his croaking voice that had bus-mates roaring.
He was a math major and had a long career at New Hampshire Blue Cross Blue Shield as director of data management. But, before settling there, he was briefly a brakeman on the Chicago and North Western railroad and spent more than six years in the Air Force, three of them as a Select Crew B-52 navigator bombardier at the SAC base at the Westover AFB, leaving this post as a captain.
Ike conquered all the 4,000-foot mountains in New England and ambitiously summited Kala Patthar in Nepal. There was no outdoor sport Ike didn’t enjoy, including motorcycling.
Ike and his wife, Patricia, who survives him, had three sons and two stepsons, 11 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. In what seems to have been a lengthy illness, everyone agreed that, rather than being cheered by others, it was Ike who cheered everyone. —Paul Bracciotti ’61
Michael G. Vesselago ’61
Michael died at home six months after being diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma. He and his sister were the children of Russian aristocrats who barely survived the 1917 Revolution. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Turner-Vesselago. They had moved to Toronto when, at age 49, “after two divorces and a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in nephrology,” Mike realized he had “a stake in all this and began consciously to make choices and guide my own career.” He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school and earned a master’s in public health from the University of Washington.
Mike became the primary caretaker of his mother in childhood. Barbara believes that ongoing desire to be of service fueled his lifelong study of medicine and a series of other modalities (homeopathy, naturopathy, meditation and psychotherapy) that he felt would further help his patients. Once, he phoned from a car trapped in the wheel well of a giant transport vehicle: “The mother is injured and everyone’s cold and frightened. I’m staying until the jaws of life get here.” He had somehow managed to climb into the backseat through the car window.
Barbara reports that Mike loved and learned a great deal from his years “on reservation” as chief medical officer with the U.S. Department of Indian Health in Nevada and Arizona, after which he opened a solo practice in internal medicine in Seattle. There he helped establish John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine, now Bastyr University, and served on the board of the American Holistic Medical Association. When he married Barbara and they moved to Canada, he studied Adlerian psychotherapy and practiced with the Psychotherapy Institute of Toronto, while maintaining a small medical practice and often as locum in Emo, an Ojibwe community. —Barbara Turner-Vesselago and Paul Bracciotti ’61
Joel L. Chadys ’62
Our dear friend Joel “Zeke” Chadys died April 10, 2021, at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, Maine. As Zeke’s classmates and fraternity family, we want to share our love and express our sadness on his passing. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to his sister Diane Jaeckel and niece Ricki Jaeckel.
Zeke grew up in New Haven, Conn., where he was an exceptional multi-sport athlete—and also a talented piano player. He was an outstanding member of the Amherst baseball team, even trying out for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He later earned a master’s in physical education from Springfield College and went to work for the Pirates organization, especially reveling in the joy of sharing their victory in the 1971 World Series. Following that, Zeke worked in the New York City area, where he enjoyed entertaining many of us who visited and a few of us who lived there. His warmth and infectious sense of humor were special to all of those who knew him.
Zeke spent the last 20 years of his life in the Portland, Maine, area working in the retail clothing business. Although he was not able to join us in our occasional get-togethers over the past 15 years, many of his Beta friends were able to connect with him during this time and share college experiences while getting caught up on each other’s lives. Zeke shared with all of us so many happy times, creating memories that have a lingering impact.
Zeke, we will miss you and will try always to remember your smile and that special sparkle in your eyes. You left us too soon, but we retain our fond memories. —Zeke’s Amherst ’62 Fraternity Family
Charles B. “Tim” Cohler ’62
Our dear classmate and extraordinary friend Charles “Tim” Cohler died on July 15 after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke while on vacation with his wife, Anne, and a grandchild. Tim and Anne would have celebrated their 40th anniversary on July 30. He is survived by Anne, his son Richard and daughter Deborah, Anne’s daughter Analisa and son Iain, and Tim and Anne’s beloved grandchild Raini. Their grandson Xavier died in 2015.
