Alfred Morris Cady, Jr. ’40, who took over his father’s petroleum distribution company and successfully expanded it, grew up in Syracuse, NY, where he was born on January 4, 1918. The son of Alfred M. and Ella Roach Cady, he came to College Hill in 1940, following his graduation from Nottingham High School. He joined Delta Kappa Epsilon and went out for basketball, lettering as a member of the varsity team. Majoring in geology, he received his B.S. degree in 1940.
On May 30, 1942, shortly before his induction into the U.S. Navy during World War II, Al Cady was married in Syracuse to Patricia L. Brown. Commissioned as an ensign, he served through the end of the war. Discharged as a lieutenant in 1946, he returned to Syracuse, where he found employment as a sales representative for the Macmillan Book Co. and the Rome Soap Co. Subsequently he joined his father in the family’s petroleum distribution business, Syracuse Oil Co. He soon succeeded his father as president of the company and continued to build it up until it was sold in 1972 and he retired.
Al and Pat Cady thereafter settled on Marco Island, along Florida’s southwest coast, where they enjoyed condominium living as well as fishing and golf. Al, who had given up smoking, had also embarked on a vigorous walking regimen to counter the nicotine urge, and in time he covered an estimated 25,000 miles or more on foot. After a decade in Florida, the Cadys decided to return to the Syracuse area, where they had continued to spend their summers. Although Naples, FL, would draw them during the winter months, their residence was again in the North, where Al still walked every day and did more golfing and less fishing. For 57 years a member of the Onondaga Golf and Country Club, Al was considered one of its finest putters, and he proudly counted two holes in one among his golfing achievements. In later life, when he could no longer play golf, he continued to visit the Club twice a week to play bridge with longtime friends.
Al Cady, a former director of the University Club of Syracuse, member of the board of managers of Camp Dudley, and trustee of the East Genesee Presbyterian Church, was also for many years a highly active Hamiltonian. He served as president of the Syracuse Alumni Association, assisted the College with its fund-raising, and was often seen on the Hill.
In 2003, the Cadys moved from the Syracuse suburb of Fayetteville to a retirement community in nearby Jamesville. Alfred M. Cady, Jr. died there on June 21, 2010, at the age of 92. Predeceased by his wife in 2007 and by a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1963, he is survived by two sons, Alfred M. III and Robert B. Cady ’67; a daughter, Jane Haley; and nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
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Frank Van Rensselaer Phelps ’40
Frank Van Rensselaer Phelps ’40, a longtime regional supervisor for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and a noted authority on sports history, was born on December 16, 1917, in New York City. The son of Frank V. R. Phelps, a physician, and the former Esther E. Atchison, a registered nurse, he prepared for college at Trinity School in Manhattan and enrolled at Hamilton in 1936. He joined Sigma Phi and played varsity tennis, becoming captain of the team in his senior year. He also served on the Intramural Council. His intense interest in sports history, and especially baseball and tennis, had developed early in his youth, and it would become a lifelong preoccupation. Credited by The Hamiltonian with knowing “all conceivable information about all baseball players and most other sportsmen,” he left the Hill with his A.B. degree in 1940.
Frank Phelps returned to New York City and immediately began what would be a 42-year career with Metropolitan Life. When the United States entered World War II, he was deferred by his Selective Service board because of extreme nearsightedness. However, a year later, in 1942, he was reclassified 1-A and drafted into the Army. Assigned to a 5th Army medical battalion, the 161st of the 16th Medical Regiment, he soon embarked with his unit to North Africa from England. With his unit he inched his way across Algeria and Tunisia and hit the beaches at Salerno, Italy, shortly after the Allied landings there. The medical battalion was following the Infantry north when the war in Europe ended in 1945. Discharged as a sergeant in November of that year, after 37 months overseas, he returned to his job with the group insurance division of Metropolitan Life in New York City.
Frank Phelps resided with his mother in White Plains, NY, until his marriage on September 21,1951, to Helen H. Richter in Baldwin on Long Island. The couple moved to Manhattan, but found themselves in Ohio two years later when Frank was assigned to Met Life’s regional headquarters in Cleveland as an associate regional supervisor. They continued to reside in suburban Lakewood and Bay Village until 1968 when Frank, who had become a regional supervisor of Met Life’s group division in 1965, took over as regional supervisor for the division in Philadelphia, PA. He retained that post until his retirement in 1982.
