Bill Statesir (ChE) had a 35-year DuPont career with assignments in New Jersey and Texas. In 1985 he retired in Texas and worked in realty until 1991. He moved into a retirement complex in Portland near Corpus Christi with his wheelchair-bound wife, Helen, five years ago. He sent me this Hurricane Harvey report:
“Bob, thank you for thinking of us. We evacuated to San Antonio to our son’s home for five days. Then we came back to Portland and stayed with our daughter for four weeks when they got power. Our retirement home had quite a lot of water damage and a lot of the roof blown off. They installed a new roof on the whole place and installed a lot of new flooring and rugs. Also a lot of Sheetrock that had to be replaced. We have been back two weeks and had to put all the furniture back in place and put everything away that was piled in a heap in the middle of the floor while they painted the walls. No losses of anything, thank goodness. It was like moving into a new cottage. Our health seems to be about the same. Hope that you are fine. See you at the 70th Reunion?”
Bill’s reunion reference is to the October 2018 celebration of the 1948 charter of the Delta Phi Chapter of Alpha Chi Rho of which Bill was charter president. He and freshman Church II roommate Dick Moshier (ME) (d. 2016) were prime movers in the formation of a local fraternity, Phi Delta Rho, which went national with AXP. Starting in 1988, 10-year celebrations of the charter have been held with very high attendance from all years and especially by charter brothers. Out of 26 charter brothers, only five survive as of Oct. 2017.
The 1988 gathering resulted in the formation of what became known as The Vintage Crows, which included all brothers as of June 1950, totaling 50. Varying numbers from this group enjoyed intermediate reunions every two years at locations conducive to golf at first and history/culture later. The wives were included, of course, and many good friendships were established. Snail and email newsletters kept everyone up-to-date. Biographies were shared before the 1988 meeting and updated as a booklet in 2002.
This association has been especially rewarding to me as I have had the pleasure of visiting 24 of these brothers at their homes during my travels by car, my airplane, or RV. Many of these visits involved multiple times as well as multiple days. They included meeting children, grandchildren, siblings, and friends. This activity encompassed 12 states or provinces from Nova Scotia to Florida, California, and Alaska. Eleven bothers, mostly with wives, have visited our home, some with overnight stays.
Your contribution to this news is eagerly sought. Don’t procrastinate; my next deadline will be the month after you receive this issue. How are you? Do you get together with other classmates? Something beats nothing. —Robert L. Pfeiff ’50; Vincrows@aol.com
Bob Pavan received the Albert Fox Demers Medal at the RAA Awards Dinner held during Reunion & Homecoming weekend in October. The Demers Medal is the second highest award bestowed by the alumni association.
His citation begins: “Robert J. Pavan understands firsthand the importance of providing Rensselaer students with the necessary resources, so they might have the same opportunities that a Rensselaer education afforded him. As a result, our students reap great benefits from his exceptional altruism.”
Bob attended Rensselaer on a four-year alumni scholarship. He credits his Rensselaer experience as the dawning of his professional success. In 2002, in a remarkable act of giving back, he and his wife, Barbara, initiated a scholarship fund, which supports graduates of his alma mater, Brooklyn Technical High School.
Over the years, Bob has served Rensselaer in many capacities, including president of the Rensselaer Chapter of Long Island, board member of the RAA, and phonathon volunteer.
After earning two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from Rensselaer, Bob later earned his doctorate at Harvard. He went on to serve on the faculty there. Now retired, his career path included work as a structural engineer, real estate entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship.
Bob, congratulations on a much deserved honor. —Fred Williamson ’51; email@example.com
We celebrated our 65th Class Reunion on October 12-15, 2017, with the following 15 classmates attending: Howland (Bud) Adams, Charles Ammann, Frederick Beyerlein, Reyman Branting, Alan Conners, John Crush, Harry (Bud) Hovey, Walter Johnson, Alfred Krause, William Lillis, Charles (C.J.) Nager, Arnold Silver, Paul Totta, Robert Sy, and John Winter, along with some wives and other guests.