Born and raised in Chicago, Tim attended Harvard School for Boys and, after Amherst, Harvard Law School. He began his law practice in San Francisco, eventually co-founding his own firm, Lasky, Haas, Cohler & Munter. Tim had a brilliant career involving complex corporate litigation and antitrust issues and, in the process, became an expert in European antitrust law. Tom Woodhouse ’62 was with Tim at Harvard Law and in their law practice, also enjoying a close connection throughout his retirement.
Tim, an avid reader and writer, taught himself bridge; he and Anne became expert players, participating in many competitions. He traveled extensively around the world, even becoming an expert chef. Always dedicated to scientific inquiry and the advancement of knowledge, Tim donated his body to UC San Francisco for medical research. He lived a life he often described: according to his principles, based on questioning, examining and logical argument. An extraordinary number of people considered Tim a loyal friend, always available to them, knowing that he saw them for who they are, open to exploring and learning together.
He will be sorely missed by his Amherst classmates, especially all of his former Beta fraternity brothers (and sisters) with whom he remained in close contact. His memory will live on through his beloved family and the many friends and colleagues he had in his personal and professional life. —Tim’s Amherst Fraternity Family
Phillip Miani ’62
Phil Miani died in California in April, tended by his much-loved daughters Justine and Nicole and their children.
After Amherst, Phil became a sergeant in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, where his first daughter was born. After completing his service, he spent many years in Colorado, where his second daughter was born and where both girls grew up. Phil mastered the insurance business there with Prudential Life, as an agent and product developer. In 1989, Phil moved to Key West, Fla., where he established The Miani Group in a building he acquired on Truman Avenue, providing financial planning and investment services to professionals and businesses throughout the Keys.
Phil loved music and played baritone horn and string bass as a freshman. In Key West, his passions blossomed, especially in supporting children’s music education. He created the Miani Sassy Cat Fund with the help of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys to provide ongoing support for the Bahama Village Music Program. He was very active with the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, as a patron and member, and as a member of the Stradivari Society. He enjoyed international travel with the symphony and proudly supported its efforts, most especially their Symphony in the Schools music education program. Phil was recently celebrated at the orchestra’s 25th anniversary dinner as a Sound of Success honoree, and a memorial chair has been established in his name. To cap it all off, in his late 70s he took piano and guitar lessons and became good enough to sit in with local jazz groups around Key West.
Phil cherished many community connections, including the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, The Studios of Key West, Reef Relief, the Florida Keys Democrats, the Key West Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Key West. —Lowell Henry ’62 and Gil Shasha ’61
Peter J. Stine ’63
Peter Stine passed away at his home in Berkeley, Calif., on Aug. 22, 2023. He is survived by his twin brother, Patrick Stine ’63, of Middlebury, Vt. The two had carried on a lively conversation about the World Cup soccer matches the morning of his death. Peter had struggled with a number of chronic medical conditions for several decades.
Peter is also survived by his two sons, Alexander and Nicholas Stine, and two sisters, Marci Herrick and Annie Stine. All live in Berkeley, which is where Peter got his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of California in 1972. Another survivor, his sons’ mother, Carolyn Krause, lives in the Bay Area.
Peter was a beloved member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, a member of the College soccer and baseball teams (soccer undefeated in 1960), and a passionate writer and student of the English language. He was kind, quiet, caring, sensitive, thoughtful, very smart and insightful, with many friends in his own and neighboring classes.
After college, his life and career were characterized by his continuing involvement in social justice movements, civil rights, and racial and antiwar causes. He took actions for his beliefs.
The hallmark of his career was the creation and editorship of the acclaimed literary journal Witness, which he shepherded for 20 years, gathering numerous literary awards. His psychological, sociological and cultural insights from reading written texts were astounding, with little reliance on theories or guidance from other disciplines. He helped many others improve their literary crafts, and he himself was a gifted writer.
