Purple Cow - Megan Coyle - mcoyle.com

Purple Cow – Megan Coyle – mcoyle.com


January, 2018 Class Notes
September, 2017 Class Notes

 Note:  All references to classmates contain links to their Classmate Profiles on this web site. So click on their names to see what we look like now!  And send us pictures for the web site and Class Notes! raymond.kimball@yahoo.com or Rick Foster, Class Secretary, 1970secretary@williams.edu   

Class Notes, January, 2018  1970

Rick Foster, 379 Dexter St., Denver, CO 80220; 1970secretary@williams.edu      


Phil Greenland says he hasn’t much news to report, but he did have a nice visit in Minneapolis with Jim Rubenstein, who, Phil reports, is recently retired but very active both professionally and otherwise, and seems to be enjoying the new stage. Phil was fairly emphatic in saying about himself, “Not ready for retirement yet!” Chip Baker continues to enjoy retirement. He wrote, “My first grandchild (Mabel Dawn) arrived last October. Of course, she is adorable. I continue to enjoy working with John Burns and the fundraising committee for our 50th reunion. Our hope that all our classmates will be able to contribute generously.”

John Burns and Usha had a great trip to Europe, where the highlight was a river cruise in the Bordeaux region sponsored by the Williams alumni group. The guest lecturer was Prof. Emeritus John Hyde ’52. Also on the trip were Skip Comstock ’69 and Jack Sands ’71, both of whom are approaching their 50ths and, like John, are involved in the reunion planning process. Peripatetic Rod McLeod wrote, “All good in Israel, though Iran and Hezbollah are gathering close to the Golan Heights. In just a few months, it seems the world has gotten more dangerous, but maybe the danger was always there, just undercover (e.g. ‘NoKo,’ Iran). Had a good summer. Spent a month touring pretty much all of Portugal, the Azores and Madeira. Proud of myself not getting a scratch on three different rental cars although driving through truly narrow streets. Just returned from a jeep trip through the mountains of Montenegro, and were treated to an early snowfall that dropped a foot overnight. Driving through the snow-covered trees brought back great memories of Williams in the middle of winter.”

David Coplan, clearly well-informed about our recent hurricane problems, wrote from Johannesburg, South Africa: “Irma was bad, but from here Hurricane Donald’s devastation of Washington looks worse. Am about to start down the prostate cancer treatment trail. Hope it is less bothersome than death. Published a book recently though.” The book David referred to is call Last Night at the Bassline, and that isn’t his first publication, I discovered. A little inquiry revealed that David has been researching and writing about South African popular music since 1975 and has published several books on the subject, including In Township Tonight! Three Centuries of South African Black City Music and Theatre and In Township Tonight! South Africa’s Black City Music and Theatre. He also just happens to be emeritus professor and chair of anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Best wishes for a successful treatment regimen, David.

Bill Lawson reports having had a perfect summer and not as much damage as originally feared from hurricane Irma to the properties of friends and family in Florida. On his summer travels, Bill says, “We gathered up the courage to travel farther on our boat than we have in the past from our home on Lake Charlevoix in northern Michigan. This year we went out to Beaver Island and over to Suttons Bay. Next summer we will return to Suttons Bay, go to Elk Rapids and on to Traverse City, maybe even Mackinac Island. My wife’s father has Alzheimer’s and is worsening almost by the week. He still recognizes us but often does not think he is in his home. It is hard to say goodbye to a man who has been your champion for almost all of your life.” Bill also provided this stroll down the Williams’ memory lane, something we’ll all be doing as our 50th approaches: “It is hard to believe 50 years is approaching since I walked daily by the gates ‘Climb High, Climb Far’ and more than 50 years since I observed the Annual Ephraim Williams Birthday run on the ice around the freshman quad. Now that the school is coed, my hunch is the fabled run is no more. In photos Chapin still looks the same. I remember James McGregor Burns ’39 as our poly sci teacher and Dr. Wobus was just starting teaching us about rocks. Art 101 was at 8 a.m., and the lights were dimmed as the slides rolled by. I was a cheerleader at the football games and remember wearing the white sweater with the purple “W” on it. The admin building was taken over by African-American students, and our last semester was canceled because of the war. Kent State happened and flower power in San Fran as well as Woodstock. A very tumultuous year. I wonder if there have ever been any years as unusual as our senior year at Williams?”

