WANTED: NEW NEWS!!!
We welcome any and all news about you, your family, etc., along with pictures, to be posted on this website. While news for the PAW is limited to 300 words for the entire Class column, there is no space restriction on this website. Additionally, items can be placed on the website in a timely fashion, while there is a delay of approximately 4 weeks for news items to appear in the PAW.
Please let us hear from you so we can share your happiness, escapades or whatever with the rest of The Great Class. Just e-mail your material to Tom Meeker at email@example.com. If including a picture, please send it as a jpg attachment.
St. Louis Mini Reunion and Mississippi River Cruise - September, 2018
Recap of the St. Louis Mini Reunion:
The first day started off with a visit to the new Arch (highest monument in US) and then to the Anheuser Busch brewery, followed by lunch. After lunch all went to the Cathedral Basilica to see one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world - 41 million pieces making up 84,000 square feet in 8,000 shades of tiny pieces of color. Dinner that evening was at a local restaurant on the top floor of a high-rise building overlooking the Arch and Mississippi River.
Friday the group visited the Missouri Botanical Garden, lunch at a country club and afternoon at the Danforth Plant Science Center. St. Louis has become a world leader in plant science, and the Center has around 180 scientists helping to improve plants to feed the world. The day ended with a closing dinner prior to departure the following day.
Those attending were Penny and Bill Agnew, Barbara and Bruce Akers, Rita Hungate and Steve Alfred, Kathy and Jim Brazell, Jody and Adie Dietz, Rita Doub and Bob Vogel, Sally and Derick Driemeyer, Anna and Frank Embick, Randy and Corky Frost, Day and Whitney Kerr, Mugs and Frank Klapperich, Bill Lange, Wayne Miller, Any and Karl Muench, Margaret and George Parker, Pat and Martin Raymond, Sue and daughter,Elisabeth, Rodgers, Mary and John Rutgers, Ann and Doug Scott, Mary and Ken Snedeker, Sarah and Alex Uhle.
Following the St. Louis adventure, several of the attendees enjoyed a 7-day cruise on the Mississippi and Cumberland Rivers to Nashville. Highlights included the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, wonderful meals, drinks and lectures. Most of all was the camaraderie. The nautical group included: Agnews, Steve Alfred and Rita Hungate, Rita Doub and Bob Vogel, Embicks, Muenchs, Raymonds, Rutgers, Scotts and Uhles.
The following are links to slideshows from the St. Louis Mini and the Mississippi River Cruise. When the Snapfish website opens, click on the (+) in the upper right hand corner of the first picture, and you'll be able to play the slideshow. ENJOY!!
St. Louis Mini Reunion
Mississippi River Cruise
2018 Reunions - June 1 - 3, 2018
Reunions 2018 was different from most in the past. It was hot and humid with rain threatened on Friday. Nonetheless, an intrepid group of ‘56ers congregated in the Stadium 1956 Suite for cocktails and dinner. The repast, beautifully planned by Corky and Randy Frost, was wonderful. Unfortunately, the Frosts were unable to attend as Corky was experiencing severe neck muscle spasms.
Part of the evening was devoted to recognizing nine Classmates who had left us since Alumni Day in February. One of them was past Class President Fraser Lewis, and we were happy that his wife, Maxine, sons Steven and David, and three grandchildren were able to attend the reception and dinner. Attendees from 1956 were Alfred, Bennerup, Crimmins, Eschenlauer, Freund, Grotto, Holmes, Horner, Jordan, Klapperich, Meeker, G. Schwartz, M. Schwartz, Snedeker, Varrin and Webber, as well as Class Associate Joyce Gardiner.
Click on the following link to view a slide show of the Reception/Dinner. (Reminder: In order to view the slideshows, when the Snapfish website opens, click on the (+) in the upper right hand corner of the first picture to play the slideshow.)
Slideshow of Class Reception / Dinner at Reunions
Prior to the P-Rade, there was the special Fred Fox Cannon Green Band Concert, which was enjoyed by a large enthusiastic group, many of whom were Band alum. Below is a link to just a few pictures taken at that event. If you’re a regular ’56 Tailgater, you’ll recognize some of the Band alum members, in particular former Conductor Michael Torre along with his parents Angelic and Michael Torre.
Pix from Band Concert on Cannon Green
The P-Rade on Saturday was unusual to say the least. It began on schedule at 2:00, led by the Old Guard and the 25th Reunion Class of 1993. Members of our Class almost made it to the reviewing stands at Poe Field when the event was abruptly cancelled due to impending thunder and lightning storms. All remaining marchers and spectators sought cover! However, the celebration was not over, as the evening fireworks display went off as planned.
Click on the following link to re-live the P-Rade. ENJOY!!
Memories of Marc Ziegler
Following the death of Marc Ziegler in November, 2017, Pete Weiland ’55 sent this picture of (L to R) Dick McCormack ’56, Pete, Noel Stace ’55, and Marc.
Pete writes: “This picture was taken in 1957 at Whiting Field where we student Navy pilots transitioned from T-34s to T-28s (background). Dick McCormack left the flight program shortly after the photo was taken. Noel Stace got his wings and was killed in an accident in the Pacific Ocean while flying an FJ-Fury. Marc flew multi engine Navy planes, and I flew AD Skyraiders off the USS Intrepid with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.
I will miss Marc a lot.”
Mini-Reunion in Naples, FL - January, 2018
The Great Class 1956 celebrated another Naples, FL Mini Reunion on January 30 and 31, 2018. The Tuesday dinner at Ridgeway’s Bar and Grill, and the Wednesday dinner at Bayside Seafood Grill were attended by 60 folks, classmates and their spouses. During the day on Wednesday, a number of people joined Bob Johnstone for a cruise to Marco Island on his yacht, and many others joined Frank Klapperich for a visit to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, followed by a lunch at the Club Pelican Bay.
Those attending this year’s gathering included Akers, Alfred, Brazell, Driemeyer, Frost, Gillette, Giovino, Grotto, Halloran, Hammes, Hicks, Horner, Johnstone, Kaufman, Klapperich, Lemmon, Mees, Muench, Pardee, Roy, Mal Schwartz, Snedeker, Sweeney and Updike. The event ended with a fabulous talk by Stape Roy about the U.S. relationships in the Far East.
Many thanks to Frank Klapperich for putting together another memorable mini, and to Bob Johnstone for a thoroughly enjoyable cruise on his magnificent yacht.
Unfortunately, not too many pictures were sent for posting to the website, but below is a link to a slideshow of some fun pictures taken by Mary and Ken Snedeker. Just click on the link, and when the Snapfish website opens, click on the (+) in the upper right-hand corner of the first picture, and the slideshow will begin. ENJOY!!
Following the mini, Randy and Corky Frost traveled to Eleuthera where they spotted this display of Ole Nassau. Rather appropriate!!! Hope they brought back a case to share at tailgates next fall!
Our 61st Reunion - June, 2017
On Friday, June 2, there was a memorable gathering of ‘56ers to celebrate our 61st Reunion. Although a few classmates arrived on Thursday afternoon, the organized festivities began with the Class dinner in the ‘56 Stadium Suite, where 15 Classmates and two Class Associates, along with spouses/guests totaling 34 attendees, enjoyed a special evening of camaraderie, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a delicious dinner, thanks to the wonderful arrangements made by Corky and Randy Frost, with assistance from the Eschenlauers and Varrins.
Some wonderful news was announced during the evening. The Great Class - 1956 won the 1912 Trophy for Reunions 2016!! The following is an excerpt from the letter received from the office of Alumni Affairs: “The trophy is awarded to the class with the highest percentage of members registered at Reunions (29%) for a class more than 50 years out of Princeton”.
Thanks to the untiring efforts and dedication of Arthur and Janet Eschenlauer and their committee, the 60th Reunion for 1956 was a HUGE success. Arthur and Janet, along with current President, Frank Klapperich, and immediate past President, Bob Varrin, were presented the trophy at the Awards Luncheon held on Friday of Reunions this year. CONGRATULATIONS!!
During the evening, we were serenaded by Jim Freund on the piano, with hearty singers joining him for some lively sing-a-longs. (You’ll see pictures in the slideshow when you click on the link below.)
After dinner, we had the pleasure of being entertained with an outstanding performance by the Tigertones. It was very enjoyable and quite meaningful, as Jack Jankowski ‘17, Mort and Jane Chute’s grandson, was one of the lead singers in the group. Unfortunately Jane Chute was not at the dinner, but Jack’s mom, Dottie Chute Jankowski, joined us for the Tigertones’ performance with her younger son. It was a very special evening, indeed.
The weather was PERFECT and Saturday found a number of us attending the Fred Fox Band Concert on Canon Green prior to the P-Rade.
While most of the classmates left after the P-Rade, Jim Freund was around the whole weekend as he was booked to entertain at a number of reunion sites. PLUS, he represented ’56 in the Battle of the Bands, where he played and sang solo. To quote Jim: “I got the solo spot because, as the Director announced to the audience, I was the oldest participant they’d ever had in the Battle of the Bands!” Congratulations, Jim, you must have been exhausted on Sunday!!
Attending the dinner and/or the P-Rade were: Bennerup, Culin, Eschenlauer, Freund, Frost, Grotto, Hanna, Jordan, Klapperich, Lewis, McCartney, Meeker, Osborne, Schwartz (Gordon), Schwartz (Mal), Snedeker and Varrin, along with Class Associates Joyce Gardiner and Sue Rodgers.
Click on the following link to view a slideshow of Friday night’s dinner and the P-Rade. (NOTE for viewing the slideshow: Don’t forget, when you see the first picture, click on the (+) in the upper right corner to start the slideshow. If you have any problems, give a holler!)
Slideshow from 61st Reunion Dinner and P-Rade
(Sincere apologies for the huge delay in getting the 61st Reunion news posted, but your Class Secretary and “Webmaster” – AKA Tom and Joanne Meeker – have been totally consumed with moving. However, we are now pretty much settled in our new abode and are back to normal(??). Our new contact information is on the website’s “Home Page” and “Contact Us”.)
New Orleans Mini Reunion - April 2017
The Class mini-reunion, held in New Orleans from April 23 – 26, 2017, was a HUGE success!! (Unfortunately, a “class picture” was not taken, but this is a sampling of what can be found in the slideshows mentioned below.)
The following is a recap of the event written by Fraser Lewis, who organized this fabulous gathering of ’56 Tigers.
“Well, we all returned from the mini in New Orleans in one piece and perhaps several pounds heavier. Everyone had a wonderful time, thanks to a good friendly group of 37 and great weather.
Events scheduled were:
1) A welcome reception in the Rex Room on Bourbon Street, with a balcony where we watched a wedding go by
2) An extensive city tour by bus on Monday morning, followed by lunch at Arnaud’s Cafe Remoulade where we feasted on NOLA specialties;
3) A two-hour walking tour of the French Quarter Monday afternoon;
4) Dinner and wine at Brennan’s Monday evening;
5) A visit to the WWII Museum on Tuesday morning where we were met, had lunch, and learned about Princeton’s role in the war, before visiting the museum and seeing a 4-D movie.
6) We met at the OMNI Hotel at 5:00 Wednesday before dinner to hear James Varney, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, tell us about his experiences during Katrina;
7) Dinner and wine at the Pelican Club, one of NO’s popular restaurants.
Most left on Thursday, but a few stayed a day longer to soak up more atmosphere.”
Those who attended were: Bruce and Barbara Akers, Frank and Anna Embick, Doug and Ann Scott, Fraser and Maxine Lewis, Fred and Claudine Bacher, Jim Freund, Corky and Randy Frost, Dick and Flo DeCesare, Jim and Kathy Brazell, Ken and Mary Snedeker, Toby and Karen Wise, Tom and Mary Lou Mees, Steve Alfred and Rita Hungate, Fritz and Mary Riedlin, Marty and Pat Raymond, John and Mary Rutgers, Ross and Mary Lou Webber, Kirby and Judy Holmes, and Mal and Carole Schwartz.
Many thanks to Fraser for putting together such a memorable and enjoyable mini. Perhaps there will be another event planned for this coming fall or in the spring of 2018. We’ll keep you posted!!
Pictured here are Jim Freund, Fraser Lewis and Fred Bacher wearing their NDY hats. To quote Jim….”NDY stands for NOT DONE YET, and we certainly aren’t!!”
Mary Snedeker and Jim Freund did a fantastic job capturing the events so that pictures could be shared with all. Click on the following links to enjoy the slideshows from New Orleans.
Slideshow of Mary Snedeker's Pictures
Slideshow of Jim Freund's Pictures
ALUMNI DAY, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017 brought together many ‘56ers for the annual Alumni Day festivities of lectures, reception/luncheon in Jadwin Gym, the Service of Remembrance, and the Class of 1956 reception and dinner. As always, it was a memorable day of special events.
We can tell we’re getting older, as the ’56 tables for the luncheon in Jadwin were VERY close to the stage, which obviously made it easier to see and hear about all the award recipients. The Pyne Prize winners this year were exceptional, and you can read about their accomplishments and goals by clicking on the following link:
Pyne Prize Winners - 2017>
Following the luncheon, we assembled at The Chapel for the very moving Service of Remembrance where attendees paid tribute to those alumni and faculty members who passed away during 2016. Sadly, The Great Class – 1956 lost 20 classmates.
While the weather all day had been beautiful and spring-like (not as in prior years of snow and ice), a front came through late afternoon with high winds, lightening and torrential rain. However, most everyone was able to get to the 1956 Stadium Suite safe and dry where we enjoyed a wonderful evening of good food, entertainment, and camaraderie. We couldn’t have a ’56 gathering in the Stadium Suite without Jim Freund’s wonderful piano background / sing-a-long music, which was again fabulous! Many thanks, Jim.
The guest speaker at our Class dinner was Dan Linke, University Archivist and Curator of Public Policy Papers, who is responsible for overall operations of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, including acquisitions, donor relations, public services, technical services, fundraising, outreach, building operations, and staff supervision. He gave a very informative and humorous power point presentation, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Many thanks to Tom Meeker for making the arrangements to have Dan join us.
Another highlight of the evening was the presence of our special Honorary Classmate, Dottie Werner Bartolino and her husband, Bill. Yes……for those who have not heard, Dottie married Bill Bartolino this past November, and they were given a special, rousing Locomotive by the group. Congratulations and much happiness to you both!
We give special thanks to Art and Janet Eschenlauer, Corky and Randy Frost, and Bob and Flora Varrin for all their hard work putting together another wonderful Class reception / dinner gathering. These events don’t “just happen”…..it takes a lot of planning, dedication and last-minute running around to make it work, and we are all most appreciative of everything they do.
Our roving photographers for Alumni Day were Jim Freund and Joanne Meeker, and their pictures can be found in slideshows of the day’s activities. Just click on the following links to enjoy the events. Once the pictures appear, click on the (+) sign on the first picture to scroll through the slideshows. In addition to some great “people shots” taken by Jim, of special note are the ones he took from up in the stands at Jadwin Gym, overlooking the luncheon area. Great shots and a super perspective!!
Link to slideshow of Luncheon / Service of Remembrance
Link to slideshow of Reception / Class Dinner
Classmates attending one of more of the day’s events were: Steve Alfred, Russ Culin, Art Eschenlauer, Jim Freund, Jack Fritts, Corky Frost, Bill Horner, Dan Kopple, Fraser Lewis, Tom Meeker, Slade Mills, Mal Schwartz, Doug Scott, Ken Snedeker, Neal Steigbigel, Bob Varrin and Ross Webber. Also present were Class Associates Kathleen Bannard, Joyce Gardiner and Sue Rodgers.
For a complete recap of the University’s Alumni Day program, click on the following link to the University’s website:
Alumni Day Activities 2017
Another Outstanding Mini-Reunion in Naples - 2017
The Naples, Florida, Mini-Reunion of The Great Class – 1956 was well attended, and everyone had a great time. Hosted by Frank Klapperich, classmates attending, mostly with wives, included Bruce Akers, Steve Alfred, Jim Brazell, Scott Conover, Harry Dawes, Derick Driemeyer, Peter Freck, Corky Frost, Joe Grotto, Bill Halloran, Larry Hicks, Kirby Holmes, Bill Horner, Bob Johnstone, Dave Jordan, Roger Kaufmann, Arnie Kroll, Bill Lemmon, Fraser Lewis, Tom Mees, Karl Muench, Fred Pardee, Mal Schwartz, John Scott, Ken Snedeker, Ron Tell, Bud Updike and Ross Webber.
In addition, five Class Associates, including Margo Bennett, Rita Doub, Judy Hersey, Varick Niles and Rhonda Prichard enjoyed the festivities, along with Andy Spanogle, who started at Princeton with our class and graduated with the class of 1957.
Activities included dinner on January 31 at Ridgeways Restaurant, followed by a great performance by the Princeton Triangle Club. On Wednesday, February 1, activities were split during the day between the Naples Zoo and a boat trip to Marco Island, hosted by Bob Johnstone. (Pictured is the group of ’56 sailors who traveled on Bob’s MJM yacht.).
Dinner Wednesday evening was held at Bayside Seafood Bar and Grill, where Bruce Akers and Steve Alfred gave an excellent talk on “Challenges Facing Urban America”.
Many thanks to Vivian Grotto, who was very busy Wednesday evening taking pictures of the group. Also contributing pictures were Mary Snedeker, along with Mary and Bob Johnstone. You can enjoy the mini-reunion “second hand” by clicking on the following link. Once the pictures appear, click on the (+) sign on the first picture to scroll through the slideshow. ENJOY!!!
Slideshow of Naples Mini-Reunion 2017
Jim Freund's Offer to all Tigers
Jim Freund has the following great new items available and is generously offering them to all '56 Tigers at no cost:
A pertinent essay on “Senior Moments”.
“Three Flights of Hi-Tech Fancy" short stories.
An album of “Duets” between Jim on vibes and Freund on piano.
A 64-page portfolio of photos all taken with (and edited in) a cell phone!! How’s that for being talented!!
To receive these wonderful creations, contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-856-5846, and include your mailing address.
The Great Gatsby in 2016
Here’s an amusing note and picture from Arnie Kroll:
“The Tufts School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology’s recent Christmas party had a costume theme, “The Great Gatsby” and the Roaring Twenties. Ladies were to dress as flappers and gentlemen as their escorts. The question became….”What do I wear?” Well, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a Tiger, and he wrote “The Great Gatsby”, so what could be more fitting than wearing my 25th Reunion jacket and hat? Little did I know that there was to be a Best Costume contest. Long story short: I won first prize, a $50 Amazon gift certificate!!
So, my dear classmates, why leave your Reunion jacket and hat in the closet when it can be out there generating retirement income?!?!”
Special Ties to the Princeton University Chapel
Here’s an interesting bit of history concerning the Princeton University Chapel. Back in the 1920s, Ken Snedeker’s grandfather, Howard A. Snedeker, was one of the carpenters who helped build this amazing Gothic structure.
How proud Ken must be every time he enters the Chapel, knowing that his grandfather was hands-on in the creation of this magnificent edifice.
Seen here is Ken with a framed canvas print of the Chapel that now hangs in his new home.
Mystic Seaport Honors Bob and Rod Johnston - J/Boats with the America and the Sea Award
Mystic Seaport presented its 2016 America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats on Saturday, October 22, at a gala dinner held in their honor at Mystic Seaport. Given annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.
“Over the past 39 years, the Johnstone family and their company have influenced American yachting and sport of sailing in incomparable ways. They have established a record of accomplishment that few will ever challenge, and they have instilled in countless Americans a passion for enjoying time on the water with family and good friends aboard good boats,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “For these reasons and many more, Mystic Seaport is proud to bestow its America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats.”