His Amherst College 50th reunion e-book submission celebrated how important and meaningful parenting his two remarkably accomplished sons had been, together with loving his Labrador retrievers and keeping in touch with many college friends. —Laurie Osborn ’63
Thomas G.P. Guilbert ’64
In fall 1960, Tom Guilbert and I flew from San Francisco to Bradley and bused to Amherst. Neither of us had seen the College. We had attended public high schools in Northern California and were the only students from the Bay Area to enroll at Amherst that year.
We pledged Chi Psi and were roommates with Cary Keith ’64 and John Ruppe ’64. Tom and Cary majored in economics, John and I in English. Tom was a quick study, mastering Professor Sprague’s calculus the night before the final, never having cracked the book before.
After graduation, there was no doubt about the direction Tom would take. He had applied only to Amherst for undergraduate education, and he applied only to Yale for law school.
After two years, he took a year off to teach English in Japan, having mastered Japanese in a short course. He met Hiroko there, and they were married after Tom returned to Yale.
Following law school, Tom and Hiroko moved to Portland, where Tom established a reputation for environmental law. The text he co-edited for West Publishing in 1974 continues to be cited. After serving the State of Oregon in several positions, he opened a private practice and thrived.
Tom and Hiroko raised son Andrew in Portland; he is now a legal consultant, raising his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Tom’s father had been a leader in the Episcopal Church, and Tom was very involved in his local parish. He developed the practice of researching the weekly lessons, sharing his conclusions with the parish and interested others. Tom taught readers to dig deeply into Biblical passages. Tom was also well known for his research into consumer goods, which he shared widely. Here and elsewhere, his searching intellect and clever humor will be remembered and missed. —Bob Benedetti ’64
Stephen H. Kiss ’64
Before he died on July 18 of heart failure, Steve Kiss, with his wife, Judith, had moved to Maryland to be near their son and his family. Their son is a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins. Steve was passionate about his grandson, Bailey, posting pictures of his adventures on the internet.
Having spent the year after Amherst in law school at UVA, Steve changed course and completed a doctorate at New York University in curriculum planning. Thereafter, Steve committed himself to high school teaching. He was willing to work with both curious students and those not prepared to learn. Steve retired as a high school teacher in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., not far from where he grew up in Mamaroneck. After retirement, he taught briefly at four-year and community colleges.
Steve was active at the Elmwood Playhouse, a community theater in Nyack, N.Y., where he acted, sang and was on the board of directors. He was often cast in musicals, as he had a wonderful voice. He excelled playing Gilbert and Sullivan roles. Classmates will remember he sang with the Zumbyes, one of Amherst’s two a cappella groups. Until he moved to Maryland, he participated in the choir at the Reform Temple of Rockland County, N.Y.
Steve honored in English at Amherst, writing his thesis on Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He was a member of the DKE fraternity and a Masquer, taking roles in a number of college productions. He was memorable in The Andersonville Trial. Senior year, Steve and I were dormitory advisers and roommates in James Hall.
Steve attended several reunions. At the 50th, we reestablished contact. Steve visited me twice in California, where we enjoyed theaters and museums. Thereafter, we talked monthly, discussing what we were reading and our families. I will miss those wide-ranging conversations. —Bob Benedetti ’64
Charles Stanley Sloss ’64
Stan Sloss, age 81, died peacefully in his sleep on Aug. 1, 2023, in his hometown, Glenwood Springs, Colo. He lived many years in Washington, and after retirement he spent summers in Glenwood Springs. Before Amherst, he graduated from Garfield County High School.
At Amherst, Stan majored in American studies, reflecting his fascination with history and politics. He also became managing editor of The Amherst Student and was inducted into Scarab.
After Harvard Law, Stan worked at the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington, D.C., and in private practice with Bob Goldberg ’63 in Alaska. Stan never complained, even when his practice took him to Anchorage for the winter and D.C. for the summer! Stan’s longest work, however, was as a Congressional staffer, with John Seiberling (D-Ohio), David Skaggs (D-Colo.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.). One of his finest accomplishments was helping to birth a new law to govern Alaska’s public lands. Always liberal politically, Stan practiced pragmatic politics, not ideological. He worked well with Republicans and Democrats.
