Alumni Notes: March/April 2020

By John A. Wilkinson

Prior to that tumultuous Harvard Game (Anti-fossil fuel protest! Double overtime victory in the twilight!), a group of classmates presented Rich Banbury with an inscribed Yale Bowl 3D wood stadium replica for his 18-year service as your scribe. Rich, who has rarely missed a Yale football game for over 65 years, was overwhelmed with joy. Present, in addition to Rich and Nicki, were Peter Knudsen, Arvin Murch, Dick Sigal, Lisa and Peter Wells, friends, family, well-wishers, and me.

Find on the class website (YAA Reports) Donald Dell’s account of the Yale Alumni Association’s fall assembly, “Cultivating Leadership: Advancing Yale’s Mission.” “Excellent,” “uplifting,” “responsive,” “informative,” are his kudos for the event.

Also, on the website under “Classmates and Activities,” Marine colonel Rob Hanke, with photos included,movingly describes his experience as the lead of the annual Veterans Day parade up New York’s Fifth Avenue. For all, I quote two paragraphs from his report:

“It was a humbling honor to experience tens of thousands of Americans 15 to 20 deep along the sidewalks and in the buildings above for several miles up 5th Ave, all there supporting American’s veterans. There were no protests, no negative signs, no critical posters. I waved to thousands of cheering Americans standing on the streets of New York, while also returning the salutes of fellow veterans. The current times and troubles of our nation seemed to be suspended in time. There was a different dynamic from the one we so often read or hear about in the news. But there is a united America that is still with us, even here on the streets of New York, supporting and appreciating some of the best of America, with no one complaining, no one protesting—just a sea of smiling, respectful, friendly faces.

“It was a special moment in American life, a bit overwhelming for me and quite unexpected—standing on the float—a respected symbolic hero, an ‘unknown soldier’ to the thousands of cheering spectators who had no idea who I was. They were just there, cheering for all of us. I was proud to be a part of it and felt fortunate to have been a stand-in for that symbol, if only for a short period of time.”

At Columbia’s graduation last spring, Walter Franck was honored with the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Distinguished Service Award in Clinical Science. In Greeley, Colorado, Herrick Garnsey has published Dead Reckoning: Memoir of Herrick Garnsey, a Navigational Chart of My LifeFrank Williams, when not practicing ophthalmology in Clearwater, Florida, lives an active cultural and physical life, including flying hot air balloons, in Hot Springs, Colorado. In anticipation of our Yale 60th reunion, he recently completed his 60th volunteer eye medical mission to Bhutan, where a new eye hospital will open soon.

From Virginia, William Wally” Wallace writes that he is still actively enjoying both golf and tennis and manages to keep up with neighbors Stew Cole and Alex Slaughter. “Calling all classmates!” exclaims the indefatigable Charlie Weymouth, summoning us, especially the experts, to the 60th reunion to participate in a discussion of “international policies (if such exist).”

Please see on our website the full obituaries of Jack Sekelsky and Doug Whittemore. Jack, of Montpelier, Vermont, was a Federal Reserve banker, municipal bonds expert, and jazz pianist. Doug, of Osterville, Maine, was a banker, boater, builder, and also an excellent musician. More recent deaths are John Ernst (Missouri), originally with ’58, lawyer, judge, coach, scoutmaster, lover of dogs, benefactor to children; and, Lloyd Sandy” Ellis, physician and, in retirement, student, art historian, and published scholar. Again, the website.

You may be weary from the missives of your cochairs of the reunion gift committee—LevinOttaway, and me—but here is a reminder (warning?) that you will be hearing from committee members over the next several months about ways to honor our 60th with a special reunion gift. Gifts and pledges can be documented through June 30, 2020, but do try to time yours so that it can be included in the class total announced during reunion weekend. Unrestricted gifts to the Alumni Fund, as well as those restricted for capital purposes, count. Pledges count; dollars count; donors count. All right already!

Otium cum dignitate.