From Ray Kimball: “Alert! The Class launches its 50th Reunion interactive web site in January 2018 (https://www.williams1970.com) and we need your help! Could you send pictures of your activities, family, and you for the website to ’70s webmaster raymond.kimball@yahoo.com or 301-717-8521? Pictures, pictures, pictures!  Many thanks for your help! Check out the site!”


Our esteemed and never-to-be -term-limited president, Lou Buck, wrote in early October, “Nora and I enjoyed a lovely visit in August, albeit all too short a stay, from Plip Kimberley-Bryant and her husband Slim. Plip is serving as a substitute English teacher in the North Conway, N.H., school district where her students are really learning what tough love actually is. Slim used to drive the snow plow which kept the Mt. Washington Auto Road open in the winter. He now volunteers his time at the summit’s visitors center and also runs his Porsche 944 in the annual July ‘Climb to the Clouds’ race to the summit. They both look very much the same!”

Jean and John Hitchens reported the births of two grandchildren in 2017, Elowen Green Hitchins, born May 1 to David and Mollie Hitchins; and Robert Jude Brennan, born July 17 to daughter Christine and Owen Brennan. All doing well and living relatively close to Jean and John in Virginia. Many of our classmates who attended our last two reunions will remember Jean and John’s son Jack who attended with them. John reports that Jack has begun his sophomore year as an art student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts after a successful first year. Daughter Claire (musician/songwriter) lives in Charlottesville and has been promoting her music with multiple tours throughout the year, including a month on the West Coast from LA to Seattle with stops in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Berkeley, Portland, Takoma, Olympia and Seattle, to name a few. If you enjoy original blue grass/folk-type crafted songs, go to Claire’s website: ClaireHitchins.com (also available on Spotify and iTunes). John and Jean had their first Williams alumni travel experience with Williams Professor Bud Wobus: “We thoroughly enjoyed the weeklong Alumni College in the Colorado Rockies (July 8-14) beginning in Colorado Springs and base camping at the Nature Place in Florissant. Bud Wobus is still going strong at 76 and kept us entertained, humored and learning every day in the midst of the natural and geological beauty that Colorado dishes out so generously every day from sunrise to sunset.

John Hitchins, Tom Michaels and spouses, Pike’s Peak, Colorado, 2017

John Hitchins, Tom Michaels and spouses,
Pike’s Peak, CO 2017

On top of so much fun, we had a wonderful bonus day with Tom Michaels and his lovely wife Melanie, who took us for a delightful five-mile hike of the Crags next to Pike’s Peak. We ended the day together by driving to Pike’s Peak summit (wondrous) and sharing a fun dinner at Shuga’s Restaurant.” Finally, John reports, “Jean continues her work with Roanoke City Public Schools as a special education teacher and was honored with a Super Teacher Award in May by The Virginia Lottery that has sponsored the award for the past 10 years.” John is enjoying mountain bike trail riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He completed some cyclocross racing events in September/October.

            While at a golf club north of the City of Boulder a couple of weeks ago, I ran into Pat Bassett, who was in Colorado visiting one (perhaps more) of his kids. I didn’t recognize him at first, although he looked familiar, and I had to ask the guy in the pro shop he was. More of you who are retired should follow Pat and John Hitchins’ lead and visit Colorado.

            As most will know by now, Laurie and Tim Dorman lost their home in the October 2017 California fires and barely escaped with their lives. On Oct. 10, Kim Dawson wrote this about their trials, “I spoke to Tim this morning, and it was a harrowing experience. A neighbor woke Tim and Laurie banging on the door to warn them of the approaching wildfire. They got away with their dog Ginger and not much else as fire engulfed their beautiful home. They will be staying with their daughter for a bit and then plan to take up residence at Lori and Steve Taylor’s second home in the nearby Alexander Valley. I’m sure Tim will post something soon, but the good news is they are fine, and somehow Tim has maintained his remarkable sense of humor.”

No doubt others in our class had some harrowing experiences during last fall’s spate of hurricanes and wildfires, though hopefully not as devastating as Laurie and Tim’s. If so, let me know how you fared so I can relate your stories in the next Williams People.

 Class Notes, September, 2017
Here are the Class Notes for September 2017, as reported by our Class Secretary,
Rick Foster.  We’ve added links to the Profile Pages for all Classmates mentioned in the post.  And there are pictures, also!