The J/Boats story began in 1974 when Rod, then an ad salesman for Soundings Magazine, designed and started building the 24-foot sailboat Ragtime in his Stonington, CT garage. Launched in the Spring of 1976, it beat everything in sight. Bob, then vice president of marketing at AMF Alcort, saw the potential in Rod’s design and a 50/50 partnership was formed in February 1977 to build and market the J/24. Today, some 14,000 “J’s" in 40 different designs are sailing in more than 35 countries. “J” owners have won silver in major sailing events worldwide including Fastnet, SORC, Transpac, Pacific Cup, Swiftsure, Ensenada, Middle Sea, Sydney-Hobart, OSTAR, Chicago-Mac, and the Bermuda Race. The J/24 was named “Best Keelboat in 30 years” by SAIL Magazine in 1981. A decade later, the J/105 revolutionized keelboat design with its retractable bowsprit and asymmetrical spinnaker. Nineteen other “J” designs have earned Boat-of-the-Year or Hall of Fame recognition. Five designs have achieved World Sailing's International Class status. J/Boats Inc. was named by Fortune in 1991 as one of America’s Best 100 Products. J/Boats in the USA are built in Rhode Island and by licensed builders in France, Italy, South Africa, Argentina, and China. J/Boats remains a family business.
Bob and Rod grew up racing LI One-Designs and Lightnings at the Wadawanuck YC in Stonington CT, where from 1947 to 1954 they took home many club and ECYRA trophies. With their father, Rob, they built Lightning #3310 in a suburban Glen Ridge, NJ, garage, setting them on a course of sailing for life.
After Princeton (’56), Bob spent 17 years managing Quaker Oats subsidiaries in Colombia and Venezuela. Returning to Chicago, he became Quaker’s Marketing Man of the Year. Later at AMF Alcort, he acquired marine market experience, a key to start-up success of J/Boats. In 2002, with the next generation in place at J/Boats, he founded MJM Yachts. The MJM 50z received the 2014 AIM Editors Award for Best Down East Cruiser 50 Feet Plus. Bob has won the 1969 Penguin Internationals, National Hospice Regatta, Maine Retired Skippers Race, New York Yacht Club Queen’s Cup plus Antigua, Block Island, Charleston, Key West and Down East Race Weeks. He was runner-up in the 1983 J/24 Worlds, served as Secretary/Treasurer of the United States Olympic Sailing Committee and was founding chairman of both the United States Youth Sailing Championship and J/24 Class Association. Bob and his wife, The Reverend Mary Johnstone, reside in Newport RI. He is a member and Past Commodore of the Northeast Harbor Fleet and a member of the New York Yacht Club and Little Cranberry Island Yacht Club.
After Princeton (’58) Rod started designing and building sailboats while teaching history at the Millbrook School in NY from 1959 to 1962. He then ran a yacht brokerage in Stonington, later becoming a planner for submarine builder Electric Boat Co. Rod sold ads for Soundings from 1970 to 1977 when he came to know the key players in the sailboat industry, especially Everett Pearson, whose role as builder of J Boats designs for over 25 years was key to their success. In 1988 Rod co-founded Johnstone Yachts, Inc. with nephew Clay Burkhalter to produce his JY 15 sailboat design. Nephew-in-law, David Eck, took over in 1991 and produced over 3,300 JY 15s. Mystic Seaport uses JY 15s in its sail training program. Rod still helps design new J/ Boats and continues to race actively. He has won championships in the J/24, J/22, J/30, J/35, J/120, J/70 and J/88 classes and at various Race Weeks. Rod and his wife, Lucia, live in Stonington. He is a member and Past Commodore of the Wadawanuck Yacht Club, Past Chairman of the Stonington Board of Education, and member of the Stonington Harbor Management Commission.
Posted by Dan McFadden on MysticSeaport.org
Special 1956 Remembrances from Jim Freund
Jim Freund has done it again with his amazing talents and generosity.
To make the 60th Reunion celebration extra special for all, he has created two magnificent publications: "A Portfolio of Photos of Princeton U and The Great Class-1956” (cover shown to the right), and “Celebrating the First Fifteen Years of ReachOut56-81-06 Fellowships".
Both of these booklets were distributed to all classmates attending the 60th Reunion. However, if you were not able to attend and would like copies, just e-mail Jim at email@example.com and he will mail them to you at no charge. Be sure to provide your snail-mail address!!
Many thanks, Jim, for all you do for the Class. It is greatly appreciated.
UPDATE on Our FiftySIXtieth Reunion - May, 2016
By clicking on the following link, you'll see the list of all classmates who attended at least one of the events during our magnificent reunion.
Our FiftySIXtieth Reunion - May, 2016
What a SUPER gathering of 56ers for the 60th Reunion! The Reunion Committee, led by Arthur and Janet Eschenlauer, did a magnificent job organizing a very memorable event for all. The bags full of goodies they prepared for distribution at registration were wonderful......they thought of EVERYTHING we could possible need or want…hats, shirts, tote bags, booklets, and even packets of beautiful note cards/envelopes with a picture of the 200th Anniversary of Nassau Hall 3¢ stamp.
The Class Reunion Book, an absolute treasure, was a labor of love and dedication by Corky and Randy Frost. If you were unable to attend and have not already ordered a copy, you can do so by sending a request to Corky Frost at 11 Sunset Avenue, Bronxville, NY 10708 along with a check for $10, payable to "560 Reunion", to cover mailing/handling fees.
The music throughout was fabulous, thanks to the “music man” coordinator, Joe Grotto.
John Garth and Jim Freund provided background piano music at various times. Then there was the combo of the Freund Family 5-person “trio” which entertained the Class Thursday evening for listening, sing-along and dancing, and Jim generously provided song books for the festive sing-along sessions, which were great fun down “memory lane”. There were many fabulous voices in the crowd!! On Friday we enjoyed the music of the Alex Donner Band, and Saturday evening were entertained by The Boilermakers. Must say, we have numerous and enthusiastic dancers in the Class!! We also had a special treat on Saturday prior to the P-rade when the Princeton University Band came to headquarters to play a special concert.
The Great Class – 1956 certainly has diverse artistic talents as evidenced by the Art Show, which was on display at the Nassau Presbyterian Church throughout Reunions weekend. A number of classmates / wives displayed various works of art representing many mediums….photography, quilting, fiber art, sculpture, painting (oils, acrylics, watercolor), pen/ink sketching, and woodcarving. Many thanks to all the following artists who shared their amazing creations: Pete Ambler, Janet Eschenlauer, Arthur Eschenlauer, Jim Freund, Randy Frost, Sue Grassmyer, Bob Haselkorn, Joe Knox, Sue Rodgers, Phyllis Rosser, Mal Schwartz, Ken Snedeker, Bud Updike, and Ross Webber.
Another artistic talent is that of flower arranging, with special thanks going to Gay Culin and Mary Snedeker for creating the beautiful centerpieces which decorated our dining tables on Friday evening.
That brings to mind our meals. With all the activities during the weekend, we certainly needed adequate sustenance, and our meals were fabulous!! Special thanks and appreciation to Carole and Mal Schwartz for their wonderful menu selections, which kept us well fueled with superior culinary experiences, especially the scrumptious Friday dinner. WOW!!
For those energetic souls, there was a tour of Campus gargoyles on both Thursday and Friday afternoon. The tours were led by Lee Neuwirth ’55, and all who participated raved about how fascinating it was learning about what has been before our eyes for years!!
On Thursday afternoon, Don Harper led a panel discussion between members of ’56 (Bruce Akers, Whitney Gerard, Gordon Hammes and Dave Jordan) and members of 2015 (Jon Ma, Paul Riley, Hannah Rosenthal, and Carolyn Yang). The subject was “Two World Views of Two Different Worlds”, and some interesting thoughts were exchanged.
Friday’s Memorial Service was a beautiful tribute to those classmates who passed away during the last five years. Of special note was the participation in the service of the Katzenjammers, who sang a beautiful arrangement of The 23rd Psalm, and special thanks to Peter Hodgson, who presented a moving homily. We are very grateful to Sue Rodgers and Bob Varrin for organizing this exceptional service.
Following the service, Jim Freund and his sons represented ’56 in the annual Battle of Alumni Bands. No winner was chosen, but we understand they got a standing ovation from the crowd — and the emcee announced that Jim had just become the oldest musician to ever participate in the decade-long competition.
On Friday afternoon, ’56 held a well-attended reception for our public service entity, ReachOut56-81-06. Co-chairs Jack Fritts and Slade Mills presided and recalled ReachOut’s history (much of it under the guidance of our deceased classmate, Dan Gardiner). Jim Freund, founder and co-chair of the Fellowship program, introduced a half-dozen of our past and present Fellows, who were uniformly upbeat about their projects and full of praise for our efforts in affording and underwriting these annual public service opportunities for graduating seniors. (Jim has prepared a booklet with much detail about all 32 Fellows and their projects — contact him if you’d like a copy.) Jack and one of his student leaders spoke of the mentoring work we’ve been doing in inner-city public schools. As planned several years ago, the ReachOut leadership mantle was passed to ’81, and the new co-chairs, Marty Johnson and Jon Wonnell, have been responsible for the exciting social entrepreneurship activities ReachOut has undertaken in recent years and which (according to the Princeton prof involved) are very well-received by the University. Our Fraser Lewis will serve as President of ReachOut going forward.
A special note: The Class of '06 appointed Jack Fritts, Slade Mills, and Jim Freund (as well as Dan Gardiner, posthumously) Honorary Classmates of '06, in recognition of their bringing '06 into the ReachOut56-81-06 family. There was a nice little ceremony at their reunion site Saturday morning. Bob Rodgers was already an honorary '06er for the interest he took in their welfare from when they graduated (and we were celebrating our 50th) until his passing.
The Class photo, taken at the Stadium Headquarters, was a unique shot as the photographer was on the upper level looking down at the group. It took a few tries, but finally got a good shot. Following the photo-op, we enjoyed a wonderful cocktail reception in the Lewis Library Atrium and listened to remarks from President Eisbruber.
There were many awards presented throughout the weekend, both to individuals and also to the Class in general. The Great Class – 1956, was presented with the 1898 Trophy, the award for the largest percentage of membership (classmates) attending any gathering during year between Reunions. This was for the Naples Mini in 2015 thanks to Frank Klapperich’s untiring efforts (not to mention that there are a lot of ’56 “snow birds” who migrate to Florida for the winter!). Well done, Frank
Bob Varrin, was presented with The Larry Ellis Alumni Award, given by the Friends of Princeton Track in honor and memory of Larry Ellis, Track Coach from 1970 – 1992. This award is presented annually to an alumnus for “Distinctive Service to Track and Field and Cross Country.” Congratulations, Bob! Well deserved. The Class also presented Bob with a special gift of a Princeton table lamp in appreciation of his guidance and leadership as Class President.
Arthur Eschenlauer also received special accolades from the University with his election to the “Society of the Claw” in recognition as one who has been a “committed steward of the Princeton Reunions tradition”.
This year, the Class had three well-deserving Distinguished Classmates: Bill Agnew, Gordon Hammes and Ross Webber. Each awardee received a beautiful hand-carved wooden tiger, along with the framed testimonial. (Unfortunately Bill Agnew was unable to attend Reunions, but his will be presented at a later date.). To read the testimonials, click on the following links for Bill, Gordie and Ross:
Bill Agnew Testimonial
Gordon Hammes Testimonial
Ross Webber Testimonial
The final presentation of the evening was a beautiful Simon Pearce crystal decanter, with the Princeton insignia etched on the side, given to Arthur and Janet Eschenlauer as a token of thanks and deep appreciation for all they did to put together such a wonderful Reunion. The plaque hanging on the decanter duly named them “Reunion Co-Chairs Extraordinaire”!!
The last “business” of the evening was the announcement of new Class Officers, and they are:
President – Frank Klapperich
Vice President – Corky Frost
Secretary – Tom Meeker
Treasurer – Mal Schwartz
CONGRATULATIONS!! We know the Class will have great leaders for The Great Class – 1956.
Saturday brought more heat and sunshine, but that didn’t deter the excitement of the P-rade. The Princeton Band led the Class contingent that included Bob Card driving his restored 1956 Ford Sunliner convertible, which carried three members of the Born Again Band (Lee McMillion, Ron Tell and Jerry Kurtz) as they played their brass instruments. To quote Bob: “Due to some recent carotid surgery, the only horn I could play well belonged to my ’56 Ford Sunliner!!”
There were also other bands, many hearty soles marching the P-Rade route (including a group of ’56 Bikini Babes!!), and a number of golf carts transporting the rest of the Class.
After the P-rade and a chance to rehydrate, we enjoyed yet another fabulous meal, followed by more visiting, dancing and ending with the spectacular University fireworks display. Our site at the Stadium was an absolutely PERFECT location to view the show!!
Sunday morning we gathered at headquarters for the farewell brunch, another culinary treat. We were sad to see the weekend coming to a close but all look forward to gathering again wherever and whenever possible. Guess the next events will be fall tailgates in back of Cap!!
In addition to the wonderful class book that Corky Frost put together, attendees received a special booklet of photos by Jim Freund — with images of both the university and pictures of ’56 classmates (along with spouses, in many shots). It also includes the full class photo taken when we arrived on campus in 1952. Contact Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will mail them to you at no charge. Be sure to provide your snail-mail address!!
Many thanks to the following “roving photographers” who contributed their pictures for the website, plus in the slideshows: Bob Card, Jim Freund, Sue Grassmyer, Don Harper, Dave Jordan, Eric Kollevoll ‘h86, and Frederic Sater, plus Joanne Meeker. If anyone else has pictures you’d like to share, send them on as jpg ATTACHMENTS to Tom Meeker at email@example.com.
If you want a brief pictorial recap of the weekend's events, click on the following links to the eight slideshows, which are a combination of all the photos received. Thanks again to the '56 "paparazzi" for all the pictures!!
Thursday Afternoon / Evening
Friday Breakfast, Memorial Service, and "Battle of the Bands"
Freund Family Trio in Action
Class Picture and Friday Reception
Friday Class Dinner
(NOTE: Unfortunately, we have received only a few pictures from the Exhibit. If anyone has more to add, please e-mail them to Tom Meeker as jpg attachments, and they will be posted on the Class website.)
Saturday Lunch and P-Rade
Sunday Brunch and Farewell
ENJOY THE MEMORIES, and CHERISH EVERY DAY!!
Margo Bennett Wins Another Blue Ribbon
The 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show was held March 5 – 13, and once again Margo Bennett’s artistic talents in flower arranging were recognized.
The theme this year was “Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service”, and the class that Margo entered was entitled “Nature’s Beauty – Cascade” wherein the contestants had to interpret a cascade where water tumbles down. The following is a description of the “ingredients” that made up the entry created by Margo and her friend, Mandy Swope, and won them a Blue Ribbon!!
“We used 2 glass vases (big ones) on two pedestals on two different levels. Rocks and faux ice cubes were in each vase. We then put tall curly willow in the vases and wired them into a pattern that flowed left and down to the right.
We attached Oasis pods (water sources) onto the topes of the vases and throughout the design. We placed Green “Obake” Anthurium, Foxtail fern, white Dendrobium Orchids, and slit Aspedistra leaves to create our line, filled in with green Spider Mums and white mini-Carnations.
We were the most “natural” expression of the class title. It was up Monday, gone on Wednesday. The Blue Ribbon was a happy surprise!”
CONGRATULATIONS on another amazing work of art, Margo. (To see Margo’s award-winning entry last year, scroll down through the Class News postings.)
2016 Naples Mini Reunion
Kudos to organizer Frank Klapperich and The Great Class – 1956! At this coming Reunion, we will be presented with the 1898 Trophy at the Reunion Awards Luncheon on May 27. This recognition is for the largest percentage of classmates attending any gathering during the year between reunions. Ours was the Naples Mini Reunion held in February 2015.
Continuing the tradition, Frank again orchestrated the fabulous Naples Mini Reunion, held on February 9 and 10, 2016 with 29 Classmates and 6 Class Associates attending one or more of the events. These included an informal dinner on Tuesday evening at the Ridgeway Restaurant, a tour of the Naples Botanical Gardens on Wednesday, and dinner Wednesday evening.
The dinner held at the Club Pelican Bay on Wednesday night brought together almost 70 people and was highlighted by a fabulous talk by our classmate, Stape Roy, who spoke about the changes that have taken place in the world over the past 60 years. (Pictured are Frank and Stape at the dinner.)
Classmates attending one or more of the events included, Agnew, Akers, Alfred, Bacher, Buchanan, Card, Conover, Dietz, Driemeyer, Grassmyer, Grotto, Halloran, Hammes, Hicks, Holmes, Horner, Klapperich, Lemmon, Leslie, McCartney, Meeker, Mees, Pardee, Parker, Roy, Snedeker, Tell, Updike, and Webber, along with many spouses.
We were especially happy to have had the following six Class Associates attend: Margo Bennett, Rita Doub, Judy Hersey, Bev Hoglund, Varick Niles and Rhonda Prichard.
(Oops…..apologies to Fred Bacher for having only part of his shoulder showing on the right hand side of the group picture! Please forgive the photographer!!)
The camaraderie of this event will spill over to our FiftySIXtieth in May, with most of the Naples attendees convening again. If you haven’t yet registered, climb aboard for this best of a lifetime event. Contact Arthur Eschenlauer or Tom Meeker if you need registration information, or check the “Class Events” section on this website for links to the Registration Form, Tentative Schedule, etc.
NOTE: As with the pictures from homecoming in November, the Shutterfly organization is STILL having “technical difficulties” wherein slideshows from them are not “shareable” via a link on the website. However, if you are interested in seeing pictures from the Naples Mini Reunion events (by the way, there are many VERY good photos), send Tom Meeker an e-mail and we will forward the slideshows to you. Please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Freund’s 2015 Musical, Literary and Photographic Creations
Jim Freund has the following new items available (free, of course) to classmates and other Tigers:
A piano and vocal CD called "The Dream Album”, consisting of 19 songs mainly from the ‘30s and ‘40s, all of which contain some variant of “dream” in the title;
A booklet entitled “Octogenarian Octet” — eight essays on a variety of topics such as the egregious noise level in NYC restaurants, a lament for scarce items that used to be readily available, and those instances of sheer happenstance that lead to meaningful relationships and outcomes;
A 64-page portfolio of Jim’s best photos from 2015; and
A documentary DVD entitled “Young at Heart,” based on the almost two decades that Jim has been conducting senior citizen sing-a-longs in NYC.
If you’d like any or all, contact Jim at email@example.com or 917-856-5846.
A. Corwin Frost Honored by ArtsWestchester
The following are excerpts from an article printed in My Hometown Bulletin Board, Bronxville.
ArtsWestchester recently honored A. Corwin Frost of Bronxville at its November 20, 2015 gala which celebrated the organization's 50th Anniversary. Frost was among a group of 19 former and current presidents who were honored for ensuring ArtsWestchester's growth and success throughout its five decades in existence.
"Westchester County is a more vibrant place because of the hard work, dedication, and leadership of these devoted individuals," said ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam. "The work of these board presidents has grown the cultural industry in Westchester to an economic impact of more than $156 million. They deserve this tribute."
ArtsWestchester was founded in 1965--the same year as the National Endowment for the Arts--when a small group of volunteers wanted to build a cultural center in the suburbs similar to Lincoln Center. But the early founders instead focused their energies and resources on arts programming and advocacy. A year after they organized as an arts council, they received their first $1,500 grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Over the years, ArtsWestchester has invested over $35 million in arts and cultural programming, supported over 1,300 artists and 300 cultural institutions, and worked with Westchester school districts to bring the arts into the classroom.