Bill Lillis, who was co-captain of the lacrosse team, and Bud Adams, who was the equipment manager, sat at the same table and had a great time discussing their roles during RPI’s fantastic lacrosse years. At our class dinner, John Crush gave a tribute to our deceased classmates. Later, we all had an opportunity to discuss briefly (some less briefly than others) what we got out of RPI, but the highlight of the evening was our guest speaker, Dr. Mary Simoni, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). Mary became an honorary member of the Great Class of 1952 when she donned one of our commemorative golf shirts. Our dinner closed with the singing of our alma mater along with the a cappella group Duly Noted.
John Margenot phoned C.J. Nager after Reunion and said he has been mayor of Greenwich, Conn., for 10 years. John was the elected vice president of the Class of ’52.
If you have any news before the next issue—probably Fall 2018—please send it to me as soon as possible, but no later than May 1, 2018. —Harry (Bud) Hovey ’52; firstname.lastname@example.org
65th Reunion: Sept. 27-30, 2018 Sam Wait wrote that “Carol and I celebrated our 60th anniversary in June. We were married in London, England, in 1957 while I was at the University College on a Fulbright. We are now living in the Glen Eddy retirement community in Niskayuna, N.Y. Gordon Kilby and Judy are at the same center.”
Dr. Robert Pavan (’51, ’52, ’53 M.S.) was awarded the Demers Medal, for long-term service, at the October Awards Dinner at RPI.
Reunion & Homecoming weekend, October 2017, focused on “Transformative,” which coincided with the kickoff of a campaign to raise $1 billion for student scholarships, supporting faculty, and updating infrastructure. They announced they had already raised over $400 million.
Frank Cesare (B.S. Chem., Ph.D.) attended the weekend with me. He has six children, eight grandchildren, and while at Uniroyal for 40 years, accumulated 14 patents in organic chemistry. The evening included a beautiful dinner at the Curtis Priem ’82 (EMPAC) Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center and a concert by the RPI student orchestra.
Bill Glaser’s Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Jayant Kadambi ’85 ’86 (B.S., M.S.) as founder and former CEO of YUME Corp. It is a digital video advertising media and software technology company. The award is based at the Lally School of Management.
One of the highlights of the weekend included the “Red” Talks. We listened to five short discussions on current technology such as “Listening to the Climate of the Earth,” “Architecture Acoustics and Music,” “Big Data Exploration,” “Synthetic Biology,” and “The State of AI and Cognitive Sciences.” Amazing and stimulating!
An excellent book that I recommend is Chief Engineer by Erica Wagner. It is the story of Washington Roebling (Class of 1857) and the family history. See page 71 in particular.
A poem by our poet laureate Michael Rose: “Why.”
The young ask “Why”?/ Why do nations fight for “face”/Risking our entire race? Why can’t people live in peace?/Why can’t war and turmoil cease? Why do some get rich and some stay poor?/Why do those who have fight for more?
Why do people hate their brother?/Why not learn to trust each other? Why do we waste nature’s grants/To improve our circumstance? Why do cities rot from blight?/Why can’t mankind do it right? The young ask “Why”/Until they’re old…and die.
Remember the September 2018 alumni weekend celebrating our 65th Reunion. —Arthur Goldstein ’53; email@example.com
Miki Fedun ’81 sent word that his father, Basil Fedun, passed away in August. Basil was a retired hydrodynamicist and torpedo control specialist who worked at Gould/Westinghouse/Northrop Grumman. Miki says his dad was an eternal optimist, always at the door with a smile, a warm embrace, and a Slavic kiss on the cheeks.—Bob Meyers ’54; firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan and Bill Barbash moved recently to a retirement home in New Paltz, N.Y., and are enjoying their new lifestyle. “It reduces isolation.” Bill continues his longtime practice of taking courses at the Marist College Center for Lifetime Study. He also works at getting some regular physical exercise.