Rick Foster, 379 Dexter St., Denver, CO 80220; 1970secretary@williams.edu      


My May notes reported that Don Berens and Maureen were planning to travel to South America and Antarctica. Here’s how it went, per Don: “Maureen and I flew to Santiago, then cruised along the Chilean coast to Tierra del Fuego, pausing for sightseeing ashore and some Patagonian hikes. We then cruised to Antarctica and saw even more spectacular scenery near Anvers Island and along the Palmer Peninsula, called the Antarctic ‘Banana Belt.’ We saw many humpbacks, seals, penguins and icebergs. Then turned north to Stanley, Falkland Islands, a huge penguin colony at Punta Tombo, and the cities of Montevideo and Buenos Aires. After the cruise, we visited Iguazu Falls and finished the trip in Rio de Janeiro, seeing many of the sites televised during the 2016 Olympic Games (but not the Ryan Lochte gas station). We encountered no mosquitoes, thus wasting perfectly good yellow fever shots.”

Chris Williamson forwarded information he received from Joel Hoff. Joel lived and worked in Cambodia from 1992-1998 (following a year in refugee camps in Thailand) and went back in September 2016 for some teaching, which fell through shortly thereafter. He’s now trying to decide whether he should retire there. Chris also reported that Margot Remington-Oman has retired to Florida, near where Halley Moriyama has a place in Vero Beach. Ed Gale and wife Pilar have relocated to Poway, Calif., to be near a granddaughter. They sold their house in Northampton last June 30 and were in California the next day house-hunting, which took six months to complete. Chris also wrote that Bill Matthiesen, as a Lanesboro resident, is attentive to Williams’ impact on Williamstown and to the local education system, since Lanesboro is part of the Mount Greylock regional high school district.

Rob Durkee moved from Irvington, N.Y., to Pawling, N.Y.—75 miles north of NYC—last July and has enjoyed the more rustic environs with gusto. Rob spends time “focused on self-improvement and spiritual hygiene” and also celebrates “coaching soccer and basketball at a local day school.” He reports, “My three ex-wives visit frequently for pot-luck casseroles and shared recollections of joyfulness past. Life is simply good.”

Rob Pasco has been retired on Suncoast (Sarasota) for six years. At the time he wrote in May, he was just back from a Williams trip to the Amalfi coast and his mother’s funeral. She died at age 99. Like the rest of us, Rob is looking forward to our 50th. Jeff Krull and wife Alice spent a week on Cape Cod and in February got together for dinner with Lee Owen and Shirley and Jack Maitland in Delray Beach, Fla. They also had a visit from Janelle and Sluggo Stearns (now “permanently” back from Thailand) at their house in Fort Wayne.

Margie Ware says, “I’ve become a vagabond—traveling around the U.S. with an eventual destination of Sarasota, Fla. Yes, I know that they have members of the Orange Guy’s party there, but politics isn’t the lingua franca. Looking forward to conversations about birds, flowers, opera, art and music. I’ll still be part of the Resistance, but I’ll be getting a tan while I’m demonstrating in favor of sensible gun laws.” Ty Tuttle is thinking seriously about retiring within the next 12 months and was to spend summer 2017 in Normandy and Tuscany, contemplating what that would be like. He also reported that his father, Class of ’42, died in March at age 98.

Bill Courter and his wife booked a Vikings River Cruise on the Danube for their 40th anniversary: “After booking, for the first time in our lives, we asked ourselves: Do you think we will still be alive? Guess that means we are getting old!” Bill Lawson and his wife Cathy were heading back from Indianapolis to their summer home on Lake Charlevoix in northern Michigan for three months. He says, “Cathy and I are both retired, although we spend considerable time with Cathy’s father, who is rapidly progressing through the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a tough time for us, but we treasure every piece of her father that remains with us. Otherwise we are both well and happy.” Bill’s younger son, Andrew, lives in Chicago and has been married one year to his wife Abbey. His older son, William, is a lawyer in Indiana. He and his wife Stephanie have two boys, one 4½ and the other 1½. Bob Lee is also traveling. He wrote in May, “Kathy and I are getting ready to go to Colorado, Norway and Vermont (not simultaneously). It’s an odd coincidence, but these are all lovely places to visit, cooler than Kansas City, and work trip destinations.”

