Every once in a while my life as a correspondent takes a very interesting tack. I read in an article that one of our classmates, Richard Chutter, received a patent for an improvement in sailboat technology. A resident of Maine, he has been sailing from an early age. His innovation lifts boats above the water thus reducing the drag. A simple idea but a difficult one to implement.
After his days at Rensselaer, he served in the U.S. Navy and then worked at Texas Instruments, GE, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. An interesting and rewarding career.
Sadly, after I wrote this, I learned that Richard passed away in August after a long illness.
After reading Richard’s achievements, I am reminded of how many of us served in the military after our college days. Now, of course, it is very different. I wonder if our country is better off with our volunteer service members or whether we college guys balanced the career guys. If you have an idea or a story, please write.
Stay well, old friends. —Bill Blanchfield ’60; email@example.com
In January 2017 Chico Christopher ’70, a member of PiKA, died. He had worked with Troy Architecture Practice (TAP) for 46 years and was loved for his appreciation of the importance of urban agriculture, sustainable landscape, and the urban tree canopy. In essence he was a master gardener for the environment of Troy. He championed an arboretum project at RPI that funded and planted seven trees along 15th Street that came to be known as the PiKA Arboretum because each tree honored a different class of fraternity brothers. With Chico’s too-early death, a group raised some funds and with RPI’s permission placed a plaque and tree in front of the Greene Building on the knoll overlooking the old football field in early November. Dennis Fitzgerald represented the Class of 1961. —Brian McManus ’61; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Kroup sent the following lyrics to a ditty that he and others in Phi Kappa sang during keg parties to the tune of “From the Halls of Montezuma.”
From the dizzy heights of Prospect Park/To the mudflats of Cohoes, We will drink all day and through the night/And the rest God only knows.
We will drink to Troy’s fair maidens./We will drink to Troy’s fine beer. And without a doubt some tool will shout,/Let us drink to Rensselaer.
John Templin, president of the 50 Year Club and a Phi Sigma Kappa alumnus, wrote to say that the fraternity was well represented at our 55th Reunion: Lew Davidson, Stu Heller, Lou Hoadley, Harry Laufer, Lionel Michelman, and (of course), himself. They met for breakfast at the Century House and caught up on what each has done over more than half a century. John is president of Templin Management Associates Inc. in Greenfield Center, N.Y., in Saratoga County.
In the Fall 2016 issue, we learned that Dick Lund-gren had a passion for historic preservation. Now we learn that he has been named executive director of the Historic Albany Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and protect the architectural and historic resources of the city of Albany and Albany County. Dick has experience as an urban renewal project director, a district planner, and president of a real estate and city planning consulting practice. —Jay Winderman ’62; email@example.com
55th Reunion: Sept. 27-30, 2018 It’s time to fill my inbox with updates. Please send me a note so that I can share your news in the next issue. —Jack Titley ’63; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Piela wrote in to say that he recently got back from a European vacation that included a riverboat cruise from Budapest, up the Danube to Vienna, and then through a series of canals and locks to connect to the Rhine, with several other stops including Heidelberg and Cologne, and Amsterdam. He found the trip wonderful, but Amsterdam a disappointment. Jack had stayed in Amsterdam in 1980 when he was on assignment to the European Space Agency, but feels today that it has not improved. The city was dirty and it looked as if the residents didn’t take pride in their environment. Trash and cigarette butts were all over and crossing any street, with all the traffic and bicycles, proved to be an adventure. That said, Jack advises that if you do go, plan to spend a whole day in the Rijksmuseum. On a more personal note, Jack and his family have relocated to Exeter, N.H., which is about 10 miles from the University of New Hampshire. Jack’s fraternity, ASigPhi, is trying to re-establish a chapter there and Jack has been asked to be on the “Council of Elders.” (Getting older has so many perks!) And, UNH has a good hockey team, sometimes playing RPI, so this could turn into a fun thing.