Bill Headden lives on two golf courses, one in Washington and one in Arizona. He usually plays regularly, often with his wife, but has lately been sidelined with a detached retina. “It’s like looking through a fish bowl. It pretty much guarantees that you won’t be doing much for six months.” Their life in the San Juan Islands is ideal for boating, and Bill recently replaced his sailboat with a motor craft that sleeps two. “I’ve had a lot of boats.” He also keeps busy with gardening, yard work, and reading.
Berdj Kalustyan was a serial entrepreneur, founding half a dozen businesses in diagnostic management, computer leasing, chiropractic, hospital exercise equipment, and a computer maintenance company with offices in 50 states. He retired 10 years ago. “I’ve sold my businesses and downsized everything including my health. I’m just trying to stay alive. I’ve had 17 operations in 20 years.” He and Alice sold their house on the New Jersey shore and now divide their time between Palm Beach, Fla., and downsized quarters in central NJ. Berdj keeps busy tracking investments. “I spend half the day in front of the computer and half the day doing whatever my wife tells me to do.”
John Lukacz no longer works as a starter at his golf course, but he still plays golf three or four times a week and works out at a health-care center. Except for visits to their son in San Diego and their daughter in Maryland, he and his wife no longer travel much. “I did my traveling in the Navy.” John and I reminisced about many of our classmates, and he hopes to attend our 65th Reunion in 2020.
Fred Mussler has moved from Florida to North Carolina to be near his son and daughter. He stays active as a business broker, plays some golf, and enjoys reading history. Fred also paints in oil and watercolors and has exchanged works with another class painter, Willy Lick. Another activity is alternating running and walking. “I have trouble with my hip but I keep doing it anyway.” Fred and Becky have raised their grandson, Chase, acting as legal guardians until he turned 18 last fall.
After a Navy career that included service in the Vietnam War, Winslow Oakes and his wife worked for more than 30 years as independent distributors of Christian books along the West Coast and in Hawaii. “The business went by the wayside after the 2008 downturn decimated private Christian schools.” They continued to collect and distribute books on a volunteer basis. “It used to be a business ministry, but the back end has also been good.” Win also reworks jewelry into Christian forms and donates it. His wife, Fran, died three years ago, and he now lives with his daughter, son, and granddaughter. “I’m in fairly good health and taking care of myself. I am well cared for and well distracted.”
Irving Paris still works in his architectural practice —“whatever comes in the door.” He does mostly forensic work, which requires keeping up with many changes in building codes. Fortunately, these are listed on the internet. He also tends his two-acre lawn: “I try to sit on the mower.” He and Myrna were preparing for a Mediterranean cruise when we spoke last fall. They also enjoy reading. “We can buy used books for a dollar, read them, and pass them along to friends.”
I learned from his son that Bob Tewell died in February 2017 after bouts with leukemia and prostate cancer. Bob had taught courses in electrical engineering and control systems at RPI for eight years before a 32-year career at Lockheed Martin, where he worked with astronauts on the Gemini and Apollo programs.
After a career in the petroleum industry Charles Viens has lived in a retirement home in South Hadley, Mass., for 19 years, having moved there when his late wife suffered from ALS. He was an avid golfer until a bout of pneumonia in December 2016. “I’m still on oxygen; I don’t know if I’ll ever get off. My golfing buddies have gotten me to go out with them once a week, sitting in a cart, but not swinging a club. It’s certainly changed my lifestyle. I used to go to lots of concerts and activities.” He feels that entering the retirement home has been the right move for him. “I think a lot of people wait too long. They have been very helpful here in my rehab.”
Paul Vinett writes: “I played on the RPI baseball team, along with Frank Chiarelli and Abby Moore. I still enjoy telling people that I played with two All-Americans. After “Wow!” comments I tell them they were hockey All-Americans on the RPI NCAA ’54 championship team. Those hockey games were the greatest. I played the drum in the Pep Band, and we sat on the center line with our girlfriends (my wife).” In a 40-year career with Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Paul served in several management positions and on national committees dealing with power system protection. He has been battling melanoma since 2012. “Thank God I was able to get into a clinical trial at Sloan Kettering. They saved my life.”
