Class of 1947

Apr, 2022

Irene Margolis Backalenick writes: “After a lifetime as a freelance journalist/theater critic, I just published In the Theater World. This collection of New York City (Broadway and off-Broadway) reviews represents the last phase of my work as a theater critic from 2004 to 2015. It celebrates my 100th birthday and is published by Amazon Press.”

From the November/December 2017 Issue

Irene Margolis Backalenick writes: “My family and I celebrated my 96th birthday Aug. 12. Though I was a journalist writing for the New York Times and other national publications for many years, I went on to a PhD in theater history and have been a theater critic for the past 30 years. Now I have turned to a new genre, poetry. My first two books of poems, titled Rueful Reflections Book 1 and Book 2, are now offered online at . My works have appeared in various poetry journals. My son, Paul Backalenick ’72, is also a writer, having just published his first novel, Development, which is selling on .” 

From the September/October 2017 Issue

Irene Margolis Backalenick writes: “For years I was a journalist writing for the New York Times and other national publications, but I returned to school in the 1980s to get a PhD in theater history and to become a theater critic. Now, at age 95, I have turned to a new genre—poetry—and have been published in several journals. My own two published books, Rueful Reflections, books one and two, are now available at Amazon.”

From the September/October 2016 Issue

Richard M. Morris is still doing Biblical studies research as a retired Episcopal priest.

Anne Renzi Wright (see Joan McMaster ’60).

From the July/August 2014 Issue

Ralph E. Heinzerling writes: “I’m still sailboat racing and winning on Manhasset Bay, N.Y. I enjoyed racing on Brown’s intercollegiate racing team. Still kicking.”

From the September/October 2013 Issue

James C. Sisco and Ida J. Sisco celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on July 5. Their daughter; daughter-in-law; three grandchildren, including Gregory Sisco ’07 ScM; and four great-grandchildren joined them for the occasion. Jim is retired and enjoys playing golf and bowling. He is a member of AARP and SOI organizations. 

From the March/April 2013 Issue

Doris E. Cooney Davis writes: “For the last two years, I’ve lived in Georgia with my daughter and son-in-law. My other daughter lives in California with her husband and two daughters. I have five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. I enjoy oil painting.”

Joan Van Raalte Hellinger writes: “Sadly, my husband, Bernard, passed away this year. I am still in psychoanalytic practice in Beverly Hills and frequently see Barbara Solomon Spitz in Newport Beach. We both look forward to hearing from classmates.”

From the September/October 2012 Issue

Irene Margolis Backalenick reports: “The class of ’47, meeting for its 65th reunion during Commencement weekend, had reason to celebrate: the class had met its goal of $47,000, a gift (contributed by 47 percent of the class) which was presented to the University. Nat Brush Lewis was elected the new class president, with Irene Backalenick as secretary.

“On hand for the class luncheon were class marshals Gerald Tucci and Joseph Dowling. Elizabeth Reilly Socha, also a class marshal and reunion cochair, chaired the meeting. With only two other alumnae present—Joyce Wetherald Fairchild and myself—the men decidedly outnumbered the women. Also attending were Ray Barnstone, Stanley Blacher, Irving Berstein, Burton Fain, John Lawlor, Joseph Matarazzo, Thomas McCormick, Rev. Richard Morris, Howard Smith, and Roger Williams.

“Considering their ages, well into their 80s, the class was grateful to have so many alumni able to participate. They represented the 210 surviving class members. Joseph Matarazzo spoke about maintaining a healthy lifestyle at that age, stressing the importance of exercise.    

“Staff reunion coordinator Lisa Griffin helped the luncheon and class dinner run smoothly. She brought two students—Laney Caldwell and Zainab Syed, both class of 2014—who shared their Brown experiences.”

