Alumni Notes: January/February 2021

Leave it to Bobbi and Charles! On Saturday, Nov. 21, the Griffiths organized what for me and I think everyone else was a definite first, a Zoom tailgate originating from their home near the Bowl to mark the one-year anniversary of Yale’s dramatic, defining 50-43 double-overtime victory over Harvard, redemption for the infamous 29-29 tie. Tuning in with minimal glitches were many of the Parking Lot B faithful, including Bob and Eleanor Ittner, Ed and Sue Greenberg, Rick Templeton, Don Watson, Margaret Atherton (Al was working), Joe Staley, Hugo Kranz and Ben Gertz. The 90-minute reunion passed in a flash, and afterwards, individually, some of us rewatched that game, visible even now on YouTube.

As for Mr. Gertz, regardez! Few people, over the six decades since we left New Haven, have been as tireless and enthusiastic in their devotion to Yale in general and to our class in particular as Ben has. He has served as our Treasurer for as long as I can remember. His meticulous attention to income and outgo and the annual class dues solicitation has enabled us to keep our balance sheet strong so that we could support reunions and mini-reunions, the 1959 Hopper-Calhoun Fund for Excellence (which provides internships) and a 1959 Summer Service Fellowship. He has also faithfully organized monthly luncheons at the Yale Club for many many years. Like a lot of us, Ben has decided to ease off a bit, and will soon retire as Treasurer. His big shoes will be filled by (no surprise here) Ed Greenberg, who has already served one stint as Class Secretary and who, with Ben, has done much to give our class its distinctive cohesiveness. Our profound thanks, to both.

Phil Kopper has been on my case (quite rightly) to call attention in this space to the independent candidacy of Victor Ashe (’67) for trustee on the Yale Corporation. Mr. Ashe is running on a “sunshine'”ticket and his hope is to open up trustee elections and the actual deliberations of the Corporation, an opaque institution whose operations remain cloaked in secrecy. If you are anything like me, every so often you get a ballot in the mail, asking to vote for this or that candidate, with little or no explanation as to why he or she has been chosen to run. Likewise, if the Corporation in its majesty has had anything to say over the years about some of the more sensitive issues confronting the University, not least the railroading of two professors some years back over a bogus Halloween issue, and other lamentable instances of political correctness, such thoughts remain a mystery to me.

Victor is no dilettante. He has served as Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee state legislator, Ambassador to Poland. He has enough votes to appear on the ballot. He asks for support when that ballot shows up in your mailbox. His platform is threefold: open the selection of Alumni Fellows, promote free speech on campus, end administrative bloat. His website is is This is not, I should hasten to add, my own personal endorsement. I am sure there will be other meritorious candidates. What Mr.Ashe is asking for is our undivided attention.

As of this writing, we remain, as a class, Covid-free. Still, there are two additions to the roll call. Gerald Pitcher did peacefully in Rhode Island in October surrounded by his wife, Kathy, and two daughters. Gerry was raised in Danielson, CT, attended Killingly High School and, after Yale, received a master’s degree in engineering from Columbia. He served as a Lieutenant JG in the Navy and worked as a mechanical engineer for several companies along the east coast. He was an outdoorsman and racquets player, but struggled bravely with Alzheimer’s in the last years of his life.

Another New Englander, David Clark, died in September in Newport NH. David, survived by two daughters, was predeceased by his wife f 53 years, Anna Faulker Clark, in 2014. A proud and devoted Deerfield graduate, David was successful in several business enterprises in New York City and in Connecticut, and was a major philanthropic force in Hartford, where he helped secure the future of two major cultural assets, the Hartford Stage Company and the Mark Twain House, David suffered a severe stroke in2008, which left him unable to communicate; his daughter, Kendall, wrote an essay about him in our 50th reunion book. It is worth reading, as a summary of a life well-lived and as a daughter’s testimony of the enduring power of family love.