Kempton Dunn

Kempton Dunn

Died January 28, 2011

Son of Kempton Dunn, Y’31S, Tony came to Yale via the Kent School and Oundle School, Northamptonshire, England. A Russian studies major, he won numerals in freshman hockey, was captain of the rugby team, sang with the Society of Orpheus & Bacchus and belonged to St. Anthony Hall.

Among other things, Tony was a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India, after graduating from Yale; and he went on to earn an M.A. in international economics and politics in 1968 from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In 1980 he was awarded an M.B.A by the University of Connecticut.

He held executive positions at Time, Inc., The Asia Society, and The Council on Foreign Relations; and he was active in many Kent and Yale activities, boards and committees.

Unlike most of his classmates, Tony enjoyed much continuity in his life, spending his later years on Wahackme Road in New Canaan, CT, which he reported as his home in our Graduation Book of 1965.

Tony died on January 28, 2011 while vacationing in Hawaii. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, Vassar ’64, son, Kempton, III, Y’91, son, Seth Simrall, Y’93, Y School of Management/ School of Forestry and Environment Studies ’05, and daughter, Heather Anderson Drugge, Dartmouth ’93. Tony and Ellen had six grandchildren, all of whom he knew and loved passionately: Grace, Frank and Katherine Drugge; Taylor, Davis and Chase Dunn.

Tony’s widow Ellen remembers: “As the Vassar bus pulled up by the Yale Green, I peered out my sleet covered window at the pack of anxious, eager and handsome faces of the Yale men waiting and scanning the bus for their weekend dates. We dashed to the Taft to drop my suitcase sopping wet, icy puddles all the way to the Yale Whale for our second date, three consecutive hockey games! First came Tony’s freshman team game, then he suited up’ for the JV game, and finally we watched the Yale varsity team play together. The mass of friendly Yale hosts made it an unforgettable second date, and the rest is history!”

Tony’s family added this: “Kempton (Tony) was a real Renaissance man on campus – rugby captain, the O’s and B’s , St. Anthony Hall – and later a “true blue” alum as reflected in his many visits to New Haven and Yale for reunions, cultural events, and especially for football, hockey, and lacrosse games (’Pour it on, Blue!’). He particularly enjoyed tailgating at the Bowl, dining at Mory’s, rooting vociferously for his two sons’ lacrosse teams in the 1990s during their epic NCAA rise and bringing grandchildren to the Whale (’You can never start the brainwashing too early’). Tony faithfully stuck with the ice hockey team through its trials and subsequent ascendance, including (’Don’t pinch me!’) rising to #1 national ranking even though he was not destined to savor Yale’s winning its first national championship in men’s hockey in 2013. Tony considered himself blessed to stay in close touch with many Yale classmates from around the country and enjoyed interviewing candidates. To his family, he epitomized the ideal of the well-rounded ‘Yale man’ in the best sense of the phrase – committed throughout his life to learning and leadership in the service of others.”

Jeffrey Miller remembers: A casual acquaintance at Yale, Tony became a good friend beginning in the early ’70s when we connected on the NH Railroad one afternoon on the commute home from New York. With our mutual interest in hockey, we soon started coaching the Candy Heaven squirts team in the Darien Youth League, enduring many a 6 AM practice session with our young charges. We also were teammates on various men’s senior teams in the area, including the New Canaan Winter Club team on which we played together until age 50 or so. With his rugby background (he captained Yale’s club team) and burly physique, he was a formidable presence on the ice with a heavy shot from the point. He was also an avid fan of Yale’s football and hockey teams, and we spent many hours with and without our very patient wives watching Bulldog teams from many decades march on to (mostly) victory. To sit next to Tony at a hockey game was to experience his elbow in the ribs as the action swung to and fro, and the refs missed one obvious and egregious penalty against our boys after another. Finally, with the offender identified, and the ref’s right arm up to signal a penalty, came Tony’s triumphant bellow: “BOUT TIME, REF!!!!” How I miss those elbows and that bellow. RIP, Tony.

Dorsey Gardner remembers: Tony was a classmate at New Canaan Country Day which I attended for two years. We caught up with each other at Yale and stayed in contact on and off for the following forty-odd years. Our children overlapped at various schools along the way. Tony was a first class human being, never petty, always helpful, a terrific father. He just made you feel good to be around him.

Michael Pollock remembers: Tony gave fuller meaning to the word friendship. We knew one another at Kent but then by happenstance roomed together freshman year at Yale, when Tony had returned from a year in England. We roomed together all four years at Yale, and continued to see one another until his untimely death several years ago. I saw his children growing up, and watched with awe as his relationship with Ellen grew deeper over all those years. Tony was always there, always interested in how you were doing, forgiving to a fault, always caring and forever wanting to share in the warmth of friendship and good times. Christen and I think often of Tony and remember him with fondness and with love.

Peter Conze remembers: I consider Tony to have been possibly the most well-rounded man I have ever known, in the sense in which we so often used that term as undergraduates and even afterward. He was as thoughtful and kind, as he was an accomplished scholar and athlete, and I had the pleasure of interacting with him from our days together at Kent School, through our Yale experience and afterward in New Canaan, CT.

At Kent, Tony was a respected student leader, whose prowess athletically as an extremely talented defensive end in football, as an aggressive ice hockey forward and as a stalwart oarsman, seemingly effortlessly established his reputation for all to admire. He was equally accomplished academically and even blessed with a melodious singing voice we enjoyed in periodic Glee Club concerts. After Kent and his ESU scholarship at Oundle in the U.K., when he returned to the U.S. to join our class at Yale, he diverted his athletic attention to rugby, in which he also starred.

Roughly ten years after we graduated, Tony enthusiastically welcomed Judy, our children and me to New Canaan. Before we could realize quite what he had done, Tony and Ellen had us actively involved in the New Canaan Winter Club for mites and senior hockey for my son Peter and me, and figure skating for my daughter Nichola, at the Field Club for swimming and men’s tennis, the Nature Center for gardening activities for Judy, and in the congregation at St Mark’s Church for family worship, teaching and fellowship. To boot, Tony was instrumental in organizing Indian Guides’ and Princesses’ outings, overnights and even canoeing trips for fathers and their children with unforgettable enthusiasm and skill. I will never forget the series of annual Memorial Day parades he organized through the center of New Canaan, in outlandish outfits and haphazard floats, all for the fun of it!

Tony and Ellen’s three wonderful children each inherited many of the qualities for which their father was so universally respected, and doubtlessly these have also been passed down to their grandchildren too. Those of us who joined Tony and Ellen in their effervescent participation with classmates in our annual Class hockey evening, and at Yale football games, were distraught at his premature death and continue to miss him greatly.