YAM Notes: May/June 2006

By Rich Banbury

With so many events and activities competing for our attention at this time of year, it should be no surprise that half-century high school reunions are at the top of the priority list for many classmates.  I’ll stuff the trite clichés and phony phrases about how quickly the calendar turns.  Reflections on the scheming of Old Man Time are left to the philosophy majors.  In addition to the bi-century high school affairs, our mini-reunion in New York should be taking place just at about the time this issue of your favorite alumni magazine is being mailed to classmates around the globe.  Fay Vincent’s oration on his good friend Bart Giamatti will be the centerpiece of this weekend banquet.  The New York conclave has been conceived and delivered by Peter Wells, whose management of the Class has been characterized by energy, enthusiasm and efficiency, all in the tradition of his multiple predecessors as Class Secretary.  In that spirit, Peter must be forgiven for circulating some updated info about “all the girls we’ve loved before …”.  I’m sorry to break the news, but Sophia Loren and Bridget Bardot are both 71, two years younger than former fantasy Liz Taylor.

Enjoying his retirement from the entertainment and business world in Boston, Lew Lloyd joined Sandy Campbell for Grandparents Day at The Park School in Brookline, where Sandy’s grandson Jackson and Lew’s granddaughter Lilian Rose are ensconced.  Lew also reports that Dunc Yaggy, his old sidekick from their days at the Yale Dramat, is thriving as Chief Planning Officer at Duke Medical School.

Eleven American citizens were awarded National Humanities Medals in 2005, including four who are Yale alumni or faculty members.  Among those honored was Lew Lehrman, who was recognized by President George W. Bush for numerous scholarly and historical initiatives which have “… deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities (and) helped expand America’s access to important humanities resources”.

As our relatively new Class Delegate to the AYA, Dave Toomey is finding the semi-annual Assemblies not only highly informative, but also an opportunity to fraternize with folks from other classes, leading to the exchange of novel ideas for class activities.  Dave reports that a number of delegates were “amazed at our fellowship programs and sought more information about what we do and how we do it”.  For the full text of Dave’s report, visit our class website at Yale60.org.

It’s a 10 hour bus ride from Yerevan to Tbilisi, but that’s the only alternative when the airport is indefinitely closed down as a result of “unrelenting thick fog”.  So reports Stew Cole in reviewing the unusually harsh winter in Armenia, with sub-Celsius

temperatures in the minus teens.  Snow removal is nearly non-existent, resulting in three-foot accumulations which eventually turn to slush.  In a marvelous example of State Department creativity, Stew quotes an Embassy bulletin to American citizens as follows:  “walk like a penguin for better balance – it lowers your center of gravity”.

In memoriam.  We have learned in a long note from Ned Cabot about the loss to our Class of Estil Vance.  Ned and Estil were roommates for four years and remained good friends through our 45th reunion, which Estil attended.  A brilliant scholar, Estil was a junior year Phi Beta Kappa, a varsity football player and an outstanding debater.  After graduating first in his University of Texas Law School class, Estil practiced law in Fort Worth and became chair of his firm’s litigation department.  Estil had a strong commitment to the community, as evidenced by his service on the Fort Worth’s City Council and as Chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party.  He is survived by his wife Melinda, who has enjoyed a distinguished career as a practicing attorney and municipal court judge in Fort Worth.  Their two children, Terry Kathleen and Estil, like their dad, both graduated from Yale with Phi Beta Kappa keys.