Three memorable anecdotes: First, Stan played matchmaker by introducing his high school friend Sue to Paul Stern ’64; they still thank him, 55 years later. Second, Stan made many road trips to Amherst with other Coloradoans, once in Stan’s newly acquired but ancient Pontiac. They first feared bankruptcy from the car’s thirst for oil, but then it blew a tire. Unfortunately, the spare lacked any meaningful relationship with the Pontiac. Third, en route to Colorado, they “discovered” a speed trap that brought them before the local magistrate. They watched him wrap their $50 fine around a huge wad of bills before pocketing them. Stan’s wry sense of humor kept him the perfect stoic.
He leaves his sister, Ellie Hanlon, and many friends who miss him dearly. —John Perkins ’64
John L. Wire ’67
John Wire passed away on Dec. 8, 2022, in his longtime home of Portland, Ore., surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife, Carol, a Mount Holyoke graduate; sons Joseph, Ben (Katie) and Daniel (Katie); grandchildren Max, Ally and Maddie; and devoted pup Pippin. John used his energy, talents and abiding love to support and nurture them for more than 50 years, leaving behind a beautiful legacy.
Born in Chicago to David Biklen Wire and Elizabeth Matz, John grew up in Hinsdale, Ill., and Millbrook, N.Y. He carried fond memories of his high school years at Suffield Academy and majored in psychology and Middle Eastern history at Amherst. Following a year at the University of Minnesota, where he focused on Middle Eastern studies, the armed services called his draft number. Enlisting in the Air Force as a medical technician, John discovered a lifelong interest in medicine. After earning a master’s in health administration from the University of Washington (class of ’75), he began a career in the medical field, leading medical practices in Portland and Eugene, Ore.; Hartford, Conn.; San Diego; Phoenix; Atlanta; and Albuquerque, N.M. When John retired, he returned to Portland.
At Amherst, John pledged Phi Gam. He was my roommate in the old social dorms during our sophomore year, and we remained friends for many years. John was the best man at my wedding. —Chris Nugent ’67
William Deming Kurth ’68
Bill Kurth died March 31, 2021. Coming to Amherst from San Clemente, Calif., Bill claimed that his admission depended solely on geographical distribution, and he measured the difficulty of an exam by the number of suitcases that he packed, sure he was heading home. Once he wrote an intentionally bad paper with these words: “Who is to say that the man of the end of the 15th century was different from the man of the start of the 16th? They may even have been the same man.” In our freshman throes, he was comic relief.
Junior year, he roomed at Phi Delt with Clark Hathaway ’68 and me. He amused us with LPs, some (again) intentionally bad, some by Stan Freberg, whose zings at contemporary culture suited Bill’s sense of humor. Bill also looked like Freberg. He majored in American studies and minored in wordplay, keeping us up late with puns. That winter, before Super Bowl I, Bill commissioned from Walt Simonson ’68 a “Madonna and Football,” complete with cherubim (one, a little Batman). He posted this on Phi Delt’s bulletin board—it was destroyed by one of the more devout brethren. I wonder how many Amherst semesters could have been paid for, years later, through the sale of that drawing.
Bill could be fiercely sarcastic, but that fierceness contained no malice—his targets were notions, not individuals. He carried his wit to New York City, into a lifelong career in advertising. I’d say he was channeling Freberg, but by then he was just being himself. A former colleague, after his death, cited Bill’s rule never to have more stuff on his desk than he could snatch up in a huff. I can see that huff. But I will chiefly remember Bill for being playful, for having and creating fun. —Jeremiah Mead ’68
E. Reeves Callaway III ’70
Ely Reeves Callaway III, founder and CEO of Callaway Cars, died July 11, 2023, at his home in Newport Beach, Calif. According to his company, he passed from injuries sustained in a fall. He was 75.