I heard from Herb Schneider, who reports that after retiring in 2001 from executive positions at GE and Pitney Bowes, he and his wife, Ellen, moved to Cape Coral, Fla., where they have docked their boat behind their house. They have enjoyed boating in New England and Florida for over 30 years. Now they are fortunate to have their children and grandchildren living nearby, in Florida. He and Ellen are both very involved in nonprofit organizations which, along with family and traveling, keep them busy virtually full time. Herb is proud that his RPI engineering degree has proved instrumental in his career success and early retirement. Now he enjoys the Florida climate year-round; trekking through the snow to classes and slipping on the ice in Troy and New England are now distant, although somewhat romantic, memories.
Bruce McKeon reports that he and his wife have been on four scuba trips from July ’16 through April ’17, including one to Bali and a live-aboard in the Bahamas. And a week at Vail and a few days at Mammoth satisfied their (somewhat reduced) skiing schedule this past winter. And this past September, they spent 22 days on a European trip, including a Danube River cruise, and a sales meeting in Austria with Teufelberger, a company Bruce represents in the paper industry. And, to top it off, he and his wife have two daughters and six grandkids each! That’s enough to keep any alum busy.
John Veilleux wrote in to say that he has been doing lots of bike riding, flying his Piper Cherokee occasionally, and still doing a bit of work supporting the Los Alamos National Laboratory, from which he retired a few years ago. His favorite pastime is riding his high-end road bike, in the Santa Fe Century in May (102.5 mi), on the Sierra Sampler tour with Adventure Cycling in September, and in the Durango-Silverton, Colo., Iron Horse Classic (objective: beat the train to Silverton), plus a host of others. Not bad for a Class of ’64 alum.
Our class commercial pilot (now retired) Tom Luciano wrote in to say that he recently received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which is the FAA’s most prestigious award for over 50 years of accident-free flying. He has accumulated over 20,700 hours as an A-4 Skyhawk Marine Corps pilot, civilian flight instructor, charter pilot, corporate pilot, and airline pilot. Impressive! And Tom also owns and flies an E-55 Beechcraft Baron. The award ceremony was held at the Oakland Airport Hilton and was attended by 20 friends and fellow aviators, several whom he has known for 50 years. Tom is currently working part time for a NASA subcontractor, Metis Technical Solutions in Sunnyvale, Calif., as a senior aviation safety analyst for the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), data that is submitted to the FAA. They process about 8,000 reports a month.
Finally, I can tell you that my wife and I just returned from two long-weekend trips: the first to Washington, D.C., where we had not been in quite some time. Perfect weather; went to the Kennedy Center and the new African American History Museum. Well worth a visit. And more recently we flew out to Boulder, Colo. (just rated as the “happiest city” in the U.S.), where my granddaughter is in her freshman year at the University of Colorado. Beautiful campus, and really cute city. That’s all I have for now; please keep your class notes coming, and don’t forget: two years until our 55th! —Michael Wellner ’64; email@example.com
With help from the alumni office, I was able to confirm the passing of my fraternity brother and President of the Union Dave Rowell on Dec. 23, 2015. I had last spoken with Dave shortly before our class’s 50th Reunion. He advised that he was confined to home with amyloidosis, a terminal illness with indeterminate life expectancy, and was evaluating treatment options. His obituary provided highlights of his life after RPI. He went on to SUNY Upstate Medical University, earned his license to practice medicine in 1970, received a commission from the Air Force and achieved the rank of major before being honorably discharged in 1978. His childhood interest in aviation continued into his adult life as he became a multi-rated pilot who built and flew his own aerobatic planes. For most of his career, Dave made his home in the Adirondacks where he founded Adirondack Anesthesia and became a much loved and very talented anesthesiologist in the Tri-Lakes area for 35 years before moving to Gainesville, Fla. He is survived by his wife, Dawn, three children, three stepchildren, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Jim Bexfield reported that he is still in D.C. and traveling about a third of the time, including five 10-day trips to Lebanon each year, where his team interacts with the Lebanese Armed Forces to help them better manage their resources. His personal focus is on materiel management and the implementation of an ERP solution being donated by the EU. He describes the work as intense, challenging, and rewarding, and he follows each trip with a short vacation in Europe. At the time of his writing, he was returning from Warsaw, anticipating the arrival of his second grandchild in January, and recovering slowly from a fall on a racquetball court that resulted in fractures of his lower back, left wrist, and thumb. —Erik Pettersen ’65; firstname.lastname@example.org
After a long career in transportation engineering, Howard Moody is an active retiree. He graduated from RPI with a BSME degree. After one year with GE, he entered the Army. He graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1968, spent a year in Washington in Korean Language School, and was posted to Korea as an intelligence officer. He left the Army in 1970 and worked for the Washington Gas Light Company for six years while earning an MSME from George Washington University. Then he began a long career in transportation engineering, focusing primarily on the freight railroads that were undergoing a renaissance as a result of government deregulation in the late 1970s. Howard made major technical contributions in safety, efficiency, telecommunications, and train control, completing the last 23 years of his career in systems engineering with the Association of American Railroads, retiring in 2012.
