YAM Notes: September/October 2012

Given the fact that Yale has a new coach, a new quarterback and a mostly new everything, you have to admire the fortitude and unquenchable optimism of those who will assemble, once again,  in Parking Lot B near the Cage,  to mark the opening of Yale’s football season against Colgate on Sept. 29, the first of four straight home games. Bobbie and Charles Griffith and Rose and George Piroumoff will be the hosts, with many of the usual suspects – Hallas, Semple, Ittner, Gertz, Greenberg, etc – on hand. There are eats but BYOB; Yale may lose but this group never does.

The big news is that Ed Greenberg has been awarded the Yale Medal, the most prestigious of Yale’s awards to its alumni, for his splendid service to the university over the years. Ed is the fourth member of our class to be so honored, Harvey Applebaum, Charley Ellis and Steve Adams having preceded him. Ed was for many years our class secretary (and also the 50th reunion chair), and among his  many contributions to Yale were (and are) his leadership role in the Yale Alumni Chorus and  his role in creating the “1959 Calhoun College Fund for Excellence,” which annually diverts some of our class dues to deserving members of Calhoun College so they can pursue summer internships and extracurricular activities that neither they nor Calhoun could otherwise afford. The program has since been copied by other classes, and last year earned the Class of 1959 the AYA’s Outstanding  Class Award. Ed’s is a richly deserved honor.

Here’s another well-deserved honor: In  early June, the United States Senior Golf Association bestowed its most prestigious award, the William C. Campbell Award, on Jon Clark. Jon is one of our class’s true Renaissance men, captain of arguably the best tennis team in Yale’s history, an editor on the University of Virginia Law Review, partner at Davis Polk and senior executive at Morgan Stanley. Though he had approached the sport almost casually until about 25 years ago,  he  became a scratch golfer, club champion  at Round Hill in Greenwich, and an officer in the golf association.  An ex-Marine officer, he has also given quietly of his time to many service organizations, not least the Wounded Warrior  Project for soldiers injured in combat.

So where else are we distinguishing ourselves as we round the clubhouse turn? (Or is it the far turn? In any case, it’s the turn at the head of the stretch). In the theater world, that’s where, and of course David Shire and Richard Maltby are involved. In June, Richard and David’s  1989 musical “Closer Than Ever”, was revived at the York Theater in Manhattan. There were wonderful reviews across the board, including one from the Gray Lady (though not so gray any more on the Internet). As luck would have it, the day after I learned about the show from David  I had lunch with my friend and Class Secretary from 1958, Tim Hogen, who had seen the show the night before, and said it was fabulous. David says the play could migrate to another theater after its six-week run, and I hope it does. As of this writing I have not seen the show, but I will do so when I get back from a July 4th vacation. It’s about us—mid-lifers and mid-late-lifers with plenty of life left.

And now a late report on our Mini-Reunion in Boston in late May. It was, not surprisingly, a smash hit, with 100 people on hand including 60 classmates, all enjoying a sweet suite of events organized by Austin Hoyt and his committee and including a Shakespeare workshop introduced by Frank Porter; a discussion of American “exceptionalism” presided over by Austin; a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts organized by Woody Ives, a trustee; a visit to the Museum of Science, where Fred Lovejoy served as host; and a gala dinner at the Somerset Club featuring a speech on the cold war by Ambassador Jack Maresca. The Whiffs, as usual, were on hand throughout. Our thanks again to Austin, et al., and anyone I may have missed. I don’t think we’ve had a Mini-Reunion yet that did not leave us feeling smarter, better-educated.

And now for the bells that toll:

Mimi Munson found Fred Vanderkloot’s name among her father’s papers ,and passed along word that George Munson died on April 14. George moved to Hartford in 1960  and worked and wrote at the University of Hartford, all the while doing volunteer work in the greater Hartford community. “I know you all meant a lot to him,” Mimi wrote, “as did his time in New Haven.” He is survived by Mimi and his wife, Victoria.

Tom Bingham died on March 20 at Harrington Court, a nursing home in  in Colchester, Ct., where he had lived for over ten years. Tom was one of ten brothers and sisters  born into a distinguished New England family  active in the political and diplomatic life of the country. He was born in Salem, Ct., went to Groton and then to Yale, where he was a member of the Elizabethan Club and the Russian Choral Society. I bumped into him occasionally when he lived for a brief stretch in Washington, D.C. (after which he returned to Salem for the rest of his life) , and I remember him as soft-spoken, shy, kind and compassionate –a wholly decent man. He never married, taking pleasure and solace from his siblings and their children and grandchildren.

John Canfield “Jack” Jaynes died April 13 at home in Fountain hills, Arizona. As best I can tell, he was with us for only two years, interrupting his college work for two years in the Army, and later graduating from the University of Michigan Law School. According to an obituary in the Arizona Republican, Jack spent most of his life in the upper echelons of the banking business, in Michigan and Connecticut. He retired at 55 and moved to Fountain Hills, where he became a  board member of the local hospital and power company. He is survived by his wife Elaine, two sons and three stepdaughters.