Frost was president during a pivotal time for the arts council, guiding the development of an arts action plan that envisioned a larger and broader role for the organization.
A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton University, and the Rhode Island School of Design, A. Corwin Frost is a third-generation architect who practiced architecture in New York City with Frost Associates. He subsequently became responsible for architecture and engineering services as director of facilities engineering for CBS Inc., and then he became deputy director of design, construction, and management for the City University of New York. Later, he became an architectural and planning consultant for several clients, including the Newark, NJ, public schools. He has served as a trustee of the Rhode Island School of Design and the chairman of the Bronxville Planning Board, and he was president of the then-Council for the Arts in Westchester (now ArtsWestchester) from 1974 to 1995.
Frost lives in Bronxville with his wife, Randy Frost, also a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Randy is a fiber artist and was active for many years as an artist-in-residence with ArtsWestchester, working in several Westchester schools.
"ArtsWestchester, as now constituted, evolved from the Council for the Arts in Westchester," said Frost. "I had the honor of serving as president in 1974-75, which was the pivotal time during which the arts action plan was developed with an arts consultant and envisioned the larger and broader-based organization that exists and thrives today."
Homecoming, November 14, 2015
The 2015 football season is now over, and unfortunately, the Tigers fell a bit short this year in the “W” column. However, the ’56 tailgates in back of Cap were winners, culminating with the last one for homecoming – the “Yalegate”! We had a huge crowd for that one due, in part, because of the fantastic weather!! As always, we had plenty of food thanks to the varied culinary contributions by those in attendance. While the weather wasn’t very cold, the traditional hot sausage soup was enjoyed by all.
The Band, which serenades us at each home game, gave an outstanding performance for their final appearance this year, and the “Band Fund” bucket was passed for the last time this season. While we did not reach our goal of over $4,000 as in prior years, we can report that more than $3,000 was collected from ’56 tailgaters, Band parents and many friends this year.
During half time, there was a special ceremony recognizing Poe Prize winners over the years, and ’56 was proudly represented by Royce Flippin. Thanks to Jim Freund, here’s a great shot of Flip on the field with some of the other honorees.
After the exciting but disappointing game, the ’56 classmates and spouses / guests gathered in the 1956 Stadium Suite for further camaraderie while enjoying a wonderful array of drinks and hors d’oeuvres (thanks to the arrangements by Frank Klapperich, Art Eschenlauer and Bob Varrin) plus the great piano music provided by Jim Freund. As always, the ’56 singers in the group serenaded us all. Lots of talent there!!
Thanks to “paparazzi” contributions by Sue Grassmyer, Dave Jordan, Jim Freund and Joanne Meeker, we have some fantastic slideshows of the day’s events, which will be posted in the near future. Unfortunately, Shutterfly, which is used for creating slideshows, has been having technical problems and at this time we are unable to post links to share them. Once the problems have been resolved, we will update the website so you can view the pictures.
News from George Hirsch
As the NYC Marathon on November 1, 2015 rapidly approaches, George Hirsch, ’56 “Marathon Man”, shared the following article which was recently published by the Museum of the City of New York:
Winning the Great Race: NYC Marathon Champions Tell All Saturday, October 31 at 3:00pm
What is it like to run at the head of the pack of the world’s largest and most celebrated marathon? Join George Hirsch, a founder of the five-borough NYC Marathon in 1976 and Chairman of the Board of the New York Road Runners, for an intimate conversation with two of America’s marathon legends: Bill Rodgers and German Silva. Rodgers was the world’s leading marathoner during the 1970's, winning both the New York City and Boston Marathon four times, and finishing first in the inaugural five-borough NYC marathon in 1976. Silva was consecutive winner of the New York City Marathon in 1994 and 1995. This program accompanies our exhibition, The New York City Marathon: The Great Race, opening October 20th.
Co-presented by the New York Road Runners.
Photo credit: The Runner Magazine, George A. Hirsch.
Gordon "Hammes" It Up on the Tennis Court
The following is an excerpt written by Pam Lewis, Tennis Manager at Pelican Bay, for the Pelican Bay Post, October 2015, covering the outstanding tennis achievement of Gordon Hammes, who resides with his wife, Judy, in Naples, Florida.
“If you know Gordon Hammes, you know what a humble gentlemen he is, and he remains so even after his amazing achievement during the USTA National 80’s Tournament at the Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club, where Hammes had an outstanding victory over King Von Nostrand. Hammes’ win is even sweeter when you realize that Hammes’ opponent, King Von Nostrand, had been undefeated in the past two years but was formerly ranked No. 1 in the world! It was a hard-fought battle with the match going three sets and three hours. Hammes’ singles win over Von Nostrand gives Hammes his first (of many, we hope) gold ball trophies and makes Hammes the No. 1 singles player in the 80’s in the nation.”
Pictured here is Gordon cutting his cake during the celebration. CONGRATULATIONS, Gordon!!
Honoring Tom and Joyce Osborn
On October 25, 2015, our late Classmate, Tom Osborn, and his wife, Joyce, were honored at “A Gala with Strings Attached” for helping to start the musical and educational organization known as The Thousand Oaks Philharmonic.
Their mission is to provide opportunities for young artists of Ventura County, California and surrounding areas to perform with a professional orchestra in front of a live audience. Advanced education is offered through the lectures, master classes and recital performances of the Appassionata program. These activities present community service opportunities for the youth and culturally enriching experiences to the community it serves.
Tom was the inaugural conductor for this Philharmonic, and since Tom’s untimely passing, Joyce has continued her versatile service to the organization.
For additional information, visit their website: www.TOPhil.org.
Galapagos Islands Visitors
On August 7, Roger Kaufman and Steve Alfred, along with their wives, went on a Princeton Journey Trip to the Galapagos Islands. They saw giant tortoises, playful sea lions, marine and land iguanas, finches and blue-footed boobies. All this wildlife could be observed close at hand, as they are not afraid of people.
In the evenings, lectures on Darwin and evolution were presented by retired President, Shirley Tilghman. Pictured are Roger and Steve flanking Shirley.
59th REUNION, May, 2015
The 59th Reunion was another great success, and Mother Nature even cooperated with lovely weather, albeit a bit warm, to say the least!! While most arrived Friday afternoon, Jim Freund was busy all weekend, entertaining numerous classes…..Thursday evening for the class of 55’s 60th, our gathering Friday evening, and later playing at the Old Guard gathering. This was the highlight of his weekend “gigs”, as the Old Guard attendees sang and danced for over two hours!!
Art Eschenlauer, our untiring and super organized 60th Reunion Chair, held a meeting on Friday afternoon of his Committee, and from all reports so far, our 60th will be an amazing event, one you won’t want to miss. This year we were a satellite class of 1955’s 60th, whose headquarters was at the Princeton Stadium. Our headquarters next year will also be there, which is a WONDERFUL location……sturdy ground (no mud or tent stakes!), plenty of overhead protection (no leaking tents), and easy access to bathrooms!!! While it does seem to be a distance from the main campus, there are plenty of shuttle busses and “Rovers”…..student-driven golf carts which are constantly traveling around campus providing transportation to and from events. Periodic notifications of details for our 60th will be disseminated by mail, e-mail and posts on our website. In the meantime, block out the dates of May 26 – 29, 2016 to be in Princeton, the “Best Old Place of All!”
Friday evening we enjoyed a lovely cocktail party / dinner in the 1956 Stadium Suite. In addition to Jim Freund’s wonderful piano playing, we were entertained by The Katzenjammers, who gave a superb performance. Additionally, there was a brief report of the activities of ReachOut56-81-06 by Slade Mills, along with Jim Freund, Marty Johnson ’81, Trustee, and Jon Wonnell ’81, President of ReachOut56-81-06.
Many thanks to Frank Klapperich for organizing this delightful evening, along with Janet and Arthur Eschenlauer, and Flora and Bob Varrin, who assisted in making it possible.
Following dinner, many of the class joined the 60th Reunion on the ground floor of the stadium and had the pleasure of dancing and listening to the wonderful music of Stan Rubin’s Band.
Saturday’s P-Rade was, as always, an electrifying time, and with the beautiful weather, the crowds were HUGE!! All in all, it was a most memorable weekend, enjoyed by the following: Alfred, Aron, Bacher, Bennerup, Brink, Coward, Eschenlauer, Flippin, Freund, Frost, Grotto, Hanna, Helms, Horner, Jordan, Klapperich, Lagomarsino, Lewis, Meeker, Mills, Rivell, Schwartz, G., Schwartz, M., Scott, Snedeker, Varrin and Webber, along with Class Associates: Bennet, Fulmer, Gardiner, Rodgers, Stuard and Thompson. According to the headcount, we had a magical number of 56 in attendance!
Click on the following links to view slideshows of the various gatherings. Many thanks to our “roving photographers”: Ann Scott, Jim Freund, Sterling Chu (Band alum) and Joanne Meeker. (As always, if anyone else wants to contribute pictures, please e-mail them to Tom Meeker as jpg file attachments.)
Class Dinner Friday Night
RECAP OF THE RICHMOND MINI
The recent '56 Mini-Reunion held in Richmond was a huge success, and the following is a recap of the fabulous event from Joe Knox, who organized this memorable occasion with his wife, Jane.
Thirty-two of us -- ’56ers and their ’56 Chicks at the Richmond Mini-Reunion -- climb the stairway of the Marble Hall leading to the significant Art Nouveau Collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Front Row, down to up: Kirby Holmes, Jim Freund, Judy Holmes, Jane Knox, Corky and Randy Frost, Bob and Flora Varrin, Major Reynolds, Denny Crimmins, Janet Cochran, Rita (Alfred) Hungate, Ann Scott, Mary and Howard Helms, Garry Cochran. Back Row: Fraser Lewis, Kit and Bob Watson, George and Margaret Parker, Maxine Lewis, Debby and Svend Hansen, Claudine Bacher, Steve Alfred, Jennifer Crimmins, Fred Bacher, Mary Lou and Tom Mees, Joe Knox, Doug Scott.
We should have formed a kick-line! The 1986 wing of VMFA was designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer – Hugh Hardy of the Class of 1954 designed the Art Nouveau-inspired sets for Triangle’s “Malice in Wonderland”, which dazzled Richmond during the Christmas Holidays of 1953.
Almost everybody knows that in Richmond, at every turn, you bump into the Confederacy. That was especially true in the first part of April – the 150th anniversary of the Evacuation Fire, Richmond’s surrender, the visit of Abe Lincoln, and the return of Robert E. Lee six days after Appomattox. Richmond was feeling and remembering all those things just as Princeton ’56 arrived on April 13th.
Of course, our mini-reunion visited the White House of the Confederacy, Confederate statues on Monument Avenue, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which was built on the Robert E. Lee Camp Grounds – the home of Confederate veterans after the War, and we visited the old Tredegar Ironworks which houses the American Civil War Museum.
On the way from the airport, I took Fred Bacher and Jim Freund to the Hebrew Cemetery where Jewish Confederate soldiers are buried in an area enclosed by an iron fence made at Tredegar – the chief munitions factory of the Confederacy. I think Jim got to Hollywood Cemetery on his own and saw where Jefferson Davis is buried as well as 25 Confederate generals and where 18,000 soldiers, many of whom died at Gettysburg, are memorialized with a 90 foot pyramid erected immediately following the War. Very much into cemeteries, Jim also took pictures of the old cemetery on Church Hill around St. John’s Church where Patrick Henry made his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
Ann and Doug Scott made a special trip to see the Collegiate Gothic campus of the University of Richmond planned by Ralph Adams Cram who at the time was the official architect of Princeton.
So Princeton ’56 not only bumped into the Confederacy but also bumped into Princeton at almost every turn. We visited the Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson, whose papers are at Firestone. At the Capitol we visited the Chamber where Princetonian Aaron Burr, son of the President of the College of New Jersey, was tried for treason (and acquitted) in 1807. In the Rotunda of the Capitol, close by Houdon’s famous statue of George Washington, we saw busts of two of eight Virginia-born Presidents who were Princetonians – Wilson and Madison.
At Agecroft Hall, the Elizabethan Mansion brought to Richmond piece by piece from England in the 1920s, we were greeted by the new director, Anne Kenny-Urban’87, wearing her 25th Reunion jacket. (Anne is also the President of the Princeton Association of Virginia.)
We will also remember that the recently established American Civil War Museum at Tredegar was inaugurated by the renowned Civil War specialist Princeton Professor James M. McPherson, who guided the establishment of the Museum. That’s where we saw the statue of Lincoln with Tad, which recalls their famous visit to Richmond.
Jim Freund provided piano and song at the Commonwealth Club dinner, but on the bus he rendered, with a surprise harmonica, a rousing “Dixie”, which we don’t get to hear much anymore, and which he followed up quickly with a stirring “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.
One particularly special event for me was our visit to the recently expanded Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where there was great appreciation for the current exhibition, “Manet, Van Gogh, and Matisse – The Art of the Flower”. Jane and I deeply appreciate the gift of the catalogue signed by everyone who attended the reunion.
Claudine, Maxine, Flora, Mary Lou, and Jane………..A bevy of Chicks of ’56 at the Boathouse Restaurant at Rocketts Landing.
Our final dinner was at the Boathouse Restaurant at Rocketts Landing – the place where Lincoln’s rowboat brought him through the dangerously-mined waters of the James to visit the smoldering ruins of Richmond on April 4, 1865. Accompanied by his son Tad, Lincoln was greeted by crowds of newly emancipated slaves as he walked to the White House of the Confederacy and rested in Jefferson Davis’s chair. (At the White House of the Confederacy, Freund snuck back and surreptitiously took a shot of that chair.)
I was pleased that Princeton ’56 got a pretty good taste of Richmond, but what was much more pleasing was being together with long-time friends and having a good time. What a wonderful feeling I had at the end of our evening at Rocketts landing when Fraser Lewis led us all in singing “Old Nassau”.
Just click on the following link to view a slideshow of fabulous pictures taken by Jim Freund during the events in Richmond. Richmond Mini Reunion
Special thanks to Joe and Jane Knox for making the '56 Richmond Mini Reunion such a wonderful and memorable gathering.
On Saturday, March 28, 2015, many ‘56ers gathered at the Princeton Chapel for the memorial service to remember our dear friend and Classmate, Don Stuard. The ceremony was beautiful, and the tributes / memories from family and friends brought laughter and many tears. One of the tributes was presented by Bob McCartney who read his beautiful poem for not only Don, but for all ‘56 Classmates. We thought it would be meaningful to post it on the Class website.
THANKFUL THOUGHTS ON FRUITFUL LIFE
(Dedicated to Ian Donald Stuard `56 and to All of the Octogenarians of The Great Class )
Weep not for us when we are gone.
Share tales with laughter. Sing some songs.
We thank the Lord for privileged lives,
for days more marked by joy than strife.
We have been lucky from the start:
good body parts; sufficient smarts.
Parents taught us to succeed;
made learning key, for you and me.
Our College opened every door,
and armed us for the trials in store.
A land of opportunity
let us prosper and live free.
Wives who stayed through passing years
shared so much, both laughs and tears.
Kids have thrived in separate ways.
Success of each has cheered our days.
Grandkids now are making sway.
May they bring forth a Better Day!
So many helped along the way.
We owe them debts we cannot pay.
In many ways we're not the best
but often savored some success.
Good homes and health and useful tasks;
What more in life is there to ask?
Too long we strived for gold and praise,
learned later to relax and play.
Love of family and friends
are what most matter in the end.
In youth it never was foretold
that living long would make us old.
The aches of age can test our nerves,
but life`s been better than deserved.
No need for sorrow when we’re gone.
Whoever guessed we`d live this long?
In sum, we`ve done some good, some bad.
We`ve tried our best with what we had!
So be not sad when we have passed;
Raise high a glass and toast The Class!
Grieve not for us for we`ll be gone
to Reunions in The Great Beyond!
Goodbye for now old buddy, Don.
Rest in peace and save us seats- - - until we meet again.
Robert C. McCartney `56
Here’s a recent bit of info from Jim Freund. . . . . . . . .
“What’s this orange-and-black clad geezer doing on the slopes of Deer Valley in Utah with his limber wife?”
ALUMNI DAY, February 21, 2015
Another Alumni Day has come and gone, but this one had many obstacles, all of which were overcome by The Great Class!!
This was a special weekend as it was the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Alumni Day. A number of classmates attended campus festivities on Friday night and then lectures on Saturday morning, followed by the luncheon in Jadwin Gym. The Service of Remembrance followed the luncheon, and as always, it was a very moving tribute to those alumni and faculty members who passed away during 2014. Sadly, The Great Class - 1956 lost 16 during the past year.
The day’s events concluded with a reception and Class dinner in the Stadium 1956 Suite. However, getting to the Suite was next to impossible as the elevator wouldn’t operate due to snow/ice keeping the door from closing! (Pictured here is Cody O’Neil trying to get the elevator door to close!) Once that problem was resolved, we all gathered for a lovely evening of delicious food, drink and camaraderie, accompanied by the wonderful piano music provided by Jim Freund. Many thanks to Frank Klapperich, Art and Janet Eschenlauer, and Bob and Flora Varrin for all their efforts putting together such a fine evening.
Unfortunately, the group was rather small this year due to the weather forecast, and because of the snow / ice storm, the evening ended much earlier than normal. Then the REAL fun began. Leaving the Suite was another challenge as the elevator again was inoperable for a while, and a group of brave souls (Fritts, Mills, and Millspaugh) walked through the press box and then proceeded down a switchback ramp until they reached the outside. Keep in mind, this was VERY difficult and dangerous as the snow and ice made for very slippery navigation.
After the elevator was working again, the Stadium Suite was finally vacated and everyone went their way, either home or to a hotel. Well, the adventures had only begun for just a few (Steve Alfred and Rita Hungate, Jim Freund and the Meekers) who were staying at the Homewood Suites.
This small group gathered at the hotel for a brief nightcap and then retired for the evening. HOWEVER….the fire alarm began blaring around 12:30 a.m. due to a broken sprinkler pipe gushing water from the 4th floor down, and all guests congregated in the lobby. After over an hour, the guests from the 3rd and 4th floors were told we had to pack up (tromping through soggy carpeting) and be relocated to either other available rooms in the hotel or be shuttled to the Marriot next door. Unfortunately, we were part of those who had to go out in the cold but finally got settled in our Marriott rooms around 3:00 a.m. Needless to say it was a night to remember, but all of us finally arrived at our respective destinations on Sunday. Steve and Rita had a more difficult trip as they were flying home to Hilton Head and had to deal with airline delays!!
Those attending one or more of the day’s events were: Alfred, Coward, Eschenlauer, Freund, Fritts, Hanna, Kopple, Meeker, Mills, Millspaugh, Steigbigel, Varrin and Webber, along with Class Associates Peggy Fulmer, Joyce Gardiner and Sue Rodgers; Tom Fulmer’s son, Scott; Bob Rodgers’ daughter, Elisabeth; and Cody O’Neil, a Princeton University senior who has been awarded a 2015 fellowship from ReachOut 56-81-06.
Below is a link to a slideshow of the day’s Class events. Unfortunately there are a limited number of pictures as there was a camera malfunction (dead battery) which merely added to the craziness of the day. Most of the pictures are self-explanatory with the exception of the last two, which captured the fiasco at the Homewood Suites…..definitely a “dear diary” entry. Oh well, there’s always next year!
Photos from Alumni Day 2015
For a complete recap of the University’s Alumni Day program, click on the following link to the University’s website:
Alumni Day Activities
NAPLES MINI REUNION, February 10 – 11, 2015
The Naples Mini Reunion has been going on for quite a while, and this year marked the 8th consecutive gathering of this terrific and record-breaking annual affair. Many thanks and a Locomotive to our Class Vice President, Frank Klapperich, for again orchestrating this wonderful two-day “mini” with dinners at two fabulous venues. Assisting Frank with details at the dinners was Rita Doub, who also coordinated some of the afternoon events which appealed to many who traveled to Naples.