After retiring, Frank Phelps had more time to devote to his favorite pastimes, genealogical and sports research. Tracing his paternal ancestry back to Edward Phelps, who had arrived in Newbury, MA, as early as 1651, he amassed a considerable library of genealogical materials in his King of Prussia, PA, home. However, it was in his pioneering research on sports history for which he became most noted. Based on large quantities of source materials that he collected, his extensive and meticulous research led to writing, which in turn led to his recognition as a sports historian of the first rank.
The author of more than 100 sports biographies for standard reference works such as the American National Biography, the Biographical Dictionary of American Sports, and the Encyclopedia Americana, Frank Phelps focused special attention on baseball and lawn tennis (as he invariably and correctly called the sport generally known now merely as tennis), and many of his articles offered corrections to longstanding errors of fact. Having personally witnessed as a child the first Major League game at Yankee Stadium in September 1927, and as a youth the first U.S. Tennis Championships at Forest Hills in September 1933, he built upon a lifetime of fascination for the two sports to acquire encyclopedic knowledge of their history. At an early age he began to compile records of competitions and participants in tennis tournaments dating from the 19th century beginnings of American lawn tennis, and his knowledge was drawn upon by well known aficionados of the game, such as the colorful color commentator Bud Collins. Drawing upon his historical knowledge, he also contributed to the development of the tie-breaker, now widely adopted in modern tournament tennis.
Active in sports research organizations, Frank Phelps served as a director and treasurer of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and founded and chaired for many years its bibliographic committee. For SABR he wrote articles and research reports, and was principal compiler of The Index to the Sporting News Register 1940-1995, published in 1996, a key source for information on baseball history. He was also a founding member of the Tennis Collectors of America, and he was co-compiler of Tennis Bibliography 1874-2000, published in 2004. It faithfully reflected not only his wide-ranging and profound erudition but also his great affection for the game. A monumental bibliographic achievement, it will long remain an invaluable resource for serious students of the sport. In 2005, he was hailed as the “foremost tennis historian in the U.S.” when he was enshrined into the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.
An ever genial and generous-minded man, Frank Phelps was always willing and even eager to assist fellow researchers in any way that he could. He was also devoted to Hamilton and served his alma mater in numerous capacities, from class agent for the Annual Fund to class correspondent for this magazine. In addition, he never missed a reunion of his class and chaired more than one of them.
Long a resident of King of Prussia, Frank Phelps relocated in 2005 to a retirement community in Avon OH, near Cleveland. He was residing in Avon Lake when he died on January 4, 2010, at the age of 92. Predeceased by his wife in 2000, he is survived by a son, Frank V.R. Phelps, Jr., and two grandchildren. His extensive collection of materials on sports history has found its home at the Western Reserve Historical Society, where scholars can continue to draw upon its wealth.
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George Philip Schacher ’40
George Philip Schacher ’40, for 35 years a research chemist with the General Electric Co., and who became a square dance enthusiast and organizer, was born on April 18, 1919, in Eden, NY, south of Buffalo. A son of Conrad J. and Clara Bley Schacher, he grew up in Eden and came to the College in 1936 from Eden High School. Conscientious and hard-working, “Schach” covered his college expenses by holding down several campus jobs, such as in the Hall of Commons kitchen and as a general handyman for Coach Jean Gélas and his wife. He was also a Chapel bell ringer. During the summers he worked in a canning factory. A member of the Squires Club who concentrated his studies on mathematics and chemistry, he received his B.S. degree in 1940.
That year, George Schacher was hired as a math and science teacher at Parker High School in Clarence, NY. By the following year, however, he was informed by his draft board that his services were needed by Uncle Sam. He entered the Army in April 1941, months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and would remain in uniform until April 1946, well after World War II had ended. At first posted to a field artillery observation battalion, he was transferred to the Signal Corps and commissioned as an officer. Assigned to intelligence “to learn about secret inks,” he concluded his military service with an intelligence unit at the atomic testing grounds in Los Alamos, NM.
Discharged as a captain, George Schacher began his long employment with GE as a chemist in its general engineering lab in Schenectady, NY. As an analytical chemist, he worked in the field of mass spectrometry. He retired from GE’s Corporate Research and Development Center in Schenectady in 1981.