Dr. Marvin Warshay died in July after battling pancreatic cancer and Parkinson’s disease. He had retired after 36 years with NASA in Cleveland, having served as chief of their Electrochemical Technology Branch, leading the development of phosphoric acid fuel cell power plants, and receiving their Exceptional Service Award. He then worked for 14 years as a consultant to the fuel cell industry. He authored/co-authored over 40 technical reports on advanced energy production and conversion. —John Schmidt ’55; email@example.com
Another six months have passed and I am still mobile but could use some new knees. I and my wife of 59 years spend six months in Vero Beach, Fla., where I am still trying to find my swing in golf. I added to the website information about Sam Heffner’s death and the memorial program held at RPI. Check it out at fgriggsjr.wixsite.com/rpi-class-of-1956.
If you are interested in old bridges and old bridge builders, you can Google Structure Magazine and click on “Archives” and type in “Griggs” in the search box and a long list of articles I wrote comes up. I have had articles in that journal on a semi-regular basis starting in 2004.
I started my passion for history when teaching at Union College in the early 1980s and in the restoration of a Whipple Bridge on campus. Squire Whipple was an 1830 graduate of Union. That got me interested in the history of Union. I determined I knew almost nothing of the history of RPI except that it was the oldest school of engineering in the English-speaking world. I also knew that a Roebling had built the Brooklyn Bridge. I then read up and wrote upon the history of RPI. My first article was titled “Amos Eaton was Right.” You may remember the chant that “RPI was RPI when Union was a pup.” Well, it turns out that Union was founded in 1795 almost 30 years earlier than RPI. Union also instituted a scientific curriculum in 1829, six years before RPI instituted a civil engineering program. So why the chant started I know not, but it doesn’t seem to be true.
Jerry Reinert, our class president, writes: “It’s been two years since our 60th Reunion. As our class president it was wonderful to welcome all of you who attended. In ‘only’ three we will celebrate our 65th, and I truly hope that we have as great a turnout to that one as we did to the last one.
“One of the most important alumni ever of ‘Old RPI,’ who was a trustee for 30 years and chairman of the RPI board for 15 of those years, is our classmate Sam Heffner, for whom the alumni building, which he donated and built, is named.
Sam attended and spoke to us at our 60th Reunion.Unfortunately he passed away only a few months after that great event; he is never to be forgotten.
“I would like to suggest again that the Class of 1956 purchase and place on the wall outside the front door of the Heffner Alumni House a brass plaque to honor and memorialize Sam. If you would like to contribute toward the cost of the plaque, please send a check, for any amount, made payable to ‘Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’ and write ‘The RPI Heffner Plaque Fund’ in the note section of the check. Mail it to Jerry Reinert, 1401 South Ocean Blvd. (#101), Boca Raton, FL 33432. I will submit the checks to RPI and you will receive the charitable deduction.”
I got a note from Ken Jordan telling me about his 60th wedding anniversary. He married Pat Michelle who was a neighbor and classmate of my wife in Troy. He retired from Westinghouse in 1994 and lives in Richland, Ore.
Peter Wayner sent me an email telling me he received an Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal from NASA on August 3 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The award was for research done on the International Space Station on a special heat pipe designed for microgravity. The research contract, which ended at the end of 2016, was through the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Rensselaer. He told me, “I am now officially retired.” He presented a seminar titled “Using Interfacial Phenomena in Microgravity and 1g.”
I got an email from Crispin Hall telling me he attended some of the 2017 Reunion activities. He sat with Peter Wayner, John Hudson, and Bruce Laumeister at the campaign launch dinner. John Hudson was honored at Saturday’s luncheon for his years of service to the Track & Field Team. Cris told me that John had coached 23 All-Americans and three NCAA champions over the years. John and Cris were co-captains of the track team during our senior year.