Irving Berstein writes: “Our class attended Brown during our country’s most trying times, World War II. Many of our classmates made the supreme sacrifice, and I regularly cry when I recall those horrible times. After serving in the U.S. Navy and earning a chemistry PhD from Cornell, I founded a company to study the effects of testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. Later I worked in a joint division of health sciences and technology at Harvard and MIT. I now split my time between Vero Beach, Fla., and Lexington, Mass. I have two sons. I still regularly attend Brown football games in rain or shine or snow. See you there!”

Anne Renzi Wright (see Joan Hoost McMaster ’60).

From the January/February 2012 Issue

Fred Collins writes: "My wife of over 60 years, Gladys, died in December 2010. I continue to be active in community and church affairs and enjoy having daughter Wendy, granddaughter Heidi, great-granddaughter Julie, and their families near me in Green Valley, Ariz."

Richard Morris writes: "In September I went to Brown to see my granddaughter enter through the gates in the eight-year medical program. I am still functioning as priest associate in my local parish when needed."

Herman Trotter writes: "After desultory stints as a securities analyst, salesman, and advertising copywriter/account executive, I spent 44 wholly enjoyable years as classical music critic for the Buffalo News, and in retirement am still writing as emeritus critic. My second wife, Rosa, and I have had many wonderful European travels and are still vitally active."

From the November/December 2011 Issue

Bob and Mary Hodnett Hay (see Bob Hay Jr. '75).

From the July/August 2011 Issue

Richard Lukin writes that he became a grandpa at 81, when his daughter Melissa Lukin '82 adopted "a 2-year-old Mayan princess." His new granddaughter, Karla, is now in kindergarten and fluidly conversational. Melissa is executive director of CORA, a domestic-violence service agency in San Mateo, Calif. Richard writes that he visits as often as he can and recommends the joys of adoption.

Eleanor Nadler Schwartz writes: "My age continues to astonish me, but it's not hindering me in any way. I travel to Melbourne, Australia, once a year to visit my three Aussie grandchildren; I work two days a week in the archives at the American Museum of Natural History; I study Italian, read a lot, and never watch television. In the unlikely event that anyone remembers me, I'd enjoy hearing from you."

From the January/February 2011 Issue

Jay Z. James celebrated his 90th birthday with his five children on Aug. 28 at his home in Fort Myers, Fla. Attendees included his son Jay James Jr. '69 and Jay's wife, Beverly Burton James '71; daughters Judith, Janis, and Jill; and his son Jeffrey. There were also five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Jay is enjoying his retirement, which includes sports, politics, and two weekly bridge clubs.

From the March/April 2010 Issue

Melvin H. Kirschner writes: "I just published my first book, more than 60 years after leaving Brown. All Medicines Are Poison! reflects only one issue I deal with. Actually, it's a view of the health care system we have in this country, its shortcomings, and how I believe it can be fixed. When I started in medical school, there was no Brown medical school, so I applied only to the California schools where I worked and lived. I've gone to five universities, but Brown was my favorite. I lived on campus. The University's warmth and affection for the students was unequaled. I've remained in contact for more than 60 years. I truly believe that my time at Brown set the standard for my life."

From the January/February 2010 Issue

Joseph Dowling Jr. has been appointed to the board of overseers of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. In June he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology and the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary. He continues his ophthalmology practice at the Rhode Island Eye Institute and enjoys playing tennis and golf, traveling, and spending time with his 11 grandchildren.

From the September/October 2008 Issue

Irene Marjolis Backalenick reports that the class of '47 met for a mini-reunion luncheon on Commencement day. On hand were copresidents Irving Berstein and Gerry Tucci, reunion cochairs Elizabeth Reilly Socha and Joseph Dowling, and Roger Williams and Eileen Cummings Heaton. Irene writes that plans are underway for the 65th reunion in 2012.

Anne Renzi Wright (see Eunice Bugbee Manchester '52).



From the July/August 2008 Issue

Domenic Canna is vice chairman of the Bristol Housing Authority and serves on several committees promoting affordable housing. He was recently honored as one of the longest-serving commissioners in R.I.