Reeves was legendary in the high-performance automotive field, as reported in national media. (See The New York Times, July 24, 2023.) He spoke of his life and career as a featured guest on Jay Leno’s Garage (March 2017, YouTube video).
Reeves lived like he drove: fast, effortlessly and always at will. At Amherst, he was a member of AD fraternity, majored in fine arts and played rugby. His study carrel was his off-campus “foreign car” repair shop, where he restored Ferraris, didn’t charge friends for labor and found time to do his sculpture homework. Despite opposition from the fine arts department, for his independent-scholar thesis he submitted a meticulously documented restoration of a historic Ferrari.
As his roommate for a summer at ABC House in Amherst, I knew him as a compassionate guy who helped others without being self-righteous. I was his navigator for the New England Grand Prix road rally. Though I misdirected us to a dead-end dirt road, Reeves sped to the finish line, often at 160 mph, to win the race.
Many classmates have posted rich memories of Reeves. Robert Nathan ’70, an AD brother, recollected, “He carried himself as a man who knew what he wanted and where he was going. His passion for cars and speed aside, he was intense in the quietest way and unfailingly kind and decent.” John Grahame ’70 wrote, “He made everyone feel welcome wherever he was, whatever he was doing … the coolest, sweetest guy I ever knew.”
Our condolences to Reeves’ four surviving children and two grandchildren. Our class will sorely miss him. —Mark Harris ’70
David H. Porter ’70
We were saddened to hear about the death of Dave Porter on Nov. 6, 2018, from Lewy body disease. Dave ran track, belonged to Phi Gam and majored in French. He practiced radiology in Boston for many years. Dave considered it a gift that he and his wife, Janet, were able to be at Amherst again as parents of son Tim ’06, who also ran track. Dave was predeceased by daughter Emily. He is survived by Janet, Tim, daughter-in-law Lydia, and grandchildren Elliott and Eliza. We remember David with fondness. —Bob Spielman ’70
John G. Santos ’70
Dr. John Santos of Charlton, Mass., passed away unexpectedly on July 10, 2023, at the age of 79. He leaves behind his two sons, Jay Santos ’01 of Seattle and Kip Santos of Vancouver, and his granddaughter, Siena.
The summer edition of Amherst magazine was the first time John had submitted an update. He was so proud to share news about Nature’s Classroom and welcoming his first grandchild.
Prior to Amherst, John served in the U.S. Navy and attended Northern Essex Community College, where there is now a Dr. John G. Santos Environmental Education Scholarship in his honor.
John was a nontraditional student, but Amherst unlocked in him a passion for learning and creativity that would fuel him throughout life. He went on to earn his master’s from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Ph.D. in education from Boston College.
Despite his degrees, John believed that the formal education system was not ideal for many students. That was the motivation for John to create Nature’s Classroom Inc. The residential environmental education program gives students an opportunity to explore education outside the walls of the classroom and has educated more than 1 million students. This past May, Nature’s Classroom celebrated its 50th anniversary with more than 300 former staff and their families reuniting in Charlton. It was one of John’s proudest days.
Though he traveled extensively throughout his life and visited all seven continents, he didn’t forget Amherst. He often made it to the Amherst vs. Williams game each year. He swam almost daily and was active in the ballroom dance community, participating in dances right until his passing. John’s last few days were spent in happiness with his 10-month-old granddaughter, playing with her in the pool, pushing her on the swings and feeding her a lobster roll. —Jay Santos ’01
Steven L. Coulter ’73
Steve Coulter died on June 24 after a five-year fight with a rare urological cancer. To the end, Steve’s courage and good cheer remained remarkable; he found humor in deeply painful circumstances and continually expressed gratitude for his many blessings.
