YAM Notes: July/August 2018

By Bill Sargent

Jon Borden Bergerud died on March 5, 2018. His career spanned 3M, Sears, Mankato State University, and Merrill Publishing. He loved classical music, literature, and history, and began collecting and playing recordings of the great symphonies in the fourth grade.

Robert Grossman died on March 15. He was a prolific and outlandish illustrator who made President Richard M. Nixon into Pinocchio, put President George W. Bush in a dunce cap and tied a jet in a knot for the Airplane! movie poster. While at Yale he edited the humor magazine, the Yale Record, and his first job was with the New Yorker. Subsequently he spent most of his career as a freelance illustrator and drew more than 500 magazine covers.

Roderick Michael Mett died on March 22. After serving in the Navy, he attended law school at the University of Wisconsin and subsequently was an assistant Wisconsin attorney general and later was deputy securities commissioner.

Robert Kress passed away on April 17. Bob was employed by Princeton University until 2009 as a facilities construction manager. He was very civic minded and served on his municipality’s township committee for many years and was mayor for two terms.

Bob McManus says he and Tom Davenport took the bus to New York for a memorial of Bob Grossman’s life. “As might be expected, it was a bittersweet send-off for a man best known—and now, remembered—for trenchant art and wit.” He reported that the affair featured many New York artists and literary types, plus a handful of Yale Record alums, and that walls and display tables were filled with reproductions and projections of Grossman’s hundreds of drawings and sculptures, many of them familiar as past covers of Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, etc. Bob added, “It’s hard to accept that he will no longer be just an e-mail away.”

Dick Egan writes that he and Annie have moved to a retirement home in Milwaukee. Since retirement, they started and funded an organization working with disabled adults and kids in Ecuador and have worked with a community foundation that “faces the unique challenge of engaging part-time summer residents in helping to support the arts, environment, and social services in a county of 27,500 year-round residents.” Dick also adds that his youngest son, Dan, authored a bestselling book, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, which was chosen as one of the 100 best books of 2017 by the New York Times.

E. Anthony Petrelli sends word: “I remain in New Haven, which is a great place to retire with all the activities offered by the city and Yale and the great museums and galleries. It is a livable, mid-sized city, yet close to New York and Boston with a short hop on a train. I have enjoyed courses in history, music, and literature, and tutor grade school students who have fallen behind in reading and writing.”

Robert Browning writes from San Antonio, “This spring has been delightfully cool and slightly moist, and therefore lush and green. The great Texas wildflowers were a little late blooming but are lasting longer. I am busy pruning and clearing to keep up with the overgrowth of shrubs and sprouting of invasive unwanted saplings. Only I know how to prune and remove just enough leaves for the grass to breathe to get that relaxed look of casual elegance in landscaping, so I wind up doing a great deal of the work myself. I am still getting rid of last year’s leaves and this year’s tree blossoms, which fall from my 12 large live oaks every March.”

John Garrels reports, “For the past 25 years or so I’ve been living, first as a weekender and now year-round, in Norfolk, a pristine village in northwest Connecticut, in the foothills of the Berkshires. Norfolk is also home to the Yale Music School’s summer Chamber Music Festival, with which I have become deeply involved. The festival has been operating for more than a century on a magnificent estate in the village center that was willed to Yale.”

Tom Terry says, “My wife Lee and I spent a lot of time this winter and spring studying Italian with our Italian tutor over coffee and cornetti. It was like being back in the classroom, with weekly assignments and daily study in a textbook. We also sing in local choral groups, and usually spend a week every summer in a choral ‘music camp.’ This summer we’ll be singing Renaissance a cappella music in a monastery with a group of 40 or so, with vocal tutoring from former members of the Tallis Scholars and a performance of Victoria’s Requiem. Lately I’ve tried my hand at arranging music for guitar quartets, including a version of Ravel’s Bolero and one of the dances from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. I love the daily practice of music. . . . There’s so much to work on, and it’s so gratifying to progress from struggle to fluency on a piece! The daily finger work has kept arthritis at bay.”

Book recommendations: Bill Fort enjoyed The Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally. Cotes Pinckney recommends The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America by Ed Ayers, the story of a rural county in the Union and a rural county in the Confederacy during and after the Civil War; Friends Divided by Gordon S. Wood, which deals with Jefferson and Adams and their political philosophies; Without Precedent, a biography of John Marshall by Joel Richard Paul; and A Sovereign People by Carol Berkin, which deals with issues faced by the Federalist Party.

Mini-Reunion: More than 100 classmates and significant others held another terrific mini-reunion April 25–28 in New Haven. Seven speakers and faculty from Yale’s Grand Strategy program covered foreign, environmental, social, and economic affairs, as well as constitutional law issues. The group also had an inside tour of the two new colleges and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies building.