From the May/June 2008 Issue

Natalie Brush Lewis writes that she enjoys living in Maine full-time.

Gordon L. Stuart still rides motorcycles.

From the March/April 2008 Issue

Claude Raymond has been living an action-packed life. He has five daughters, one son, and eleven grandchildren ranging in ages from 2 to 21.

From the November / December 2007 Issue

Paula Jespersen Diehl ’54 AM is still actively involved in the arts. She writes that she was honored to be selected as one of four composers for this year’s music improvisation event, SoundExchange 2007. The American Composers Forum in Philadelphia and Ars Nova Workshop had announced that the event represented distinctive stylistic schools of composition. Ten musicians were selected to perform the music prepared for the April 22 concert. Paula writes: “I selected seven, including—for the first time and with some trepidation—the use of electronic sound in her ensemble. It worked!” The venue was the Studio Theatre of Annenberg Center, Philadelphia.

From the September / October 2007 Issue

Class secretary Irene Margolis Backalenick reports: “The Class of ’47 met for its 60th reunion at the 2007 Commencement with a good number on hand to celebrate the event. Class luncheons were a time for recalling the past and sharing the present. Dinner was given over to further college reminiscences and an election of new officers presided over by class president June Miller Wilbur. With the new election, Irving Berstein and Gerald Tucci were named copresidents, Irene Margolis Backalenick secretary, and Elizabeth Reilly Socha and Joseph Dowling reunion cochairmen. The $101,000 class gift to the Brown Annual Fund was the second highest amount ever for a 60th anniversary class. Class members who could not attend the reunion shared their own post-college memories by mail.

“Class members enjoyed the forums and appreciated the baccalaureate ceremony highlighted by the deeply moving speech of Nobel Prize–winner Craig Mello ’82. The next day the ’47ers walked through the Van Wickle Gates with the procession, exuberantly saluted by onlookers. One of the oldest classes at the Commencement weekend, we were hailed, apparently, for having weathered the sixty years. Leading the class down the hill were class marshals Irving Berstein, June Miller Wilbur, and Natalie Brush Lewis. Also at the forefront were trustees Joyce Wetherald Fairchild and Joseph Dowling.

“Of the surviving class members (328 men and 90 women), these attended the reunion: Robert Abel, Irene Margolis Backalenick, Irving Berstein, Stanley P. Blacher, Edwin Bliss, Frances Richardson Brautigam, John F. Brown Jr., Hope Finley Boole, Doris Cooney Davis, Joseph Dowling, Joyce Wetherald Fairchild, Avis Goldstein Feldman, Anthony Flack, George Gordon, William Hoverman, Elizabeth Van Egmond Husung, William Kaplan, John Lawlor, Natalie Brush Lewis, Joseph Matarazzo, Winifred Porter McGillivray, Gerard Ruflin, Eleanor Nadler Schwartz, Howard Smith, Elizabeth Reilly Socha, Gerald Tucci, June Miller Wilbur, Roger D. Williams, and Anne Renzi Wright.

“Several alumni suggested more frequent mini-reunions for the class, possibly joining forces with the classes of ’46 and ’48. The next reunion, it was suggested, could be 2009. Reunion cochairs Elizabeth Reilly Socha and Joseph Dowling will be in contact as plans develop.”

Robert Abel writes: “My last reunion was preempted by my oldest grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. At my previous reunion, I was still president of the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium. I semi-retired to the Stevens Institute of Technology, bringing with me the Cooperative Marine Technology Program for the Middle East, which I had inaugurated. I received my tenth three-year contract from the U.S. Department of State to maintain the program. I have been working with the Egyptians, Israelis, and Jordanians, and started recruitment of the Saudis. More recently, the Moroccans, Tunisians, Palestinians, and Lebanese have joined the program with colleagues in other universities. I’m in the process of stepping down from the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council, but also serve on the Board of the Jersey Shore Partnership as a Congregation Trustee and on committees of the Cosmos Club.”

