Alumni Notes: March/April '18

On Dec. 31, I retired from the Times after 54 years as a reporter and editor, having hit 81 in August and having also agreed to write for the editorial page when the spirit moves me. A nice arrangement — among other things, it frees me at last to attend Ben Gertz’s monthly lunches, and it allows me to keep the present email, which I trust will be regularly supplied with newsworthy items from classmates such as yourself. Like my fellow ex-Timesman, Dick Mooney, corresponding secretary of the class of 1947 (just turn back a page or two), I need all of you to speak up.

We’ve had plenty of stuff over the years about late-life changes in vocations and avocations, but it’s hard to top Evan Weisman, who at Yale was a very funny guy who wrote for the Yale Record and was a member of the Pundits. Then he got serious and became a cardiologist of distinction in Atlanta, retiring from said occupation 11 years ago and embarking, unexpectedly but in my view quite appropriately, on an entirely new career — acting. “Yes,” he writes, “I’ve come out as a thespian!” He has appeared on the stage of many Atlanta theaters (Ragtime, The Producers, Our Town), been on television shows and movies, and recently appeared in an advertisement for the Florida lottery. “I have enjoyed this experience,” he writes, “and hope to continue as long as I can remember my lines.” He says he’s in a scene in a de Niro move, “The Way With Grandpa.” How do we recognize him? “I am 5’3”, he says, “and shrinking fast.”

Dick Celeste, former Ohio governor and Bill Clinton’s ambassador to India, which he visits at least once a year, recently celebrated his 80th birthday in the company of 7 children and 10 of 13 grandchildren. Home base is still Colorado Springs, where he was president of Colorado College and where he is leading an effort to build a world class U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame. Wife Jacqueline and youngest son Sam keep pushing him to stay in shape, and he bikes 10-12 miles a day. Sam, who stood on a chair and made a memorable speech at a mini-reunion in Charleston some years back, is now a sophomore at USC.

Out in Sausalito, truly God’s country, Bill Werner has been something of a civic whirlwind, serving 20 hours a week for over a year on the Marin County Civil Grand Jury and for seven years on the Sausalito Planning Commission. Having wound down his architectural practice, and “let go my last and most valued employee,” a couple of intriguing projects came his way, inspiring him to set up shop as a design consultant. He also ran for a seat on the City Council, “coming in second of three and feeling a mild sense of relief at the result.”

Shorter notes: John Dorsey has formally retired from a 50-year career of practicing municipal law in New Jersey, and lives in Boonton Township, where he settled in the 1960s. Lee Smith, my old friend from Fortune magazine, recently had lunch in New York with Bob Laird, Charley Land and Pater Pohly. Lee has just finished writing and editing an autobiography, “Pressing Letters,” at his home in Washington, D.C.. Huge potential, he says, with wife, kids and grandkids guaranteeing at least 10 buyers on Amazon.

Lee was one of a bunch of people I heard from about the passing of one of Yale’s great and good benefactors, Charlie Hoyt, who died in Washington in December of pulmonary fibrosis, a disease he had struggled with quietly and bravely for a few years. The same sad news arrived almost simultaneously from Alex Boyle, a neighbor, and old friends like Jim Cowperthwait, Hoyt Ammidon, Ray Clevenger and Ed Greenberg. Charlie, who served in the Army after Yale and graduated from Virginia Law School, had a fine career in the general counsel’s office of Mobil Oil, and a splendid marriage to Deborah Weinberger, who survives him, along with two daughters. He raised money for Exeter, UVA and Yale, serving as the Alumni Fund chairman for our class and representing us on the AYA. Tom Maxey, who worked alongside Charlie when Tom served as class secretary, summed it up well: “Charlie was a sweet, intelligent, kind and cheerful man. He played such an important role in many of our lives. He was one of the first Yalies I was privileged to meet, and that relationship prospered for the next 62 years. He was also a giant in terms of his hard work and affection for our class. One of the very best is gone.”

The roll call this month includes two other stalwarts. Dick Reinhart died in Farmington, CT., in December. He is survived by his daughter, Krista; his wife Susan predeceased him. Dick attended Loomis before Yale; afterwards he received an MA from the architecture school, served two years in the Peace Corps in Peru, won a Fulbright that took him to Germany, then opened a successful architecture practice in Farmington. which he maintained until his retirement in 2013. He was a photographer, birder, sports fan (of the UConn women’s basketball team) and devoted to Cape Cod, where he was buried near his parents’ home on the shore.

Aldie Edwards died in late November; Dave Dorset was kind enough to forward the obituary from the Boston Globe and New Haven Register. Aldie, who helped run Chi Psi as an undergraduate, and later served as treasurer of Mory’s, helping to keep that venerable institution afloat, devoted much of his life to making New Haven a more vibrant and livable city. He graduated from St. Paul’s and, after Yale, settled in Guilford, where his three children, who survive him, were born. By profession a banker, the work most fulfilling to him was historic preservation — not only in New Haven, where he also helped promote much-needed economic development, but in Massachusetts, where he was born and where he helped create the the Architectural Conservation Trust, a revolving fund for historic preservation. As he wrote in his personal essay in our 50th Reunion book, at some point “I came to realize the importance of making sure that the best of our past is retained as a viable part of our future promise.” Honoring the past became Aldie’s legacy to the future.