Much of George Schacher’s leisure time was devoted to woodworking, photography, and increasingly to square dancing. He and his wife “Marzie,” the former Marzetta D. Latham, an art teacher whom he had wed when he was in the Army on July 30, 1942, in their hometown of Eden, had become avid square dancers. As a square dance caller, George co-founded three clubs, Merry Mixers, Swinging Squares, and Rolling Squares, and he and Marzie organized groups of dancers to perform at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. They also arranged for the annual performance of 4-H Club square dancers at the New York State Fair. After his retirement, George continued to call for church and social groups, and especially for senior citizens’ dances.
In retirement, George and Marzie Schacher acquired a mobile home and did quite a bit of traveling in it. They motored to national parks in the West as well as to Florida in the winter, and attended numerous Elderhostels in various places. Previously residents of Saratoga Springs, the Schachers made their home in nearby Malta in recent years.
George P. Schacher, a loyal alumnus, died on January 9, 2010, while hospitalized in Saratoga Springs, at the age of 90. In addition to his wife of 67 years, he is survived by a daughter, Marilyn Fino; two sons, George P., Jr. and James R. Schacher; and six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
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John Pruyn van Alstyne ’43
John Pruyn van Alstyne ’43, a former Hamilton faculty member who became legendary as a professor and dean at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, was born on September 12, 1921, in Albany, NY. The son of Lewis M., a plant geneticist, and Edna Duff van Alstyne, his father’s Dutch ancestors came to this country in the 1660s to farm in the Hudson Valley. When John was 5 years old, his family moved from their ancestral home in Kinderhook to Geneva, NY, where his father was employed by the Cornell Experimental Station. John grew up in Geneva and was graduated in 1939 from Geneva High School. He arrived on College Hill that fall and joined the Emerson Literary Society. Tall, blond, and with a winning smile, he quickly became well known on campus.
Active in debate, John van Alstyne also edited The Hamiltonian and served as acting chairman of the executive committee of the College Church. Elected to the forensic and journalistic honoraries Delta Sigma Rho and Pi Delta Epsilon, he also directed the College Band, in which he played bassoon, and managed the varsity soccer team. In addition, he excelled academically and was awarded the Oren Root Prize Scholarship in mathematics as well as the Duell Prize Scholarship in German.
When John van Alstyne was a senior, the College urgently needed math instructors for the military training programs being established on campus in the midst of World War II. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, he was known to be a whiz at math, a subject to which he was drawn because of his vocational interest in architecture. The fact that he fell a few units short of a bachelor’s degree didn’t cause much concern, given the exigencies of wartime. Consequently, he was “drafted” to teach, and although it delayed his graduation by a year, it turned out to be the beginning of a distinguished career in education that would be only temporarily interrupted by a detour into banking.
Following his graduation in 1944, with a B.S. degree and honors in math and German, John van Alstyne utilized the coveted Root Fellowship that he had received to pursue studies in math at Princeton University. By that time he was a married man, having wed R. Yolanda Augsbury on October 7, 1944, in New York City. In 1948, after three years at the National City Bank in Manhattan, he was invited back to College Hill as a math instructor. This time, however, his students were not military personnel but civilians, including many World War II veterans. Having acquired an M.A. degree in math from Columbia University in 1952, he was promoted to assistant professor. Named associate professor in 1960, he remained on the faculty until the following year, when desire for change led him to accept a similar appointment at Worcester Polytechnic in Massachusetts. Promoted to full professor in 1966, he also served WPI from 1971 to 1987 as dean of academic advising.
During his early tenure at WPI, John van Alstyne participated in the planning that led to the innovative revamping of the Institute’s entire academic program. However, in time he became best known and highly regarded as a superb teacher whose concern for students went far beyond the mere offering of extra help. He particularly enjoyed teaching freshmen, and once remarked that “working with students has kept me from thinking old.” He received several awards for his selfless dedication and became affectionately known to his students and colleagues alike simply as “van A.” By the time of his retirement in 1989, after 38 years at WPI, he had begun to become more or less accustomed to having himself described as “legendary.”
Long a resident of Petersham, MA, where he chaired the town’s school committee and the parish committee of the Unitarian Church, as well as serving as trustee and treasurer of the Petersham Memorial Library, John van Alstyne moved to Ashville, NC, in 1989. There he volunteered his services for almost 15 years as registrar for the College for Seniors at the University of North Carolina, Ashville, while also teaching, tutoring, and nurturing often disadvantaged students in local schools. He retained his passion for teaching and continued to take a personal interest in his students, each and every one.
