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YAM Notes: January/February 2016

By Gregory A. Weiss

The reunion is now a little less than five months away.  It is going to be memorable!  Don’t miss it!  Two things you should be looking for in the next couple of months are the reunion class book and the formal registration materials.  As noted back in November, a ton of work has been spent on the book, and we have set a record with 590 classmate submissions—so many that ours will be a first: a two-volume set.  You should receive it in March or April.  Also in March, you will receive the registration forms for the reunion.  Do not put them aside.  Complete them as soon as you can.

Received recently was a thoughtful first-time communication from Frank Hartley. He is living in Kennebunk, Maine, and spent many years at “The Farm” in Kittery Point, Maine, “living a simple life close to nature, one day at a time.” Frank’s first week at Yale was interrupted by a terrible tragedy: his father (Yale ’37) died immediately upon returning home to Maine after dropping Frank off the previous day in New Haven and spending the night in Frank’s room in Lawrance. Frank’s most meaningful friendship at Yale was with poet and Italianate scholar, Professor Thomas Bergin, master of TD.  “Tom and I exchanged letters and our most recent poems until Tom died in 1986.” Frank’s book of poetry, Grains of Sand in The Wind, is available on Amazon.  “My primary charitable interest,” writes Frank, “pertains to animal welfare.  I encourage others to embrace the same.  We need animals. ‘An animal will make a person more humane.’”  Proceeds from the sale of his book go to animal welfare.

Bill Haas is running again (for public office).  This time he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the US Senate from Missouri. Currently he is serving a fourth term on the St. Louis elected school board.  He still remembers his collegiate swimming form, however:  “’Cause of hip, can’t run; barely walk, but still swim 10,000-plus yards/week; have one good meet every five years; the only time my body doesn’t hurt is in the water; a true blessing.” Bill will be self-publishing his first novel, Pink Collar Blue, A Story of Love and Politics (“two things I may know nothing about”), in November of this year.

Rich Look and Kirk Ressler hosted Yale ’66’s second annual golf outing on Eastern Long Island at the end of August.  Jay Westcott came from Boston, and Steve Gilhuley joined Rich, Kirk, and local Chris Swindells for lunch, dinner, and 18 holes on Shelter Island on August 31, followed by another round the next day at Rich’s Maidstone Club.  Rich’s and Chris’s spouses, Cassandra and Heidi, also joined the group for 18 holes and dinner to make it more festive this year.  Future invitations are “open to all,” says Kirk. “We are planning for a larger turnout next year.  Perhaps we will even add tennis as a second sport.”

Sadly, we have lost four more classmates. Since the class book will include extensive memorials and, in many cases, remembrances of all our deceased classmates, we will stay brief.

Bill Vicic died on October 15, 2015.  Bill grew up in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland. After Yale, he completed his medical training as an internist/hematologist at Case Western. The heart and soul of his career were spent at St. Vincent Hospital and Saint Francis Friends of the Poor in Manhattan, where he devoted his time to the care of the homeless and destitute. Upon his retirement the Franciscan Province awarded him their highest honor, the Francis Medal, for his “witness to the spirit and values of St. Francis of Assisi.”

Arnold Pietola was from Brooklyn, Connecticut, and entered Yale with the Class of ’65. He left school in the spring of 1962 but later returned to be part of our class, residing in Branford College, but never graduated. He died in Boynton Beach, Florida, on August 28, 2013.  Al Gordon passed away on September 20, 2015, in Northampton, Massachusetts, of lung cancer.  He was a graduate of Harvard Law School, but after a brief stint as a lawyer he moved to a commune in California and then to another commune in Virginia. On his way to Canada, his car broke down in Maine so he decided to visit a tiny island off the coast named Isle au Haut. He immediately fell in love with it and its population of 60 full-time residents. Rather than communal living, he seemed to prefer the isolation of this remote island. He quickly learned the skills of being a first-class carpenter; he built houses, boats, and furniture, and became a successful lobster fisherman.

Our fourth loss was Peter Tillers. Peter was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1943, immigrated to the United States in 1950, and died on October 3, 2015. At his death he was a professor of law at Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, a post he had held since 1986. An authority on the law of evidence, he had built up a curriculum vitae including 39 publications, 59 lectures and talks, and many honors, visitorships, and activities at numerous prestigious institutions.