Tuesday evening, 18 classmates, plus spouses / guests, enjoyed a Dutch-treat dinner at the Ridgeway Restaurant. The number of attendees more than doubled on Wednesday when the group reconvened at The Club Pelican Bay to enjoy great camaraderie and partake of the sumptuous Italian Buffet. It goes without saying that no one went home hungry!!
Following the wonderful repast, there were brief comments from Frank, as well as from Bob Varrin, Class President; Steve Alfred, Class Agent; and Class Secretary, Tom Meeker, who led the Locomotive for Frank. Stape Roy then addressed the group with his views on the current crises facing many areas of the world, and a brief Q & A session followed.
Classmates attending one or more of the events were:
Akers, Alfred, Barclay, Bodman, Bond, Brazell, Brink, Conover, Dawes, Doub, Frost, Gray, Grotto, Halloran, Hammes, Hannah, Hicks, Holmes, Horner, Jordan, Kelsey, Klapperich, Leighton, Lemmon, Leslie, Lewis, McCartney, Meeker, Mees, Paine, Pardee, Parker, Rissell, Roy, Snedeker, Updike, Varrin and Ziegler, as well as Class Associates Margo Bennett, Varick Niles, and Rhonda Prichard.
Numerous pictures were taken during the two-day mini, so if you want to see who was there, or want to re-live the great evenings of fun and laughter, click on the following links and then select "Slideshow":
Tuesday Night Dinner at Ridgeway Restaurant
Wednesday Night Italian Buffet at Club Pelican Bay
Thanks again, Frank, for organizing this wonderful two-day event. We’re all looking forward to the next Naples gathering in 2016!!
On January 6, 2015, five of his best buddies paid a visit to Jack Veatch in Washington to reminisce about the old days. Here we are (left to right): Jim Freund (from NYC), Toby Wise (from Austin, TX), John Doyle (from NYC), Fred Bacher (from Key Largo, FL), Bob Watson (from Charleston, SC), and Jack Veatch (who lives in New Smyrna Beach, FL most of the year). Oh, the tales that were told. . . .
Creations for '56 Octogenarians by Jim Freund
Jim Freund has written an essay on “Turning 80” that his octogenarian classmates might enjoy. To celebrate the occasion, he also indulged his three creative pursuits with:
(1) A five disc CD entitled Retrospective at 80, containing his favorite piano and vocal efforts over the past two decades;
(2) A black & white photography DVD of pictures taken over the past 25 years, entitled Eight Hundred Fifty Shades of Grey, including his narration and piano accompaniment; and
(3) A collection of fictional tales entitled DEFYING DOTAGE – Six Short Stories Starring Sprightly Seniors, in which old folks (like us) strut their stuff
If you would like any or all of these (no charge, of course), just contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-856-5846 (providing your mailing address) and he’ll send them to you.
George Hirsch Does it Again!!
The athletic prowess exhibited by many 56ers is evidenced by the recent accomplishment of George Hirsch. On June 22, 2014, he ran in the Queens 10K and came in first in his age group (80 to 84 years young) with an amazing time of 55:20.
Below is a link to an article written by Amby Burfoot, George’s colleague / friend of 30 years and editor of Runner’s World Magazine. The title of the article says it all….”George Hirsch: Still Leading the Pack at 80”. This wonderful editorial about George summarizes the extraordinary character of a very special individual who is an inspiration to us all.
Click on the following link:
Runner's World Magazine article
News from Fraser Lewis on Rhone River Barge Trip
On Sunday afternoon, June 22, 2014, nine classmates and their spouses boarded the 18 passenger barge, Le Phenicien, in Avignon, France, for a week trip down the Rhone River to the Rhone du Sete Canal. Those attending were Fraser and Maxine Lewis, Ross and Mary Lou Webber, Corky and Randi Frost, Fritz and Mary Riedlin, Marty and Pat Raymond, Jim and Elaine Monahan, Pierre and Cheryl Bennerup, Tom and Nancy Waxter, and Steve Alfred and Rita Hungate. We unpacked, met at the open bar for drinks, followed by a lovely four course meal, indicative of what was to come. Pictured here is Bastien, the bartender/steward, wearing our class tie at the Captain's dinner
The barge had organized daily trips for us, chauffeured in our 20 passenger van. Monday we visited the palace of the Popes in Avignon and in the afternoon had a cellar visit and wine tasting at Domaine Beaurengard in Chateneuf-du-Pape. Tuesday we visited Le Pont du Gard and its recently constructed museum. This is the second most visited site in France after the Eiffel Tower. Wednesday we were led by a guide around the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence.
Le Phenecien docked every evening and motored in the afternoon when all were aboard. By Thursday we had arrived in Arles, where Van Gogh painted 300 pictures and cut off his ear in 1888. After a guided tour that morning, we left the Rhone, and traversed the Petite Rhone to the Rhone du Sete Canal. We went through one lock that lowered our boat 36 feet on the Rhone and several smaller locks on the canal. We overnighted in the small village of Gallician.
On Friday, our last full day, we traveled through the Camargue, the Rhone River delta, full of grass, marsh, and red rice fields, and in the evening, mosquitoes. We arrived at a large ranch where they raise and train bulls for a particular form of entertainment where the bulls are not sacrificed and live to fight another day. The non aggressive bulls wear a bell around their neck so they don't breed them. The cowboys ride a particular type of white horse, many of whom roam wild is this flat land.
That afternoon, we continued to Aigues-Mortes, the end of our journey. We were bused to Nimes in the AM where we went our separate ways, our stomachs content, and are hearts gladdened by the fellowship of members of the Great Class: 1956.
58th REUNION, May 30 - 31, 2014
Reunions 2014, our 58th, have come and gone, but what a wonderful gathering of special friends under glorious skies! We had a good sized crowd of 28 Classmates, along with spouses/guests, Class Associates, and Honorary Classmates at one or more of the events for a total of 52.
Friday’s events began in the afternoon with Art Eschenlauer, our 60th Reunion Chair, conducting a brainstorming Reunion Committee meeting to come up with ideas and give suggestions / inspiration for our upcoming 60th in 2016. Looks like the Committee is on a roll and already gearing up to make the Reunion an exceptional event.
The evening’s festivities continued with a wonderful cocktail hour and delicious buffet dinner. As always, Peggy and Tom Fulmer selected fabulous hors d’oeuvres, chose a magnificent variety for the buffet dinner, and decorated the tables with beautiful flower arrangements. Many thanks to them for making the evening such a memorable occasion.
In the following slideshow from Friday evening, you’ll see three pictures of everyone holding up their arms, and if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t know the reason, so here’s a brief explanation.There was a special gift for all who attended the dinner. Back in August, 2013, Tom Meeker (and Joanne) met a young lady, Mallory, on the plane during their return trip from Alaska. It’s a long, convoluted story, but the end result is that they have developed a lasting friendship, and she became aware of the Orange and Black significance in Tom’s life. As a special token of this friendship, Mallory made two bracelets out of elastic loops in Tiger colors for Tom and Joanne, which were awesome!! Tom asked if she could make some for his upcoming Reunion, which she did, and they were distributed at the dinner. This wonderful young lady turned 8 years old in December, 2013 and lives in Mississippi. Special thanks to Mallory for making the unique remembrance of Reunions 2014.
There couldn’t be a ’56 Class function, especially in the ’56 Stadium Suite, without the sing-a-long piano music played by our very own maestro, Jim Freund. Following dinner, there was an amazing songfest by some VERY talented singers. We really have to make a recording next time - the group sounded fabulous!!
A bit later, many were seen at this year’s 60th Headquarters (located at the ground level in the Stadium) to enjoy the sounds from Stan Rubin’s Orchestra. What a pleasure it was to listen to the music and watch so many on the dance floor, especially some of the younger crowd. Their energy was phenomenal, and we were exhausted just watching!
Saturday was another #10 day with fabulous weather for the P-Rade, prior to which was the PU Fred Fox ’39 Memorial Band Concert at Cannon Green. Unfortunately many Classmates were unable to attend the P-Rade, but a significant number of ‘56ers participated and enjoyed the excitement of this unique event.
Those Classmates attending one or more of the Reunion events were: Aron, Barclay, Brazell, Coward, Culin, Doub, Eschenlauer, Flippin, Freund, Fulmer, Grotto, Hanna, Helms, Horner, Jordan, Klapperich, Lewis, Meeker, Quay, Sater, G. Schwartz, M. Schwartz, Shein, Snedeker, Tilgner, Varrin, Weber and Wilson, plus Class Associates Joyce Gardiner, Sue Rodgers, Sue Stuard and Betty Lou Thompson.
Many thanks to our roving photographers: Rita Doub, Jim Freund, Frederic Sater and Joanne Meeker, who contributed the many pictures to make up the following slideshows. Just click on the links and enjoy reliving the wonderful weekend. As mentioned with past events, we apologize if anyone was missed during the photo ops! However, we hope to receive additional contributions from other photographers, and they will be posted when received. Please e-mail any pictures, as jpg file attachments, to email@example.com.
Click on the following links to view pictures from Friday Night and Saturday's P-Rade:
Friday Night Class Dinner
Margo Bennett at the Philadelphia Flower Show
Margo Bennett has done it again!! Her artistic and creative talents were on display at the recent Philadelphia Flower Show held March 1 – 9, 2014, where she and her teammate, Mandy Swope, won a Blue Ribbon for their arrangement.
This year, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society partnered with a number of art museums to produce "ARTiculture," wherein exhibitors created floral arrangements by interpreting or recreating famous works of art. The picture on the left is the work of art from which Margo and Mandy worked to create their magnificent composition.
As Margo stated: “It is always fun to challenge one’s self to do a different approach, use materials in a different way….hence the brightly colored pool noodles, arched and bent, held together with various kinds of straps (in bright colors) sitting at odd angles and anchored with tropical flowers. Seemed to represent the painting well…..no one focal point but lots of rhythm and color moving the eye through the design.”
Pictured on the right is the winning arrangement created by Margo and Mandy, using pool noodles, bromeliads, pincushion Protea and black Calocasia leaves. Love the colors….they are definitely “politically correct!”
CONGRATULATIONS , Margo!!
Below is a link to a recap of the Show, which includes photos of some of the creations.
Gardening Gone Wild
Scroll down through the Class News section to see Margo's creation in the 2013 Flower Show.
ALUMNI DAY, February 22, 2014
Although Mother Nature had previously shown her wrath with vast amounts of snow and frigid temperatures, the sun shone brightly on February 22, 2014 when many classmates, plus honorary classmates, wives, widows and guests gathered to celebrate Alumni Day.
For a complete recap of the Alumni Day program, click on the following link to the University’s website: Alumni Day Activities
The Service of Remembrance followed the luncheon, and as always, it was a very moving tribute to those alumni and faculty members who passed away during 2013. Unfortunately, The Great Class - 1956 lost 20 during the past year.
The day’s events concluded with a reception and Class dinner in the Stadium 1956 Suite. Tom and Peggy Fulmer again went above and beyond by arranging a fabulous evening of sumptuous food, camaraderie, entertainment and beautiful centerpieces created by Peggy.
At the beginning of the reception/dinner, Tom Fulmer revealed that due to his medical condition, he plans to turn over the Presidency this Spring to Bob Varrin, Vice President. The complete text of Tom’s announcement to those in attendance can be found on this website’s home page. We are all saddened with this news and extend love, support and prayers to Tom and Peggy as he battles this ailment.
During the dinner, two very special awards were presented. First, Mary Snedeker was named an Honorary Classmate, and the following is the testimonial presented to her:
“Mary Snedeker has been as great a supporter of The Great Class – 1956 as any who graduated with us. She worked hand-in-hand with Ken in planning and helping execute our terrific and memorable 45th Reunion. She also provided constant assistance to Ken through his years as 10th Class President.
Perhaps even more demanding were the many, many years of planning and hosting off-year Reunion dinners at their home. Mary and Ken have also been staunch supporters and contributors to the ’56 Tailgates for nearly 2 ½ decades.
On behalf of The Great Class – 1956, we are proud to welcome Mary Snedeker as an Honorary Classmate this 22nd day of February, 2014.”
Following Mary’s presentation, the honor of being named a Distinguished Classmate was bestowed upon Tom Fulmer. This is an extremely well-deserved recognition of all Tom has done, not only for the Class, but for the University and the Princeton community as well.
Below is the text from the framed testimonial which was presented to Tom, along with a hand-carved tiger statue:
“It is with great pleasure that we proclaim Thomas Stephen Fulmer a 1956 Distinguished Classmate this 22nd day of February 2014.
His accomplishments as a classmate include: current Class President; twice elected Class Vice President; liaison with the University to the Stadium 1956 Suite; P-Rade Marshall for several decades; Mini-Reunion organizer; Princeton University Art Museum Docent; Graduate Trustee of Campus Club; host or organizer of many Class dinners at Reunions and countless other Class functions.
The Princeton Community has also benefitted from Tom’s most illustrious career as an architect, which includes work at the University, as well as his major involvement with the Nassau Club renovations, and for his significant contributions as a member of the following: Nassau Presbyterian Church Choir; Princeton Rotary Club; Bedens Brook Club; Nassau Club Board of Trustees; Princeton’s Zoning Board; Affordable Housing Board; and Family Service Board.
Tom, you are a true gentleman and certainly deserve this honor of being named a Distinguished Classmate.”
After dinner, we had the pleasure of being entertained by the Tigertones, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The highlight of their performance was when one of the group, Will Jankowski ‘16, announced that the Tigertones had a special connection with 1956ers, as he and his brother, Jack ‘17, who is also a member of the Tigertones, are the grandsons of our dear Mort Chute!! What a great surprise for us all and a wonderful remembrance of Mort. Pictured here are the Tigertones in action, plus Will and Jack!
Click on the links below for slideshows of the day’s events. For those who were not able to attend, we hope you’ll be able to feel the spirit of the day. For those who were there, enjoy reliving the wonderful gathering. (Note from the “roving photographer”…..sincere apologies if we missed anyone!!)
Pictures from Alumni Day Luncheon and Service of Remembrance.
Pictures taken during Class Reception and Dinner.
Those attending one or more of the day’s events were: Alfred, Coward, Culin, Eschenlauer, Flippin, Fritts, Fulmer, Joyce Gardiner, Gewalt, Hanna, Henderson, Horner, Jordan, Lewis, Meeker, Mills, Millspaugh, Sue Rodgers, M. Schwartz, Scott, Shein, Snedeker, Steigbigel, VandenHeuvel, Varrin and Webber.
NAPLES MINI REUNION, February 11 – 13, 2014
Frank Klapperich has done it again! Following the amazingly successful Chicago Mini Reunion last October, his Naples, FL gathering on February 11 – 13 brought out a record number of classmates for this annual event, number 7 in the series.
An informal dinner on Tuesday evening was held in “old” Naples at Ridgeway’s Restaurant, with 16 classmates (32 folks), which was about half of the number of attendees that flocked to The Club Pelican Bay the following evening. There, all enjoyed cocktails followed by a sumptuous buffet dinner featuring Italian cuisine. An enthusiastic locomotive for Frank capped a wonderful evening.
On Thursday, The Princeton Club of Southwest Florida held its monthly luncheon at Club Pelican Bay. Our own Stape Roy was guest speaker at this event, which drew a large contingent of ‘56ers along with many local Princetonians from other classes. Pictured here are Frank Klapperich and Stape Roy.
Attending one or more of the events were: Akers, Alfred, Aron, Bennerup, Bodman, Bond, Brazell, Dawes, Dietz, Doub, Driemeyer, Flippin, Frost, Grotto, W. Halloran, Hammes, Hicks, Holmes, Horner, Klapperich, Lemmon, Lewis, McCartney, Meeker, Mees, Muench, Pardee, Prichard, Rissell, Roy, Snedeker, Sweeney, Updike, Vodrey, Webber, as well as Class Associates Margo Bennett and Varick Niles.
To re-live the activities of the Naples Mini Reunion, click on the following links and then on the “View Album” button. ENJOY!!
Gathering at Ridgeway's Restaurant
Buffet Dinner at Club Pelican Bay
1956 Scholarship Winners
We are happy to report that the 1956 Scholarships have been awarded to the following:
Catherine Lambert ’15, who is concentrating in Classics and looks forward to a career in Academia; Susana Martinez ’16, who plans on a career in Medicine; and Trevor Bannard ‘14, son of our own Darby Bannard, Trevor is concentrating in Computer Science, with career plans of Computer Networking, Systems Design and Development.
The following is a lovely thank-you note received from Susana Martinez.
Dear Mr. Meeker:
I am writing to you to extend my sincere thanks to the Class of 1956. I am one of the recipients of The Class of 1956 Scholarship for this academic year, and I am grateful for the opportunity you have granted me to continue my education without worrying about financial burdens.
I am currently a sophomore deciding between Molecular Biology and Psychology as a major. I have a passion for Neuroscience, so I also intend to complete the Neuroscience Certificate Program. Upon graduating from Princeton University, I plan to pursue a career in medicine, possibly in the field of neurology.
Aside from academics, I love to dance and I am currently the co-Artistic Director of Ballet Folklórico de Princeton, a dance group on campus that enriches Princeton’s cultural community by performing the traditional folk dances of Mexico. I am also part of a program at Princeton that mentors elementary school students in Trenton.
By awarding me this scholarship, your Class has allowed me to pursue my academic passions and pursue other areas of interest. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me. I will not let you down.
Terrific Tigers.....Football Champs!!
2013 was a banner year for Tiger football. With eight wins and only two losses, we tied for the Ivy League Championship. The icing on the cake was achieving the BIG THREE TITLE with a three-overtime win over Harvard, and a shellacking of the Eli. Celebrating that was a spectacular bonfire on Cannon Green on November 24.
Look for a repeat next year as many letter winners from the Junior, Sophomore and Freshman classes will be returning to fight for another championship.
To re-live the events of the Yale weekend, click on the links below for photographic memories of a fabulous Homecoming Day tailgate, game and Class Reception:
Super Photos from Jim Freund
Sue Grassmyer's Fabulous Pictures
Dave Jordan's Pix of the Day (plus one of the cake from after the Penn game)
Terrific Digital Shots from Eric Kollevoll (husband of Diana Peyton Kollevoll ’86)
Meeker Memorable Moments
The beauty of the day was captured by Elisabeth Rodgers with this picture of the magnificent sunset from the ’56 Suite.
Many thanks to all these photographers for the great pictures.
Chicago Mini Reunion
The Great Class – 1956 Mini Reunion in Chicago, September 29 – October 2, 2013 is now history. Forty classmates, plus significant others totaling 75 persons, enjoyed spectacular Indian summer weather.
In addition to sightseeing, a boat cruise and museum tours, wonderful social events were shared at the Cape Cod Room (Drake Hotel), the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building, and a gala dinner at the Casino Club, which several people described as an F. Scott Fitzgerald setting.
Side activities included a jazz event organized by Bob Brink, a tour of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago hosted by Bob Haselkorn, and a walking architectural tour of the new “East Side” conducted by Lou Masotti.
Once we receive additional pictures of this wonderful event, they will be posted on the website for all to enjoy.
