January/February 2021

’61 Class Notes January/February 2021

YAA says 60th Reunion will occur in late May or early June (date to be specified in March) – either in person, via ZOOM, or a combination of both.

Bill Bayfield writes: Al & Barby Townsend, Walter & Martha Hough, and Penny and I are all well at The Landings on Skidaway Island. We six meet for dinner each Friday night and solve the problems of the world. The Townsends and Bayfields do breakfast together on Sundays.

Dr. George Longstreth has been absent for several months but should return in January. I am still involved with golf as a Rules Official and occasional player as well as with our club’s governance. Would love to see/host any classmates who might be travelling near Savannah.

 David Shiman – Contributing at last…59 years after graduation. I have resided in South Burlington, Vermont for almost 50 years. I taught at the University of Vermont for 43 years concentrating on the sociology of education and human rights. I am now a Professor Emeritus of Education at UVM. My work took me to Ghana, South Africa, China, U.S.S.R., Israel, and the Occupied Territories.  I also served as president of the faculty union and chief negotiator at UVM for nearly a decade. I am presently engaged in restorative justice and human rights education activities. My wife, Elise Guyette, a noted scholar on the history of African Americans in Vermont, and I have raised two wonderful children who live in Utah and Arizona. We are healthy and active, and despite a heart attack and battle with cancer, I still play basketball and tennis regularly.Ron St. John – I became aware of the COVID-19 problem in Wuhan the day China notified the World Health Organization about it because our company Sitata (www.sitata.com) monitors the world for events that might cause safety and/or health problems for international travelers. We spend a good portion of our days monitoring, editing, and publishing individual country reports. We issued our first alert about the mysterious pneumonia on January 2, 2020, and I thought, “Oh, Oh.” During my time (2000-2007) as the Director-General of the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Public Health Agency of Canada, we spent a lot of time thinking and planning for the next pandemic. When the first COVID-19 cases appeared in South Korea and Japan, I thought this could be a problem. What I grossly underestimated was how fast this virus would go global. Based on Canada’s initial response, it is clear that no one remembered or read the Pandemic Plan. All is well so far, but this virus is going to be with us all for a long time. Several months ago, the national news TV media discovered that I had been the manager for the federal response to the Canadian SARS epidemic in 2003. Now, almost daily, I get 3 minutes to answer some questions about COVID-19 in Canada and provide a “sound bite” for one of the national TV News Networks. It is amusing what constitutes a “news story. Unfortunately, due to eyesight problems, I have to sell my pristine 1965 Porsche 356SC that I have had for the past 45 years. Is anyone interested?

Philip Periman – We had an in-person visit from Jamie and Meg McLane on the 27th of September during their 7300-mile masked/distanced/disinfecting driving odyssey from Philadelphia to visit family in Seattle, San Francisco, and the LA area. They have discovered the wonders of Amarillo! They also did an in-person visit with Wilford Welch and Carole in Sausalito and John and Jill Walsh in L.A. The Whiffs have been meeting monthly by Zoom. We do no singing because we have not figured out how we can sing in synchrony on the Internet. Judy and I have gone COVID cuckoo with the alert level at RED here. Will it ever end? I mean the political madness.

John Walsh – I am back on the lecture circuit, this time without leaving home: a series of six lectures for the UCLA affiliated Hammer Museum, “Rembrandt Here and Now,” recorded on Zoom and streaming video at the Hammer website.  More Yale lectures to come in the spring, also virtual.

Douglas Rosenthal – As the pandemic was isolating all of us in March, I called a high school classmate I had not seen in 63 years.  She lives in Manhattan. I live in DC.  She has led a fascinating life in theatre, music, art, publishing, and commercial design in NYC, travelled widely in the World with her talented musician husband, who died 4 years ago, and has 2 accomplished children. We talked every evening for an hour or two over a period of 100 days.  We finally re-met in September and declared our love for each other shortly thereafter.  Neither of us was looking for a new relationship, but this incidental phone call and the isolation of the pandemic brought us together. We now plan to divide our time between NYC and DC.