Steve’s life journey was one of transitions and growth. He brought his Oklahoma accent and large presence to Amherst after a semester at Johns Hopkins. A member of the swim team and Psi U, he made lifelong friends. After junior year, he left for dental school at Washington University, then switched to medical school at the University of Oklahoma. After 10 years practicing internal medicine, Steve moved into executive roles with Blue Cross Blue Shield and was finally president of The Health Institute of BCBS of Tennessee. He issued white papers on Tennesseans’ access to health care that were remarkably enlightened and illuminating, reflecting his care for people. Following retirement, Steve returned to medical practice at hospice in Chattanooga. When he entered hospice care himself, Steve expressed great pride at his service on a caring, selfless team.
Steve’s first love was his family. He was devoted to his wife of over 40 years, Beverly, and was enormously proud of his children, Ben, Scott and Sarah, and his two granddaughters.
Steve’s hobbies included skydiving (which he finally gave up after many broken bones), photography, skeet shooting, and tending his farm near Chattanooga and many pets.
Raised an Oklahoma Methodist, Steve converted to Judaism. He loved it, he said, for its intellectual clarity and richness. Steve described Judaism as the core of his identity and a source of comfort and strength. He adopted Jewish foods and a haimish sense of humor. Steve told me he’d like to be remembered as a good and observant Jew, a mensch. He was all that and more. —Steven Scheinman ’73
Christopher H. Linden ’74
Chris Linden died Aug. 26 at his home in Shrewsbury, Mass., the victim of an incredibly fast-moving cancer. Mike Moran ’74 last saw Chris in June of 2022 at Bronco Werner ’74’s place in Vermont, together with Scott Frew ’74 and Bo Salem ’74. He seemed the picture of health. “This is shocking news to his friends, since he didn’t let us know of his illness until near the end.”
Mike met Chris early freshman year in James. “We immediately recognized in each other a fellow troublemaker. That winter, Chris and I stole a keg from a party at Phi Delt—what the hell, they left it outside unguarded! We hid it in the snow in the bird sanctuary and put James on tap the next weekend. That was certainly not the last of the idiotic stunts we pulled together, but perhaps the most widely appreciated.”
He adds: “Chris was probably as close as you can get these days to being a polymath. He went to med school at UMass and, after graduation, became a captain in the Army Reserve Medical Corps. He was a practicing physician, a med school professor and the author of numerous publications, primarily on the subject of toxicology. I like to think that some of the stuff we did together at Amherst were first baby steps for him in his research in that field. He was a skilled stonemason, an electrician (pretty sure you need a license for that), a horticulturalist, an avid and accomplished skier—you get the picture. Most importantly, Chris was a caring, witty, kindhearted person who was just fun to be around. I will miss him, as I know many of you will.”
Chris leaves behind his wife, Jeanne, and five children and grandchildren. —Jim Warren ’74
Richard B. Bernstein ’77
Richard Bernstein passed away on June 26, apparently of a heart attack. He is survived by his younger brother, Steven; his younger sister, Linda, succumbed to cancer in 2004.
He was extraordinary in many ways—in his passion for books (reading and writing them), scholarship, desire to help others, forgiving nature, loyalty to friends and sense of humor. Example: titling a scholarly article about our founding charter “The Constitution as an Exploding Cigar.”
Richard attended Amherst to study with the noted historian Henry Steele Commager. He had begun corresponding with Henry while attending Stuyvesant High School. Apparently, Commager saw some potential, and the rest is… history.
I became friends with Richard freshman year. At Amherst, at Harvard Law School and while living in Brooklyn, he displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of the contents of every bookstore within miles; just visiting them seemed to be his greatest source of entertainment.
To acquire books he couldn’t afford, he contacted publishers, offering to write reviews of any books they sent him. Richard acquired so many books at Amherst that he had to install rows of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in his room to accommodate them. Upon graduation, his parents drove to Amherst to collect his things, only to discover that a second round trip was required to collect the remainder of his personal library.
After law school, Richard found that the study of law was more to his taste than the practice of law. His true calling was as a professor and scholar of early American history, focusing on the Founders.
Richard was selfless in his friendship. He wrote a moving In Memory tribute to his close Amherst friend and our late classmate Marilee Huntoon ’78 in 2011.
