YAM Notes: May/June 2018

By Scott G. Sullivan

You will be reading these notes just a week or so before our Sensational Sixtieth: May 31 to June 3 at Jonathan Edwards College. Linus Travers, our longtime reunion maven, has prepared a matchless program. You’ll have a chance to see all the wonderful 1958ers. And the whole affair will be FREE—that’s right, costless, on the house, gratis—all thanks to a magnificent gift from classmate Georges St. Laurent. Entertainment will include music by Peter DuchinBob Morgan, and our own incomparable Whiffs, and Joel Schiavone may even be persuaded to strum his banjo. Dick Cavett is on for a comic gig, while Victor Kovner and your humble servant will lead a discussion on free speech, political correctness, and the naming of colleges, among other matters. We’ll have terrific meals and finish with a solemn service honoring our beloved departed.

So, if you haven’t signed up, do so ASAP. There is still time, and remember: this DOESN’T COST A PENNY. All you have to do is get to New Haven, and if you can’t afford that, the class council will foot your bill. No excuses, then! Come one, come all!

Related to the reunion is the 60th anniversary class gift. Sherm Bull and his crew of regional fund-raisers are aiming at a most ambitious goal, and the word, as of this writing back in March, is that we are heading for a record-shattering achievement.

Before the obituaries, a few pleasant tidbits.

Ed Broenniman (known in college as ‘Rik’) writes to describe how he celebrated his “fantabulous” 80th birthday last year—by parachuting for the first time ever. He got the idea from former President George H. W. Bush ’48, who sky-dived for his 70th. Ed and Bush 41 exchanged some warm correspondence about their aerial feats.

Gordon Shaw reports that he is still an active trustee of the Concord (Massachusetts) Land Conservation Trust, maintaining trails and fields. He also grows all his own vegetables.

George Smith writes from Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts, site of a brilliant and edgy movie, that he is active in the local Conservation Commission (past chairman), the Friends of Manchester Trees, and the Manchester Conservation Trust. He owns a cottage, adjacent to his, which was built by John Wilkes Booth; the cottage is available for rent in the summertime.

Brian Erickson and wife Carol are doing well and looking forward to the reunion.

On a recent trip to Washington, your corresponding secretary and his companion Suzanne Sloan enjoyed an elegant crabcake dinner with classmates Harvey Sloane and King Mallory, as well as their charming wives, Kathy and Penny; the venue was the posh Chevy Chase Country Club.

Tireless class secretary Tim Hogen reminds me of these ’58ers who are still active in the big world: Vic Kovner, who remains managing partner of his New York law firm and still drives Benjamin Netanyahu crazy with his work for a two-state Mideast solution; Tim Brown, who serves the class as our rep to the Association of Yale Alumni; Ken McAdams, a former Pan Am pilot turned writer who is working on a new novel, while promoting film rights for his last; Bill Fitzgerald who regularly hosts class lunches in Los Angeles; and Sherm Bull who, as mentioned, is heading the drive for the biggest class gift ever.

Now for our losses:

Harald de Ropp died last December 7 in New York City. Harald entered Yale with us in 1954, and, although he graduated from the University of Delaware and Wharton School of Business, he loved the class and regularly participated in our alumni activities. He worked for Hanover Bank and became vice president of international investments at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. In retirement, he did volunteer financial-planning work for many organizations, notably the Society of Colonial Wars and Plimoth Plantation. He was proud of his descent from John Morton, the last signer of the Declaration of Independence.

John Murray died January 6 at his home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he had lived for 55 years. After Yale and the army, John moved to Brazil with the dream of making a fortune in coffee. He worked at first for the A&P Coffee Company, then moved to the Cargill food company, where he became chief financial officer for Brazil. He finished his career at Boyden, a headhunter firm. John was a devoted Yalie, serving as the longtime president of the Brazil Yale Club. Though happy with his Latin American life, he considered Quogue, New York, his birthplace, as his real home and he spent part of every year there.

Brian Moran of Greenwich, Connecticut, died January 9 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. After the Navy, Brian joined the advertising firm J. Walter Thompson. In the 1970s, he cofounded the consulting firm Moran, Stahl and Boyer (MS&B), which specialized in advising large companies on setting up or moving their headquarters. The firm was a success and continues today with offices in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, and London. Apart from work, Brian’s great passion was for horseback riding; he was president of the Greenwich Riding Trails Association.

Frank Conrad Durham, of Hollis, New Hampshire, died January 25 in nearby Nashua. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy, then entered the computer field. He was a pioneer in the applications of computerized typesetting.

Cornelius Rathborne (always called “Cocie” or “Cokie”) died at his home in New Orleans on February 16. Cocie served as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps, then returned to the Crescent City to manage his family real estate and timber firm, the Rathborne Land Company. He was an avid New Orleanian, a patron of the city’s food and music culture.