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Class of 1953 Milestones

Class of 1953 Milestones, October 20, 2007

    Herewith are the personal notes I presented to the class members and wives at the Saturday evening dinner at the Taconic Golf Club.

I suspect it falls to the clergy to announce the sad news of the passing of classmates and spouses because those of us in my profession (or what was my profession) are supposed to be able to put the sadness in a larger context.  I think that’s right: we are the ones who, whatever else our convictions, have a transcendent reference. God, eternity, everlasting life, etc.  And so I report to you, friends and fellow travelers here beneath the sun for seventy-six years more or less and counting, that some of our number have taken their leave, for, what I hope (maybe you do too) is, an even better place. 

 George Wilkie, Dr. George Wilkie, psychiatrist, whom I last saw at Seth and Robin’s apartment, and noted, I did that night, that he was the most sartorially splendid of any of us.  Pete Sterling said a note from Williams Alumni Office that George was “big into trout fishing and was an organist at a small Protestant church in  Quebec.”

 Teeny Shorb, Bob’s sweetheart from college days on, his life companion. She died this past June from a lung cancer that metastasized and took her two months from diagnosis.  She was 76 years old, a graduate of Vassar, who, following graduation and marriage to Bob, paid the rent while Bob went to Harvard Law, by working as a draftsperson in an architectural firm, unheard of in those pre-feminist years.

 Jean Lange, Chuck/Charlie’s bride, died this past May, reported to me by Steve Klein who has more recently spoken with Chuck.  Jean and Barbara, I am her husband, struck up a friendship during one or another of our Broadway Show mini-reunions; and they spent a day together in the Big Apple a few years ago.  The cause of death was ovarian cancer. 

Bob Delaney: Pete Sterling sent me an Email this past Sunday with an attachment from George and Marianne Hartnett reporting that Bob died this past Saturday, October 13th, “in the Hospice of Charleston SC,” from a recurrence of a cancer first dealt with several years ago.  Further, the Hartnett’s note about the funeral arrangements: "Bob’s daughter, Lisa Atwell, and son, Todd, have arranged for a Memorial Service on Sat. Oct. 27 at Johns Island, S. Carolina in the Catholic Church there followed by a reception at the Johns Island Club.  Bob had lived there for 16 years.  He will be cremated and then his ashes buried at a later date next to his wife, Ann, in Portville (near Olean) NY.”

          God, beyond all knowing yet knowing all, caring with a wideness in your mercy that scandalizes those who think they alone are on your side, we thank and bless you for the gift of life, especially this night for the gift of the precious moments we have shared with George and Teenie and Jean, and Bob.  God and giver of this mortal life, we know, and you know we know better than ever before, that life is short and often fragile.  Then, grant us grace and the good sense to make the most of the time, with love and generosity, joy and kindness, all around, scattering the goodness along our way in imitation of your providence which has never, never failed to favor us.  Including this feast we have shared together.  Amen and amen.


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