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Forrest David Laidley

Died: October 3, 2016

Reflection on Bright College Years

For me, Yale, looking back, was all about being blessed to be among amazing, gifted, stimulating, and inspiring people. I was blessed with four years of the same roommates: Joe Baughman, a bright, perceptive and questioning individual, who was a close friend from high school; Alan Cross, who became a true and lasting best friend; kind, intellectual, caring, and born to be a doctor (a kindred spirit and fellow pilgrim traveler); and Cal Burrows, perhaps the boldest individual I have ever met. He heard the call and followed without compromise.

And then there were the four truly great fellows who remained together across the hall all four years: Howell Ferguson, a genuinely good and noble person, authentic, upright and honest, a person of integrity, who found humor in the ordinary moments, a counselor and philosopher who saw beyond the horizon, a friend to me who generously extended help without condition and to whom I remain indebted; Bob Brundige, a big, robust, and pure personality, a person who seeks the good in others, and whom Yale has greatly enhanced and whose enthusiasm it has fueled; Johnny White, a quiet man of great depth who sought to know the why in all things and the good in all people; and Peter Fortune, an adventurous fellow, a loyal companion, a lover of life, and often the one to get us up on our feet to try something new.

There were also many special people I had the privilege to be teammates with in football and rugby, and there is Carm Cozza, who exemplifies all that is good about Yale, family life, and faith in God. He alone would be reason enough to send a son to Yale to play under his guidance.

And of course, our Bones crew, a most remarkable group of dear and lasting friends, who made senior year and all the years since special and beyond description. They went out of Yale to change the world; and all did, some in astonishing ways.

Since Yale, I am married 45 years to Diane, truly the most amazing person I have ever met. We have six children and seven grandchildren, so far, and are praying for more.

Diane and I are blessed that all of our children and grandchildren live less than five miles from our home, and that we are a very close, faith-filled, and loving family. This, I consider, is my greatest accomplishment and greatest success, for which I am eternally grateful and realize that it is more than I deserve.

I am also grateful for the privilege of having attended Yale and the benefits received. I witnessed an abundance of gifts possessed by so many and am anxious to learn at our 50th Reunion how those gifts were used to make the world a better place for the people you touched and in the places you graced with your presence and your gifts.