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YAM Notes: May 2004

By Gregory A. Weiss

The biggest news, of course, is John Kerry‘s (unofficial at this writing) nomination as the Democratic candidate for president. It has been a difficult campaign, and John is to be congratulated for his toughness and perseverance in his comeback win. We wish him all the best in November — and look forward to a 40th reunion at the White House!

On a related note, a recent article in the New York Times described John’s other “Band of Brothers” — the group of classmates who have been supporting his candidacy, including some, like John Harvey and (“only for the nomination”) Leo Kayser, whose political leanings normally tend in the Republican direction. Rob Van Leeuwen, the principal organizer of “Yale ’66 Classmates for Kerry” (who may be contacted for more information at robertjanvl@hotmail.com), also features prominently in the article.

Further on the Kerry front, we received (prior to John’s Super Tuesday wins) the following e-mail from Tony Condliffe in Toronto: “I thought I should report that I have been elected as a John Kerry delegate to the regional and global caucuses of Democrats Abroad, which will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 27 and 28. The global caucus will be selecting delegates to the Democratic convention that will be held in Boston this summer. John won our Canadian caucus last night [February 9], winning five delegates to Howard Dean’s three and John Edwards’ two.”

An article in the March 15 issue of the New Yorker recalls the 1961-62 ice hockey team at St. Paul’s — “the worst team in the history of St. Paul’s hockey,” according to one teammate. While most of the article, of course, discusses John Kerry’s hockey skills, we do learn a little more about another classmate, John Whitman, whose nickname, “Scuffy,” derived, according to the article, from his having “the world’s most highly polished shoes.”

As a final note in the presidential election, we will let the following e-mail from Bill Haas speak for itself: “As if Bush ’68, Lieberman ’64, Dean ’71, and Kerry ’66 (Yea!) weren’t enough (where the country went wrong with so many of us running for president is a question best left for others), I have applied to be a contestant on the Showtime reality show this summer called American Candidate, where a pretend race for president will be held. Some 5,000 applications are expected. They seem to have lowered the age requirement for application to 18, and the deadline for applications was April 9, I believe, but I’m there! How many Yale College, Harvard Law School applicants working now at Wal-Mart part-time (and teaching business law and English the rest of the time) can they have? Interested persons will be able to view my web site/application, as well as those of the other candidates, later this month at AmericanCandidate.com. Regards to all.”

Now for some news of the old-fashioned kind. Tom Mitchell is still living in Pasadena, California, semi-retired from Heidrick & Struggles, with two children: Kaley (4) and Eryn (1). “Not planned that way but must have the youngest kids in the class. They keep you young (I hope) and make you old at the same time.” He is now running a “small (very small)” venture capital firm.

Van Wolf was recently re-elected to the national board of directors of the American Cancer Society and elected president of ACS Cancer Action Network, a nationwide 501(c)(4) entity promoting the ACS advocacy agenda. He continues to practice environmental law in Phoenix (Superfund, regulatory compliance, transactional due diligence, liability dispute resolution) and has three children: “Carey (17, H.S. football, bigger than me!), Chris (13, three sports), and Libby (11, accomplished dancer).”

As is our tradition, we present below the “official” report on the annual class ski mini-reunion, this year (the sixth) organized by Biff Folberth. (Perhaps you, the reader, will also be struck by the emphasis on the wine and the lack of description of the skiing — and we thought these folks were athletes!) The report: “Our three-day Vail reunion included the consumption of 111 bottles of Pickberry and Calera by 24 classmates and 18 wives and girlfriends. Friday evening was ‘Pickberry night,’ when we consumed the ’97 Cabernet from Ravenswood winery, the winery that bottles Chris Stout‘s wine. On Thursday, ‘Calera Night,’ we also drank and sang (helped by Chip Stanberry at the piano) to the beauty of Josh Jensen‘s ’95 Reed, ’95 Mills, and ’93 Jensen in Jeroboams, all Pinot Noir, from Josh’s Library Selection. The ’93 was voted ‘best in breed’ by those capable of voting.” For those of you interested in doing a little skiing and a lot of drinking, the seventh annual event will be held February 3-6, 2005, at Beaver Creek, Colorado, hosted by Jesse and Pat Lovejoy and Tim and Cindy Wollaeger.

An e-mail from Day Patterson, followed up by a recently received press release, reports the death of Paul Howson on February 1 of a rare blood disorder. Paul had been an 18-year resident of Amherst, New Hampshire, and was a 38-year veteran of B.A.E. Systems, where he was a senior principle systems engineer. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Patricia, and two children, Laura and Paul Jr. Paul’s death prompted some reminisces by Biff Folberth, who roomed with Paul and Jim Beggs just out of Yale (where Paul was knows as “Sparky” for having almost fried one classmate in EE lab). All electrical engineers, they were avoiding the war by working for a defense contractor. Paul and Biff penned a holiday card in December of 1966 “to our buddies, with the following inscription, we thought in iambic pentameter, which reflected our dismay with the political system: ‘While not inclined to fight or teach, nor yearning for the Army’s reach, we bachelors two have lost our way by putting our faith in LBJ.'”