Rod McLeod and Naomi continue their worldwide travel adventures. Rod wrote, “Naomi and I joined a Williams alumni trip to India and Nepal. It was fantastic, in large part due to the abiding camaraderie that pervaded the group. Peter Frost ’58 was our resident guru, and he added immensely to our deeper learning about the cultures and religions there. We traveled an extra week on our own in Nepal, primarily to reconnect with the Nepali village where I was stationed during the Peace Corps after our Williams graduation. We did find the village, though all of my close friends there had died or were chased away by the Communist uprisings in the ’90s. We did manage to talk with a few villagers who remembered me. The village has changed, of course, over the intervening 46 years, in some respects for the better, and in others, not. Transitioning to a modern society is definitely not pretty.” 

From Ron Clark: “OK, fine. Lane and I continue our mutually assured coexistence, coming up on 42 years of legally acknowledged wedded bliss. No, my friends, that is not sarcasm. It’s NOT sarcasm. It’s not! We are fresh off of two weeks sailing in the Bahamas, from Georgetown to Amelia Isle, for the annual insurance mandated docking of the fleet during hurricane season. This is the same boat I helped bring down last November, Norfolk to Charleston, Outside (mast is too high for IWW).” Ron’s daughter is a newly minted PhD, and his son continues to operate the restaurant Catch, on Melrose in Los Angeles. Fred Eames, just in time for my deadline, wrote, “Always like to hear that others are bike-touring! Barb and I bicycled a bit in Italy and Ireland in past years. We’ll take our tandem on the Erie Canal tour again in July, hoping we can manage as well as we did on our first Erie Canal trip 13 years ago. Life is good for myself and my wonderful family. None of us have drifted beyond the Great Northeast. Celebrated the birth of grandchild number five on June 11 in Bennington, Vt. Still ‘tapering’ toward retirement, plan on working 50-percent time starting in July, with the intention of leaving radiology completely in July 2018.” 

Gary Benson sent me a newspaper ad about Chris Frost, not the kind of ad we might choose to appear in if we had the choice, but one that I expect Chris is thankful for. Here is the text, which Chris gave permission to publish: “Near the end of the Alewives 10K, Chris Frost felt strong enough to pass another runner. It was his last memory of the race. He suffered cardiac arrest, a stopped heart. Fortunately for Chris, he was transported to LincolnHealth-Miles Campus in Damariscotta for initial diagnosis, then to Maine Medical Center for specialized treatment. Coordinated care between MaineHealth member hospitals working closely together restores lives. Ask Chris, back in the care of his Miles doctor and hitting his stride once again.” As Gary noted, Chris is “one very fortunate guy.” He also says that Chris “is doing very well and is fully returned to his active life. He ran in the same race again this year with one daughter as a partner while the other won the race.” Congratulations, Chris!

Chris Williamson wrote about what he’s been up to and the great achievement of the Class of 1970 in the Alumni Fund: “Peggy and I survived our second winter in Maine, spending two weeks in Norway (not the one in Maine!) to see the Northern Lights and explore the country. We continue to sing in a community chorus, and I channel Art 101 and 102 as a docent at the outstanding Farnsworth Museum in Rockland (celebrating Wyeth at 100 this summer).” Chris’ son Tom earned a degree in history from Worcester State and has been offered an assistantship in the graduate program there. Oldest daughter Abby Fisher Williamson ’98 had her “tenure” book accepted for publication and was awarded a teaching prize at graduation by Trinity College, where she teaches political science and public policy with immigration and its impact on “non-traditional destination cities” (e.g., cities like Lewiston, Maine) as her area of focus. About the Class of 1997, Chris said: “I’ve enjoyed seeing classmates at various Williams events, and—thanks to the generosity and hard work of so many of you—hoisting the Wood (and Kelly – Sammons) Trophy with Paul Miller, Kevin Austin, Kevin Sullivan, Ken McCurdy, Bob Ware and Don Berens at the volunteer dinner in early May. John Burns, Halley Moriyama, Lou Buck and many others have been doing lots of important planning for our 50th. Find out more—and have input—Oct. 21 weekend!”

            Thanks to all who wrote. My apologies for doing some editing of your submissions, including some news about grandchildren, in order to stay within a reasonable “average” word limit! Please, don’t let my editing stop you from continuing to send your news, including about grandchildren; just try to limit your use of adjectives!