I got a call from Ed Woerner who told me he was terrible at email. He still runs a company dealing with spare parts for elevators and escalators and is still an active handball player. In fact he won the United States Handball Association doubles title, over-80 division, in Cincinnati in 2017. He is obviously in good health. As a DEKE, he is involved with the re-establishment of the fraternity on campus and its new home on Peoples Avenue. He has two grandchildren at the University of Michigan. He often sees fellow DEKEs Peter Wayner and Pete Goetz.
I talked with Bob McGrath a couple of times and finally got him to send me an email about his life and career. He wrote: “My first job after graduation was with Alcoa in Massena, N.Y., as construction engineer. Classmate Dick Bodle started there at the same time (early July), and later in the summer, Ed Woerner joined us. Alcoa was about to start a sprawling addition to its aluminum production plant. We kept very busy providing horizontal and vertical control for the many contractors that soon swarmed over the site doing clearing and grading, underground utilities, pile driving, and concrete foundations. From November 1956 until 1958, I was with the Army Corps of Engineers fulfilling my ROTC commitment—first at Ft. Belvoir, Va., for a four-month course at the engineers’ school—after which I was assigned to a construction battalion in post-war South Korea as platoon leader and operations officer for “B” Company. After discharge, I had several jobs in NY State for periods of two to three years each. During this time, I was gradually transitioning from construction work to structural design. While supervising construction of a building in Saranac Lake, I met my future wife. In subsequent years her parents’ home in that beautiful town was a frequent destination for our family on weekends and vacations, and it was on the nearby brooks and rivers that I—and later our two sons—learned how to fly fish for trout. In 1966, I began a six-year stint with the Syracuse, N.Y., architectural-engineering firm Sargent, Webster, Crenshaw, and Folley working primarily on the structural design of buildings.
“In 1972 I signed on with Rochester Institute of Technology as assistant professor. My charge was to develop and implement what became a B.S. of Civil Engineering Technology program. After six years as department chair, I went into full-time teaching, specializing in structures. I retired as professor emeritus in 1996. During retirement, with my two sons, now with families of their own, and me single again, I have sort of indulged myself. The latest example of my indolent lifestyle was this past summer when I spent several days fly-fishing for cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Park with one of my sons and his two sons.”
Sorry to hear that Mark Hite , CE, died on April 3, 2017. Mark earned his engineering degree from Rensselaer and a Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Cincinnati. He served in the U.S. Navy and achieved the rank of commander. He had a long and lauded career as a toxicologist as a director of toxicology and drug safety at Merck and Wyeth Laboratories. Mark loved Boston and the Red Sox, and sailing at Cape Cod. He gave back to the community by reading for Recording for the Blind and served as president of TBI Synagogue.
That’s it for now. Keep those calls and emails coming in! —Frank Griggs ’56; firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 60th is over, but we’ve already started planning our 65th with our first committee conference call on November 17. We had 62 classmates and 40 wives and special others for ’57’s 60th events, Thursday, Oct. 12, to Sunday, Oct. 15. Many stayed in the block of rooms reserved for ’57 by Kaitlyn Lounsbury, our most helpful class adviser, for networking on activities since ’57. A key event of the weekend was the award of the Albert Fox Demers Medal to our Class Pres, Rex Krueger, at Thursday evening’s RAA Awards Dinner. Of special note: Rex is the 8th member of the Class of ’57 to receive that meritorious alumni service award.
The highlight of the four days was the ’57 Class Dinner at the Albany Marriott, Saturday night. After opening remarks by Rex and Carl Thurnau and a prayer by Bud Lindner, Dave Brunell gave a toast that was warm, insightful, and a great reminder of what the four years at RPI represented and how that has influenced our journeys of the past 60 years. Toward dinner’s end, Doug Hasbrouck described our new Class of ’57 Spectrum Award, and presented the inaugural certificate to our first winner, Ryan Touzjian ’19, an Aero/ME student (see photo). Ryan had received his check for $2,500 at the end of the spring semester.
