Benjamin Schuyler Clark, Jr. ’61, a housing rehabilitation specialist who became a practicing lawyer at the age of 66, was born on April 19, 1938, in New York City. The son of Benjamin S., an investment banker, and Charlotte Lyman Clark, he prepared for college at Millbrook (NY) School and entered Hamilton from Pound Ridge in 1957. Something of a “lone wolf,” Ben Clark nonetheless persevered to graduate with his class. A member of the Squires Club and a contributor to The Spectator, he was known for his distinctive laugh and his frequently outrageous opinions. Also known was his affection for cats, so much so that The Hamiltonian listed among his activities the presidency of the Hamilton chapter of the American Feline Society! His fondness for cats would be lifelong.
Ben Clark, who had majored in English and later in art history, left the Hill in 1961 to attend business school. After just one day, he dropped out, having decided that “business school was not for me.” Instead, he became a local reporter for the Bernardsville, NJ, News. Four months later, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent two years as a clerk-typist with the Signal Corps. Released from active duty in 1964, he returned to his newspaper job in Bernardsville. Two years later, he moved to Westchester County, NY, and joined the White Plains Reporter Dispatch as a local reporter in its Mt. Kisco office. His marriage, in 1966, to Ann L. Outhwaite ended in divorce in 1970.
When the Mt. Kisco newspaper office was closed that same year, Ben Clark tried his hand at real estate sales in Brewster, NY. He became a real estate broker and a partner in an agency in Chatham, but recognized by 1976 that sales was not his forte. He then turned to purchasing and renovating houses for rent or resale. From 1980 to 1995, he was employed as a housing rehabilitation specialist under federal grant programs for the village of Chatham, where he lived, and later for the city of Rensselaer. He subsequently took a position with the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services as a regional counselor to property tax assessors in several Adirondack communities. He retired from that post in 2007.
Meanwhile, Ben Clark’s interest in the law had led him to enroll in paralegal studies at Russell Sage College. A professor there, recognizing his ability, persuaded him to take up law as a career. In 1998, he enrolled in the Western New England University School of Law. He commuted two evenings a week to Springfield, MA, from his home in Chatham, and earned his J.D. degree in 2002. While preparing for the bar exam, he learned that he had colon cancer. After two years of medical treatment, he took and passed the bar exam in 2004 and was admitted to practice.
Ben Clark then joined forces with a Hamilton classmate and friend, John T. Hand, an attorney in Cambridge, MA, who specialized in pro bono legal work for the disadvantaged, Ben’s practice was particularly focused on research in preparation of legal papers assisting death-row inmates in the American South and African refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Within the Chatham community, his voluntary efforts, especially in connection with the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Chatham Public Library, led in 2011 to his receiving the New York Planning Federation’s Levine Award for Community Service.
Benjamin S. Clark, Jr., whose cancer had reoccurred in recent years, died on April 26, 2012, while hospitalized in Albany, NY. A consistently and generously supportive alumnus, he is survived by three sisters, Charlotte Clark de Bresson, and Tibby and Ella Clark. Also surviving is his cat and “boon companion,” Luna.
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James D. Towery, Jr. ’61, at one time an electric company supervisor, was born on July 25, 1939, in San Antonio, TX. His parents were James D., a newspaper editor and publisher, and Helen Miles Towery, a prison psychologist. When he was young, his family moved to Ripley, NY, along Lake Erie and not far from Pennsylvania, where his father took over the local weekly newspaper. In 1957, he was graduated from Ripley Central High School and enrolled at Hamilton that fall. On the Hill, he joined Tau Kappa Epsilon and worked on The Spectator. Majoring in history, he left the Hill with his diploma in 1961.
Following his graduation, James Towery immediately entered the U.S. Army. Sent to the Army Language School in Monterey, CA, he subsequently served in Germany with the Army Security Agency. Discharged from active duty as a first lieutenant in 1965, he settled in Florida, where he became an assistant personnel supervisor in the Davison Chemical Division of W.R. Grace Co. in Bartow. By 1967, he was assistant manager of public relations for Grace’s Agricultural Products Division.
Married on July 3, 1967, to Mary V. Bowen in Miami, James Towery had become supervisor of publications for Tampa Electric Co. by 1972. While residing in Tampa, he served on the board of the Kiwanis Club and was active in business communication organizations as well as the John Birch Society. At last report, in 1979, he was supervisor of safety and security for Tampa Electric. In recent year he had taken up residence in Lake Wales, FL.
James D. Towery, Jr. died on March 19, 2011, as verified by Social Security records. The College has no information on survivors.
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Ronald George Seeber ’62, long the city attorney of Winston-Salem, NC, who helped greatly to bring businesses and jobs to that community, was born on October 15, 1940, in Saratoga Springs, NY. A son of Earl R., a store manager, and Marguerite Bergeron Seeber, a cashier, he grew up in upstate New York and came to College Hill in 1958 from Buffalo, where he had been graduated from Bennett High School. The first member of his family to attend college, Ron Seeber overcame financial difficulties with the help of scholarships, campus jobs, and summer work as a shoe and sewing machine salesman. A member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, he was also active in the Newman Club and the Young Republicans Club, and sang in the Choir. He majored in English and was awarded his diploma in 1962.