Norman Brooks was honored in June 2006 at the annual meeting of the Nebraska Conference of the United Church of Christ, on the 60th anniversary of his ordination. He has been retired since 1986 and a resident of Lincoln, Neb.

Richard H. Bube, who was a professor of material science and electrical engineering at Stanford until he retired in 1997, continues to live on the Stanford campus. His wife, Betty Meeker ’48, died in 1997, and he has since remarried. For many years Richard has been an active member of the American Scientific Affiliation and has authored thirteen books. He has four children.

Rena Benson Burstein writes: “This year I became an honorary member of the American Association of University Women after fifty years of active membership, primarily in the Philadelphia branch. I had a wonderful ‘hen’ party (women only) for my 80th birthday in July. Now husband Eli and I are getting ready to move into a retirement community. Daughters Joanna ’71, Sara, Miriam, and twin grandchildren Susanna and Graham are the delights of our lives.”

Burton Fain writes: “I established Burton Industries, an industrial electronics manufacturing facility, in Rhode Island in 1970. Although it was sold to an English company in 1986, I continued with them in an advisory capacity for two years. I retired for four weeks in 1988, then began working part-time in the industrial electric business, which I continue to do today. I am married to Lois Jagolinzer Fain ’49, and we celebrated our 57th anniversary at this year’s reunion weekend! Our winter residence has been in Jupiter, Fla., since 1988. I keep active playing golf and bridge, and attend fall and winter courses at Florida Atlantic University with Lois. We enjoy attending alumni get-togethers in Palm Beach.”

Joan Van Raalte Hellinger writes: “I’m still enjoying practicing psychoanalysis and am sorry to have missed my 60th, as the 50th was so memorable. We visit our two sons and their families in Boston and Santa Cruz, Calif., and I am still in frequent contact with Barbara Solomon Spitz ’48 in Newport Beach. My best to everyone.”

John Thorne writes: “I’m sorry to have missed our 60th reunion, but just returned from China and couldn’t fit it all in. I had an exciting entrepreneurial and venture capital career, in Los Angeles until 1972, and then in the Pittsburgh area. I recently retired as Morgenthaler Emeritus Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and have had more time to travel and catch up with other activities. My three children went to Brown, so I guess some of its great education rubbed off! I’d be glad to hear from any of you.”

June Miller Wilbur writes: “Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge is Northwest grandeur at its best. The Oregon coast is pretty nice too! Living here has been an adventure, topped off by being close to my kids and grandkids.”

From the March / April 2007 Issue

Irene Margolis Backalenick writes: “I continue to work as a theater critic covering shows in New York City and Connecticut, writing for several publications and Web sites. My son Paul ’72 is a Web site designer who designed my Web site. I would like to hear from my old Brown/Pembroke buddies.”

From the January / February 2007 Issue

Domenic C. Canna, of Bristol, R.I., retired in 1990 from Allstate Insurance as a general agent. He has been married to Yola for fifty-nine years and has four children. He has held many municipal positions in Bristol and is presently vice chair of the Bristol Housing Authority. He has also chaired many fund-raising events in Bristol County. He is presently fishing, hunting, and spending time with his ten grandchildren.

From the September / October 2006 Issue


Nat Brush Lewis writes: “I have decided to sell my house in New Jersey and move full-time to my home in Port Clyde, Maine. I am still painting full-time (at least when I accomplish this transfer).”

Anne Renzi Wright (see Eunice Bugbee Manchester ’52).

From the September / October 2004 Issue

Richard Lukin reports that his daughter Melissa C. Lukin ’82 now heads an organization dealing with domestic abuse and that Kenneth Crowe ’48 has retired as head of the physics department at UC Berkeley. Richard says Kenneth “is still doing interesting international things.”

June Miller Wilbur has moved from Hingham, Mass., to a retirement community in Tigard, Ore. “ I am enjoying the Northwest, as well as the closeness to my kids and grandkids,” June writes.