Those classmate who enjoyed this great mini reunion were: Agnew, Akers, Alfred, Barclay, Bates, Bodman, Brink, Culin, Dawes, Doub, Frost, Garth, Gavrin, Haselkorn, Henderson, Horner, Klapperich, Lawlor, Lewis, Masotti, Mayhew, McCartney, McDavitt, McMillan, Mees, Miller, Parker, Quay, Raymond, Riedlin, Rose, Roy, Satterfield, M. Schwartz, Scott, Smart, Stein, Waxter, Wise and Ziegler
The next Mini Reunion gathering is in Naples, FL on February 11 – 13, 2014. See the “Class Events” section on this website, or call Frank Klapperich, for details: 239-594-0278.
Princeton Club of New York Honors Royce Flippin
On September 20, 2013, Royce Flippin, Vice President of University Relations, was presented the Governors Award during the Governors Ball at the Princeton Club of New York. This award is given “quinquennially (every 5 years) to a long-standing member of the Board whose service, dedication, character and spirit enhance, support, and reflect the mission and values of The Princeton Club of New York”. This is a special recognition of an exceptional classmate and extraordinary, giving individual.
Joining Royce and Louise on this wonderful occasion were proud family members: namely, sons Bob ‘83, and Flip, ‘80 with his wife, Alexis; grandson, Brian, and brother, John ‘70 with his wife, Pam. Those in attendance from ’56 were Fred and Claudine Bacher, Tom and Peggy Fulmer, Bob and Flora Varrin, and Tom and Joanne Meeker.
2013 Football Opening Tailgate
Saturday, September 21, marked the first home football game for the 2013 season. It was also particularly special for Tom and Joanne Meeker, who celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary at a tailgate behind Cap & Gown. About 100 folks came to the event, which included family members, classmates with wives, class associates, honorary classmates and members of 5 other classes, as well as Band Alums from 2012 and 2013. The delicious food was prepared by the Cap chef and his staff, and an afternoon highlight was a special concert by our University Band. What an unforgettable day it was!
The day’s festivities were captured by some wonderful roving photographers (Jim Freund, Sue Grassmyer and Dave Jordan), and the following are links to their various slideshows. ENJOY!!
Freund's Fabulous Fotos
Dave's Dazzling Digitals
Sue's Super Shots
Meeker's Miscellaneous Mugshots
Possible Winter Mini
Bob Watson would like to organize a 3 or 4-day mini ski reunion this winter (2013 – 2014) if a sufficient number of classmates are interested. It is a first class area in Montana, which has very suitable trails for folks our age.
Send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will outline the plan.
Women in the News
For the past several years, Class Associate Terry Markisohn has volunteered with the Middletown Historical Society in Delaware that organizes the Annual Olde Tyme Peach Festival, which draws thousands of local and area visitors. She fills in wherever help is needed….traffic control, obtaining sponsors, mailing out publicity fliers, helping distribute baskets of peaches, participating in the parade….you name it, she does it, and always with her smile and contagious laugh.
Last year she rode on one of the floats, and this year, as President of the Middletown Historical Society, Terry had the honor of accompanying “Little Miss Peach” in an open convertible.
The Festival is usually held the 3rd weekend of August, so Google it for next year if you plan on being in the vicinity of Middleton, DE. It’s a very enjoyable event beginning with a huge parade and vendors selling homemade peach pies, peach jam, peach cobbler, and many more goodies, plus great entertainment. We heard that a local establishment also had the BEST peach martinis!!
All we can say is “Terry, you’re a real peach”!!
Sue Rodgers, Honorary Classmate and Class Associate, is certainly a bundle of energy. We all know how active she is in Princeton, not just with the University, but in many local organizations, as well as with her church.
Normally when people go on vacation, they relax, but no…..not Sue!! When she summers in Michigan, she merely transfers her endless energy there. In addition to having a “revolving door” for all the kids and grandchildren, plus other guests, she’s involved with the local theater and performs in the summer musicals they put on during the season She also sings in the local church choir, and this year, she became very active as a volunteer at the Point Betsie Lighthouse. The following is her note:
“The Friends of Point Betsie is a wonderful example of volunteer, sweat equity effort to restore the light and turn it into one of the most popular places to visit in our area.
Bob loved the place and we had talked for some time about beginning to volunteer there. Well that didn't happen, but this summer the chairman of the volunteers, an old friend from our St. Louis days, contacted me and asked me to be a docent. I am having a wonderful time being the “traffic cop” who keeps the visitors moving so they can have time up in the light tower. Some of the classmates will recognize the Lighthouse, as we visited it as part of our tour during the Mini Reunion in Michigan”.
Here is the link to the website for the Friends of Point Betsie: www.pointbetsie.org/index.html
Are there any other women in the ’56 Family who have some news to share? Send it in, along with pictures!!
Marcella Coleman Freund
Back in December 2012, Jim Freund sent news about his amazing Mother, Marcella, who celebrated her 105th birthday. Part of the write-up at that time was: “It was a gala occasion, with Marcy in fine form……looking great and engaging in spirited conversation with all the guests. We sang “Young at Heart” to her, with its classic line:
And if you should survive to a hundred and five, think of all you’ll derive out of being alive.”
Sadly, we just learned from Jim that Marcy, the inspiration for so many of his wonderful CDs, passed away on June 30. The following obituary appeared in the New York Times on July 2, 2013.
Marcella Coleman Freund- - - A remarkable woman.
Born in New York City in 1907 and a lifelong resident, Marcy celebrated her 105th birthday last December, mental faculties intact and looking great (as in the photo above). For several decades, she partnered with her beloved husband of 45 years, Sylvan Freund, in running Decorative Plant Corp., the company that pioneered outdoor displays on Fifth Avenue and was responsible for the sculpted angels that are still the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center at Christmastime. Although widowed almost 40 years ago, Marcy continued to live a full and fruitful life right to the end, sustained by her strong faith in the Almighty.
A talented artist, she was also an active participant in several continuing education programs and traveled on her own to numerous countries. On the occasion of Marcy's 105th birthday, President Obama wrote that she should "take pride in all you have accomplished," Governor Cuomo called her "an extraordinary individual," and Mayor Bloomberg said she was "an inspirational role model for us all." Marcy counseled and showered affection on her son, Jim, and grandsons, Erik and Tom, doted on her great-granddaughters, Delilah and Paige, and touched the lives of other family members and friends too numerous to mention. There's a big void in all our lives now, and we will miss her greatly.
A service was held at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on Monday, July 8, 2013. Contributions in Marcella Freund's memory may be made to Eighth Church of Christ, Scientist, 103 East 77th Street, NYC 10075.
Published in The New York Times on July 2, 2013.
We send our thoughts, prayers and sympathy to Jim and his family.
57th Reunion - May 31 - June 1, 2013
Our 57th reunion in 2013 was a wonderful time to reconnect, but also a very bittersweet event. Since January, 9 classmates have died, and on May 21, just before Reunions, our dear friend and Class President, Jim Bennett, also passed away.
The weekend began early Friday afternoon with a beautiful memorial service for Jim, where many Classmates gathered to join Margo and Jim’s family, as well as hundreds of friends and business associates, to celebrate his life.
Later on Friday, Classmates and spouses/guests gathered in the 1956 Stadium Suite for the Class Dinner, and Tom Fulmer began the evening with the following words:
“We come together with heavy hearts. Our Class President, Jim Bennett, passed away ten days ago. Many of us attended his stirring memorial service in Bryn Mawr this afternoon and were moved by the remembrances of the family and friends of this good man.
Shortly before he passed, Jim e-mailed me that he and Margo were not going to be able to be here tonight. I replied with regrets and asked if he had any remarks he would like me to pass along to you tonight. The day following Jim’s demise, Margo sent this message: “Tell them all that he loved them and Princeton…such a big part of his life!
Please let us observe a moment of silence in remembrance of this great gentleman, and friend to so many of us.
Tom continued with the following:
Over last weekend, I conducted a meeting of the Executive Committee by e-mail for the purpose of designating Jim’s successor and to fill the vacancy that I would leave if designated President. By last Tuesday the ballots were in and with no dissenting votes, I was officially made President and Bob Varrin was made Vice President. We will serve until the next 5-year Class Reunion.
Thanks to Frank Klapperich, our mini-reunion in Chicago, September 29 thru October 2 this fall is fully booked with 56 full-freight guests.
Also thanks to Frank, the oft-repeated class gathering in Naples, Florida is planned for February 11, 12, and 13, 2014. The organized fun will be an informal dinner with ’56 at a local restaurant, a banquet at the Pelican Bay Club, and a luncheon, also at the Pelican Bay Club, sponsored by the Princeton Club of South West Florida. Our own Stape Roy will be the speaker at the Class dinner and the luncheon.
Treasurer Mal Schwartz assures us that we are solvent, with assets of over $41,000 - slightly better than last year.
At this point I’d like to say thank you in advance for your support in the many endeavors our class will undertake between now and our 60th reunion in 2016, and turn the mike over to Jim Freund who will update us briefly on the work of Reach-Out ’56- ‘81-‘06.
Following Tom's address, the group continued with an evening of camaraderie and a wonderful dinner organized by Tom and Peggy Fulmer. The highlight of the evening was the marvelous entertainment by our own Jim Freund, who provided the fabulous sing-a-long piano accompaniment to the amazing singers in the group. Who knows……maybe the talented ‘56ers will "cut a record" soon?!?
After playing piano for sing-a-longs Thursday at ‘58’s 55th Reunion and Friday at our Class dinner, Jim and his musical colleagues were the featured attraction on Saturday evening during the 65th Reunion of the class of ’48 at Forbes College, where they performed songs from the Class’s college years for their listening, singing and dancing pleasure.
Saturday brought a number of our Classmates back to campus where we gathered in front of Nassau Hall to begin yet another memorable P-Rade. This year was exceptional, as the temperature reached into the 90’s, but it was a great day!
Click on the following links to slideshows from Friday night, Saturday’s P-Rade, and a special group of PU Band pictures with Band Officers and members, both past and present, who all have a special bond with ’56. Many of you will recognize them from past tailgates!!
Friday Night Dinner
PU Band at Concert and in P-Rade
Many thanks to the contributors of pictures which made up the attached slideshows: Rita Doub, Jim Freund, Erik Kollevoll (spouse of Diana Peyton Kollevoll ’86) and Joanne Meeker. If there were any other photographers who would like to share their pictorial memories of the weekend, please send them to email@example.com as jpg file attachments. Whatever we receive will be added to the website.
Dave Jordan sent some additional pictures, so just click on the following link to view them. Thanks, Dave!!!
Dave Jordan's pictures
News from Norfleet (Fleet) Johnston and his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America, particularly with the recently published commemorative book: “From the Centennial to the Summit, The Scouting Adventure Continues”. The book is an amazing collection of fabulous pictures and commentary, and as Robert J. Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive stated in the Forward ……"I invite you to enjoy this wonderfully presented overview of the BSA 100th Anniversary Celebration, salute to our National Scouting Museum, and look to the future at the Summit!”
In April 2013, Fleet wrote:
“It took about two years to complete the book. This was my idea, but I had a lot of help from many sources to get it done. Most of the family pictures from the Johnston Historical Museum back in the 60’s were mine. The Museum has been a family project, and I have been associated with it for over 50 years.
Back in 1970, I received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts while in the Northeast Georgia Council. This award is proudly worn at all Scout functions.”
The cost of this special publication is $14.99 plus S & H. If you wish to acquire this wonderful book, contact Fleet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BULLETIN: March 21, 2013
Here’s some WONDERFUL news from George Hirsch:
“Shay is now home after a 64 day stay in New York Hospital. Fortunately I was able to be with her during most of that time. Following her stem cell transplant, there were numerous, dangerous complications including a virulent fungal infection. She still goes into the hospital most days for transfusions, infusions, meds, etc., but she's so happy to be recuperating at home. (The following is a link to her journal: Shay's Journal )
This picture of Shay is a poster we made up for her surprise homecoming welcome.”
WELCOME HOME, Shay, and best wishes for continued recovery.
Margo Bennett and the Philadelphia Flower Show - 2013
There’s an abundance of diverse and interesting talent within the ’56 family…..not only with the classmates, but their wives, also. For example, we received recent news from Margo Bennett, who is actively involved with the Philadelphia Flower Show.
As a bit of background, The Philadelphia Flower Show, the world's oldest and largest indoor flower show, was first held in 1829 in an 82-by-69-foot building called Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street. Twenty-five Society members showed off their horticultural treasures, including a variety of exotic and native plants. After being located in a number of different venues throughout the years, the Show is currently housed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where it encompasses 33 indoor acres, with exhibit space taking up 10 acres of the main exhibit hall. The Show now entertains more than 265,000 people each year.
Margo has been exhibiting her artistic arrangements at the show for many years, and she describes this year’s creation as follows:
“The exotic plant materials were: Orange Croton leaves I picked from a friend's bush in Boca Grande. The orchids were cymbidiums that the wholesaler sold me when my Anthurium order came in damaged.
I used 1/2" copper tubing, held in the vase with floral foam in the bottom and another piece further up, and all surrounded by the sand for firmness and weight. In the top 1/3rd I used an orange mesh used with bouquets to line the vase and had 3 orchids inside. On the outside there was a folded band of the mesh at the top of the sand and, again, at the bottom of the vase. These bands were covered with the spiraling wrap of copper wire with a spiral twist at each end; held in place with U-glue tabs (removable sticky squares). Neither the leaves nor the orchids were in water, as they survive well out of water for several days.
Got only an Honorable Mention. Loved the exotic plant material, but density of the sand in the vase overwhelmed the design. Still, I LOVED what I did, and it is OK! Jim was my aide.”
Dave Jordan writes:
"While in Arizona, (February, 2013) my wife, Jean, and I decided to take in a Cactus League spring training game, so we journeyed to Phoenix Municipal Stadium to see the Oakland A's and the San Diego Padres. Much to my surprise, when we entered the ballpark we discovered a large open-air booth occupied by six former big league stars, mostly associated with the A's, including John "Blue Moon" Odom, Vida Blue, Bert Campaneris, Mudcat Grant, and Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Gaylord Perry. They were signing autographs for the benefit of a local Phoenix charity.
They were very friendly and chatty, and I told them that four of them were very prominently featured in the book I am just completing on the A's in Philadelphia, Kansas City and Oakland, which interested them as well. And Fingers (pictured here along with Gaylord Perry) was happy to hear that I was present at his induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1992, when I was there for the same-day induction of Hal Newhouser."
For additional pictures, click on the following link: Baseball Greats
Dave…..Too bad you didn’t have a supply of your books with you. You could have set up a table and had a book signing of all your baseball related publications!!
ALUMNI DAY, 2013
Despite many of our classmates having flown to the warm south for the winter months, 1956 had a great turnout for Alumni Day on February 23, 2013 with many classmates, plus honorary classmates, wives, widows and guests. Additionally, 5 members from the Class of 1954, some with their wives, joined us for cocktails and dinner.
As time passes, the location of our tables is getting closer to the dais, which enabled us to easily enjoy the program, especially the background and achievements of this year’s Pyne Prize winners. We were also honored to have the new PU Band Officers stop by to say hello. For a complete recap of the Alumni Day program, click on the following link to the University’s website:
Alumni Day Activities
As you know, this year’s Alumni Day was the last one with President Shirley Tilghman at the helm, and as a special “thank you” to her, the Alumni Council created a video tribute compiled of photo submissions from alumni. As previously mentioned on our website, 1956 submitted four pictures, all of which were included. Following is the link to the Alumni Council’s video tribute, but you have to watch carefully as the slideshow is VERY fast!!
Video Tribute to Shirley
The Service of Remembrance followed the luncheon, and as always, it was a very moving tribute to those alumni who passed away during 2012. Unfortunately, The Great Class 1956 lost 15 during the past year, and a number of the widows and their family members were in attendance.
The day’s events concluded with a reception and Class dinner in the 1956 Stadium Suite. Tom Fulmer (and Peggy, too) did a fabulous job arranging a wonderful evening of sumptuous food and camaraderie, along with beautiful centerpieces created by Peggy.
During the dinner, a very special award was presented to Bob Varrin as he was named a Distinguished Classmate. This is an extremely well-deserved recognition of all Bob has done for the Class and the University. To quote the closing sentence of the award presentation, “Bob, you have given your all to Princeton and to our Class. It is with thanks and our great pleasure to honor you as a Distinguished Classmate.” Congratulations, Bob!!
Following dinner, we had the privilege of listening to our guest speaker, Princeton’s football coach Bob Surace. His presentation was enlightening, humorous, and thoroughly enjoyed by all, and the football fans who were in attendance are looking forward to the 2013 season. We were pleased that Bob’s wife, Lisa, also joined us.
No class event in the Stadium Suite would be complete without the wonderful piano music provided by Jim Freund for our listening and singing pleasure. Many thanks, Jim!!
Click on the link below for a slideshow of the day’s events. For those who were not able to attend, we hope you’ll be able to feel the spirit of the day. For those who were there, enjoy reliving the wonderful gathering. (Note from the “roving photographer”…..sincere apologies if we missed anyone!!)
Alumni Day Events
Those attending one or more of the day’s events were: Bennett, Briger, Coward, Culin, Eschenlauer, Freund, Fritts, Fulmer, Joyce Gardiner, Hanna, Horner, Lewis, M. Schwartz, Sally McMillin, Meeker, Mills, Millspaugh, Sue Rodgers, Shein, Sue Stuard, and Varrin.
Class Dinner, Naples, FL
Thanks to the leadership and planning by Frank Klapperich, 27 classmates, along with many of their wives, had a marvelous mini-Reunion in Naples, FL this past February 13. This gathering in Naples has become an annual event, and it included cocktails followed by a sumptuous Italian buffet dinner at the Club Pelican Bay.
Attending were Akers, Alfred, Bennerup, Bennett, Bodman, Conover, Dietz, Doub, Driemeyer, Fulmer, Grotto, Halloran, Hoglund, Holmes, Kaufman, Klapperich, Lemmon, McCartney, Pardee, Parker, Prichard, Rissell, Shein, Snedeker, Stapleton, Updike and Waxter.
Many thanks to Vivian Grotto for being the "roving photographer", along with a few snapshots from Mary Snedeker, Rita Doub and Bill Lemmon, all of whom captured the mood of the wonderful evening.
Clicking on the following link will take you to some wonderful pictures of the event. Naples 2013
Shay Hirsch and Caring Bridge
Since many have been asking about George Hirsch’s wife, Shay, we wanted to share the following.
Shay has been in an Homeric battle with cancer for over 10 years. She has been hospitalized for over two months, but “has truly amazed all with her grace, courage and love”, according to George. He has kept a journey of Shay’s epic struggle, which can be read online by clicking on the following link: Caring Bridge. Type in Hirsch and then select Shay Hirsch, and click on the Journal tab.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Shay and George.
Class of 1956 Scholarship Recipient
This is worth sharing!! The following letter was received from Raven DeRamus, a 2012 – 2013 Class of 1956 Scholarship recipient, who will be graduating when we celebrate our 60th Reunion!!
February 1, 2013
Raven DeRamus ‘16
0261 Frist Campus Center
Princeton, NJ 08544
Dear Class of 1956:
I am ever so grateful to your scholarship fund for providing the help I needed to begin my college career at Princeton University in 2012. Although your scholarship had the intention of giving me only financial assistance, it also gave me a sound peace of mind and sense of security. Without generous people like you who dedicate your time and energy to students like me, I would have never been able to afford an Ivy League education. Because of people like you, I did not shy away from my biggest dreams during my senior year in high school – I chased them. Now, my younger sister and brother are currently inspired to pursue prestigious college educations because of the help that I was given when I came here.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing this dream of mine to come true. I thank you for providing me with the financial aid I needed to come to my first-choice school, so that I wouldn’t have to settle for anything less than my best. I am forever grateful for your generous donations to students in need at Princeton University.
