Mike Duesing, who died on August 4, was a stalwart leader of the Cornell Class of 1962. He was a class officer for 54 years, serving as class correspondent, secretary-treasurer, membership/outreach chair and whatever else it took to help the Class. More importantly, he was the voice of reason and compassion. He was always concerned with how the Class’s decisions and programs would impact our classmates and Cornell. Mike was one of the interviewees in our 50th Reunion Video, “Remembering Our Days on the Hill.” Produced by Phil Handler, the video captures Mike and the story of his undergraduate years at Cornell. To view it, go to Archives on this website or to YouTube.
From Marc Gerber comes reminiscences of Phil Handler who died on August 17: “Upon hearing the sad news of Phil’s passing, I found myself compelled to look at our yearbook of fifty-nine years ago. There was Phil clean shaven as I remembered him from the Big Red Band where we first met. Male flute players are generally classy guys and more rare than female flautists who are just as classy. Architects also present that way.
Phil was no exception. Always well dressed and well spoken. His all-nighters with the other architects at Tau Delta Phi the night before a project was due were legendary. Phil was always kind and good humored. It was a great pleasure to reconnect with him at our fiftieth. Other than his handsome beard, he had not changed a bit. The work he and his wife Maddy did for the class was so good and so well thought through. He will be missed.”
In other news, from Jacqueline Browne Bugnion: We have recently moved to Chemin des Marionnettes 37 La Conversion, Vaud 1093 CH, Switzerland. The only change to our life is semi-confinement due to the Covid19 virus. We received our first vaccination. We are doing lots of reading, walking, and travelling (before Covid). I recently completed an independent study recommending that Switzerland plant more trees in their forests and reduce the herd of cattle. Cows emit 9% CO2 equivalent of all global warming emissions in Switzerland. We follow the interesting careers of our two children: our son involved in high-tech data base work at the EPFL in Lausanne; our daughter running her own company in the U.S. dealing with environmental issues. We would like to travel again but have to wait for Covid19 to go away.
Mari Stachenfeld writes, “My ‘new news’ is that I am retiring from college teaching at long last. My last class will be Monday, May 24th It’s been fun and time for an ending”.
Houston H. Stokes writes, “I have been reading Dereliction of Duty by H. R. McMaster about the reasons for the Vietnam war disaster. I did not realize what was going on behind the mask of the government during that period. We have been in our Sawyer, Michigan house since March 2020 when we escaped Chicago trying to avoid the Covid19. Diana and I got our first Pfizer shot on 16 January and celebrated Biden being our new President on 20 January with a tenderloin dinner for supper. We are horrified at the large number of people who have died of Covid19 and the widespread economic suffering of many of the people in our country. We are walking, reading and I am reviewing economic articles as an editor of an economic journal. We enjoy seeing our four grandkids on facetime but miss hugging them in person. We look forward to our reunion.”
Willa Radin Swiller writes, “I have had a job working for the Democratic Party, in NYS, as a District Leader for more than half of my life.”
Linda Kopp Thomas writes, “Here’s a nice memory from my years at Cornell: I loved the outdoor hikes with my Geology 101 class as we explored the Ice Age history of the campus. I remember hiking for miles up some stream with Annette Gates Shimer as we did our best to complete our assignment to map the buried Interglacial Gorge. Of course, it was raining, but my yellow slicker held out. When we finished, we went to Noyes Lodge to warm up. I took off the slicker and I found I was completely soaked anyway from condensation. It was a great day!
Music is a saving grace for us. I sang in a senior choir and stepped in as director when the director moved away. For three years I had a blast with The BearTones (of Bear Canyon Senior Center). We entertained at various senior retirement places and rehabs, including Memory Care places. Some residents who don’t speak still sing every word of every song. It’s so good for us! New Mexico is just beginning to open up again, and we may be able to sing again in August.”
Victor Ericson writes, “The April 23, 2021 issue of the Bainbridge Island Review features an article highlighting the major role Charles Schmid ’62 and his wife Linda have played over the past 50 years in advocating for the environment of the island.
In addition to being recognized by the City Council with a special day on June 18 – also their anniversary – the Schmids were earlier featured in a book, In Praise of Island Stewards (Association of Bainbridge Communities, 2002) for their work in securing Superfund status for a former creosote plant on Eagle Harbor, where the Seattle/Bainbridge ferry docks. Charles also last year received the Governor’s Award for his significant environmental efforts over many decades.
In the early 1990s the Schmids were leaders in a campaign to form the City of Bainbridge Island, resulting in more local control of land use and development. Since our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter are now residents, I have observed many of the quality-of-life benefits that have occurred because of municipal governance.
In closing, I’m sure you will join me in congratulating the Schmids for this well-deserved recognition. I think we can also agree that Charles has also earned our appreciation as one of the best men afloat.”
Many thanks to Judy Rich for her excellent editing, formatting, and detective work to fact-check this column. Please keep your memories coming and think about joining the 60th reunion next June! Contact Evelyn Eskin with your news.