YAM Notes: September/October 2011

It’s never too early to beat the drums. Please set aside the weekend of May 29–June 1, 2012, for the next great Class of 1959 mini-reunion. The festivities will take place in Boston, produced and directed by our most famous TV producer and director, Austin Hoytably assisted by locals Woody Ives, Fred Lovejoy, and Frank Porter, and drawing on the wisdom of former mini-reunion impresarios like John Moss and Fred Vanderkloot. Cocktails at the Millennium Bostonian hotel, tours of Faneuil Hall, the Kennedy School, the new planetarium, the famous aquarium, Shakespeare at the Athenaeum, lobster dinners, and more, much more. Watch for a mailing this fall. The other minis in San Francisco, New York, Washington, Charleston, Santa Fe, Chicago, etc., have been smash hits..

Singers everywhere, as usual. The Yale Alumni Chorus traveled to Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia for two weeks in June, 190 voices strong, and met up with the undergraduate Yale Glee Club in Istanbul. The class was well represented by Al and Peggy Atherton, Dennis and Marie Corcoran, Ed and Sue Greenberg, Larry and Roberta Krakoff, Paul and Beth Nyhus, and Jim Sheffield. Meanwhile, the ’59 Whiffs, who of course will be on hand in Boston, will gather in Hilton Head in October, both the originals and the newly inducted members: Greenberg, Krakoff, George Buchanan, and Jim Cowperthwait.

Our secretary, Joe Staley, who has also been involved in planning the mini-reunion, has been elected to the AYA Board of Governors and will begin a three-year term this fall. In July, Joe and wife Linda, and Pat Beaird and wife Katherine invaded Fran and Terry Comb’s new Jumping Jack Ranch for a week of frivolity and fishing outside Ennis, Montana. The Jack Creek flows through the ranch and the near-legendary Madison River is nearby.

Strange though it may seem, your corresponding secretary loses stuff. One lost item, now retrieved, involves Bob Searle, a semi-retired but amazingly active ophthalmologist in Unionville, Virginia, who has been energetically engaged in medical missionary work. Two years ago we took note of one such mission to Haiti and northern Honduras. Last November he did another mission trip to Peru, where, with two optometrists and a support group, he conducted clinics on the outskirts of Lima and in a remote village high in the Andes—where the mayor was so grateful he conferred honorary citizenship on the entire party. After which Bob took a well-deserved vacation to the Incan ruins in Machu Picchu—discovered, I believe, by a Yale man, Hiram Bingham. Bob has done eleven short-term missions in the last couple of years, in addition to much longer stints in Nigeria, Kenya, and northern India.

Also unearthed was a message from John Stickler, taking note of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps. John reminds me that he was among the very first group of volunteers in 1961, along with two recently minted Yale graduates—Don Cecchi from our class, and Duncan Yaggy from 1960. John is among 100 contributors to a forthcoming commemorative book of essays, Answering Kennedy’s Call: Pioneering the Peace Corps in the Philippines.

As for answering the call in distant lands, the amazing Contiguglia brothers took their vast talents to Australia this summer, performing at a chamber music festival in Townsville. They played 17 different works, from Bach to Beethoven to Gershwin, in seven separate concerts over eight days—an amazing feat of virtuosity and, not to put too fine a point on it, endurance. John says that he and Richard have warm memories of the reception they received at our 40th and 50th reunions.

The last issue of the alumni magazine confirmed a piece of news that Win Lord had alerted me to a bit earlier, namely that Henry Kissinger, an honorary member of our class and a participant in our 50th reunion, has donated his papers to Yale. The donation is a remarkable trove, including approximately one million documents and objects broadly covering his life as a statesman, scholar, and private citizen, and will serve as the foundation for the newly created Johnson Center for the Study of Diplomacy. Dr. Kissinger received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard and was a member of the faculty there from 1954 to 1971. But over the years his relationship with Harvard cooled while his ties to Yale—not least a warm relationship with President Rick Levin—have grown stronger. Both his children have attended Yale. This is a most welcome gift.

We end on two sad notes. Randolph Nye, the son of Randy Ney, was found dead in his Tulsa apartment July 15. He was 26 and a graduate of Tulsa University. Randy has received many comforting messages from his classmates, including all his fellow Whiffs, and from his many friends in Houston. To these we add our own condolences, to him and to Lea and to Randy’s three children, Jennifer, Jonathan, and Marshall.

David Langreth died in May at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. David received his doctorate from the University of Illinois and was a theoretical physicist at Rutgers, where he joined the faculty in 1967. Our sympathies to his wife of 45 years, Ellen Langreth of Somerset, New Jersey, and his two children, Robert and Ingrid. A memorial fund has been established in his name and contributions made out to “Rutgers, the State University,” can be sent to the Langreth Award Fund c/o Prof. R. Ransome, Department of Physics, Rutgers, 136 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854.