Alumni Notes: November/December 2015

Just back via the Merritt from the Yale Bowl where the Bulldogs, despite shooting themselves in the foot with regularity, managed a thrilling last-minute victory over Cornell to open their Ivy League season. Among those witnessing deja vu all over again (Yale seemed to do this every game last year) were several of the usual suspects, including Barbara and Herb Hallas, Bobbi and Charlie Griffith and Tom and Stephany Haines, Ben Gertz, and Lisa and yours truly.

Bobbi produced her usual magnificent tailgate lunch and promised even more at the Harvard game on Nov. 21. Noting that the class tent does not open until about noon (kickoffs at 2:30), she and Charlie will host a class of 1959 breakfast from about 10 a.m. on — a great way to get together before the main event. The locale is Parking Lot B next to the Cage.

The class website is up and running. Go to It’s great. There’s news, archives, room for commentary and reflections. Sandy Wiener, who pulled the whole thing together with the help of a brilliant webmeister named Jean McKillop, posted a few items to start us off and show how it’s done: A piece of class news about Peter Sears. Two postings in the Life Observations section. An obituary of Sandy’s old friend, Paul Resnick, whose death was noted here some years back but whose full obit never ran. Notes of two memorial talks given by Tom Freiberg at services for Tim Jecko and Steve Umin. These are bits of history that never made this column. So step right up. You’ll find various ways to contribute.

Jack Maresca, one of several distinguished public servants the class of ’59 has contributed to the world of diplomacy, has a new book. It is called “Helsinki Revisited” and is being published by a German house, Ibidem Verlag, which is linked to the Columbia University Press, which will distribute it in this country. The book is essentially a memoir of the framing of the Helsinki Final Act (40th anniversary this year) and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (25th anniversary), both which Jack helped negotiate. The were key historical landmarks in the process that, over time, brought unity to Europe and an end to the Cold War. Jack is currently splitting his time between Geneva, where he lives, and Baku in Azerbaijan, where he teaches and advises the rector of a new university.

Three sad notes:

John Plews died in Honolulu in March. John was born on the island of Kauai and spent nearly all of his life in Hawaii. After schooling in England, and then at Andover, John came to Yale in 1955, graduated with us, served 2 years in the Army, got a degree from Harvard Law School and then spent a lifetime practicing law in the islands and, as an avid naturalist, protecting Hawaii’s threatened environment, particularly its rare and indigenous plant life. He is survived by his sister Anne and many nieces and nephews.

John Adam Lang died in July after a long struggle with muscular dystrophy. John spent most of his life practicing medicine, mostly obstetrics and gynecology, in and around Albany, NY. After Yale he became a captain in the Air Force, attended Albany Medical School and set up shop. He enjoyed boating and fishing on Lake George, where he had a summer home. He is survived by his wife Marie and three sons.

Charlie Mansbach died in August, in Norfolk, VA, where both he and his wife May Lynn originally came from. Charles had a long and distinguished career in gastroenterology, as both a practicing physician and a cutting-edge researcher at Duke and eventually at the University of Tennessee, where he was chief of the gastroenterology division. His essay in our 50th reunion book is a delight, including his confession to “a career-long love affair with intestinal fat absorption.” He is survived by May Lynn and three sons.