Many students in our class were unusual; Richard was unique. —David Quinto ’77
John C. Cross ’77
John Cleaveland Cross passed away from a sudden and unexpected heart attack at his home in Dover, Mass., on May 11, 2023. He is survived by Peggy Fretwell Cross (Smith College ’77), his wife of more than 45 years; sisters Jennifer and Heather; sons Ted and Charlie ’11; daughter-in-law Becky ’11; and grandchildren Olivia and William.
John is remembered by many from his time at Amherst for his wry, irreverent wit and his intellectual curiosity, especially among his close friends in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. Majoring in American studies, he wrote his senior thesis on Henry Ford’s notorious efforts to transform industrial successes into public influence.
In short order following his graduation from Amherst, John moved to New York City, married his college sweetheart and embarked on what would become a successful lifelong career in publishing. He initially served as an editor in the New York office of publishing firm Warren, Gorham & Lamont, later joining its Boston marketing department.
Upon receiving his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in 1983, John founded his own publishing company, Federal Research Press. The organization was renamed Standard Publishing Corp. in 1986 after John acquired The Standard, an insurance news magazine founded in 1865. He held the position of publisher and president until the day that he passed, running nearly a dozen different business journals in New England and Texas. A fixture at SPC’s office in Boston’s financial district, he was as ready to crack a joke with his employees as to find a solution.
A voracious reader, John enjoyed traveling abroad and was a talented skeet and trap shooter as well as an avid bird hunter. A loyal friend and a devoted husband, father and grandfather, he will be missed by the many who knew and loved him. —Charlie Cross ’11 and Peggy Cross
Joan R. Butcher ’85
Our dear friend Joan Liberman Butcher lost her five-year battle with aggressive brain cancer on Aug. 19, 2023. Although her prognosis was grim, she fought bravely against this terrible disease, undergoing several surgeries and experimental treatments. Through it all, she maintained her positivity and sense of humor. She never let her diagnosis define her or stop her from doing what she loved.
At Amherst, Joanie majored in English and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She was an RC during her junior year. It was clear she was cut out for this position—her residents came to count on her wisdom and guidance even once her term ended.
After Amherst, Joanie went to Brown for medical school. She had a successful career as a psychiatrist, where her patients, like her residents, appreciated her caring spirit and forthright nature.
From an early age, Joanie was steeped in the fight for social justice. She remembers protesting the Vietnam War with her mother as a young child. While at Amherst, she biked to see Geraldine Ferraro, the first female U.S. major-party vice-presidential nominee. More recently, Joanie was a fierce advocate for ending gun violence. The St. Louis Moms Demand Action group was a major part of her life; Joanie was passionate about this worthy cause.
Joanie’s love of Amherst never wavered. She was a regular at reunions, where she treasured the opportunity to reconnect with old friends.
As her former roommates, we are heartbroken. We will miss her intellect, wit and caring spirit at our annual get-togethers and will root for her beloved St. Louis Cardinals in her honor. We would like to extend our sympathy to her daughters, Tess and Emma; son-in-law; granddaughter; parents; brother; and many friends. —Wendy (Saltman) Sullivan ’85, Sharon (Malsan) Sciartelli ’85, Chrissy (Funderburk) Lingelbach ’85 and Kathleen (McKibbin) Lloyd-Jones ’85
Daniel J. Mouhot ’89
Dan Mouhot passed away on July 18, 2023, from liver disease. Born in 1966 and raised in Redford, Mich., Dan was always the quintessential “Renaissance man”: an above-average student, he was also passionately involved in sports, theater and music. Another passion was family history: on his father’s side, Dan was related to famous 19th-century explorer Henri Mouhot, first European discoverer of the temple of Angkor Wat; on his mother’s side, he came from a family of Finnish immigrants, which inspired him to do his junior year of college in Finland.