Our class again demonstrated its generous support for RPI through both the Annual Fund, Spectrum, and other special gifts. For the 16-month class gift period that ended in October, 173 donors from our class gave a total of $1,099,250. As of mid-November, the Spectrum fund stood at $114,150, with 72 donors. In November, the committee voted to increase the target for Spectrum, setting the new goal at $150,000 by Dec. 31, 2018. Your continued support will be deeply appreciated by the committee, and by future student awardees.
The first of two special guests was Glenn Brown ’54, our 1953-54 Grand Marshal, who reminisced about our class, reminding us of our antics at Freshman Camp at Lake George in September of that year. The second special guest was Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer’s president, who gave our ’57 gathering and its class a very warm welcome, noting what we had accomplished since ’57. She congratulated us on our 60th Reunion and on the obvious pride we have shown as RPI alums. John Fisher, on behalf of the class, then recognized Buzz Campbell for his many years of writing the ’57 class column, and Doug Hasbrouck for his very vigorous and unstinting work in much of the organizing for our 60th Reunion and for the many years of his efforts on behalf of our class and the Institute.
Our signature event was a “Conversation with RPI’s Student Pioneers About RPI & Tomorrow With ’57.” It was a panel of four student leaders from Red & White, the RPI student ambassadors group. The panel included Gavin Allcorn ’19, Laurel Dean ’18, Hannah Dean ’18, and Ryan Kirk ’19, with the assistance of Kailah Borchers, the R&W adviser, and Buzz Campbell, as moderator. All agreed that this event was an excellent exchange of student views on their RPI experiences, and from us as we looked back on our own RPI and life experiences. It also generated some lively ’57 advice as we looked back through our own “rearview mirrors.” At the end of the panel discussion, Laurel Dean presented a special plaque to Margie and Bud Lindner in recognition of their long-term support and guidance to the Red & White.
At the end of the evening we were treated to some rousing music by Partial Credit, one of Rensselaer’s wonderful a cappella groups, ending with the traditional singing of the alma mater, joined by the class. A very memorable moment.
We finish this with some words of greeting and thanks from Rex: “Great to see my fellow classmates and to catch up on their life adventures. Thanks to the Alumni Office support provided by Kaitlyn, Stephanie, and others in planning and implementing our Reunion. I understand that we have had the largest turnout of any 60th in the history of the Institute. Many of those who attended gave the Reunion Committee lots of encouragement to have a 65th…so plans are being made.” —J.R. “Buzz” Campbell ’57; JRCampbel2@gmail.com
“All agreed that this event was an excellent exchange of student views on their RPI experiences, and from us as we looked back on our own RPI and life experiences. It generated some lively ’57 advice as we looked back through our own ‘rearview mirrors.’ ” BUZZ CAMPBELL ’57
60th Reunion: Sept. 27-30, 2018 This past November Peter Bohlin, a founding principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, was the architecture inductee into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. The ceremony was conducted at the River Pavilion in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City.
The news release from Interior Design stated that the success of Peter’s firm “and the professional recognition it has attained, are in large measure attributable to his design insights and unflagging dedication to setting the highest standards for all design work produced by the firm. His leadership and inspiration have established a culture of thoughtful, thorough design thinking throughout the practice, and he remains keenly interested in both broad conceptual thinking and detail expression, reviewing the development of design and documentation regularly with project teams. In 2010, the American Institute of Architects awarded Peter with the Gold Medal, the highest honor for an individual in the profession.”
Congratulations, Peter. Classmates, send much-needed news! —Jim Augstell ’58; email@example.com
I received a sad note from Jeri Laskowski. Leo Laskowski, her husband and best friend of 50 years, passed away in July 2016. I had last heard from Leo in 2015, a few months after our 55th Class Reunion in 2014. Leo, an aeronautical engineering graduate, was a proud brother of Chi Phi, and member of the RPI Athletic Hall of Fame.
Leo had three careers—27 years at Xerox, 33 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring with the rank of captain, and 15 years as director of facilities with the Wegmans Ladies PGA tournament.
In addition to Jeri, he was survived by two sons, two grandchildren, a sister, and a brother. —John Lindsay ’59; firstname.lastname@example.org