Raven DeRamus ‘16
In mid-January, all class officers were contacted by the Princeton University Class Affairs Team as follows:
“To say thank you to President Shirley M. Tilghman, the Alumni Council is creating a photo and video tribute that will be shown as a special surprise at the Alumni Day luncheon on Saturday, February 23. We are asking for you to participate on behalf of your classmates in this special project. . To be considered for inclusion, your submission should be sent in by Thursday, January 31, 2013. Be creative! We look forward to seeing some fun contributions from you and your classmates”.
We’re happy to report that The Great Class 1956 submitted four pictures, which will hopefully be included in the presentation to Shirley. Two are shown here: one from our 55th Reunion, and the other, which was sent by Bill Sweeney with the following note:
“The Portland Japanese Garden presented the first lecture by a new member of the Portland community, Dr. Yoshiaki Shimizu, Marquand Professor of Art and Archeology Emeritus, Princeton University. Local Princetonions, including yours truly, used the occasion to send a “We Love Shirley” message to the Pres via the enclosed photo.”
Bob Johnstone et al wintering in sunny Naples, FL
In early February, Bob Johnstone and his wife, Mary, got together with Rita and Jack Doub, and Vivian and Joe Grotto for a sunset cruise, followed by dinner at the Naples Yacht Club.
Lovely way to avoid shoveling snow!!
Wonderful heartwarming story from Jim Freund........
“On December 26, 2012, we celebrated the 105th birthday of my mother, Marcella Freund, with family and a few friends (including classmate John Doyle) who are close to her. It was a gala occasion, with Marcy in fine form -- looking great and engaging in spirited conversation with all the guests.
We sang "Young at Heart" to her, with its classic line: "And if you should survive/ to a hundred and five/ think of all you'll derive/ out of being alive."
I'm attaching a photo of Marcy and me with her grandson, Tom, and great-granddaughter, Delilah. I'm wondering if anyone else in our class has a parent living of that vintage and sprightliness.”
What a magnificent milestone. Jim, you are truly blessed!!
PETER YOUNG just self-published a book called Mission to Moscow, about his two and a half years in the mid-1960s covering the Soviet Union for Life Magazine, and the following is a brief explanation of what the book attempts to do.
Fifty years ago when few foreign journalists ventured very far into the Soviet heartland, Life sent me prospecting for stories from the Black Sea resorts to the shores of Kamchatka in the Pacific Far East. This was a daunting assignment and one that I saw as a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
What I found was truly astonishing. I discovered a slowly opening Soviet society driven by three new forces – a new generation of youth seeking a more influential role in the country’s affairs, new and enlightened, western-style business management, and an intelligentsia, for whom freedom of expression was becoming an everyday fact of life.
I wrote about beer parties at youth camps on the Black Sea, Stalin’s hometown in Soviet Georgia, the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, and profiled such notables as Natalia Bessmertnova, the future Bolshoi prima ballerina whose name in Russian means “immortal;” and Yugoslavia’s Milovan Djilas, the first ranking Communist to openly defy the system in a series of books for which he was jailed for more than 20 years.
A new literary class was appearing in Russia at the time, represented by the poet, Andrei Voznesenski, a leader of Soviet intellectual life. We became good friends, and I spent several pleasant evenings with him, discussing new Soviet artists and recent changes in the Russian cultural scene.
For the high point of the memoir, I recalled the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and reviewed, with fresh insights, the shocking sight of Russian tanks entering Prague.
And I closed with a profile of the dissident Milovan Djilas, who, looking ahead, told me: “History will take quite a good walk through the Soviet Union by the end of the centrury. In thirty years, everything will be changed in Russia, its economic and social relations with the West, its government and Party structure. The spirit inside the Party will change. I believe democracy will come to Russia. It has to come. It cannot be stopped.”
To quote Roy Rowan, Life’s former chief of correspondents, “Peter’s superbly written memories of that unique assignment reflect the most colorful and amusing high point of a life-long career of reporting and editing.”
Also, below is a link for those who might want to see what the book looks like and how to go about buying one for a mere $18.
The following is a letter from LEW GATCH…….Classmate, Attorney & Radio Talk Show Host
January 25, 2013
I host EVERYBODYS PLANNING HOUR on Wednesdays from 1-2 on WMKVFM.ORG (for streaming) on 89.3 from Cincinnati Mapleknoll Village (the only retirement community in the US which has its own public radio station) on which I interview people/authors/anyone who can impart wisdom to our 25,000 listeners about various topics such as finance, religion, insurance, estate planning, language, mortgages etc. I have experts who will tell callers what their weapons, jewels, paintings, antiques are worth after hearing a description and condition (an oral antiques road show). I don’t use the program to plug my law practice, rather host program on behalf of the Bahmann Foundation which underwrites the program and of which I am a trustee. 1-877-772-9658.
In Traverse City I host same name program (generally the last two Saturdays of each month when I am in my TC office…..brrrrrrr) on WTCM 580 AM, a 50,000 watt AM station from 7-8 AM. I do flog my practice on this program, talk estate planning, taxes, etc and take calls. To listen on computer www.WTCMRADIO.COM. Phone: 1-855-225-5080. I’ve been doing that program since 1994 so my voice is recognized throughout northern MI and parts of Canada.
Several years ago I was in Detroit airport waiting for a snow delayed plane. I was talking to Michael Moore (he lives in Traverse City when not making bogus flicks such as Fahrenheit #) when a very excited celebrity admirer came up to us, passed by Moore, and said “You’re Lew Gatch! I’ve been listening to you for years.”
Class of 1956 Renaissance Man
Jim Freund, our Renaissance classmate (mediator, author, photographer, musician, recording artist, and retired attorney), has published another book. His “Anatomy of a Mediation” details effective mediation techniques for real-world business disputes. A reception celebrating the publication of this book was held in New York City on December 18, 2012. Classmates who attended were Slade Mills and John Doyle, pictured with Jim, plus Joe Grotto and George Hirsch. The book is published by PLI (Practising Law Institute in NYC), but is also available from Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle.
In addition to this book, Jim has recently produced some other gems: a piano CD entitled “Bring Him Home”, 28 engaging melodies of the ‘80s; a one act play, “Montana Murder Mystery”; an essay on “Sensitivity”; a booklet of his photos with touch-up, “A Touch of Color”. Not including the “Anatomy of a Mediation” book, Jim will be happy to send any or all of these at no charge on request. Just contact him at email@example.com, cell phone 917-856-5846, or by mail to 180 East 79th Street, PH-A, New York, NY 10021. Include your mailing address!
KIT SMITH, MARATHON MAN!!
The following message was recently received from Kit Smith:
“I DID IT!!! On Sunday December 9, I completed my 25th Honolulu Marathon and 50th marathon over-all, proudly wearing number 50 on my purple Team in Training singlet.
I take pride in that achievement, of course, and I'm grateful for your supporting me so generously in my fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My latest total: $7,603. For your generosity, mahalo nui loa --- thank you very much!
I almost didn’t make it to the magic moment -- finishing! Early on in the race I could tell that my “splits” -- per-mile times -- were sub-par. (Photo at mile 10). By halfway, I knew that sub-5 hours was out of reach. By mile 22, I knew even sub-6 hours wasn’t possible.
I also knew that my precious wife Margie and daughter Sandy, (visiting from Arizona) would be worried. With 4 miles to go, I spotted a friend at roadside, Susie Roth. I asked if she would call Margie to tell her I was OK, just very slow. Susie, noting my wobbliness, ordered me to her car. I said thanks but no way -- I’m committed to finishing. Stubborn as a mule, I soldiered on.
Susie wisely called Margie back to tell her that I wasn't OK. So Margie and Sandy started walking rapidly up Diamond Head Road to intercept me, hoping to talk sense into me. I said NO, I’m not stopping. (There’s a wonderful Hawaiian word for stubborn -- pakiki. I was pakiki in spades.)
I kept doing what seemed to me a very slow run. Running helped me stay upright and not fall, I insisted. At last I made it to the finish line, crossing in 6 hours, 31 minutes. My previous slowest was below 5 hours. Ouch!! BUT . . . I did finish! How could I NOT finish, given this (for me) historically important marathon and -- and to properly honor my “honored teammates” (blood cancer patients) and many donors.
(Right photo: Being walked to the medical tent -- still smiling, please note. All my "vitals" checked out fine. I'd had a recent virus, but the extent of my wooziness was a mystery.)
Thank you, again, for supporting me in this adventure -- and for donating so generously to an important cause. -- Kit “
If you would like to get in touch with Kit, his e-mail address is Smithkit@aol.com
2012 Tailgate / Football Season
On October 20, there was a large tailgate turnout behind Cap & Gown for Homecoming, followed by a spectacular last-second win over previously unbeaten Harvard. Final score 39 – 34!!
The celebration continued with many classmates assembling in the Stadium 1956 Suite for cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Click on the links below for pre- and post- game pictures and the on-field celebration.
Pictures from Jim Freund
Photo contributions from Eric Kollevol, husband of Diana Peyton Kollevol '86
Pictured here in September, 2012 are Dave Jordan, along with Joe Illick, who traveled from San Francisco to Bethlehem, PA, where he exhibited his collection of prints and poems about U.S. presidents. During his visit to the east coast, Joe also attended his 60th high school reunion.
To learn about Joe's presidential woodcuts and poetry, click on the following link: The Art of the Woodcut
NY Times Coverage of '56 Members
Two classmates made headlines in the NY Times published on Sunday, June 24, 2012: one as a “featured subject”, and the other as contributing writer. For those who may have missed seeing the articles, we’ve brought them to you!
Our “featured subject” is none other than “Mr. West Side to East Side New York”…..Jim Freund, along with his wife, Barbara Fox. This is an intriguing article about the transition they made from a West Side townhouse to their East Side penthouse. To read the entire article, click on the following link: From Townhouse to Penthouse
As a prelude to the upcoming Summer Olympics, George Hirsch, Chairman of the New York Road Runners and former longtime publisher of Runner’s World, wrote a fascinating commentary about his experiences while attending the 1952 Helsinki Games. Click on the following link to read his recollections: George Hirsch Commentary
56th REUNION - June 1 - 2, 2012
This year’s Reunion was another great gathering of wonderful friends, and it was a rather significant event as we celebrated the 56th Reunion of The Great Class – 1956!
On Friday afternoon, a very special event took place at Rockefeller College. Our own Bob Varrin was honored by being presented with the Alumni Association Award for Service to Princeton. CONGRATULATIONS, Bob, for a well-deserved tribute that recognizes all you have done for the Class and the University.
Friday evening, the group of classmates with wives/guests gathered in the Stadium 1956 Suite for an enjoyable cocktail hour and buffet dinner, superbly arranged by Tom Fulmer. Adding to the ambiance of the evening was the marvelous background piano music provided by our infamous Jim Freund and enjoyed by all. While the weather during the day was perfect, the heavens opened up after dinner, and a pouring rain blanketed the campus for the night.
Saturday brought another beautiful day with more sunshine and a glorious day for the legendary P-Rade. Although the 1956 contingent was a bit small, we received resounding Locomotives from the younger classes as we paraded through campus. The weekend was another great Reunion experience for all who attended.
At one or more of the weekend events were the following classmates: Aldrich, Alfred, Bacher, Barclay, Bennerup, Bennett, Coward, Crowther, Culin, Doub, Eschenlauer, Flippin, Freund, Fulmer, Grotto, Helms, Holmes, Horner, Jordan, Lewis, Meeker, Rivell, Sue Rodgers, Sater, Gordie Schwartz, Mal Schwartz, Scott, Shein, Snedeker, Sue Stuard, Thompson, Varrin, and Webber.
To re-live the weekend, just click on the following captioned links below for slideshows from the various events during Reunions, and many thanks to Dave Jordan and Jim Freund for contributing to the pictorial memories. ENJOY!!!!
NOTE: Due to “technical difficulties” in posting these pictures, some of the slide shows are not too clear. Once the situation is rectified, they will be re-posted. ‘Til then, enjoy what you see!!
Presentation of Award to Bob Varrin
Friday Night Dinner
Pictures from Dave Jordan
Pictures from Jim Freund
Saturday and P-Rade
Since The Princeton Band is near and dear to 1956, there is a separate slide show below with their pictures.
The "Consummate Volunteer"
Bruce Akers began his banking career 52 years ago at National City Bank, and after holding many positions at various institutions, he retired in 2000 as senior vice president, Civic Affairs, for KeyBank. However, over the years he has been extremely involved with countless volunteer groups and has tirelessly continued with those associations since retirement. The following is a VERY brief recap of some of the honors he has received in recognition of his deep commitment to helping others.
On December 31, 2011, he retired as Mayor of the City of Pepper Pike, an eastern suburb of Cleveland, after 20 years (5 terms) as the Mayor. In late October, the Cuyahoga County Mayors & City Managers Association, of which he is a past president, paid him the high honor at a roast-and-toast dinner by presenting him with the Senator George V. Voinovich Municipal Service Award for dedicated commitment and outstanding achievement in service to local government. Senator Voinovich personally presented the award to Bruce.
In November, Ursuline College, a Catholic Women’s college located in Pepper Pike, held a reception in his honor at which they announced the establishment of the Bruce H. Akers Endowed Scholarship in Political Science at Ursuline.
While a bit dated, back in 2006 the Northern Ohio Municipal Leader Magazine named Bruce the Municipal Leader of the Year, and for two years, he was named by Inside Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in Greater Cleveland.
His enthusiastic participation in a myriad of volunteer groups over the years has earned him countless awards and special tributes, and the Cleveland area is certainly fortunate to have his dedicated service to so many organizations.
Class Gathering in Naples, FL, February 15, 2012
We've received some WONDERFUL pictures taken by Vivian Grotto at the February Class gathering in Naples, FL. Click on the following link to enjoy the festivities.
Slideshow of Naples, FL Dinner
Dave and Jean Jordan traveled to Hilton Head and Savannah in early March. As part of their trip, they dined with Steve Alfred one evening, and then got together with Steve again, along with Bill and Donna Brunstad Sweeney, for dinner at Charlie's L'Etoile Verte, one of the best restaurants in Hilton Head. Dave also relayed the news that the Sweeneys have sold their place on Hilton Head and are moving to Portland, Oregon.
Alumni Day, February 25, 2012
Alumni Day brought together many ‘56ers for all the special events. There were numerous morning programs and lectures offered by the University, and we heard from a few attendees that The Art and Science of Motorcycle Design presentation was spectacular!!
As always, the luncheon in Jadwin was very impressive. This year’s Pyne Prize winners, Ann-Marie Elvin ‘12 and James Valcourt ‘12, are not only remarkable with their scholastic and extra-curricular achievements, but they were both quasi stand-up comedians. What delightful speeches were made by both of them. If you haven’t seen their write-ups on the Princeton.edu website, click on the following link to view their bios and accomplishments. Just wish a video had been taken of their presentations…..you would have enjoyed it!
Pyne Prize Winners.
Following the Luncheon was the very moving Service of Remembrance. This year’s service was extremely meaningful but difficult as 15 dear classmates passed away during 2011. However, we left the service with fond memories of those who are no longer with us and were uplifted by the homily delivered by Rabbi Cindy G. Enger.
Special thanks to Tom Fulmer, who arranged a fabulous Class dinner in the 1956 Stadium Suite, where we enjoyed extraordinarily delicious food and camaraderie. During the dinner, a very special award was presented to Sue Rodgers w56 as she was named an Honorary Classmate. This is an extremely well-deserved and long overdue recognition of all she has done for not only the Class of 1956, but for Princeton University. Congratulations, Sue!!
The evening continued with David Jordan, our guest speaker, delivering a very humorous and informative talk about his new book: “FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944”. It is a MUST read, and can be purchased on Amazon.com. You’ll love it!
For a brief slideshow of the day’s activities, click on
Alumni Day Slideshow
The following attended the Alumni Day festivities: Alfred, Bennett, Coward, Culin, Fulmer, Gardiner, Hanna, Horner, Jordan, Lewis, McCartney, Meeker, Shein, Steigbigel and Varrin. Also Sue Rodgers with son, Rob ‘88, daughter, Elisabeth ‘86 and her husband, James, along with Kate Betts ‘86, daughter of classmate Hobie Betts.
Missing from the above list were Jack and Betty Lou Thompson but for a VERY good reason. They were attending a special weekend at Wilson College, where Betty Lou was being honored for her efforts in co-chairing their capital fund campaign, which raised over $51 million (their projected goal was $45 million!!). Congratulations Betty Lou….what a fantastic job!!
Class Gathering in Naples, FL, February 15, 2012
The Great Class 1956 gathered for a post 55th Reunion Dinner on Wednesday, February 15 in Naples, Florida. This was the 9th Annual gathering, which was hosted by Frank Klapperich and his wife, Mugs. The attendance this year was the largest ever for this event and included 30 classmates who attended in person, and 3 who attended in “spirit” due to various health issues.
Those attending in person included Bruce and Barbara Akers, Fred and Claudine Bacher, Dave and Nancy Barclay, Jim and Margot Bennett, John and Susan Bodman, Jim and Kathy Brazell, Harry and Nancy Dawes, Audie and Jody Dietz, Jack and Rita Doub, Derick and Sally Driemeyer, Tom and Peggy Fulmer, Bill and Mary Helen Halloran, Gordon and Judy Hammes, Bill Hoglund, Kirby and Judy Holmes, Roger and Kristin Kauffman, Bill and Jean Lemmon, Fraser and Maxine Lewis, Bob and Janet McCartney, Tom and Mary Lou Meese, Wayne and Martha Miller, Karl and Anyltha Muench, Fred and Laura Pardee, Bob and Sally Richards, Ted and Willie Rissell, Ken and Mary Snedeker, Bill Sweeney and Donna Brunstad, Bud and Fran Updike, and finally Ross and Mary Lou Webber.
The three classmates who attended in spirit included Joe Grotto, who is recovering from back surgery (his wife, Vivian, actually attended the dinner), Nick Niles and Fred Prichard.
The evening included a remembrance of our classmate, Bob Rodgers, and a thank you to Bob McCartney, for his leadership role in our class fund raising activities. It was also announced that preliminary plans are set for a mini-reunion in Chicago in the Spring or Fall of 2013.
If there were any photographers at this affair, please forward your pictures to Tom Meeker so they can be posted on the website.
PRINCETON Tigers Upset 24th Ranked Harvard 70 to 62!!!
When was the last time you saw the fans mob the basketball court after a game?? Well, this occurred on February 11, 2012, witnessed by a standing-room-only crowd at Jadwin, as the Tigers roared over the Harvard Crimson in a FANTASTIC game!!
A small group of ‘56ers and friends, rounded up by Sue Rodgers, met prior to the game for an early dinner at the Princeton Sports Bar, the former Annex. Those who attended the evening events were Sue along with her daughter, Elisabeth and son-in-law, James; Terry Markisohn and Gene Hester; Honorary Classmate Dottie Werner, Louise and Royce Flippin, Flora and Bob Varrin, and Joanne and Tom Meeker.
Click on the following link to view a very short slideshow of the evening, highlighted with some end-of-the-game pictures. You can almost FEEL the excitement of the crowd!!
The following new items are available free from Jim Freund:
Piano CD's of Lerner & Loewe and of yuletide tunes.
Vocal and instrumental CD ("Accentuate the Positive") of 52 upbeat songs to raise your spirits throughout the year.
DVD of the Freund Family Trio at our 55th Reunion and in the Alumni Battle of the Bands.
Essay on "Good Judgment"; four short stories with photography themes; and a small portfolio of b&w shots of Central Park.
If you would like any of these items, contact Jim at:
News from Kit Smith highlighting his recent marathon in Honolulu……………………..