When not assisting both the young and the old educationally, John van Alstyne enjoyed long walks in the lush mountain surroundings of Ashville, and cooking, especially bread baking, in his kitchen. To Hamilton he remained affectionately and generously devoted, in gratitude “for giving me an introduction to a career that has brought me years of great satisfaction.” Recalling that he had initially intended to become an architect, he instead found that “nothing I might have created could have matched the joy I have experienced in seeing the light shine in my students’ eyes when they gain understanding.”
John van Alstyne died on April 16, 2010, in Ashville, in his 90th year. Long a divorcé, he is survived by three daughters, Abigail P. van Alstyne, Deborah Girard, and Robin van Alstyne, and a grandson.
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Alexander Reid Hamilton ’43
Alexander Reid Hamilton ’43, a lawyer and longtime partner in the Manhattan law firm of Burke & Burke, was born on December 8, 1920, in Paris, France, where his parents were temporarily residing in connection with his father’s work. The elder son of Alexander M., a mechanical engineer, and Marsha Reid Hamilton, he grew up in North Tarrytown, NY (now called Sleepy Hollow). He attended Washington Irving High School and prepared for college at Hackley School in nearby Tarrytown. “Pete” Hamilton, as he was known by all since boyhood, came to College Hill in 1939. He chose Hamilton, not because of its name or any family connection to its namesake, the Alexander Hamilton (for none was known), but because friends had highly recommended it to him. Tall and lanky, he soon made his presence known on campus. A member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, he became president of its house and served on the Publications Board and the Honor Court as well as the Interfraternity Council. Soon after his graduation in January 1943, he went on active duty with the U.S. Navy.
Trained in amphibious operations and commissioned as an officer, Pete Hamilton was assigned in the fall of 1943 to the U.S.S. LST-48, a tank landing ship then under construction. He joined it in the shipbuilding yard and remained with the vessel for two and a half years through World War II and beyond. On it, he sailed in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific, and participated in the D-Day landings in Normandy and in Southern France, as well as the Okinawa campaign. He was still with the vessel when it docked in occupied Japan.
Separated from the Navy, as a lieutenant in the summer of 1946, Pete Hamilton, who had once thought of becoming a geologist, decided on the law instead. He entered Yale Law School, where he earned his LL.B. degree in 1949. That year, he began his long association with Burke & Burke, then headed by Daniel Burke, Class of 1893, and a firm with many Hamilton connections. Named a partner in 1959, Pete Hamilton retained that position until 1987, when Burke & Burke was merged with another firm to form Satterlee, Stephens, Burke & Burke. He remained with that firm as of counsel until his retirement in 1990.
Proud of his Scottish ancestry and long active in Scottish organizations, Pete Hamilton was a past president of Clan Hamilton USA, chairman of Scottish Heritage USA, and honorary councilor to the National Trust of Scotland. A resident of Manhattan since 1951, he served for many years as vestryman of the Church of the Heavenly Rest, the Episcopal parish church where he was wed on February 17, 1951, to Mary Morgan. An ardently loyal and generously supportive alumnus, he was a longtime secretary of the Metropolitan New York Alumni Association as well as a regional chairman of the Alumni Fund.
Alexander R. “Pete” Hamilton died on July 11, 2010, in New York City, in his 90th year. In addition to his wife of 59 years, he is survived by a daughter, Virginia Hamilton K’74; two sons Alexander M. ’77 and Bruce Hamilton; and three grandchildren, including Alice Popejoy ’09. For her reminiscences of her grandfather, see p. 52.
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Thomas Lincoln Leonard ’44
Thomas Lincoln Leonard ’44, a son of Alfred H., an accountant, and Agnes Wilcox Leonard, was born on June 15, 1922, in Elmira, NY. Tom Leonard enrolled at Hamilton in 1940 from Delmar, NY, where he was graduated first in his class from Bethlehem High School. On College Hill he quickly impressed his classmates with his seemingly encyclopedic knowledge, wide-ranging interests, and as “a fountain of original ideas.” In his sophomore year he embarked upon his own unorthodox reading program, giving it priority over class attendance and homework. He left the Hill after two years and went out to Wisconsin to become an apprentice to his idol, the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, at Taliesin.
The College and classmates thereafter lost contact with Tom Leonard, who reportedly served with the U.S. Army in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II. He died at a hospice in Albany, NY, on November 30, 2009. Described in a brief obituary notice as “an avid chess player as well as a voracious reader,” he is survived by a brother, John Leonard, and two nieces.
