Alumni Notes: March/April 2022

Thanks to Zoom, about a dozen members of the class council convened on January 10 under the stewardship of Ed Greenberg, our class secretary, and Jennifer Julier, the associate director of the Yale Alumni Association. Among her many other duties, Jennifer has served nobly as den mother to a bunch of Yale classes of our era—organizing reunion schedules, keeping track of our finances, and serving as a vital intermediary to the Internet, including Zoom—no small matter to our digitally challenged generation.

Among the attendees were Ed, Al AthertonCharles GriffithJohn Daly, Herb Rule, Art Kelly, Austin Hoyt, Bill Waldorf, Jim Pender. Jim Sheffield, Jon Clark, Mike Doyle, John Moss, Charles Nolan, Randy Ney, and Sandy Wiener. Jennifer gave us a rundown on the current state of Yale five-year reunions. On-campus gatherings have been impossible during the pandemic, and classes have been forced to cancel their gatherings altogether. One exception was the class of 1955, which, last October, held a delayed 65th reunion in the Omni Hotel near the Yale Campus, with lectures, panels, and informal gatherings and side excursions to Mory’s and the Union League Cafe. It was, by all accounts, a great success, despite the limited ecosystem. Our 65th will occur in 2004, a mere two years from now, and our hope is for a full on-campus show, but that obviously depends on what the resourceful COVID has in mind for us and the rest of humanity. Bill Waldorf suggested that we may also want to consider a pre-reunion gathering for those who wish to spend more time in the New Haven area before the actual reunion, not a bad idea given life’s late hour. In any event, we need a volunteer to chair the event during the next 12 months. Feel free to step up!

Mr. Atherton, the new treasurer, reported that our finances are in good shape, thanks to the willingness of more than 40 percent of us to fortify the class treasury by contributing annually to class dues. This has enabled us to continue our annual support of the Class of 1999 Hopper College Fund for excellence, which makes possible worthwhile individual student projects, and also to build a nest egg for our next reunion. It is entirely possible that we may have enough in the till to underwrite many if not all of the costs of the 65th (hotels excepted), thus enhancing attendance.

Sandy Wiener, who has done much over the years to provide platforms where we can all have a say, has been exploring what other classes are doing to stay in touch in the age of Zoom. The classes of 1958 and 1965 have regular Zoom meetings that now attract between 60 to 100 classmates per call, organized around guest speakers who may or may not be members of the class. Jennifer Julier manages the meetings, sending out advance info on date, time, and links. The meetings are recorded and available later on the class website. Scott Sullivan, the corresponding secretary for 1958 (see adjoining column), tells me that the format has been a resounding success. Ed Greenberg is working with Jennifer to develop a similar mechanism for us. Anyone with a suggested guest speaker should contact him.

Jack Maresca is back in the USA! Diplomat, author, and good friend to many of us, Jack has taken up residence in America for the first time in 30 years, living in Stamford, Connecticut, writing books, and giving lectures. Another novel is coming soon, plus a more “serious” book about the formal diplomatic conclusion in 1950 to World War II. Both will be available through the Columbia University Press. Born in Italy, and for many years a Swiss resident, Jack has had a distinguished career as a diplomat, ambassador, and nonprofit executive.

Pack Wilbur, in an update from Southport, Connecticut, retired just a few months ago after running a bigtime real estate company that over time owned and managed large office buildings and several shopping centers. Add in earlier stints at McKinsey and American Express, Pack’s business interests have taken him abroad (13 trips to Saudi Arabia alone, he noted in our 50th book) and earned him important advisory posts at Harvard, where he took a business degree after Yale, and the University of Chicago. Along with his wife Laura, he has made extensive contributions to many charitable and civic groups in Connecticut. Pack has somehow found time to sail competitively and write a blog, at, which he admits “nobody reads,” but is fun to do.

In January, Yale Law School announced the creation of a visiting professorship endowed by the aforementioned Mike Doyle and his wife, Bunny Winter. Its purpose is to bring to campus legal scholars with “a wide range of perspectives” so as to encourage among law students an appreciation for “discourse across political divides.” It seems a remarkably timely gift given the presently polarized state of our national conversation. A scholarship student at both Yale College and the law school, Mike practiced law in Atlanta for 35 years and did well enough to retire at 60, allowing him to spend time with family and fall in love with boats and the Pacific Northwest. Mike had also been searching for ways to “give back,” and now he has found one.

Dick Bentley was one of several departures in the last two months. Dick, who died in mid-January, was revered by many classmates, not least his compatriots at the Yale Record. A success as an urban planner, at age 50 he moved to Amherst, where he took up teaching and writing, which is what he probably should have been doing all along. Phil Kopper recalls a one-act play competition held by the Dramat our junior year, in which the clear favorite was a weighty two-character colloquy written by a formidable member of the senior class. Then the curtain rose on a fluffy comedy, a confection that had listeners rolling in the aisle, a “joyous romp” that not only lifted spirits but won the grand prize. In Amherst, poems, short stories, nonfiction, often illustrated by his own artwork, poured from him like a great river. He won many honors, too, but what lingers most vividly among his friends and family members is his energy, humor, warmth, and genuine interest in others. To quote Phil: “a droll, wise, and happy man.”

We also lost Ed Werner, who died in January at home in Washington, DC. Born in Brooklyn, an English major and amateur actor at Yale, he went to medical school at Maryland and Johns Hopkins and became a leading obstetrician and gynecologist in the Washington area. Resolutely cheerful (he would sing “Happy Birthday” to every child he delivered, pretty much the moment they appeared), he was devoted to Yale, driving every year to the Bowl for either Yale/Princeton or Yale/Harvard to meet his roommate Jim Tracy, and serving as president of the Yale Club of Washington.

Paul Walter, our class’s first casualty (best I can tell) of COVID, died of pneumonia at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri, in November. The son of missionaries who served in Africa, Paul, according to his obituary “committed his life to Christian ministry during an altar call at a Methodist church camp” when he was only 12 years old. He promptly regretted his decision, spending the next 25 years “running from the Lord” at the Irving Trust Co. on Wall Street and in other investment jobs in Connecticut and Denver. Then, unexpectedly, tragedy: the death of his six-year-old son in 1972, at which point Paul heard again a call to the ministry. He took his family to England, where he earned a doctorate in theology at Oxford, then embarked on a peripatetic journey in service to the Episcopal Church—in Chicago, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and finally Missouri, where he founded the Anglican Church of the Resurrection in Chesterfield, which he shepherded until his retirement in 2012.