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rWilliams College Class of 1953 60th Reunion

Williams College Class of 1953 60th Reunion

(a report with text and photos)

Wednesday, June 5th members of the Williams College Class of 1953 began arriving in Williamstown from around the country (the world, if you count Canada, and Bob Sillcox certainly would) for four splendid, if water-soaked, days of dining, drinking, remembering, chatting, laughing, and commiserating with each other about the inevitable erosions of time with octogenarian bodies. Here's the official list of attendees:

The class headquarters was Dodd House, identifiable to 80 year olds as the old Williams Inn.  Reunion Rangers, -mostly undergraduates, assisted with lugging suitcases and providing information, electronic, geographical, and chronological.  Thursday night's cocktail hour and dinner were at Dodd (under a tent on the lawn), as were four breakfasts and one lunch. 

The '62 Center for Theatre and Dance, the greatly enlarged space once known as the Adams Memorial Theatre, was the venue for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and afternoon presentations featuring professors and alumni on a wide range of topics, including the Arab Spring, the Greek financial crisis, impressionism, the value of a liberal arts education, and a Q and A with President Faulk.

Our class, thanks to the perspicacious intercessions of Tiger McGill and Todd Mauck, was provided top venues for our celebratory dinners, Friday, at the Faculty/Club, and Saturday, at the Stone Hill Center, an outlook on the Berkshires at The Clark Art Museum.  Class unofficial chaplain, Bob Howard, offered prayers at the evening gatherings, including on Friday a reading of the list of the classmates who died since the previous five year reunion.  Those purple prayers and remembrances can be found on this website at  Purple Prayers IV. President John Dighton presided at each of the dinners and with Reunion Chair Todd Mauck informed us of plans and contingencies. We sang happy birthday to Bob Tucker.  A sextet gave its imitation of the Ephlats on songs of yesteryear, back when the world was young and we were sophomores. Spontaneous tributes erupted during desserts, to professors, classmates, and the purple hills.  Mostly we spent the time together regaling one another with stories, often true, about where we have been and what we have done.

Class elections were held.  These incumbents will continue to serve: John Dighton, president; John Allan, vice president; Steve Klein, secretary; Todd Mauck, treasurer; Pete Sterling, class agent; and Bob Howard, webmaster.

The main event of the weekend, of course, was the Annual Alumni Meeting in Chandler gym, preceded by the parade of classes and succeeded by the Joseph's Coat Luncheon in Lasell Gym. At each of these events the Class of 1953 was front and center.  Pete Sterling and John Dighton claimed the Sawyer Cup, presented to the post-50th reunion class with the highest total amount. 


At the luncheon, at which the main feature each year is the presentation of a multi-hued blazer (as in Joseph's coat of many colors: see Genesis 37:3 KJV), Pete Sterling donned the sartorial award, prompting at least two present to think aloud as to how proud Pete's Dad, Dyke, college trustee and great guy, would be for a son following so closely in his footsteps.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to several possibilities, one of them a tour of the Williams College Museum of Art where gifts of alumni were featured, among them a painting given by our own Mike Harrington.

Sunday morning the service of remembrance was held in Thompson Memorial Chapel.  The preacher, a woman from the Class of 2003, Emily Proctor, on her way from Baltimore to Florida to a new parish, made this old pastor proud (of Williams and its provision for the future of the church) as she offered wise and arresting insights into the present moment vis a vis Williams reunions and the world by way of the ancient pericope of Jacob wrestling with the angel at the ford of the river Jabbok.  

At 3PM Sunday afternoon five reuners reconvened at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood for a concert by The Berkshire Lyric Chorus to which the mellifluous voice of tenor John Dighton is freely offered.



I certainly would not claim to be providing a definitive report on the Reunion Weekend, Class of 1953 version.  There will be much I have forgotten or overlooked. I had hoped to be able to include in the photos everyone who was present.  But there were fifty-one classmates plus spouses, widow members, and significant others, making our number nearly one hundred.  You wouldn't have patience to see them all, among the 150 photos (so far!) available to me.  Therefore, I have already done and propose the following:

    1. To select initially those photos representative of the events herein reported.

    2. To give priority to photos of those members of our class whom you are not likely to find in preceding reunion reports.

    3. To invite you to send me your requests for photo crops of classmates you had been especially looking for once you had perused the list of attendees.  I'll try to fulfill your requests and post my findings in an Email to you and at the bottom of this report.  I shall also add to the report any other news item you deem important.


Herewith, as an illustration of "3." above, are some tidbits of information gleaned during my many conversations during the reunion weekend.

    Bobbye Tucker proudly claims the title of 53's oldest first time grandmother...  But Nancy D'Oench may be, thanks to grandson Ben, the most recent first time grandmother...  John Dighton soon will greet his fifth and sixth great-grandchildren... Steve and Joanne Klein's grandson, Stephen, of Hinsdale IL, will be entering Williams this September, following in the footsteps not only of his grandfather, but his mother, Jill ('82), and his brother Nick ('14) and sister Rebecca ('12). Can anyone match or exceed Steve's list of purple progenies of the present generation?

    And then there's Tom Belshe who presently has both a daughter and a granddaughter in college?

    The newest grandparents may be Fred and Granthia Preston, whose Williams daughter, Camille, gave birth to Preston Bowditch Newhall June 11th at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston. By my calculations he'll graduate from Williams with the Class of 2035, Deerfield Academy four years earlier.

    Mike and Marian Goldstein's home in Baldwin NY was hard hit by flood from Hurricane Sandy.  Water and flotsam reached the second floor of the house.  They braved the storm and cleaned up the mess and remain near the shore.  On a happier subject, Mike directed $10,000 to the Alumni Fund from an estate his law office probated.

     Pete Sterling encourages you to get in touch with Pete and Susan Connolly.  They've moved from the home on the Cape to a senior residence: 303 Linden Ponds Way, Evergreen Terrace #428, Higham MA 02043. Drop them a note. Or phone them at 781-749-4290.

    Jack Merselis this week can be seen on Lake Winnipesaukee trolling the pond in his vintage Cabin Cruiser, the kind made of wood with a windshield of two panes of glass separated in the middle with a wooden post.  Go, Jack, but beware the ice floes.


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