In retirement, he is active in Rotary, is a Master Gardener, and has done some traveling, the latest of which was a trip to Normandy with two Chi Phi brothers. Howard and his wife, Sandra, have three children and five grandchildren and reside in Leesburg, Va.
Lester (“Ken”) Goodwin is currently living in Coventry, R.I. Ken earned a B.S. in EE from RPI, and initially was hired by General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division, in Groton, Conn. He designed circuits for their nuclear submarine programs. This period was a particularly sensitive phase of the underwater military rivalry with Russia, which he could only describe as a “very interesting period.”
Ken later went on to manage a successful family firm, L.K. Goodwin Inc., which manufactures structural steel and material handling equipment. He is married, and his two sons have joined him in the business, which he continues to operate. In his spare time he enjoys tennis, and especially his collection of water-craft, which he keeps at his lakeside home.
Richard Hooper, a brother at Alpha Chi Rho, studied information technology at Rensselaer, which at that time was probably called data processing. He well remembers the long nights in the Amos Eaton building, waiting to compile and execute COBOL (or was it BASIC?) programs using punched cards, with one card per line of source code. When I told Rich that I was looking up at my bookcase and could see McCracken’s famous FORTRAN guide from 1965, we immediately bonded.
Rich went on to a career at the University of Buffalo, where he assumed major management responsibilities in all facets of their computer operations, supporting administration, admissions, database maintenance, and infrastructure operations.
He is married, with a daughter, Melissa, and son, Keith. Now retired, Rich has many interests, including the informal study, from an engineering perspective, of how and why the World Trade Center structures ultimately collapsed and failed after the 9/11 attacks. He and his wife now enjoy European cruises. One of his main hobbies is his noted collection of 35 erector sets, many of which are antiques that he has restored. RPI’s continuing influence on inquiring minds seems to never waiver. —Les White ’66, email@example.com
Michael Goldfinger (B.S. ’67, B.Arch ’68): “I recently retired after a 43-year career that started after leaving RPI. As an officer in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, I served as resident officer in charge of construction at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, White Oak, Md., where I oversaw the construction of several large unique research facilities, including one to test the aerodynamics of Navy aircraft flying at several times the speed of sound. With the wind-down of the Vietnam War, I took advantage of an early out and left active duty to pursue a career in architecture.
“I remained in Washington, D.C., working for several architectural firms and passing the architectural registration exam. I hold licenses in Maryland and Virginia. I accepted a position in the U.S. Department of Justice, serving as the head of the agency’s space planning branch. During the 12 years at Justice, I earned an MBA from the University of Maryland, and promptly left government service.
“During the next few years, I joined a communication company as construction manager responsible for the terminals and repeater stations supporting the firm’s fiber-optic network serving the Northeast U.S.