James Arthur Derrenbacker ’45
James Arthur Derrenbacker ’45, a retired accounting supervisor, was born on November 16, 1923, in Hornell, NY. A son of Theodore and Gladys Willey Derrenbacker, he grew up in Syracuse, NY, and was graduated in 1941 from Syracuse Central High School. Jim Derrenbacker entered Hamilton that fall and joined Delta Upsilon. After three semesters on the Hill, however, he withdrew in early 1943, during World War II, to go on active duty with the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Jim Derrenbacker, who served as a P-51 pilot with the 8th Air Force stationed in England, returned to his hometown after the war and enrolled at Syracuse University, where he completed his studies and was graduated. While residing in Skaneateles, NY, he served as director of business affairs at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. In 1973, he moved to Florida and became supervisor of the accounting department at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. An avid golfer, he, along with his wife, also enjoyed bicycling trips both in the U.S. and Europe.
A 37-year resident of the Sarasota area, James A. Derrenbacker died in Florida on June 25, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Priscilla, as well as three sons, four daughters, 13 grandchildren, four great-children, and a brother and a sister.
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Thomas Bundy Wahl ’45
Thomas Bundy Wahl ’45, whose varied career encompassed business ventures in Latin America and real estate development and management in North Carolina, was born on December 2, 1923, in Eau Claire, WI. A son of Victor T. and Katharine Bundy Wahl, he was a great-grandson of Egbert B. Bundy, Class of 1856, and a great-grandnephew of Charles S. Bundy, Class of 1854, both judges and early settlers in the Midwest. Tom Bundy prepared for college at Shattuck School in Minnesota and came east to Hamilton from Eau Claire in 1941. He joined Chi Psi, went out for swimming, and was elected to DT. After three semesters on the Hill, however, he withdrew from the College to enter the U.S. Army. He served in the enlisted ranks with the 8th Armored Infantry Division in the European theater during World War II and saw action during the final days of the Battle of the Bulge. Awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, he was discharged at the war’s end in 1945.
After the war, Tom Wahl transferred to Stanford University, where he majored in economics and acquired his B.A. degree in 1948. That year, following some further study at the Thunderbird Graduate School for International Management in Phoenix, AZ, he drove down the Pan American Highway, heading for Rio de Janeiro. Stranded in Lima, Peru, he stayed on there for 20 years, working mostly in industrial sales and management for import companies. In 1952, he married a Peruvian, Anita Kleiser, in Lima, and there he also founded the Intra-American Trade Development Co.
In 1968, Peru having “collapsed politically and economically,” Tom Wahl, along with his family, returned to the United States. When he was appointed as an investment officer in charge of Mexico and Central America for Inter-American Investment Development Corp. in New York City, the Wahls moved to Huntington, NY. By 1972, when Latin America shifted to nationalism and anti-Americanism, the corporation, a government entity, went out of business, and Tom Wahl became one of many unemployed “Latin American experts” at that time.
That year, a golfing buddy happened to mention that his Florida real estate company needed a regional director for New England and eastern Canada. Tom obtained broker’s credentials and successfully applied for the job. He became involved in real estate marketing, development, and management, almost entirely of vacation and second homes, and remained in that line of work until his retirement in 1991. During that 20-year period the Wahls moved from Long Island to the Boston, MA, area, and in 1977 to Ashville, NC. When not on the golf course, Tom kept his hand in real estate, primarily resort development and management.
Thomas B. Wahl, who took up full-time residence in Florida in 1995, died in Sunny Isles Beach on January 20, 2010. In addition to his wife of 57 years, he leaves two daughters, Elizabeth A. Wahl and Katherine Rose; two sons, Thomas H. and Jeffrey B. Wahl; and five grandchildren. His brother, Victor T. Wahl, Jr. ’49, predeceased him in 2000.
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Raymond William Buecheler ’46
Raymond William Buecheler ’46, a retired insurance broker and company executive, grew up in Syracuse, NY, where he was born on June 25, 1924. A son of Jacob R., an attorney-at-law, and Daisy Lee Buecheler, he came to Hamilton in 1942, following his graduation from Syracuse’s North High School. Ray Buecheler, who joined the Emerson Literary Society and played on the hockey team, left the College at the end of his freshman year, having already enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After completing the Navy’s V-12 program at Tufts College and midshipmen’s school at Northwestern University, he was commissioned as an officer and assigned to an escort carrier in the Pacific theater. He served there for 13 months through the end of World War II and was discharged in 1946 as a lieutenant (j.g.).
