Gary Ashcraft

Sent: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 2:10 am
Subject: Gary Dean Ashcraft, class of 1960

To: Richard Banbury, class notes correspondent,      Class of 1960      Yale Alumni Magazine   Richard, this is Richard (Dick) Webster, Saybrook College, 1960.  It is with profound regret that I report the death of Gary Ashcraft, my Kansas City, MO high school friend and Yale roommate from our freshman, sophomore and junior years.

Gary’s wife, Penelope Ashcraft, reported the following to me via email:

“I do have to give you the sad news that Gary passed away yesterday, April 9th.  He was peaceful, at home, with me by his side.  We will have the funeral here, of course, and the interment will be in Colorado.  (I am from Colorado)”.

In addition to what Penelope might be reporting to you, I would like to add some personal reflections about Gary.   Gary and I, along with Hugh Baysinger, came to Yale from a public high school (Paseo High School in Kansas City, MO).  Hugh’s freshman year was spent in Bingham Hall; Gary and I were in a Wright Hall quad with Frank M. Williams and David Ilten.    I will never forget the weekend in 1956 when Gary and I boarded the train to New York, took a room at a six-dollars-per-night flea bag hotel near Times Square, and arose early to stand in line at the Mark Hellinger theater for standing-room-only tickets to see the original cast of My Fair Lady.with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison.  Ah, to think that we could take pleasure in walking and standing for an entire day!   During our junior year, Gary was the “night shift” d.j. for radio station WYBC.  How well I remember his resonant and suave voice announcing those music selections from wax and vinyl 78, 45 and 33 1/3 rpm records.  There weren’t any female undergraduate students to be swept off their feet in those days. Had there been, they would have surely swarmed the station in swoon.   The Class Notes in the Yale Alumni Magazine reported in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue Gary’s noteworthy career in helping to establish the complex computer systems for the federal government’s Medicare and Social Security disability programs.  He was a brilliant mathematician.  But, most of all, Gary was a witty, kind, considerate, modest, unassuming and caring man.  As one of our high school classmates has said, he was a real gentleman and a very gentle man.  His wife, Pene, regarded him as “one man in a billion”.    So, “in after years, should troubles rise to cloud the blue of sunny skies, how bright will seem through mem’ries haze, those happy, golden by-gone days.”   Gary was a good man.  He is survived by a loving wife, Pene; daughter, Jennifer; and granddaughter, Lora.

Submitted by Dick Webster

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