Alumni Notes: January/February 2023

The unalterable deadline for this month’s notes comes on the eve of two important events, three if you count the Princeton game: the Congressional elections, about which we have heard enough to last a lifetime, and second, a Class Council Zoom meeting arranged by Ed Greenberg at which a good deal of useful class business will be discussed. Reunion chair Don Watson will give us some of his thinking on our upcoming — hold on now — 65th (!) reunion, and Al Atherton will review the state of our Treasury which, it is hoped, is sufficient to keep underwriting the Class of 1959 Hopper College Fund for Excellence, which for years has provided modest grants to deserving undergraduates for summer internships and the like that they could not otherwise afford. More on all this next time. (On the money front, you recently received a request for Class Dues. I sent mine in; I trust you did the same. The Hopper kids as well as the reunion organizers will be most grateful.)

Thanks as always to Bobbi and Charles Griffith, who did their usual job of providing sumptuous tailgates on football weekends, the most recent of which (Brown game) included the Semples, Greenbergs, Griffiths, Tony dePalma, and from ’58, the Lindskogs and Cases. The weather was idyllic, in the 70s, as it has been all fall out here on the East Coast, even into November. Nice — but also, to someone like me who has written and worried about climate change, a bit spooky. 

Our list of re-invented, re-imagined or simply reinforced lives continues to grow. John Lockton’s life has been one of constant change — trial law, marketing, telecommunications, Wall Street finance, Silicon Valley startups. Now married happily for the third time, to his great surprise he has now become a published author of novels. The first in a series of three, Odyssey’s Child, was published by Waterside Publications earlier this year and is available on Amazon. He describes it as based on a “mostly true life” 1500-mile voyage through the Caribbean, a Life of Pi with some Heart of Darkness and The Alchemist thrown in. How he finds time to play competitive tennis I don’t know , but he does, abetted by a topspin lob.

Walt McLeod, one of the world’s most personable public servants, and a star at our Charleston mini-reunion some years back, retired in 2016 from elective politics after serving 20 years in the South Carolina House of Representatives, the last four as the #2 Democrat and Assistant Minority Leader. He has since kept busy on all kinds of boards, including the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, a watchdog group, and the South Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. His welcome mat in Little Mountain is always out.

Dave Shire never seems to slow down. He and Dick Maltby are planning another revue (more about that next time), but in the meantime he was one of three composers — one Jewish, one Catholic and one Muslim — commissioned by the Abrahamic Society in Abu Dhabi to compose parts of what is called “The Abrahamic Symphony” — three stand-alone movements of about 25 minutes each and united by a common, interfaith purpose. David’s movement is titled “Peace;” but you can listen to it or to all three on Apple Music, Amazon, and YouTube, simply by searching for “Abrahamic Symphony.” 

Peter Haight, mainly in Los Angeles but also in Maine, retired from Fiduciary Trust two decades ago and turned himself into a designer of furniture for family and friends, running summer workshops in Rockport. He and Gretchen fly-fish whenever they can, most recently New Mexico, Oregon and the Eastern Sierras.  

This month’s roll call is substantial, and will include only those whose deaths were held out last time for space reasons and one person whose passing a couple of years ago has only recently come to our attention. That person is Nicholas Eror, who passed away in November, 2020. Nick was a rarity in our class, a polio survivor in the post-Salk era who spent time in an iron lung when he was a child and was left with permanent breathing problems. He flourished, however, receiving a PhD in material science at Northwestern, marrying, having four children, working at Sprague Electric in North Adams, MA., teaching at Williams, in Oregon (where he grew up and also had a farm), and at University of Pittsburgh, where he chaired the engineering department. 

Henry Powell died in New Haven in July. After Yale, he received advanced degrees from NYU and the University of North Carolina. There he ran a learning skills program before returning to New Haven and his alma mater, Hopkins School, where he spent over 20 years teaching English and coaching fencing. He had been captain of Yale’s fencing team, and competed internationally for the New York Athletic Club. He is survived by his wife Margaret, and son John. 

Another distinguished academic, George McCleary, died in Lawrence, Kansas, in June. Born in Ohio and a Naval ROTC scholarship student at Yale, George, a geographer, earned earned a masters and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin and then went on to teach at Clark University and for three decades, at the University of Kansas. He traveled the world, presented papers at international cartographic conferences and closer to home, organized field trips for the Boy Scouts.  

Sheldon Jones died of Alzheimer’s in June in Wolfeboro, NH, where he lived in retirement with his wife Priscilla Hatch Jones, who survives him, along with two daughters. Sheldon’s essay in our June 50th reunion book is one of the longest and most enjoyable. It begins, “I was born with an aptitude for taking standardized tests, and few others. That aptitude helped me gain entrance to Yale and Harvard law School, which in turn enabled me to become partner in two large law firms, and to make more money than I was worth.” He goes on to discuss his love for the Navy and for boats, and offers plenty of political opinions, which come down to one essential point: we as a nation are far too polarized and subject to misinformation and “ideological anti-rationalism” than we were in our day, much too susceptible to demagogues, and he doesn’t like it one bit. I think I know how he would have voted last November. 

Speaking of people named Jones, I have not here addressed the matter of Maitland Jones, Jr., for many years a distinguished professor of organic chemistry at Princeton and who, in retirement, signed on as an adjunct at NYU, whose administration caved in to student complaints that Maitland was too tough on them them and fired him. Maitland’s story has been all over the Times, the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal, and I’ll weigh in next time. With plenty of other stuff.

Happy holidays to all.