Ron Seeber went on to law school at Duke University. On December 21, 1964, while still a law student, he was married in Ashville, NC, to Sandra W. “Sandy” Frederick, whom he had met at Duke. After receiving his LL.B. degree in 1965, he stayed on in North Carolina, his wife’s home state, and obtained a job with the City of Durham’s Redevelopment Commission as a planner. He would add to his professional credentials in 1971 by obtaining a master’s in regional planning from the University of North Carolina. He was deputy city-county planning director in Winston-Salem and president of the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Planning in 1972 when he was named a staff attorney for the city.
Soon promoted to city attorney, Ron Seeber worked hard on economic development projects for Winston-Salem, especially writing contracts and defending land annexations that brought in many new companies and increased population growth. By the time of his retirement in 2007, he was credited with having added 59,000 people and over two billion dollars to Winston-Salem’s property tax base. As advisor to five mayors and four city managers during his tenure, he also helped reorganize the city’s government and reduce tax liabilities. A former president of the North Carolina Association of Municipal Attorneys and member of the board of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, he also taught courses at Wake Forest Law School.
Besides his 42 years of dedication to public service, in which he could rightly take great pride, Ron Seeber found pleasure and contentment in music, his faith, and his family. A member of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, he played his guitar and led the singing at its Sunday worship as well as on other occasions. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, travel, and cooking hearty meals for family and friends. In retirement, he read extensively and welcomed any opportunity for lively and spirited conversation.
Ronald G. Seeber, who never forgot Professor Sidney Wertimer’s cheery greeting of “Hi, Ron, welcome to Hamilton,” when he first arrived on the Hill as a lonely freshman, remained grateful to the College for the education he received and highly supportive of it throughout his life. That life came to an end in Winston-Salem on June 22, 2012. He leaves his wife of 47 years as well as two sons, Kurt A. and Jonathan C. Seeber; a daughter, Erika Ransom; and 10 grandchildren and two sisters. All will remember a man who “shared generously his gifts of courage, strength, laughter, integrity, and faithfulness with those he loved.”
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John Stanton Sullivan ’62, for 45 years a stockbroker in his native Binghamton, NY, was born on March 29, 1940. The son of John R., an advertising illustrator, and Harriette Harding Sullivan, he grew up on Binghamton’s West Side and came to College Hill in 1958 from Binghamton Central High School, where he had been catcher on the baseball team and president of the senior class. On the Hill he joined Theta Delta Chi as well as the baseball team. Majoring in chemistry, he was graduated in 1963.
After a year as a laboratory technician at Ansco, a camera manufacturer in Binghamton, John Sullivan entered the U.S. Army and was assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. After the expiration of his two-year term of military service, he worked for International Business Machines Corp. in sales. In 1968, he began his career as a stockbroker with Bache & Co. (later Prudential-Bache and eventually Wells Fargo) in Binghamton. An account executive, he was promoted to assistant manager and vice president of sales.
John Sullivan, who continued to pursue his love of baseball after college and also enjoyed golf, was an ardent Yankees fan. His many interests, besides sports, included woodworking, gardening, crossword puzzles, and dogs, upon whom he lavished great affection. He became a major proponent of a local dog park, where he took his pets to run. Known as a man who stood up for his beliefs and adhered to high standards, he set an example for others to emulate.
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, John S. Sullivan carried on a valiant battle with the disease. During his illness there were weekly gatherings at his home in Johnson City, called “Friday with Friends.” Full of good stories and much humor, those special nights bolstered everyone’s spirits, especially John’s. The end came for him on March 15, 2012. A loyally supportive alumnus, he is survived by his wife Susan Norton; two daughters, Alexandra and Katherine; and two sisters.
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Richard Thomas Hodder ’63, a son of Joseph E., a salesman, and Barbara Edel Hodder, grew up in Auburn, NY, where he was born on July 6, 1941. Co-captain of the football team and senior class president at Auburn East High School, he enrolled at Hamilton following his graduation in 1959. Dick Hodder joined Alpha Delta Phi and excelled as quarterback on the varsity football team. He also participated in intramural sports. He majored in biology during his 3½ years on the Hill and thereafter took courses at the University of Delaware.
Dick Hodder was subsequently employed for a time by Mohawk Airlines during that regional carrier’s early years, and he afterwards served as a registered representative with Bache & Co., the brokerage firm, in Buffalo, NY, and as assistant to the manager of Niagara Falls International Airport. He later worked for Miller Technical Sales in East Aurora and retired as a control administrator for Johnson Outdoors, Inc., manufacturers of outdoor camping and watercraft equipment in Binghamton, NY.
Richard T. Hodder died at his home in Binghamton on March 29, 2012. In addition to his companion, Kendra Testa, he is survived by a son, Alexander Hodder; a daughter, Christina Hodder-Katz; and two granddaughters, a brother, and a sister. Guest-book tributes fondly recalled his love of fly fishing, as well as his engaging personality, warm smile, and sense of humor.
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