Here is a report on my Honolulu Marathon, run on December 11, 2011. I ran as a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, through its outstanding Team in Training (TNT) program. And I have good news: Thanks to many contributors, I raised $7,845….tops among Team in Training participants from Hawaii and fifth highest nationwide.
Among the supporters calling “GO TEAM!!” along the 26.2 miles were my beloved Margie and daughter, Sandy, visiting from Arizona. (Sandy has done several TNT fundraising events in Arizona.)
I finished in 4 hours, 44 minutes…..far from my best, but good enough for 2nd among 58 men aged 75 – 79 (mostly from Japan). Nearing the finish, I was a happy, fulfilled man. (See photo).
Alas, I also have very sad news. On January 5, 2012, my precious “honored teammate”, Joan Masin Freck of Virginia, lost her 2 ½ year battle with a blood disorder. Joan was the wife of classmate and trombone-playing buddy, Peter Freck. Joan and Peter made a special trip to see me run in the 2010 Boston Marathon.
My plans for 2012?? I am entered again in the Boston Marathon (April 16) and hope to do the Berlin Marathon September 30. If all works out, Honolulu 2012 will be my 25th Honolulu Marathon and 50th marathon overall. For certain, I will run that one in memory of Joan.
End of the 2011 Football Season
The 2011 football season is now over, and although the Tigers had difficulties on the field this year, the home-game tailgates turned out to be winners, despite adverse weather conditions provided by Mother Nature. However, the spirit of 1956 did not falter, and many of the stalwarts braved the wind, rain and snow, enjoying each other’s company and sharing tasty delicacies!!
The 1956 “Yale Gate” on November 12 brought out the multitudes at Cap with a crowd exceeding 90 folks. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful gathering with good friends. The culinary contributions to feed the masses were amazing, and we’re sure no one went away hungry!!
We’re happy to announce that because of the generosity of the Great Class 1956 tailgaters and friends, over $3,100 was raised for the Princeton Band, surpassing last year’s collection of $3,009. As they do for 1956 Tailgaters at each home game behind Cap, the Band performed for the crowd, and a special recognition Locomotive was given to the graduating seniors.
The highlight of the tailgate was an appearance by Kimberly Ho Schoelen, immediate past President from the Class of 1981, who presented Dan Gardiner with their reunion jacket and bestowed upon him the distinction of being an Honorary Member of their Class. This was in recognition of Dan’s dedicated involvement with Reach Out 56 / 81.
Following the game, the Class held a reception in the 1956 Suite at the stadium, where Jim Freund tickled the ivories, providing wonderful background music and sing-a-long participation.
To view a small sampling of the day’s events, click on the following link.
Yale Events 2011
We thank Sue Grassmyer, Dave Jordan, Lisa Schmucki, and Joanne Meeker for their photo contributions. If anyone has additional pictures to supplement this slideshow, please send them to Tom Meeker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to David Jordan, we have some additional candid shots from the tailgate, game and reception during the Yale weekend festivities. ENJOY!! Just click on the following link:
Dave Jordan's Pictures
On Sunday, October 16, 2011, Dave Jordan had a successful book-signing for his new book published by Indiana University Press, FDR, Dewey and the Election of 1944.
The affair took place at the Saturday Club in Wayne, Pa., and was attended by friends, neighbors, relatives and some high school and college classmates. Dave was pleased that the general reaction to his book was very favorable. “If these folks like it,” he figured, “maybe it’ll be a best-seller.”
Dave spoke briefly to the group about the many travels involved in putting the work together as well as his personal recollections of that election, “when I was nine years old.”
Hilton Head Mini Reunion
A dozen of our classmates gathered on Hilton Head Island on the weekend of October 13-16, 2011 in perfect weather for tours of Savannah, Beaufort, and Spring Island, hosted by Steve Alfred and Bill Sweeney, along with their wives. Accommodations were in a picturesque 2-story inn adjacent to a marina, with breakfasts on an outside balcony overlooking the marina. Dinners were in the Salty Dog Cafe, the Sea Pines Country Club (followed by a comedy show), and around the pool at the condo of Steve Alfred and Rita Hungate (ending with a speaker on the history of the development of Hilton Head Island).
On Friday, the group toured beautiful historic Beaufort, a National Historic Landmark whose distinctive architecture sets it apart from Charleston and Savannah. We saw the Verdier House (1804) which served as headquarters for the Union army occupying Beaufort and surrounding areas from November 1861 until the end of the Civil War. We also visited St. Helena's Episcopal Church, which served as a temporary Union hospital during the battle of Port Royal Sound. We then went to Spring Island, where our classmate Bill Agnew welcomed us to the Summer House for lunch. A highlight was a talk by General Percival Drayton on the battle of Port Royal and the subsequent abolitionist experiment involving the 10,000 slaves left behind by fleeing plantation owners.
On Saturday, we visited Savannah's National Historic District with its innovative city plan based on 24 interconnected squares, 22 of which survive today. Lunch was at Vic's on the River, formerly a cotton warehouse overlooking the Savannah River. After lunch, we toured the Isaiah Davenport House and Museum before returning to Sea Pines.
In addition, several classmates played the famous Harbour Town golf course, while others enjoyed walking on the ocean beach.
Those classmates who attended for all or part of the weekend were Bill Agnew, Bruce Akers
Steve Alfred, John Bodman, Royce Flippin, Roger Kaufman, Alan Korhammer, Fraser Lewis, Peter McDavitt, Paul Shein, Gene Singer and Bill Sweeney.
To view a slideshow from the weekend's events, click on the following link: Slideshow from Mini Reunion
Heard from Joe Nishimura about a recent trip, and he sent the accompanying picture:
“Joyce and I had a delightful evening in Paris, including a sumptuous home cooked French dinner with Dick McCormack and Marie-Claude.”
Slade Mills sent the following update on his activities:
“This may be a repeat of the comments I made for our 50th (I had little new to say for the 55th so I said nothing) but my four activities in the pro-bono world have not changed much since then. Surprising to realize that, and also suggestive of the idea that maybe its past time for me to stop doing some or all of these things.
Very briefly, I'm entering my ninth year as President of the New York Youth Symphony, a wonderful organization whose website www.nyyouthsymphony.org will tell you all about it. We provide tuition free training and performance opportunities to talented young musicians, composers and conductors ages 12-22 throughout the New York area. Several 56 classmates have been very supportive over the years - they know who they are, and I am very grateful to all of them. Nine years is about five years too many, but the end isn't quite yet in view.
I am also still attempting to support our great leaders of RO56-81-06 - Dan, Jack, Jim and our new younger colleagues, as well as the undergraduates who have breathed new life into the College Awareness program at two high schools in Brooklyn. Hard to believe that we've been going out to Paul Robeson High School for the best part of ten years. I also help the kids at Robeson to write business plans for their Virtual Enterprise programs. As long as the schools - Robeson and the Academy Of Innovative Technology - want people like us to help, I will be glad to stay involved.
Third involvement - Union Settlement in East Harlem, where John Hill and Bevis both served as Chairman and where George Hirsch was on the Board. Long ago at John Hill's urging I walked up to 104th Street and started teaching English to their primarily Mexican immigrant constituents. I don't teach any more but am still on the Board of Union Settlement and the Union Settlement Federal Credit Union.
Finally, because Phyllis and I lived in Chile fifty years ago and still have good friends there, I'm Secretary of an organization called the North American Chilean Chamber of Commerce in New York City, which gives me a chance to practice reading and occasionally writing in Spanish. Great country, great colleagues.
As to other interests, we are happy to have children and grandchildren in Vermont and London and that gives us a good excuse to go to those places. I play golf - Phyllis and I have had a lot of fun over the years playing with Anne and Jack Fritts, and Carter Walker and I go at it from time to time in Washington CT where we both have houses. I am responsible for two modest flower gardens, and occasionally I sally forth with my often uncooperative chain saw.”
2011 Tailgate/Football Season
The Tiger football season began on September 17, and in keeping with tradition for the past 25 years, the 1956 Tailgaters continue to congregate in back of Cap and Gown for all home games. For those who were not there, you might like to see slideshows from the first three tailgates, and hopefully you can join us for future home games. Just click on the following links:
Lehigh Tailgate, September 17, 2011
Bucknell Tailgate, September 24, 2011
Columbia Tailgate, October 1, 2011
By the way, Cap and Gown has been totally renovated, and the back yard has been dedicated to the ’56 Tailgaters, as evidenced by this plaque.
On October 1, Cap held a special event to commemorate the completion of the renovations, and the following is a link to a few pictures taken during the festivities. Cap Celebration.
Of note is an enlarged picture of Royce Flippin along with his football teammates celebrating the winning game against Yale in 1955. This picture is prominently displayed at Cap in the stairwell leading to the Tap Room.
55th REUNION - MAY 26 to 29, 2011
WOW………what a truly awesome Reunion and one that will be cherished for years to come. Sincere and heartfelt thanks to Sue and Bob Rodgers for leading an amazing committee , which put together such a fantastic weekend. While there were many helpers “behind the scenes”, the major players assisting Sue and Bob were, in Bob’s words, the following:
Rick Aron - for the jackets, shirts, bikinis, and long-term care of all the other mementos.
Jim & Kathy Brazell - for the care and feeding of the splendid Battlefield tour, and of Rand.
Chuck Coward - for the great whole Scully setup, and then all the personal follow-up with the bands and the sound techs.
Arthur Eschenlauer - for the best bevs in the East. The Yuengling was super, the wines treated us all to your most select taste, and your close attention to the whole enterprise was a vital part of things hanging together from start to finish.
Janet Eschenlauer, Sue Rodgers and Tom Fulmer - for overseeing the organization of the art exhibit.
Royce Flippin and his calling team - for a super turnout by our class, and spouses, guests and associates. A super result of your devoted effort, and every one of them made our reunion more enjoyable by their being here.
Tom Fulmer - for incredible edibles from beginning to end - a remarkable bounty on a budget. And for our unique reception in the Art Museum………truly a highlight of our experience for the weekend.
Joe Grotto - for absolutely outstanding music - every evening. Jim's Trio, Stan's Big Band, John Garth and the Boilermakers were each just perfect for us and popular as the word spread to the rest of the reunion crowd. Almost enjoyed the most the kids coming around to dance at the 55th…… who ever heard of that?
Dave Jordan - for a really fun - and reasonable - class book, that received great appreciation from the classmates and provided enjoyment to all, especially for its very individualistic and personal views of all those who were a part of it.
Kirby Holmes - for an absolute knockout P-Rade, from the great lead band to the Born Again Band and the totally famous Bikini Babes, and for his unrelenting encouragement and support for the short-lived rolling Time Machine.
Jim McCulloh - for your hospitable, and persistent, welcome to our satellite classes for their dorm housing and their company at our lunches on Friday and Saturday.
Mal & Carole Schwartz - for the greatest, most all-encompassing spread sheet on every detail of every person coming to our reunion, as the base for our recruitment, registration, housing, meals, bevs, garb, revenue accounting, and all other purposes. And especially for negotiating the four dimensional lodging riddle with diplomacy and aplomb.
Paul Shein - for keeping track of our bucks as they flowed in and out, and for disposing our proper obligations promptly and accurately in all directions. And yet to come, for pulling together all the strands of our financial report for the Reunion.
Bill Stein - for bringing his experience as Conductor of the Battle Creek Symphony to the rejuvenation of the famous '56 Born Again Band, born once again to carry the magical tunes of Princeton down the P-Rade route to the acclaim of onlookers young and old.
Bob Varrin - for stepping in to organize the crew with a will, when Ben Spinelli handed over the assignment. Your unflappable practicality supported not only our outstanding crew and their making it a great reunion for us, but on other fronts from headquarters to registration, transport, and beyond.
Sue Rodgers, Janet Eschenlauer, Sue Stuard and Joanne Meeker - for the great idea, and then the wonderful contents, of the Tailgate Cookbook, which stole the day as our happy drop-in for everyone who came to our reunion.
And our staff meteorologist - for complete reversal of the persistent weather forecast of "scattered thunderstorms & 30% rain" for every day of the weekend. Incredible job!
To each one of you: It wasn't about to happen without your personal contribution - and your huge encouragement and enthusiasm every step of the way. You truly made our day - every day.
The Student Crew Team, led by Cathryn Quinn ’12 and Matt Wakulchik ‘12 was the absolute BEST, going above and beyond the call of duty to make everyone comfortable and ensure our needs were met. A HUGE LOCOMOTIVE to them all!!
Upon arrival at Reunion headquarters, the first thing that greeted us all was the GIGANTIC “welcome mat”…..the 13-foot diameter “Let the Good Times Roll” wheel, created and built by Bob Rodgers, and which enhanced the theme of our Reunion…”The Fullness of Time”. Unfortunately the wheel could not navigate the entire P-Rade, but it did lead the Class through Bloomberg Arch and past the reviewing stand in Poe Field.
The weekend’s events began on Thursday with our Distinguished Classmate, Stape Roy, along with Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80 and Frank Wisner ‘61, presenting “A Conversation on China”, a campus-wide event sponsored by The Class 1956. This was a standing-room-only event and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
The day continued with a wonderful dinner and great music by the Freund Family Trio….our SUPER Classmate Jim along with his sons Tom and Eric. They were phenomenal!! Speaking of Jim, we want to recognize his amazing musical and photographic talents, as well as his extreme generosity for providing a DVD entitled ”Going Back” covering noteworthy moments at Princeton Reunions from 2006 – 2010, for EVERY classmate at the 55th Reunion…..what a WONDERFUL gift and source of very special memories. In appreciation of his on-going musical talents and DVD gifts to the entire class, he was presented with a special Tiger statue inscribed ” Jim Freund ’56, Classmate of Note”. By the way, if you didn’t receive a DVD, just contact Jim at email@example.com or call 917-856-5846 and he’ll send you one. It’s absolutely TERRIFIC!!
Friday morning brought more sunshine to enhance the very moving Class Memorial Service at the University Chapel. Bob and Sue orchestrated a beautiful service, which deeply touched all who attended. Those Classmates / wives / associates who participated in the service (in order of appearance) were Mary and Ken Snedeker, Bob Rodgers, Sidney Pinch, Malcolm Schwartz, Royce Flippin, Coleman Brown, Gordon Schwartz, Fraser Lewis, Ross Webber, Tom Meeker, and Elise von Koschembahr. The choir, directed by Sue Rodgers, and whose members included many classmates and wives, was stupendous. They were Peter Ambler, Bob Card, Frank Embick, Tom Fulmer, John Garth, Nancy Garth, Tine Graham, Vivian Grotto, John Hanna, Al Mather, Cathy Pinch, Sue Rodgers, Malcolm Schwartz, Bill Vanden Heuvel and Lois Vanden Heuvel, along with Sue Strenio ’12, and none other than Penna Rose, Director of Chapel Music.
Early Friday afternoon and despite the heat of the day, Rand Mirante ’70, an honorary Classmate, led the Battle of Princeton Tour, which concluded at the Firestone Library. All who attended had rave reviews for the event, and Jim and Kathy Brazell did an exceptional job coordinating a wonderful experience.
Later Friday afternoon, a ReachOut 56-81-06 Forum was held with panels whose members from the Class included Jim Freund, Jack Fritts and Slade Mills. Discussions included Joining to Make the World Better – an Alliance; Serving Through Fellowship and Volunteer Activities; and Qualifications, Responsibilities and Joys of Service on the Boards of Non-profit Organizations. Dan Gardiner was scheduled to also participate on the panel, but was sidelined due to a medical situation. Happily, he joined in the Reunion festivities on Saturday.
Whew…………are you exhausted yet?!? There’s a LOT more to come!
Next was the beautiful reception at the Art Museum, organized by Tom Fulmer, Docent, who gave a brief introduction. We were then greeted by Director James Steward, followed by a visit and address to the Class by President Shirley Tilghman. Our own John Garth, playing the keyboard, provided ambiance to the affair.
The day continued with dinner and the Class Meeting, where the following occurred:
New Officers announced:
Jim Bennett – President
Tom Fulmer – Vice President
Mal Schwartz – Treasurer
Tom Meeker – Secretary
The “Distinguished Classmate” award was bestowed upon two very deserving Classmates……David Jordan and Bob Rodgers, both of whom have gone “above and beyond” to make this The Great Class ’56.
Fraser Lewis was presented with a crystal tiger in appreciation of the fabulous job he did leading the Class these past five years. It has been a rewarding job, although occasionally difficult, but he dealt with all issues with wisdom, enthusiasm and ultimate humor.
The Class also “grew” in number with the announcement of two Honorary Classmates; namely Sue Stuard and Joanne Meeker.
The evening was filled with the great sounds of Stan Rubin’s Big Band for our listening and dancing pleasure. What was wonderful to see were so many Classmates and undergrads crowding the dance floor and kicking up their heels to Stan’s fantastic music.
During the course of the entire weekend, an art exhibit was open, displaying wonderful creations, in numerous media, by classmates / wives. Hey, there’s a lot of hidden talent in this Class!!! Saturday morning a reception was held for these very creative artists, and we hope all at Reunions had an opportunity to see their creations. Although not every piece of artwork was photographed, there is a sampling of the exhibit in the attached slideshow. Click on the following link to enjoy some of the artwork. Art Exhibit
The Class was treated to two special concerts during lunch on Saturday prior to the P-Rade. As many of you know, we have had a very close relationship with The Princeton University Band for over 20 years with regard to football tailgates. This mutual affection has deepened, and we were honored that The Band’s new CD, “Songs in the key of LOUD”, gives thanks to The Class 1956 in its cover, along with a picture of the Band’s ’56 Bongos, created by Tom Meeker.
Following the University Band’s performance, our own “Born Again Band”, under the leadership of Bill Stein, gave an outstanding mini recital. The members included Bob Brink, Bob Card, Art Eschenlauer, Jerry Kurtz, Bob McCartney, Lee McMillion, Dick Robb, Kit Smith, and Ken Snedeker, augmented by Erez Lirov '99 and Tom Artin '60, and all should be congratulated on their resounding performance. The Born Again Band also marched in the P-Rade and led the bevy of the infamous ’56 Bikini Babes.
Saturday afternoon the Class convened at the magnificent new Frick Chemistry Atrium for a reception. If you missed it, this is a “must see” structure when you’re next on campus.
Dinner followed at headquarters with music and dancing to the Boilermakers Band. As darkness fell, the Class had a perfect location behind Scully dorms to watch the Reunions fireworks, a spectacular show!! While difficult to capture fireworks on a simple digital camera, there are a few shots in the slideshow.
All of a sudden, it was Sunday morning, and we all gathered in the Class of 1956 Lounge in Princeton Stadium for the Farewell Brunch. The time certainly flew by, and it was wonderful having the few days to catch up with classmates and relive the antics (and lies) of 1952 to 1956.
The wrist bands are now off, the Reunion cup is empty, but our hearts are filled with the memories of a truly MAGNIFICENT reunion.
To relive our wonderful Reunion weekend, click on the following links to view slideshows of the various events.
Thursday - afternoon and evening
Friday Memorial Service, Battlefield, Art Museum Reception and Class Dinner with Dancing
Saturday Lunch with Band concerts, P-Rade, Dinner, Dancing and Fireworks
NOTE: With the huge crowd that gathered for Reunions, it is inevitable that some classmates may have been missed during the “roving picture taking”, and we sincerely apologize. However, if anyone would like to contribute additional pictures, we will create a supplemental slideshow for this website. Please send any pictures, as Attachments in jpg format, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sincere thanks and appreciation to the following classmates, who contributed photos for our website and slideshows: Jim Freund, Gordie Schwartz, Jim McCullough, Jim Monahan and Joanne Meeker.
