Alumni Notes: May/June 2016

Ben Zitron has taken over management of the class’s rejuvenated  website,, and his first entry on his first day on the job was right on top of the news: “Yale Defeats Baylor,” an immediate online account of the basketball team’s stunning upset in the NCAAs. We  welcome Ben, while taking a moment to thank Ed Greenberg, who got the website rolling some years back, and Sandy Weiner, who redesigned it and added a host of new features, including sections  for personal reflections on life and politics and whatever.

Just to show how versatile the site is, Sandy, as these notes were being written, posted a personal essay on what it’s like to approach 80, which inspired  several immediate comments. Erik Erickson posted a poem, Jack Killion a report on his wife Judy’s work with young female entrepreneurs, Bobbi Griffith posted pictures of the Yale-Harvard tailgate, Kent Hackmann and Jack Killion invited suggestions on how to defeat ISIS in the PR war for global attention, and Kirby Westheimer provided some fascinating biographical details from a long and varied life.  All this demonstrates the site’s endless possibilities; it is well worth your time, and the instructions for  submitting stuff are clear as a bell.

Just a few short notes, because we have seven obituaries, with room for three. Steve Brown has moved to a new house (his  wife calls it “the home before the home”) in Winchester, Va.; their oldest grandchild is a freshman at Lynchburg College. Mike Grean is still selling real estate and playing golf in Palm Beach. Harvey Applebaum, after many years of distinguished service to Covington and Burling (and, not incidentally, to Yale), has graduated from partner to senior counsel status, and has a grandson, Alexander,  son of Anne, ’86, headed for Yale from Eton College.

I report with great personal sadness the death of Tad Foote in Miami, of complications from Parkinson’s disease. Tad and I grew up together in St. Louis and reunited at Yale; along with all those wonderful roommates of his during his Davenport days,  was in his wedding to Bosey Fulbright lo these many years ago, and he became my second son Kirk’s godfather. Born in Milwaukee, and with a law degree from Georgetown, Tad  had a remarkable career in education, first as dean of the law school at Washington University in St. Louis and then as president of the University of Miami — a 20-year tenure during which, as the Miami Herald noted, he transformed a school known as “Suntan U” into an “academically rigorous institution”  with a national reputation for excellence.  His successor, Donna Shalala, aptly described him as “a remarkable leader and real gentleman.”   Outside the University, Tad rallied Miami’s power elite  to create “The Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-free Community,” of which he was chairman. His beloved Bosey died almost a year earlier, of pancreatic cancer. His is survived by his daughter Julia, William and Thaddeus.

Kent Keller died recently in Estes Park, Colorado. Kent came to Yale as valedictorian of his class as John Adams High School in South Bend, Indiana, was magna cum laude and chosen for Scroll and Key, and graduated three years later from the Yale Divinity School, after which he devoted his life to four different Presbyterian ministries around the country. One of these was in Colorado, to which he returned in retirement, and where he was extraordinarily active in both religious and environmental matters, serving for a time on the board of the Estes Valley Land Trust. Among an inexhaustible range of hobbies and interests were hiking, skiing, camping, wildflowers, photography,  bridge and  classic music. He is is survived by his wife of 56 years, Janet Golba, whom he married not long after graduation from Yale, and three children — Kurt, Edie and Katie.

The other day came the mellifluous tones of one of the great Southern voices in our class, that belonging to the Hon. Walter J. McLeod, Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing  Newberry County, as he will undoubtedly do for life. I responded at once, but this time he carried sad news: the death of  Grayson Gaillard Hanahan. Grayson’s widow, Elizabeth Arrowsmith Hanahan, is Walt’s cousin, and, like Walt, her late husband was one of those true Southern gentlemen, much like Charlie Simonds, another South Carolinian, also a member of our class and also a friend of Grayson’s. The three became friends before  Yale and remained so afterwards.  Grayson,  who attended Duke University Law School and served in the Army after Yale,  was a member of the Society of Colonial Wars,  the Society of Cincinnati, The Huguenot Society and the Carolina Yacht Club. He is survived by his wife and an army of nieces and nephews spread throughout  the Old Confederacy. Two brothers predeceased him.

Sad news like this makes our forthcoming mini-reunion in Seattle seem more urgent, does it not?  Those of you who have yet to answer should dig out the registration materials and sign up. There’s more information on the website.