Alumni Notes: March/April 2014

By the time you read this you may already have received detailed materials about our 55th Reunion. It all begins Thursday afternoon, May 29, with an non-taxing audio/visual tour by Alan Plattus, professor of architecture, of the major changes at Yale and in New Haven since 1959, followed by cocktails and dinner in the JE courtyard, our headquarters. Friday is packed though not overloaded with cultural offerings organized by the University and by us, including a private tour of the totally re-done Art Gallery (I’ve seen it and it’s worth a serious visit), a recital later in the day by our own Contiguglia twins and then more food and drink at JE and the Whiffs.. Saturday provides a rich menu of university offerings, our class panel (Dick Celeste, Winston Lord and Alex Boyle on American education, U.S-China relations and the global economic challenge, nobody thinking small here). And, finally, the class banquet, featuring possibly Dave Shire and definitely Alki Scopelitis and his trio, who will warm things up for the Joe Holmes swing band.

Our two chairmen, Austin Hoyt and Fred Vanderkloot, have worked very hard on this reunion, and it shows. There is still plenty of time to get your act together and sign up. This class does classy reunions, and they only get better with age.

Speaking of Fred, he is now our new Class of 1959 AYA representative. Under the AYA”s rules of engagement, George Piroumoff must rotate off. He has done nobly over the past few years, not missing a meeting, and we thank him for his efforts. AYA’s rules aside, the succession is timely since George and Rose will be spending more time at their new home In Texas, near their children and grandchildren.

At the pre-Harvard game Class Council meeting chaired by our charismatic secretary, Joe Staley, the council reaffirmed our support of the Calhoun Fund for Excellence, which supports programs and trips that the students would not otherwise be able to afford. A total of 12 Calhoun students benefited last year, ranging from Baobao Chang, who was able to attend a political science conference in Chicago, to Lea Winter, who gathered data on desalinization plants in Florida, to Jiwon Lee, who attended the UNICEF student summit in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, our support for three separately endowed Yale Community Service Fellowships will continue. They are open to the entire undergraduate body. One is endowed by the class, the other two are individually endowed by Ed Greenberg and Bill Waldorf.

It was great to see Bob Ittner, Ben Gertz and a bunch of other Yale people at the Yale-Harvard hockey game in Madison Square Garden in January, which drew astonishing 16,000 people; the Garden holds 18,000. It was also great to see a loyal Connecticut and Manhattan contingent at Win Lord’s fine speech on China at the Yale Club in December, including Jim Lineberger, Pete Thorson and Artie Diedrick.

A few notes from a rather thin mailbag which I hope you will bulk up in the weeks ahead. One involves Win, who seems to be popping up everywhere all over the place in these notes. He says that in addition to everything else he has become an advisor to the Women’s Tennis Association, founded by Billie Jean King to manage and promote the women’s professional tour. He said he accepted the challenge despite the onerous burden of having to attend Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Bill Putnam, of whom we have written before, is still running his bed and breakfast in Hyannisport on Cape Cod, and says that the downturn in the market and tourism has put any thought of retirement on hold. Lawrence Climo has been retired from his psychiatric practice for six years and now has time to enjoy the “birds and gardens” of Andover, MA. He has also written a book about his unsual stint as a doctor in Vietnam, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star: The Patient Was Vietcong: An American Doctor in the Vietnamese Health Service,” published by McFarland and Company.

Regrettably, the mail this month brings more sad news than good.

Dick Ravenscroft died of a lung disorder in December in Bryn Mawr, outside Philadelphia, where he added immensely to the city’s commercial and civic life. Dick was president of the Philadelphia National Bank and a vice chairman of its successor, CoreStates Financial. He became a private investor and adviser after leaving the bank in 1986. Devoted to music (he was a Whiffenpoof), he served as treasurer and director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. A loyal and spirited Eli, and a longtime supporter of St. Anthony Hall, he was completely charming and had many Yale friends: Tom Maxey, also a Philadelphian, says that he and Dick went back to the 4th grade, a 66 year relationship. Dick is survived by his wife Susan and three children.

Bill Ruddy, a loyal contributor to this column for many years and an inventive man of many talents, died of multiple myeloma (a bone cancer) in Novermber. An Easterner by birth, and a graduate of the Yale Law School, Bill became a lifelong resident of Alaska when the Federal Maritime Commission sent him there in 1964 to evaluate maritime contracts. He worked for a major law firm for 20 years, then founded his own firm, Ruddy, Bradley and Kolkhorst (the Kolkhorst being his wife, Kathy).He later founded yet another law firm in Vladivostock, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Bill played the trumpet, and in 1976 founded the Juneau Volunteer Marching Band when he noticed that Juneau’s 4th of July parade had no music. He also organized a Dixieland band called “The Ruble Rousers, ” which toured the Russian Far East. He is survived by Kathy and four children.

Leigh Ardrey (R.Leigh Ardrey, Jr., as I knew him) died in October 28 in Fairfield County. A dashing figure and gifted athlete, Leigh attended Hotchkiss and the Harvard Business School and spent his entire career with J.P.Morgan where he became a senior officer and was known as an innovative financier. Leigh is survived by wife Eugenia and two children, Leigh and Stephanie.