Ray Buecheler returned to College Hill in the fall of 1946 to resume his studies and acquire his A.B. degree in 1948. Soon thereafter, on November 27, he and his high school sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth (Betsy) Hosler, were married in Syracuse. Also in 1948, Ray obtained employment as a special representative with Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland in Baltimore, and there learned “the bond business.” He returned to Syracuse and began his long career in the insurance field in 1953 with a local agency, Bowen, Perry & Fobes. When the agency merged with Marsh & McLennan, the international insurance brokerage firm, in 1962, he became an assistant vice president of that company. Promoted to vice president, he retired in 1987.
While residing in the Syracuse suburb of Camillus, Ray and Betsy Buecheler also had a summer home on Sandy Pond, a bay off Lake Ontario. In addition, they liked to spend time in Bradenton, FL, or at Hilton Head in South Carolina during the winter. Ever appreciative of his Hamilton education, Ray Buecheler remained a faithful alumnus and loyally supportive of the College throughout his life.
Raymond W. Buecheler died on August 13, 2010, at his home at Sandy Pond, near Pulaski, NY. Predeceased by his wife in 1996, he is survived by his companion, Anita Richards; three daughters, Deborah Finerghty, Barbara Sharkey, and Elizabeth Petosa; and seven grandchildren.
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Frederic Stuart Knight ’46
Frederic Stuart Knight ’46, a career U.S. Marine Corps officer who commanded a battalion in Vietnam, grew up in Utica, NY, where he was born on February 23, 1924. A son of James V., a sales representative, and Norma Taylor Knight, he was the brother of James V. Knight, Jr. ’42. Fred Knight followed his brother from Utica Free Academy to Hamilton in 1942. He joined his brother’s fraternity, Psi Upsilon, and became a member of the Choir. However, after his freshman year he left the College to enlist in the Marines. After participating in the U.S. Navy’s World War II V-12 program at Colgate University, he served through the war’s end until 1946.
Following the war, Fred Knight transferred to Colgate, where he could utilize his wartime credits to earn his B.A. degree more quickly. Having majored in French, he was awarded the degree in 1947. He subsequently studied French literature at the University of Grenoble. In 1950, when the Korean War began, he was recalled to active duty. Back in the Marines, he decided to stay in and make a career of it.
Fred Knight first encountered Vietnam in 1955 when he, soon to be promoted to major, was sent as assistant naval attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. He returned to Vietnam in 1967 and was assigned as a lieutenant colonel to the 3rd Marine Division. He was the Division’s assistant G-2 (Intelligence) during the Tet Offensive and the siege of Khe Sanh. Thereafter he took command of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, which engaged in four months of combat in Quang Tri Province. For his service in Vietnam, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with a “V” for Valor.
Fred Knight, who had taken up residence in Virginia Beach, VA, had as his final Marine Corps assignment three years on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC. After serving for 30 years, he retired with the rank of colonel in 1972. Divorced from his first wife, the former Irene R. Gonckowski, whom he had married in 1954, he was later wed to Barbara Hyde Greene, and during Col. Knight’s retirement the couple enjoyed the adventures of travel.
Frederic S. Knight died at his home in Virginia Beach on March 22, 2010. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter and son from his first marriage, Valerie Kittell and Fredric S. Knight, Jr. He was predeceased by his brother James in 1997.
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Robert Wallace Smith ’46
Robert Wallace Smith ’46, a longtime lawyer and community leader in Maine, was born on July 28, 1923, in Hanover, NH. The eldest of three sons of Robert W., a life insurance representative, and Mary Jane Wallace Smith, he grew up in White River Junction, VT, and prepared for college at Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. He enrolled at Hamilton in the fall of 1942 but left the Hill after only a semester to volunteer for the U.S. Army during World War II. Assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, he became a “soldier on skis.” Trained in Colorado, he was dispatched to the European theater, where his infantry unit engaged in combat with German forces in the Italian Alps and earned three battle stars. Awarded the Bronze Star, Bob Smith attained the rank of staff sergeant before his discharge after the war’s end in 1945.