“I subsequently accepted an offer to join the management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton (Booz Allen), where I led a number of high-profile client engagements, supporting the management of government facilities for federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Army, Bureau of Printing and Engraving (U.S. Treasury), and the Department of Homeland Security. One noteworthy project resulted in the development of the 10-year facilities master plan for the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP), an operational agency of NOAA. Formed in the 1970s to protect natural, cultural, biological, and environmental resources in territorial waters off the nation’s East, West, and Gulf coasts and Great Lakes, the agency lacked a coherent plan for housing its enforcement, education, and outreach functions. The resultant plan documented current space, determined near- and long-term requirements, and provided estimates of the costs to achieve those goals. As a result of this work, NMSP retained its facilities funding when those funds were rescinded from most other federal agencies.
“Finally, at the end of the day, it was time to devote myself to other activities, including time at the gym, visits with children and grandchildren, yard work, and travel.”
Jeffrey Stanton: “Rundown of my life after graduating: Received a master’s in mechanical engineering from RPI (1969). While they tried to draft me to go to Vietnam during my final semester at RPI, I made a deal with my draft board to go out to California and design weapons in the aerospace industry. I was a rocket scientist at TRW, worked on laser weapons and space satellites for Hughes, but I got laid off numerous times for long periods and no commercial engineering company would hire an aerospace engineer. I quit after 1975. I had planned to either design amusement park rides or industrial robots. Those career plans would never be fulfilled.
“While I lived in Venice, Calif., I worked as a freelance photographer for several years, and started a postcard company in 1979 to promote my career. I also created the first cartoon map of a town in the United States, but mostly had trouble selling the concept. When I did the second map of Venice, Calif., it was banned by the chamber of commerce because of its realistic cartoons.
“I bought an Apple II computer in 1979, then teamed up with the sixth largest software company to start their book division. My software review books earned millions, but I did the initial project for cash, not royalties. As a game programmer, I wrote the textbooks for designing computer arcade games for the Apple and Atari computers using assembly language. I was a successful game consultant until 1986 when I was in my early 40s. Unfortunately, I was a generation too old, old enough to be most programmers’ father. My career ended, as no one would hire anyone in their 40s.
“I managed an apartment building and sold postcards on weekends along Venice’s famed boardwalk to earn income. I was also a big collector of historic Venice photos because of its famed amusement piers and canal network of waterways instead of streets. I self-published a coffee-table history book about the resort and eventually enlarged the book in 2005 until it had 367 photos and 100,000 words of text. Because stores weren’t interested in selling it and Amazon doesn’t allow self-published books, I resorted to selling it by riding around Venice on a bicycle and showing it to anyone I encountered.
“While I created many internet history websites in 1996-1997 and was taken to lunch, my startup internet companies needed to pick my brain. No one would hire me because I was 25 years too old. Technology finally disrupted my postcard business and people don’t want to buy books in the Los Angeles area. They use a cell phone to email pictures. Also, the police don’t allow me to sell my books and photo postcards any longer because they have a dual use. My cards can be mailed and my books read.
“I also wrote a history book about Coney Island, N.Y. Publishers want the 500-page text condensed to less than 5,000 words because they just want to do a quick picture book, claiming no one reads history. Since I have all the ride patents, I described how each attraction works. Besides, I have a reputation of doing outstanding books that don’t sell. So I’m basically retired now, and to keep busy I go to Disneyland every two weeks to ride all the rides.”
Timothy Holls: Education, RPI, B.S. mathematics (computer science emphasis), 1967; Syracuse University, M.S. computer science, 1977.
Employment: Computer programmer, software development/test; employed at IBM Poughkeepsie, 1967 until 1994 downsizing; USAF 1969-73 computer work, Lackland AFB in sunny San Antonio, Texas; contract computer work 1994-2001.
Memories of RPI: Dorms: Crockett, Quadrangle Pardee-I, Church-I, E-Dorm: Clement-I.
