Alumni Notes: March/April 2021

By John A. Wilkinson

Dave Sellers reports that Emory Olcott has established the F. I. Steele Prize for Design Excellence at the Madisonian Museum of Industrial Design in Waitsfield, Vermont. Fritz Steele, who died last year, had served as the museum’s board chair since its founding by Dave in 2011. After the initial award meeting, Dave and Emory played a round of golf, a favorite pastime of those three for over 40 years.

Bob Resnik is the 29th classmate to claim a Yale College daughter. Both father and daughter are professors of medicine.

I hope that all have noted that the January/February issue of the alumni magazine featured on both the cover and inside article the work of our esteemed cartoonist, Steve Johnson, whose renderings made our 50th reunion book such a great success. Steve anticipated this COVID-19 pandemic with his drawings of protective garb at future reunions. (See page 575.)

The decision of the magazine editors to publish some of Steve’s extensive work produced a series of long distance e-mails, from Peter Parsons in the Philippines, John Blanpied in Rochester, and Steve in San Francisco. These three were the prime movers in that reunion book, 60 . . . A Class of Its Own.

Steve credits Peter for stimulating his “Nostradamus self” so successfully that New Yorkmagazine has heralded him for anticipating the invention of many products. Now claiming to be isolated by the pandemic, he lies “slumped and discouraged on the floor, no longer needed in life.” Yet, he has an exhibition planned soon in Germany and two large books being published in Japan.

Peter claims to be doing little: no writing, no newspapers, no TV, but a ketogenic diet and fitness plan, a daily swim and vigorous training schedule, with low weight, blood pressure, and pulse, and no joint pains, sleep apnea, or medication. Above all, he is refreshed by Steve’s vigorous creativity and “ability to make me laugh and refresh my core.”

John in typical wry fashion adds that he is “more or less fine in body, dizzy in mind . . . and looking pretty much bleakly to the winter ahead, yet with all the well-known reasons for a little hopefulness too. We watch the calendar and try to urge it along.”

Last, please note the recent obituary on the class web page of Joel Feiner, a community psychiatrist revered by his patients. “His willingness to help rather than judge informed his 50-year public health career.” He regarded “them” as the most dangerous word in the English language.

As I type these notes in the first full week of January, I reflect on Wednesday’s Epiphany, in religious terms a manifestation to the entire world, but Wednesday also was an attack on our nation’s capitol by the few. How difficult it is to resist the brand “them”!

Tempus fugit, sumus hic.