Bob Smith, “still a freshman but well-versed in four-letter words,” returned to College Hill in the summer of 1946. He was accompanied by his wife, the former Henrietta R. Sharpe, whom he had met at a high school dance and married while still in uniform on August 25, 1945, in Woodstock, VT. They took to “suburban living” in the North Village, and Bob tried his hand at journalism with Hamiltonews and the new Spectator. However, he devoted most of his extracurricular attention to skiing, which he helped initiate as a varsity sport. He became the ski team’s captain and chief publicist, and his intense ski involvement even led The Hamiltonian to predict, accurately, that the aspiring lawyer would “never practice very far from a T-bar lift.”
Bob Smith, a member of Sigma Phi, was graduated in 1949 with honors in philosophy and political science. He was also awarded the Squires Prize in philosophy. He went on to Harvard Law School, where he obtained his LL.B. degree in 1952. That year, he found employment in Portland, ME, as the first full-time attorney for Union Mutual Life Insurance Co. Promoted to vice president and counsel in 1963, he remained with the company until 1966, when he resigned to accept a partnership in a new Portland law firm. As Preti, Flaherty & Beliveau, the firm would become one of the largest and most prominent in Maine. By the mid-1990s, Bob Smith had retired from full-time practice with the firm but still visited the office a few days a week as “of counsel.”
Long a resident of Cape Elizabeth, near Portland, Bob Smith was active in community affairs as a member of the Town Council and the Planning Board. He also chaired the Cape Elizabeth Urban Renewal Authority and served on the Greater Portland Regional Planning Commission. In addition, he was for 45 years a member of the Maine Medical Center Board of Corporators. Known both in his professional and private life as a man of high integrity, one “guided by a strong moral compass,” he had a positive outlook on life and was ever ready with “a smile and a kind word for everyone.”
With his wife “Hen,” Bob Smith continued to make time for ski trips, not only to nearby New England slopes but also to the Rockies and the Swiss and Italian Alps. In addition, he enjoyed cruising on Casco Bay on his Chris Craft boat and golfing on links in Florida and Bermuda. At home he found pleasure in music and reading, especially about World War II, and in following the fortunes of his favorite teams, the Red Sox and Patriots.
Long ill, Robert W. Smith, an ever-faithful alumnus, died in Cape Elizabeth on March 10, 2010. He is survived by his wife of 64 years. Also surviving are a daughter, Martha Jones; a son, Robert R. Smith ’80; and four grandchildren and a brother, David E. Smith. His other brother, John B. Smith ’56, predeceased him in 2001.
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Earle Eugene Wilson ’46
Earle Eugene Wilson ’46, a retired high school mathematics teacher, was born on May 15, 1924, in Pawlet, VT. The son of Clarence E., a tool and die maker, and Elsie M. Wilson, he came to Hamilton in 1942, following his graduation from Granville (NY) High School. He became a member of the Squires Club, went out for football, and was elected to D.T. However, after a year on the Hill, he withdrew from the College to join the U.S. Navy’s aviation cadet program. He earned his wings and served until World War II’s end in 1945. In May of that year he and Marion Ullemeyer were wed in Monroe, MI.
After the war, the Wilsons resided in Monroe, where Earle was employed while also pursuing college studies. He acquired a B.S. in 1960 and an M.S. in education in 1963 from Eastern Michigan University. In the meantime, in 1958, he had begun his teaching career. In 1963, the Wilsons moved to Argyle, NY, near Glens Falls, and Earle joined the faculty of Glens Falls High School. He taught math and computer science at the school until his retirement in 1986.
Earle E. Wilson died on December 2, 2009, while hospitalized in Glens Falls. Predeceased by his wife in 1997, he is survived by a son, E. James Wilson, and two grandsons and three great-grandsons.
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Bruce Raymond Abrams ’49
Bruce Raymond Abrams ’49, an insurance company executive who specialized in communications, was born on March 20, 1924, in Rome, NY. The son of Albert Abrams, a musician and store owner, and the former Nellie Stanton, he was graduated in 1940 from Townsend Harris High School in New York City. He subsequently took courses at the College of the City of New York as well as postgraduate work at Rome Free Academy in his hometown. In 1942, he entered the U.S. Army Air Forces. Trained as a navigator and bombardier, he served in the Pacific theater during World War II and earned the Air Medal.
Discharged from active duty as a first lieutenant in 1946, Bruce Abrams enrolled at Hamilton from Rome that fall. He joined Chi Psi, took to the stage with the Charlatans, and served on the Interfraternity Council. He left the Hill with his diploma in 1949 and, wishing to pursue a career in advertising and public relations, looked for a job in that field. However, none was available, and he turned to insurance instead. Hired as a special agent for the Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. in 1950, he thereafter became its agent in upstate New York.