From his first encounter with Amherst at a college fair during senior year of high school, he knew that Amherst would be “home” for him. His years at Amherst were the happiest of his life, and he never lost his love for his alma mater. A Russian major, he also kept a foot in the computer world. By graduation time, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and of the Soviet Union, his major seemed less relevant, so he joined a start-up computer company that was very successful, eventually bought up by IBM. His specialty became health care software and business partnership development.
The latter involved a lot of personal interaction with clients, which brings us to one of Dan’s most salient character traits: his exuberantly extroverted personality and his unflagging delight in meeting people of all cultures, ages and walks of life.
He also lived life to the fullest, traveling with zest all over the globe and enjoying the simple pleasures of life: food, theater, music, dance, song—and, above all, the company of his family and friends, who deeply mourn the passing of so vital, warm, generous and talented a human being.
He is survived by his husband since 2004, Franco Mormando, professor of Italian at Boston College. —Franco Mormando
Rajesh Ranganathan ’95
Rajesh Ranganathan died by suicide on July 5, 2023, in Maryland.
Raj came a long way to study biology at Amherst, from his home in Madras, India, through boarding school in England. He arrived mature, confident and with a clear sense of purpose. Rajesh opened my mind in so many ways: describing polymerase chain reaction and its applications in casual freshman dorm room conversation, sharing South Indian culture through food and playing the mridangam, and devotion to sports like cricket and badminton.
In science, in particular, his mind was remarkable. He was able to synthesize detailed subcellular pathways: they just made sense to him, while the rest of us struggled to follow. He seemed certain that an understanding of the structure of life was achievable, even if a sense of its meaning or purpose remained elusive. He would find the weak point in any argument and push, with unforgiving intellectual integrity. He was brilliant, but not gentle.
Rajesh’s distinguished career in science spanned academia (training in the labs of two Nobel laureates and later on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital), industry (Novartis) and public service (NIH), ultimately focusing on translational research to facilitate practical applications.
I had kept in touch with Rajesh over the years, visiting in person or, more often, by phone. He started a science fiction book club with Adam Kobos ’95, Katie Galie ’95 and me during COVID, via Zoom. We became closer, talking about books but also about navigating the challenges of a global pandemic, jobs, divorce, ailing parents, raising kids. We felt sad, worried and powerless when he stopped participating.
I miss his sardonic sense of humor, his animated discussions, his laughter. I miss his sad heart, particularly in its happy moments. I miss his mind.
He is survived by his three children: Nea, Myka and Alara. —Ryan McGhan ’95
Joseph J. Rachiele ’05
With his infectious laugh and winning smile, Joe Rachiele was a force of nature. He could connect with anyone and fit in everywhere, traits that are difficult to find in the world, let alone in a physics major and philosophy Ph.D.
When we arrived freshman year, I hadn’t had the chance to talk to him yet because he had already begun the cross-country drive from Seattle. We quickly made up for lost time over marathon duels of FIFA 2000. He told me that the world of Amherst was foreign to him, but you wouldn’t know that from the sheer number of people he knew by the end of orientation. Living on the first floor of Stearns, he knew all the athletes; through philosophy, math and physics, the more academically oriented; and through endless hours at the dining hall, virtually everyone else.
Joe thrived at Amherst: he won the physics prize; participated in seven productions, including Voices of the Class and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; and won a Watson Fellowship to examine cultural imperialism through pickup basketball. Joe was the epitome of the liberal arts student, trying anything and succeeding at everything. He went on to Princeton, where he studied the philosophy of physics in a doctorate program. Joe Rock-ed New Jersey, spreading his love and laughter there, too.
After college, Joe suffered a series of concussions that hindered his ability to participate in the world. He made the best of his condition, making a life with Alissa Figueroa ’06 even though he suffered migraines from all stimulus. He learned sign language and how to cook elaborate meals, and found happiness despite his hardship.
Joe, we love you and miss you, and we have no doubt that you’re doing your Joe thing, wherever you are. —Blake Sparrow ’04 and Daniel Altschuler ’04