David Noble – It’s been a long journey in the making, but my book is finally done and published: “Saigon to Pleiku: A Counterintelligence Agent in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, 1962-1963”: https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/Saigon-to-Pleiku/.  Andy Block commented: David Noble, my roommate and a very well established author and photographer of the southwest, has just chronicled an amazing story of his experiences in Vietnam where he was stationed as a member of the Army’s Counterintelligence Corps. Starting in May, 1962, he arrives as a very naive 22-year-old who, over the course of thirteen months, comes to understand the country, its remarkably diverse population, especially the mountain tribes, as well as the impossible challenges faced by the U.S. Through his eyes, his camera, excerpts from thirteen months of insightful letters written to his family and his own beautiful writing, David creates a must read about Vietnam well before it became part of daily conversations that divided the country. Sandy Cochran, also a Vietnam veteran,  strongly recommends the book, writing: David’s articulated rendering of the years 1962-63 is the period that remains sparsely dealt with in the otherwise massive historical interpretation of this tragic and costly U.S. military effort in the Central Highlands.  David’s short, but powerful, “Epilogue” deals with his personal experiences in the 1970’s when the Civil Rights movement was the focus of our class (I learned at our 50th Reunion). The Epilogue parallels my own reflections. Well done, bro!

Paul William Richelson died September 17, 2020 in Hemet, California. Paul taught at several colleges and universities across the US.  His last two positions were Chief Curator of Art at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan and for the last 27 years of his career, Chief Curator of Collections, and, for a short time, Interim Director at the Museum of Art in Mobile AL.  During his time at the Mobile Museum, he was able to build an outstanding collection of decorative arts.  Paul retired in 2017 and relocated to Hemet CA.

Isaiah (Ike) Baker (81), a lawyer and law professor whose teaching career lasted over 40 years, died October 10, 2020 at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, MD after suffering a subdural hematoma. Born June 19, 1939 in Chicago, he graduated from Chicago’s Parker High School in 1957. At Yale, he was one of a handful of African-American freshman in a class of about 1100; he served as vice-chair of the Yale Political Union and chair of Yale’s NAACP chapter. Majoring in political science and history, Ike first worked as a social worker for Cook County, IL Dept. of Public Aid and then in Korea as a guided missile technician in the U.S. Army. He went on to earn JD and MBA degrees from Columbia University in 1970, an LLM degree from Harvard Law School in 1971, and an MA in history from DePaul University in 1972. Ike primarily and most recently taught at American University’s Washington College of Law, which he joined in 1979. His portrait hangs in the Pence Law Library. He was just the 2nd African-American tenured faculty member at WCL. He also served as chair of the Admissions Committee and Rank and Tenure Committee at WCL. Prior to joining WCL, he was an Associate Professor at Howard University School of Law where he also served as an adjunct professor from 1984-1999. In addition to his teaching career, he served as a contract hearing examiner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as an attorney advisor to the Economic Development Commission and the Howard University General Counsel’s Office, and lecturer/advisor to the Council on Legal Education Opportunities, the African-American Institute, and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment Program on Biological Applications.  Prior to joining Howard in 1975, Ike held teaching posts at Bernard Baruch College at CUNY, the University of Maryland, the University of Florida, and Princeton. Commanding large audiences as a professor, lecturer and leader in a large family, Ike was an enthralling storyteller, drawing on an endless array of yarns from his life’s rich experiences; his booming laughter will never be forgotten. Ike is survived by his devoted wife, Joyce Brentley Baker; 1 son, Mathew I.W. Baker; 2 step-sons, a step daughter, 4 grandsons, a brother, 3 sisters, his former wife, Barbara Wesley Baker, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. Memorial contributions in his name can be made to the Alzheimer’s Assoc. or the American University Washington College of Law Scholarship Fund. As Andy Block put it: “Isaiah Baker paved the way to make the world a better place for the next generation.”