YAM Notes: January/February 2018

By Scott G. Sullivan

Not much news this time, but a lot of obits, including those of two of our most prestigious classmates.

In class business, your class council met September 24 and conducted a lengthy discussion of our next mini-reunion, to be held in the spring next year. All sorts of venues were proposed, but none was settled on. Leading candidates are Cleveland (where Pudge Henkel would honcho) and Minneapolis (Dave Waterbury), but the search continues. If you think your town could be the one and you are willing to do the hard, but very satisfying, work of setting up a mini, please say so to me or Tim Hogen.

Our best non-necrological item comes from the distant past. Jim Pender wrote recently to remind us of one of Pudge’s many brilliant exploits. In the early 1970s, Cleveland was planning to demolish its old theater district and replace it with something else. So Pudge mounted and led a citizens’protest to halt the move.He won, and the Cleveland theater district thrives, 50 years on; it claims to be the second largest in the country, receives over a million visitors a year, and is the city’s showcase. Talk about a public service.

I recently received a nice note from Mike Mackensie, who matriculated with us in 1954 but ultimately graduated in 1960. Turns out he lives about eight blocks from your corresponding secretary. Says: “All the best guys end up in New Orleans.”

Now for the departed:

First comes Don Welles, whose death in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 16, 2014, was reported in this magazine but not in class notes or the 1954 necrology. After Yale, Don became an Episcopal priest and spent his life teaching at prep schools, including Saint Paul’s in Concord, New Hampshire, and Portledge in Locust Valley, New York. He served as headmaster of Sewanee Academy in Tennessee and the Arlington Schools in College Park, Georgia. After retiring to his native Delaware, he worked for Independent School Management and Friendship House.

We are also tardy in reporting the passing of Bob Charles in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on May 17, 2017. Bob attended Colorado A & M after Yale, then spent his entire working life as an electrician. He was a golfer, a voracious reader, and an active freemason.

Paul Jean Colcaire died in New Haven on January 30. After a spell as a pilot in the Marine Corps, where he earned the rank of captain, Paul studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and the University of Madrid. He then became an investment banker, starting at the Interamerican Development Bank in Washington. In 1971, he moved to Europe, where he worked at banks in London and Belgium, returning to Washington in 1980 to work as a financial consultant, then moved to New Haven to be with his daughter, Nicole.

Michael Scofield, a publisher and prolific writer, died in Santa Fe on May 11. After a tour in the army, he went to work in advertising and sales for Sunset Magazine and Books in Menlo Park, California. He later moved to Palo Alto, where he ran a technical writing and editing business with his second wife, Noreen. The couple moved to Santa Fe in 1997, and Michael continued writing till the day he died. His output was enormous, including three novels, two books of poetry, how-to books, and Dedicated Lives, which told of Santa Feans who had performed significant public service.

One of the giant figures of 1958, Ted Achilles, died in Portland, Oregon. After Yale, he earned an MA in economics from Tufts, served as an army ranger, and worked at several banks until 1975, when he became chief executive at Morrow Electronics Inc. in Salem, Oregon, and stayed in that post till 1996. He served two terms in the Oregon legislature. But the great affair of his life began in 2001, when he moved to Afghanistan and set up SOLA (School of Leadership Afghanistan), a school for Afghan girls, most of whom had previously been denied schooling. Ted and his mostly female Afghan associates have graduated scores of young women who have gone on to prep school and college in the US. The project met terrible opposition from Muslim extremists, but it continues to do this splendid work today. Please read more about Ted in our recent reunion book and in his splendid New York Times obituary.

Woody Howe, who was sports editor of the Yale Daily News and went on to become the longtime editor of the Omaha World-Herald, died September 15. A gentleman and a truly gentle man, Woody become the undisputed top journalist of Nebraska; he was inducted into the state’s journalism Hall of Fame earlier this year.He joined the paper in 1952, after Army service and a brief hitch at a paper in Lincoln, and held every job on both the editorial and publishing sides until his retirement in 1997. Tales of his reporting and editing life are endless and best found in the obituary in the World-Herald. But one feat stands out. In 1976, he coordinated the plaintiff’s side in a landmark First Amendment case known as Media of Nebraska vs. Stuart. A state court approved a judge’s actions in suppressing information from a pretrial hearing, but the Supreme Court overturned that judgment, giving the media—and our classmate—a historic win.

Merry Christmas, one and all.