Alumni Notes: November/December 2020

Herewith two new (and good) reasons to punch up our often neglected class website, First, Ed Greenberg has deployed his technical know-how to reproduce the 1959 Whiffenpoofs 50th anniversary album. The Whiffs turned 50 our senior year, and our guys marked the occasion with a album replete with Whiff standards from over the years. Ed basically remastered the original recording, took pictures of the album covers, and sent the material to our supremely gifted webmaster, Jean McKillop. The results are spectacular and the voices are great, beginning with a robust “Autumn Leaves” from my accomplished baritone roommate, Doug Banker, and proceeding through 22 other songs until the eponymous windup. A treat.

The second reason is a new link, or heading, on the website called “Life Stories.” This is not be confused with another link, called “Life Observations,” where classmates can offer their opinions about the issues of the day, ranging from the goings-on at Yale to politics to climate change to philosophizing in general. The new link invites stories of a more personal nature — incidents or people that have made a difference in one’s life, for instance, or the “what-ifs”, the forks in a road not taken. The idea grew out of a proposal by Dick Bentley, who suggested a few months ago that instead of waiting for me to record their demise, people undertake to write their own obits in advance. That idea morphed into a more modest proposal: to single out influences, inflection points and turns in the road. Stories should be sent to Sandy Wiener at, who will then send them on to Jean McKillop for posting. Sandy is the editor and go-between here, and he is happy to answer any questions via email or telephone at 734-662-8660. For years, Sandy and Dick have been trying to get us to probe more deeply into our lives, a noble cause. This is their latest and most beguiling platform.

Some snippets this month, following a summer and fall in which most of us went nowhere. Fred Cowles reports that in the nick of time — that is, before the virus took hold — he toured Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, thus completing his wife’s bucket list of all lower 48 states. With luck, he’ll get to Hawaiit next summer for his 60th wedding anniversary. Bill Lee (Judge William C.Lee) is still active and enjoying his 39th year as U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Indiana, where he lives in Fort Wayne. Craig Llewellyn — a distinguished career as a military surgeon mostly behind him —and wife Gail enjoy West Palm in the winter and southern Vermont in the summer, with Criag kayaking and playing jazz saxophone in both places.

The roll call this month:

Joe Koletsky died in August in Waterford, CT. His lengthy obituary in The Day said that he had been suffering from dementia for some time and contracted Covid-19 in March after being released from the hospital to a nursing home. The combination produced a series of seizures. Joe was a terrific guy, a successful attorney, much-admired Superior Court judge and community leader in Waterford, where he was revered for his civic passion and integrity and fairness in the courtroom. Many of his classmates, however — at least this one — will remember Joe best as a star swimmer on one of Bob Kiputh’s legendary, unbeatable teams in the 1950’s, when Joe set national records in his specialty, the breaststroke. I haven’t had time to check it out, but I have been told that for a brief period (which is about as long as swimming records last) Joe held the world record in the 100 meter breaststroke. In any case, none of that went to his head. In athletics as in the courtroom later in life, he was modest to a fault. A naval officer after Yale, a skier, sailor and whitewater rafter until illness slowed him down (though clearly struggling, he attended our 60th last year), Joe leaves his wife of 58 years, Ann, and three daughters.

Nils Fauchald passed away in May in Red Wing, Minn., where he had practiced orthopedics for 42 years. Nils came to Yale after graduating from high school in Bellevue, Wash. , attended medical school at the University of Washington, and completed his specialty in training in the Air Force, where he rose to the rank of captain. Active in Red Wing’s First Lutheran Church, Nils was a gardener and woodworker, but his real joy was navigating the channels up and down the Mississippi River in wooden boats. Nils leaves his wife, Ellis, two daughters and two sons.