Snowstorm Jan. 13, 1964, closed RPI campus/classes. Unusual cars: Chrysler Turbine, 1964½ Mustang, 1965 Shelby Cobra. RPI won football game Oct. 23, 1965, first time in six years. Great Northeast Blackout Nov. 9, 1965. Glee Club bus tour Jan. 1966: Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh. RPI completed WINNING football season as of Nov. 12, 1966. Worked in Amos Eaton computer lab with IBM 360 Mod-50, 1967.
Highlights: Published family genealogy, 1971: Holls Family. APL Programming Guides published by IBM, 1977, 1978. Presented paper at APL ’84 Conference, Helsinki, Finland. Personal computers IBM-PC, Laptops; 640K->12GB. 2004+ Riverhead High School RHSYB digitized yearbooks. 2012 RPI Class of ’67 documents digitized RPIYB.
Interests: History (local, NYS, etc.). Activities: PC projects; digitized—local history data. Memoirs; 1,000 familiar melodies. —Stu Berg ’67; firstname.lastname@example.org
50th Reunion: Sept. 27-30, 2018 Over the summer I received an email from classmate Bill Criss saying that he and his wife, Judy, have completed their move from northern Virginia to Sunset Beach, N.C. Bill said that he found that mint juleps can ease the challenge of downsizing. He is looking forward to this year’s 50th Class Reunion and has been in contact with George Casey and Jerry Sweeney to help organize the festivities. Bill also promised to bring his collection of Bachelor magazines to the Reunion to highlight how much campus humor has changed in 50 years. —Mal Crawford ’68; K1MC-Mal@earthlink.net
Barry Feinsod writes: “After retiring from 34 years of government service, I’ve been living with my wife, Susan, as a small rancher in the desert mountains of southern New Mexico. The regular exercise of working as a wrangler keeps me healthy and fit; and I provide riding lessons and guided trail rides to visitors. The 100-mile views from our place are spectacular, and we enjoy 350 days of sunshine each year. The only downside is that I have to keep a gun handy for the occasional rattlesnake. Passing by? Look me up.”
George Hahn updates us: “I think you know that I retired in 2009 and moved to Elk Grove, just outside of Sacramento. You probably don’t know that I have now published three science fiction novels, the Tau Ceti trilogy, and a novella that takes place just after the trilogy. I am working on another novel in the same universe that attacks the idea of uploading human consciousness to a computer in a more realistic way than in most previous takes on the topic. Anyone interested could check out my website at www.tauceti2.com. I have a granddaughter in her last year of college now, and a second granddaughter in her first year of college.”
Nancy Hocker Michels: “I have been practicing law since 1983 in Londonderry, N.H., after deciding on the spur of the moment to go to law school at night at Suffolk University. Sort of surprised myself as all through law school I kept saying I wasn’t even going to take the bar exam. I think, in part because I never put any pressure on myself about law school, that I enjoyed the class work the most of any schooling. I settled into primarily a bankruptcy practice in New Hampshire and for the last about 17 years practiced before Judge J. Michael Deasy up until last month when he retired. He graduated from RPI in 1967 and frequently would make comments from the bench about our shared educational experience and leaving opposing counsel scratching his head about the comments. I never knew him at the ’Tute.
“Still practicing law full time although my children are encouraging me to at least slow down or retire completely. We have a cabin on an island in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee and as they say, it is my ‘happy place,’ and would love to spend more time there while I can still drive a boat and dock it by myself. Sometimes the docking part is pretty funny!
“I have three children, with my baby being 31, and two grandchildren. I was married for 40 years to a wonderful man and shared many exciting experiences including some memorable political and traveling experiences with him until he passed in 2013. We worked together in a construction company we owned and then started our own law practice. As one of my daughters used to say, my parents are very strange. They live and work together 24/7 and my dad likes to shop and my mother watches sports on TV. Maybe it has something to do with being around so many guys for four years.
“Went to see the campus about 10 years ago on my way to SPAC, as my daughter convinced me to go to a Dave Matthews concert, and so we drove by. The trip was in the summer and the campus looked gorgeous. I never remember seeing that amount of beautiful landscaping. Looking forward to the reunion.” —Henry Scheuer ’69, email@example.com