Alumni Notes: March/April 2015

First, deepest apologies to the estimable Rose Piroumoff, maker of fabulous brownies, frequent attendee at Yale games, and bride of George, both formerly of Hartford and now of Texas. Due to brainlock, an increasing phenomenon hereabouts, she was misidentified in the last column as “Betty.” Where in the world did Betty come from? Only brainlock knows. Anyway, it is now corrected here.

Let’s see if I get these right: Dyer Wadsworth, Charlie Hoyt, Herb Hallas, Austin Hoyt, Bob Pellaton, Don Watson, Ben Gertz, some with spouses, some solo, gathered at Dyer’s invitation for a wonderful, warm dinner at the Union Club in New York in January to celebrate the establishment of the Kloot Award, named in honor of the late, great Fred VanderKloot. The award will recognize annually an undergraduate who renders particularly meritorious service to the Yale Record.

Fred was a stalwart member of the Record board in our day and in years thereafter contributed an enormous amount to the class. Mim VanderKloot, looking quite wonderful, shared some funny and touching reminiscences of her husband, after which Don gave a short history of the Record’s contributions to American arts and letters over more than a century, not least the work of Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury fame, and a bunch of artists who migrated post-graduation to the pages of the New Yorker, including Peter Arno, Jim Stevenson and William Hamilton.

Fundraising for the award is moving along briskly but further contributions in modest and immodest amounts are welcome, and can be mailed to Dyer S. Wadsworth at 8466 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL., 34243. Dyer will also entertain queries at gifts are tax-deductible and can be made out to the Yale Record Corporation, a 501(c)(3) presided over by Don Watson and Mike Thornton, a former Record chairman who attended the dinner. Mike is about 50 years our junior but is as wise and funny as we think we are.

Shorter notes: David Morgan is now a VSP, short for “Visiting Scientist or Professional “at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, where he has worked for many years. California, specifically Sausalito, is also home to Bill Werner, who continues to practice architecture “in the hopes someday of getting it right” and serves as Vice-Chair of the Sausalito Planning Commission. Sandy Wiener reports that his old friend Peter Sears has been named the 7th Poet Laureate of the state of Oregon. Phil Terrell reports that Art Hotchkiss showed up in Raleigh, N.C., and, with his old roommate urging him on, successfully defended his 2014 National Masters Racquetball Association senior championship. And, like clockwork, comes news from Alex Boyle that he, Dil Cannon, Steve Clarkson and Charlie Nolan got together for their annual golfing reunion, this time in New Hampshire, with the Clarksons as hosts. All were members of the 1959 freshman golf team.

From Jim Hinkle, Paul Horne and the Washington Post comes the sad news of the death after a prolonged battle with colon cancer of Fred Mushinksi, in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 17. Fred had a long and distinguished career in molecular genetics at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland, and leaves behind a prodigious body of cancer research. He was a lover of music in general and opera in particular — literally, almost to the very end of his life. As Jim describes it, Fred, sick as he was, was absolutely determined to have one final reunion with a bunch of fellow graduates from the Harvard Medical School who shared his devotion to opera. So he and his wife Betty came to New York the weekend of Dec 13th for dinner with the group and a performance at the Met of “Der Rosenkavalier.” On Sunday he and Betty y took the train back to Washington, on Monday he was taken by ambulance to the hospital and on Wednesday he died.

“That,” writes JIm, “is what I call going out on a high note.” Our condolences to Betty, his wife of 43 years.

I am tardy in reporting two other deaths:

Nicholas Kirkbride died at his home in West Palm beach on May 27. He attended the Buckley School in New York City, Hotchkiss and and Yale. A private investor, especially in the arts, he served in counter-intelligence during the Korean War, was commissioned by Conde Nast to launch a food and wine magazine in London and also invested in various arts projects in the UK before moving to to West Palm Beach in 1989. He is survived by his wife Maggie and three children.

Bill Nelson , of Mission Hills, Kansas, died in August. Bill, who came to Yale from Cincinatti and later attended business school at the University of Pittsburgh, spent more than a half-century in banking and asset management — the last 25 in Kansas City, including a successful run as president of Boatman’s First National Bank. His real passion was the city itself, to which he gave unstintingly in a staggering number of important not-for-profit endeavors, ranging from the Chamber of Commerce to the Kansas City Symphony and Repertory Theater. He leaves Barbara, his wife of 42 years, and two sons.

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