Alumni Notes: May/June 2020

By John A. Wilkinson

These notes are being submitted in March for publication in May. You will receive them only days before the 60th reunion, May 21–24, but it will not be too late to sign up. Go to the class website,, click on the link, “Reunions,” to see what and whom you could be missing. Join us. You won’t regret it.

Rusty Wing, our 60th reunion cochair, has informed you by mail that, rather than having our customary display of classmate publications at the reunion, we have created a new link on our 1960 website for recent publications since the 2015 reunion. First entry is the work of our other reunion cochair, DickSigalShades of Public Finance, Volume 1: Illicit Bankruptcies, Innovative Municipal Bonds, and Why the Patriots Didn’t Move to Hartford. Volume 2 with more insider stories will follow.

Not only are we writing books, but books are being written about us. For example, the paperback version is now in print of George W. Lieberman’s The Last Diplomat: John D. Negroponte and the Changing Face of Diplomacy. And hot off the press is Neil Thomas Proto’s Fearless: A. Bartlett Giamatti and the Battle for Fairness in America. Both are easily ordered online or at your favorite bookstore.

Both personal and professional obituaries for George Flynn, who died in January in Charlotte, North Carolina, have been posted on our website. As Higgins Professor of Chemistry and professor of chemical engineering at Columbia, he received many awards, including election to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, but most revealing is his statement in our 50th reunion book where George observed, “When I look back over my career, I am most pleased with the opportunity I have had to teach chemistry to more than 4,000 undergraduates, to guide some 40 graduate students through their PhD thesis work, and to train more than 30 postdoctoral fellows in my own laboratory.”

George McClain reports that he divides his time between his home on Staten Island and the St. Paul School of Theology in Oklahoma City. Currently he is the John J. Machi Visiting Scholar at the College of Staten Island, researching and presenting on the history of slavery, resistance, and abolition at Staten Island.

2019–2020 has been a yearlong celebration of 150 years of women as students in the graduate and professional schools of the university and 50 years of undergraduate women in Yale College. Research in our reunion directories produces the names of 11 classmates who have married women who attended Yale at the graduate or professional level: Toby Clark, John Dwyer†, Bart Giamatti†, Sam Heyman†, Bill (W. J.) Miller†, Art Munisteri†, Monroe Price, Bob Putsch, Chuck Schmitz, Don Tinder and John Wilkinson.

Information about classmates who have daughters who attended Yale College is merely anecdotal and, therefore, incomplete, but this is what we have: Duncan Alling†, Phil Blume†, Ray Crystal, Carter Doran†, Ed Hand, John Levin, Al Pergam†, Stuart Sprague†, Jim Taylor, Howie Wilkins†, and John Wilkinson. Others? Let me know.

Jim Wessel Walker has a new career in retirement as a champion baker, serious sailor, international hiker, and choral singer. See his exhausting account behind the link “Classmates and Activities” on our website. And, did you know that Nick Moehlmann’s retirement activity is operating a hot air balloon facility in Pennsylvania?

Chuck Schmitz informs me of the death of Aspin Committee member Fritz Steele, in Maine on February 24. Fritz was a renowned scholar of organizational behavior, with an emphasis on how physical settings affect how people interact. His architectural fascination with the interaction of objects and people was directly linked to a 30-year hobby as an accomplished artist of collages. See the full obituary on our website.

Ray Crystal and Tim Light report the death of their roommate Nic Timenes on February 19. See their tributes to Nic on our website. Nic, the son of Norwegian immigrants, enjoyed a distinguished career in the federal government as a mathematician and, indeed, published with his third roommate, Dick Dowd, a paper on strategies for developing new energy technologies. His lasting moment of fame came, however, when in the Washington Post, during the 1998 impeachment hearings, he wrote, “Trust is at the core of the consent of the governed and thus of just governance. How can we trust those who lie? How can we trust in a government of liars? And why should we?”

Otium cum dignitate.