Still having an urge to enter the communications field, Bruce Abrams left Aetna in 1956 to become an account executive for L.M. Harvey Co., a public relations firm in Syracuse. He soon moved on to New York City to join Allston Associates, an advertising and public relations agency specializing in insurance accounts, as vice president. In 1958, he established and became president of his own agency, Abrams & Bogue, also specializing in insurance.
In 1962, Bruce Abrams began the final phase of his career combining communications with insurance. He joined the Continental Insurance Cos., also in New York City, filling the newly created position of director of public relations. His first assignment was to introduce Continental’s new logo, the Continental Soldier, soon to become a permanent feature of all the company’s advertising. By the time he was elected vice president of the company in 1965, he was in charge of all its advertising and public relations activities. Named vice president for corporate communication of the parent company, the Continental Corp., in 1975, he opted for early retirement in 1980. In less than two decades with Continental, he had greatly expanded its communications operations and substantially increased its national visibility through effective advertising campaigns.
Bruce Abrams, a former vice president of the Insurance Public Relations Council and treasurer of the Association of National Advertisers, retired to the eastern shore of Maryland with his wife, the former Claire Albert, whom he had wed on February 18, 1950, in Fort Lee, NJ. They had previously resided in Chatham, NJ. In 1996, however, the couple returned to the Garden State and took up residence in Rossmoor, a community in Monroe Township, near Jamesburg.
Bruce R. Abrams, known for his love of music, travel, sailing, and golf, as well as his unfailing willingness to lend a helping hand to others, died at his New Jersey home on March 30, 2010. In addition to his wife of 60 years, he is survived by a daughter, Claudia A. Abrams; a son, Bruce S. Abrams; and two grandsons.
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Bernard Russell Hawley ’49
Bernard Russell Hawley ’49, pastor emeritus of the First Presbyterian Church of Salina, KS, was born on November 22, 1926, in Ludlow, MA. A son of Charles A. Hawley ’16, a Presbyterian minister and college professor, and the former Barbara D. Kimble, he grew up in the Midwest and was graduated from high school in Atchison, KS. He briefly attended the University of Kansas before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1945, during the final phase of World War II.
Discharged in 1946, after serving as a crewman on a seaplane tender, “Bernie” Hawley followed his father to Hamilton. He became a member of the Emerson Literary Society, sang in the Choir, took to the stage with the Charlatans, and managed the campus radio station, WHC, when it had its studio in the basement of Root Hall. After two years on the Hill, he transferred to Ottawa University in Kansas, where his father chaired the department of English. Majoring in that field, Bernie Hawley earned his B.A. degree in 1949. While at the University he met Lois Jeanne Dick, and they were married in Ottawa on November 19, 1950, with his father officiating at the wedding.
Bernie Hawley began his career in radio broadcasting as a part-owner and on-air talent at KOFO in Ottawa, and later on KFDI in Wichita. He subsequently worked in the insurance field. Increasingly, however, he was drawn to a religious calling, and in 1955 he entered McCormick Theological Seminary. Three years later, he acquired his B.D. degree and began his pastoral duties as assistant minister of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park, MD. Named pastor of the church the following year, he held that post until 1965, when he returned to Kansas and began 22 years of dedicated service to the congregation of Salina’s First Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Dr. Hawley (he was awarded an honorary D.D. degree from Sterling College in 1970) traveled widely in Europe while attending ecumenical conferences. He also led church members on tours of the Holy Land and to see the famed Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. In Salina, he was instrumental in bringing the Presbyterian Manor, a retirement community, to the town. In addition, he chaired the board of Presbyterian Manor of Mid-America and served on the board of McCormick Theological Seminary.
Bernard Hawley moved to California following his retirement in 1987. There he served as an interim pastor of community churches in San Marino and Palm Desert. In 1991, the Hawleys moved to Surprise, AZ. One of the highlights of Bernie Hawley’s retirement years was his selection in 1986 by Majority Leader Robert J. (Bob) Dole of Kansas to offer the opening prayer for the first televised session of the U.S. Senate.
The Rev. Dr. Bernard R. Hawley died on July 19, 2010, of complications from Parkinson’s disease, at the Presbyterian Manor in Lawrence KS, where he had last resided. In addition to his wife of 59 years, he is survived by three sons, Steven A., John F., and James R. Hawley; a daughter, Diane K. Hawley; and two grandchildren.
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