ANNUAL CLASS DINNER IN NAPLES, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 16, 2011
Members of The Great Class: 1956 gathered for a pre-55th Reunion Dinner on Wednesday, February 16 in Naples, FL. This was the 8th annual get-together, which was hosted by Frank Klapperich and his wife, Mugs. The Princeton Annual Giving Office was represented by Paul Raeder, who underwrote the cocktail hour and wine served with dinner.
Also attending were Bill and Penny Agnew, John and Susan Bodman, Jim and Kathy Brazell, Pete Buchanan, Adie and Jody Dietz, Jack and Rita Doub, Derick and Sally Driemeyer, Joe and Vivian Grotto, Bill and Mary Helen Halloran, Charlotte Halloran (widow of Jim Halloran), Gordon and Judy Hammes, Bill Hoglund, Kirby and Judy Holmes, Ken and Nancy Lange, Bill and Jean Lemmon, Bob and Janet McCartney, Tom and Mary Lou Mees, Lenny and Marcia Meyers, Nick and Varick Niles, Fred and Laura Pardee, Fred and Rhonda Prichard, Bob and Sally Richards, Ted and Willie Rissell, Ken and Mary Snedeker, and Bill Sweeney and Donna Brunstad.
Everyone enjoyed a delightful evening and look forward to our Class Reunion in May, as well as next year’s Class Dinner in Naples.
54th REUNION - May 28 - 30, 2010
Joyce and Dan Gardiner hosted a delightful cocktail/dinner party Friday evening of Reunions in celebration of our 54th. The highlight of this event was a presentation by President Fraser Lewis of our Distinguished Classmate award to Coleman Brown.
In addition to Dan, Fraser and Coleman, those attending were Alfred, Bancroft, Barclay, Bennett, Culin, Doub, Eschenlauer, Flippin, Freund, Fulmer, Grotto, Holmes, Horner, Jones, Jordan, McCartney, McCulloh, McMillion, Meeker, Millspaugh, Rodgers, Rudenstine, G. Schwartz, M. Schwartz, Shein, Snedeker, Stuard, Thompson, Updike, Varrin and Webber plus Rodger’s daughter, Elisabeth ’86 and her husband James Tellichuysen. Joining the P-Rade group on Saturday were Jerry and Bos Crowther.
To view slideshows of pictures taken during the weekend, click on Friday Dinner and Saturday P-Rade.
WHITNEY E. KERR writes……”I’m still working in the commercial real estate brokerage and land development business in Kansas City.
Day and I celebrated our 52nd anniversary in January, 2010, and we are weekend farmers in Arrow Rock, Missouri, looking after three antebellum houses and over 800 acres. Antique cars continue to be a strong hobby interest, with current projects restoring a 1921 Sunbeam and 1925 Hudson Super Six.
We are blessed to have 4 of our 5 children and 9 of our 11 grandchildren living in Kansas City. Come visit us!!”
A lenthy excerpt from JIM FREUND's"Turning 75" article appears on January 13 in PAW online. The full text can be found by visiting his website www.jimfreund.com. Also on his website are: a new article, "Sheer Happenstance," which (among a survey of life's other chance occurrences) describes the convoluted route Jim took to arrive at Princeton in the fall of '52; a short story, "...But the Melody Lingers On"; some added photos, including a gallery devoted to Vancouver, site of the upcoming Winter Olympics; and his most recent piano recording, "It's Three-Quarter Time," containing 192 popular waltzes. Enjoy them all by visiting www.jimfreund.com.
GORDIE SCHWARTZ (Gordon F. Schwartz, MD) has recently been appointed Director of the Jefferson Medical College Breast Care Center in Philadelphia, PA. To read his full curriculum vitae, go to www.jeffersonhospital.org and type "gordon schwartz, md" in the Search Box.
Classmates of '56 may be interested to know that at its meeting on September 12, 2009, the Princetoniana Committee of the Alumni Council created the ROBERT B. RODGERS Gavel. Bob is the immediate past-Chair of the Princetoniana Committee, which promotes the enjoyment of Princeton history, lore and traditions. The gavel was created in appreciation of Bob's deep dedication and loyalty to Princeton and the Princetoniana Committee and its activities, and to honor other past Chairs of the Committee. The gavel will be passed from Chair to Chair of the Committee at the beginning of their term of office.
Headline in the Los Altos, CA town crier of November 4: "Los Altos granddad's TapTapCars for iPhone and iPod bridges generation gap". Our own RY SMITH (Kobert Reynierson Smith II) developed this game to identify a car's manufacturer and model name from three clues. We suggest visiting www.TapTapCars.com to get in on the fun.
HUDSON VALLEY MINI REUNION
Our October 11-15 mini-reunion gave us a “taste” of the Hudson Valley and was a great success. At various times, Classmates in attendance, with spouses and significant others, were Alfred ,Barclay, Brazell, Brink, Crowther, Culin, Doub, Easter, B. Evans, Flippin, Freund, Frost, Gavrin, Gerard, Grotto, Jordan, Kluger, Lewis, Mather, Pardee, Rodgers, Sater, Shein, Snedeker, Stuard. Our headquarters were in Tarrytown NY.
Photo L to R, George Easter, Fred Sater, Jim Brazell (half hidden), Corky Frost, Dave Barclay, Paul Shein, Bos Crowther (half hidden), Jack Doub, Fraser Lewis, Don Stuard, Steve Alfred, Bob Rodgers, Russ Culin, Dave Gavrin, Bruce Evans, Jim Freund
On Monday we boarded a bus for a tour of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Dave Jordan gave us a very pithy and humorous talk on West Point on the way up, mentioning in passing his interest and writings on Generals Hancock and Warren, both West Point graduates. (More detailed write ups on our mini reunion and Dave’s talk will be posted on our Class website.) Following the tour we stopped for lunch at the Academy’s Thayer Hotel after which we boarded a 1917 Riverboat for a cruise down the Hudson through the beautiful scenery of the Hudson Highlands.
That evening after a lovely dinner at our hotel, we were briefed by the Director of Hudson River Programs of Riverkeeper Inc., the environmental watchdog of the River. He was very informative about how problems confronting the River were being addressed. He mentioned the resurgence of recreational activities and benefits to marine life, as well as problems with the quality of NYC drinking water, famed for its excellence. Some of what he had to say prompted some pointed questions, especially on the subject of nuclear energy.
On Tuesday we headed north to Hyde Park. We easily we filled the 1.5 hour bus trip with some anecdotes on the Hudson River and other s from our undergraduate days. On a more serious note, Bos Crowther told of his brother Jeff and wife Alison’s charitable activities in memory of their son Wells, lost during his heroic rescue efforts at World Trade Center on 9/11. After a tour and delicious lunch at CIA (Culinary Institute of America) we visited the Vanderbilt mansion and grounds.
Our speaker that evening was Colonel Jim Johnson (U.S. Army, Ret.), a 1969 West Point graduate and currently Director of the Hudson River Institute and a professor of History at Marist College. He arrived in the uniform of an officer of the 5th New York regiment of the Continental Army, cocked hat and all. After dinner, we enjoyed his informative and highly entertaining talk on the history of the Revolutionary War as fought in the Hudson Valley, though there were several references and some discussion of other Battles, e.g., Princeton. Col. Johnson mentioned that he was well acquainted with the Yankee Doodle Taproom. At the end of his talk Bob Rodgers led us in a locomotive cheer for the Colonel. In true Revolutionary War style he replied with several “Huzzah” cheers to our class.
Our last day, Wednesday, included tours of Kykuit, the magnificent Rockefeller estate, Jay Gould’s estate, Lyndhurst, and lastly, Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s home.
A terrific dinner was held that evening at The Castle in Tarrytown, a former estate in the style of a medieval castle. After we arrived we heard the familiar piano of Jim Freund echoing from the Great Room of the castle. We thanked Corky and Randy Frost, Sue Hendricks and Bob and Sue Rodgers who were all a great help in making the Mini-Reunion a great success.
After dinner Jim Brazell gave us a lively talk on Washington Irving, America’s first man of letters, and the first American writer to achieve an international reputation. Jim also noted that Ted Rissell’s forbears sold Sunnyside to Irving in 1835, and that John McElroy made a major contribution to the literature on Irving with his volume on Irving’s “Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.
Afterward, Jim Freund was again at the keyboard in true reunion fashion leading a sing-along while others danced on. Finally, it came time for a rendition of “Old Nassau” and a locomotive led by Bob Rodgers before returning to our Hotel. Several of us met at breakfast the next morning to bid farewell until the next occasion.
DANUBE MINI REUNION....June 6 - 13, 2009
The mini-reunion on the Danube was a great sucess, and "Johann Strauss the Youngest" has documented the wonderful events of the entire trip in the following article.
ON THE BEAUTIFUL ORANGE-AND-BLACK DANUBE
By Johann Strauss the Youngest
Our Class of ’56 European adventure in June 2009 started for many of us in different parts of Europe and at different times. Some came from Prague, some from Berlin, some from Vienna, and even some from Italy. All of us wound up in Budapest, Hungary, for the start of the journey on the luxurious River Cloud II on June 6, although there were encounters of ‘56ers in various parts of Budapest for a couple of days before that.
After a get-together dinner on the ship on Saturday, and a welcome from our cruise director, Rita, and our captain, Reinier Dekkers (a native of Rotterdam), Sunday saw us on a bus tour around Budapest, topped off with a walking tour on Castle Hill, around the Fisherman’s Bastion and St. Mathias Church, and a visit to the great statue of St. Stephanus Rex, Stephen the first king of Hungary.
Included also was a tour inside Budapest’s magnificent opera house, featuring the royal box which was used only once by the Emperor Franz Josef (of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). The emperor was angered by the audacity of the Hungarians in creating such a grand opera house that he stormed out of his first performance there, never to return. A second box was created, however, for his wife, the Empress Sisi, and she enjoyed numerous operas there.
We were treated as well, back on ship, to a talk from Noah Steinberg ’90, who came to Budapest almost by accident after graduating from Princeton, only to become a successful businessman there, complete with a Hungarian wife and family (who helped him learn the difficult Hungarian language).
As we sailed away from Budapest late Sunday, up the Danube, leaving behind the mysteries of the forint, the Hungarian currency, for the universality of the euro, we were greeted with a glorious full moon and the spectacular and well-lighted ruined castle and Basilica of Esztergom, the most monumental building of Hungarian Classicism. Quite a sight, as we approached it and then chugged on by.
Monday morning we heard a fine talk from Ann Scott about the history of the Hapsburgs, from the Holy Roman Empire, the “defenestration of Prague,” Maria Theresa and the Pragmatic Sanction, right up through Franz Josef, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, and the end of the First World War (and of the Hapsburgs).
At noon we docked in Bratislava (“Pressburg,” up to 1918 and the conclusion of German domination), now the capital of Slovakia, with its 430,000 residents. Our tour guides, “George” and Branca, conducted us through main pedestrian thoroughfares and many side streets of Bratislava. We saw the town hall, the opera house, the famous Carlton hotel, the building where a six-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave his first performance, as well as traces of the musical careers of Lizst and Lehar. As a perfect follow-up, we were then treated to a concert in an old converted church, where the soloists of Ambassador Orchester Pressburg, violinist Alan Vizvari and pianist-soprano Anna Patkoloo, performed Danubian music to everyone’s great pleasure, from Strauss’s “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” to a Hungarian czardas and a selection from Lehar’s “Merry Widow.”
Returning to the town square after the concert, a number of us were met by a group of high school students who attend a bilingual school in Bratislava and who were making a film of Americans talking about various matters. To the question posed to us, “What do you think of modernism in art?” we turned to Sue Stuard, who came up with a most appropriate answer, all duly taped and filmed.
In Bratislava, we were honored with the presence of two Princeton graduates of the Class of 2009. Peter Capkovic and Emily Sands joined us for lunch, dinner, and the evening talk, and filled many of us in on undergraduate doings at the Best Old Place of All.
We returned to the River Cloud II, docked far beneath the most impressive Bratislava castle, which we didn’t have a chance to visit (though a few intrepid souls made the daunting climb), for a barbecue dinner on deck, followed in the lounge by a well-received talk on the music of the Danube by Dave Jordan, and followed then by the playing of Geza, the ship’s pianist.
Leaving Bratislava at midnight, we were delighted the next morning to pull into beautiful Vienna at about seven AM, close under the lovely red-roofed Jubilee Cathedral, built to honor the celebration of Franz Josef’s fiftieth year of reign. After breakfast we had an illuminating talk about Vienna from Tom Lachs ‘h59, president of the Princeton Club of Austria, and were soon off on our first view of the Austrian capital, on a gloriously sunny day. Our bus tour took us around the Ringstrasse, the highway built on the ruins of the old city walls, with our guides pointing out one Viennese landmark after another. We stopped at the Belvedere Palace, the former residence of Prince Eugen of Savoy, the greatest Hapsburg military figure, and we walked around the site, admiring the beautiful structure and the lovely and well-tended gardens. Our bus then took us to Stephansplatz, where we visited St. Stephan’s Cathedral, being given not only a tour of the interior of Austria’s most revered church but also a not-generally-open-to-the-public climb of 132 steps for a visit to the cathedral’s roof and a walk around the same.
After a satisfying lunch back aboard ship, a smaller group was taken by Tom Lachs on a tour of Jewish Vienna, including a visit to the main Jewish synagogue (subjected to recent attacks by Arab terrorists) and the Jewish Museum. In the evening, part of our group was conducted by Bob Rodgers to a concert at the Muzikverein, while Michele and Ed Gray took the bold step of attending a five-hour performance of Wagner’s “Siegfried” at the Staatsoper - complete with ten curtain calls at the end.
Wednesday was cooler and a bit rainy, but this hardly dampened the spirits of the Class of ’56. The main tour in the morning was to the Hofburg, the historic home of the emperor and empress of the Hapsburg Empire and the center of the Holy Roman Empire for over six hundred years, now the site of several museums, including one of the private apartments of the Empress Elizabeth, known to one and all as “Sisi,” as well as the world-famous Spanish Riding School, home of the Lipizzaner horses. Some of us, mastering the intricacies of the Vienna Underground, were off on trips of our own, to places like the Karlsplatz and the renowned Schonbrunn Palace, summer home of the Hapsburgs.
Tom Lachs conducted another afternoon tour, this one into the “secret sites” of Vienna, fascinating nooks and crannies of this wonderful town not usually visited by tourists. After dinner we were treated to a talk on Vienna from historian William Weyr, an Austrian-American friend of Corky and Randy Frost from Bronxville, NY.
At one in the morning of Thursday the 11th, the River Cloud II pulled out of Vienna, and we headed upriver to Durnstein, a small village on the Danube in which autos are not allowed; here we had a morning walking tour of the town. Perched on a mountain high above the town is the ruined castle in which Leopold of Austria kept England’s King Richard the Lion-Hearted, captured on his way home from the Third Crusade, until a ransom was paid for his release. We didn’t get up to the castle, but we did have an extensive walk through the town’s famous church. We then saw the procession from the church through Durnstein celebrating the festival day of Corpus Christi. Following this, we took a choo-choo to Gerhard Fischer’s winery, where we were invited into his wine cellar for tastings of two white wines he produced and one red wine.
We returned to the ship for lunch - featuring delicious raw oysters from the Netherlands - and then sailed up to Melk, home of an historic Benedictine abbey. Our extensive tour of the gigantic abbey was climaxed by an organ recital in the church, performed by one of the monks. We saw the statue of St. Koloman, patron saint of the region, an Irish missionary who was killed by the locals because he didn’t speak the language and they thought he was a spy.
Dinner consisted of a specially prepared menu, accompanied by wines selected for each course. After dinner we celebrated Bill Lemmon’s 75th birthday, with a Tiger birthday cake carefully arranged by his wife, Jean. Following that, in conformance with the wine-synchronized flavor of the day’s activities, we had a lecture in the lounge from our class president Fraser Lewis, a celebrated oenophile, complete with tastings of two Austrian whites and two reds. Most then staggered off to bed.
The next day Friday, after we had passed the city of Linz during the night, we docked in the morning in Passau, Germany, and shortly thereafter began a tour which took us into St. Stephen’s Cathedral (it may be noted that various St. Stephens are celebrated along the Danube), this one richly decorated with baroque stucco ornaments and frescoes and featuring a 1928-vintage organ with more than 17,000 pipes - the largest cathedral organ in the world. For half an hour we were treated to a marvelous concert on this great instrument. After lunch back on the ship, many of us resumed our walking tour of Passau, a city celebrated for its confluence of three rivers, the Danube, the Inn, and the Ilz (a joinder pooh-poohed by a good Pittsburgher like Bob McCartney).
That evening, we were honored with the Captain’s Farewell Drink of champagne in the lounge followed by the Captain’s Farewell Dinner - a climax to the week of gastronomical treasures which the River Cloud II’s staff presented to us. The staff in turn was honored by the wearing of the Class of 1956 Reunion jacket by many of our participants. We were also able to celebrate the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Laura and Fred Pardee and the 45th wedding anniversary the next day of Joan and Tom Spence. Finally, there was a presentation of gratitude for all their efforts in making the trip a great success - paintings of six of our stops along the way - given to Maxine and Fraser Lewis.
At 5:15 the ship left Passau and about three hours later pulled into Vilshofen. In the morning, after a last hearty breakfast, we settled accounts and bid a fond farewell to the River Cloud II. We broke up into three groups, one on a bus going to the Munich airport, one on a bus going into Munich, and a third, much smaller group of those making their way otherwise from Vilshofen.
The riders on the bus into Munich, who thought they were simply getting transportation into the Bavarian capital, were surprised to have our bus driver stop and pick up a guide, who gave us a comprehensive tour of the city, with a stop and walk-around at the Nymphenberg Palace and a quick drive around Olympic Park, site of the 1972 Olympics. The touchiest moment of the morning came when we dropped off Cheryl and Pierre Bennerup at the main railroad station at 11:27, trying to catch their 11:30 train.
After the tour of Munich, at about 2 PM, our bus pulled up in front of the hotel where many of us were staying. Everyone got off and the Danube Cruise Mini-reunion of 2009 for the Great Class of 1956 came to a close.
As a postscript, and a sign that the Great Class never quits, on Sunday the 14th Jean and Dave Jordan came across Fred and Claudine Bacher and Bob and Kit Watson (in from Regensburg), at the Munich train station, then later ran into Pat and Marty Raymond at the Dachau concentration camp shortly after the latter encountered Mary and Ken Snedeker there.
And - lastly - at dinner in Paris on Monday the 15th, the Jordans heard the piano player doing “East of the Sun” and gave him an appropriate Princetonian hand.
Another terrific Reunion with wonderful friends. While the P-Rade had beautiful weather, the rain came down again on Friday night, but certainly did NOT dampen the spirit. Many thanks to Mary and Ken Snedeker for graciously hosting the fabulous Class dinner on Friday Night.
Pictured are stalwarts at the the 53rd Reunion cocktail/dinner party. Undeterred by an evening shower, the number of classmates, wives and friends numbered, magically, 56! Enjoying the food, drink and comraderie were Bancroft, Barclay, Brazell, Coward, Culin, Doub, Eschenlauer, Flippin, Freund, Fulmer, Gardiner, Grotto, Holmes, Horner, Jordan, Lewis, Linde, McCulloh, Meeker, Quay, Rodgers, Schneiderman, G. Schwartz, M. Schwartz, Shein, Snedeker, Stuard, Tilgner, Thompson and Updike.
Unable to join the festivities due to a Vassar bound granddaughter’s graduation, Bob Varrin made his commanding presence known as a Marshall at the P-Rade on Saturday.
To view a slide show of some of the Reunion festivities, click on the following link. However, BE PATIENT, as it could take a couple of minutes due to the large number of pictures: Reunions 2009