Class of 1960: 50th reunion

’Twas a splendid occasion, the 50th reunion of the Class of 1960. Of the 72 members of or class who graduated, defying the mortality tables, 87 percent are alive. When I remarked on this remarkable statistic to the dean, who graced us with his presence for the class dinner on Saturday evening, I suggested that this reflected the vital, stimulating influence of the Yale Med experience throughout our lives. Being a rather cynical chap, he responded, “Statins.” Oh, well. Nearly 50 percent of the class came to the reunion, 31 of 63.

Through the creative assistance of the Yale medical alumni office, with Eric Schonewald and Debbie Jagielow playing very helpful roles, we were able to have private dining space in the nearby Child Study Center on Friday evening after the reception. This was a very warm, very special evening. While most of us knew that Jack Barchas was a world class psychiatrist and neuroscientist, what we hadn’t appreciated was that he is a world class raconteur. Several months ago, he suggested an evening of reminiscences about our Yale experience, and proceeded to develop a terrific presentation to get our evening off to a wonderful start, cheered on by his lovely wife Rosemary. This stimulated a parade of classmates with often side splitting memories. Many stories were of Averill Liebow, who had keen observational skills. My favorite Liebow anecdote concerned Gary Gathman, who was late, attempting to claim his seat unobtrusively, and Liebow shining a flashlight on him, stating, “The Gathman cometh.” (He must have been waiting all semester for that opportunity.) And detailed recounting of the ob-gyn chief resident Richard Hausknecht and his violent confrontation with a classmate, leading him to be memorialized in our class skit as “that ob-gyn sob.” And many stories of the fabled demos with Dr. Gardner, including Ormond Brody having mailing labels attached to red, blue, and green threads, for arteries, veins, and nerves, and, asked to demonstrate the course of the vagus nerve, getting on his hands and knees, finding the mailing label, and, reeling  in the green thread, exclaiming, “There it is!”

Two members of our class were honored at the Yale alumni association meeting on Saturday morning as outstanding Yale medical alumni, Tom Kugelman and I. Tom, our class treasurer with the assistance of Malin Dollinger, led a remarkable fund-raising effort, exceeding the goal by 60 percent, with a contribution of more than $40,000.

Our class dinner on Saturday evening was held at one of New Haven’s outstanding restaurants, the Union League Cafe. There, as has been our custom, each member of the class gave a summary of their personal lives and professional accomplishments since med school. The Cimmino’s won the award for grandchildren, which keep them totally busy: 14, ranging in age from 22 to 5! A newsletter detailing these summaries will be sent separately to the class.  Moments that stand out: this was the 50th wedding anniversary of the wedding of Malin Dollinger and his lovely wife Lenore. We raised our glasses to the couple, with the two groomsmen Al Ross and I toasting them; Frank Kleeman, observing his unique status and the class envy that he was seated with two wives, his first wife, our classmate Susan Thurman Kleeman, and his wife Alphine; and Gary Gathman introduced his companion of 19 years, Richard Riley, a lyric tenor at the San Francisco Opera, who memorably brought the evening to a close with an aria, “Santa Lucia,” and a song, “The Very Thought of You.”

Class members and their wives and partners at the reunion were: Vic Altshul and his wife, Laura, Lanny Ames and his wife Liz, Jack Barchas and Rosemary Stevens, Jerry Cimmino and his wife Donna, Frank Cogliano and his new bride Sharon, Neil Cooper and Teresa, Jon Courtney and Carol, Malin Dollinger and his wife, Lenore, Caldwell “Ess” Esselstyn and his wife Ann, who were also celebrating the 54th anniversary of the Yale Olympic gold medal in crew; Jim Eustermann and his wife, Kitty, Jan Fawcett and his wife Kate Busch, Alvin Friedman-Kien, Gene Gaenslen, Gary Gathman and his partner Richard Riley, Frank Kleeman and his wife, Alphine, Susan Thurman Kleeman, Tom Kugelman and his wife, Alice, Bob Marcus and Vie Simmons, Eugene McCarthy, Kent Morest, Dick Morrill and his wife, Mary Ann, Allan Newcomb and his wife, Barbara, Buford Nichols and his wife, Veda, Fred Palace and his wife, Ruth, Jerry Post and his wife, Carolyn, Buzz Robinson, Al Ross and Jane Semmons, Dan Rubin and his wife, Lina, Bob Wallach, May Woo Wang and her husband George, and Ron Yankee and his wife, Katherine.

Three of our classmates were dealing with serious medical problems which prevented their attending: Bill Kaden, Rick Kindwall, and Don Miller. We have just learned that Don died of his lymphoma on June 22, 2010.

I want to thank Vic Altshul, Tom Kugelman, and Malin Dollinger for their efforts throughout the year to make this reunion such a success.

—Jerrold Post

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Deborah Jagielow

Director of Alumni Affairs - Yale School of Medicine