Class Notes: March/April 2019

Class Notes: March/April 2019

I had just settled in to finish these notes on a snowy Sunday when I got word that Ron Wilmore had died the previous evening, January 12, 2019. I think Ron’s relationship with and contributions to our class are such that a few brief personal reflections are appropriate. I knew Ron at Yale, but we became much closer over the years, and I grew to appreciate his deep commitment to helping others, and his intense loyalty to Yale ’65. Ron won a long battle with cancer, but in the end, he was suffering from an undiagnosed condition that drastically reduced his mobility. We spoke by phone not long ago, and he was hopeful of finding a way to get back on his feet. Unfortunately, Ron was unable to realize that hope. 

Many of you knew Ron as the classmate who planned our reunion memorial services, or as the friendly, outgoing former jock and loyal Yale football fan, or as one of the only four black Americans in our class—a fact that to this day still stuns me. Ron was a lot more than that, and I think one of the legacies he leaves us can be found in his talk at a class dinner. When he opened his talk, he said, “I am here tonight to share some thoughts about the history of black oppression in America and what it is like to grow up under that reality and survive as a reasonably functioning people.” Ron did not speak from anger, rather as a lifelong teacher; he wanted to educate us, to help us understand the reality of racism in America. Ron’s talk is posted on the class website, and I encourage everyone to read it and realize what a gift Ron was to our class, and to post remembrances.

In other notes: Bill Lake reported: “Retirement from my law firm (WilmerHale) in 2009 coincided nicely with an opportunity to join the Obama folks at the FCC, where I was chief of the media bureau for eight years. I was thinking about a true retirement when that was handed to me on inauguration day 2017. I’m now doing a bit of consulting but mostly volunteer work on renewable energy and climate change and enjoying our five children and (at present count) four grandchildren.” Alan Biller wrote: “Nancy and I moved to Seattle five years ago, recently celebrated our 27th anniversary, and are (finally) starting to phase out of managing our California-based investment advisory firm. Hard to believe that I started it back in ’82! Time for new (ad)ventures while we still have time. Except that we are well, there is no family news that would mean anything to other class members. We wish all a very good holiday season and New Year.” And Chris Cooke reported that they survived the November earthquake in Alaska, but sent pictures showing how shelves emptied and pictures dislodged. 

Roommates and brothers-in-law Alan Jacobson and Ralph Protsik reported back from northern Spain, where they completed a chunk of the famous Camino de Santiago from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela. Said Ralph, “Not exactly roughing it—we knew our limits and trusted National Geographic to respect them, along with our appetites—but an altogether memorable hiking (and bonding) experience that included a trek through the snow-covered Cantabrian Mountains. And our wives got to play in our absence.” Alan added: “Not exactly roughing it is an understatement. Great food in large quantities with an abundance of local wines to pair with the daily hikes.”

Class authors have alerted us to two forthcoming books: Warren Rothman’s Kafka in China, Part Two: An American Near Death in the People’s Republic of Black Jails, and Karl Schonborn’s Privileged Killers—A Criminologist Loses Faith in American Justice.

Steve Clark’s holiday greeting noted he will be “starting a spring-semester Twentieth Century Sports History class at San Rafael’s Dominican University in mid-January, and then in early February through May again serving as an assistant swimming coach at the local Redwood High School for what I think is the fifth consecutive year. I enjoy coaching the kids but almost everything I used to know about swimming is either long forgotten or out of date—not so surprisingly, I rely on the head coach for all things technical.” 

Ted Theodore reported: “In December Bonnie and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in New Zealand on our own and on a backroads hiking tour. The Kiwis are wonderful people, and the South Island offers spectacular sights: snow-capped mountains, temperate rainforests, lakes, rivers, and the ocean. Christchurch and Queenstown have their own charms. It was nice to get away from the Washington chaos for a few weeks and enjoy the start of summer down under. Incidentally, George Frampton’s name came up (favorably) in a conversation I had with a retired investment banker who had a Sierra Club connection with George, during breakfast at the St. Moritz in Queenstown. Small world.” 

I’m sorry to have to report the loss of another classmate. Carl Farrington informed me that John Hinderlie died on December 10, 2018: “I just received a call from Diane Hinderlie who reported that her husband, our classmate John, died yesterday in Minneapolis after a protracted fight with cancer of the liver, lungs, and adrenals. John roomed with Bob Hammond and me freshman year in Bingham and later with Peter McGowan.” John’s obituary is available on the class website; please post remembrances.

I hope 2019 is a good, healthy year for you all and your families. Planning for our 55th is proceeding.