From the May / June 2004 Issue

Robert Anderson and Joan Fitzgerald Golrick (see Nancy Schuleen Helle ’55).

Robert Elsner was belatedly presented with the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the POW Medal for his service in World War II.

From the January / February 2004 Issue

Jack Thorne writes: “I finally retired from my second career, as professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Business School, after some entrepreneurial ventures in the Los Angeles area. My three children are also Brown graduates. We are now enjoying life in the country about fifty miles east of Pittsburgh.”

Anne Renzi Wright (see Eunice Bugbee Manchester ’52).

From the March / April 2003 Issue

Ramon J. Elias writes: “Margery ’48 and I live on forty-five acres without fax, computer, cell phone, or cable. Our foundation comes from the great liberal curriculum that allowed me to have two majors and four minors with the distribution requirements that existed long before Ira Magaziner ’69 mesmerized the faculty into the Alice in Wonderland fantasy that still seems to be proving itself. Now small freshman seminars are the answer to higher education. Despite the system, the mind still triumphs.” Ramon and Margery celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary late last year by taking a 7,000-mile transatlantic cruise to Europe.

From the November / December 2002 Issue

Charles W.D. "Chick" Gayley writes: "Amazingly, I'm still alive, kicking, and reasonably healthy. I retired from Lucent Technologies after thirty years as itinerant journeyman manager since 1984. I still build models. My wife, Denny, and I also enjoy traveling in the United States and Canada and chasing down buildings that were once one-room schools."

Anne Renzi Wright has been named treasurer of the Brown Alumnae Club of Kent County.

From the July / August 2002 Issue

Hope Finley Boole wrote in March: "I'm looking forward to seeing old friends at our 55th in May. Life is sweet and full of grandchildren - eight in all, ranging in age from 2 to 22."

Winifred Porter McGillivray wrote in March: "I'm looking forward to our reunion in May. My husband, Gordon, and I are always glad to welcome any friends and classmates to Edinburgh."

From the May / June 2002 Issue

Report from reunion headquarters: "Reunion plans are complete. We hope to see you at Brown for a great weekend, May 24-27. Join us at your class events, Campus Dance, the Pops Concert, and the Commencement March. Register at alumni. If you haven't received your reunion mailing, please contact (401) 863-1947;"

From the November / December 2000 Issue

Hank Greenberg (see Michael Greenberg ’86).

From the September / October 2000 Issue

Joan Fitzgerald Golrick (see Hank Vandersip ’56).

From the July / August 2000 Issue

Ed Fitzgibbons, of El Cajon, Calif., writes: "I’m still flying my home-built experimental airplane (an N800EF). I am on the board of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s chapter 14 in San Diego and am membership chairman for the San Diego Ultralight Association. My wife of fifty-two years, Dorothy, and I have two sons, one daughter, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter."

Elizabeth Reilly Socha, a retired clinical psychologist who lives in East Providence, and her husband, Ernest, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Betty and Ernie write that they are cherished by many friends and family members, including five children and ten grandchildren. Spotted shedding a tear of joy at the anniversary celebration was their son, Steve ’76.

From the March / April 2000 Issue

Gordon L. Stuart, of Corrales, N.Mex., writes: “Nineteen ninety-nine was an interesting year. I did 4,000 miles with a sidecar, visiting grandchildren in Oklahoma and relatives and high-school classmates in Michigan. I traveled five days by car in Luxembourg and eleven days with a motorcycle tour in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. Then I spent four days river-boating on the Rhine with friends. In the fall I visited friends in Palm Springs, Canoga Park, and Newport Beach, California. I slowed down for the last part of the year ­ only a Thanksgiving trip to Oklahoma.”

From the January / February 1999 Issue

Richard H. Bube, Stanford, Calif., has been an emeritus professor of materials science and electrical engineering at Stanford University for six years, remaining active in the department. His thirteenth book, Photovoltaic Materials, was published in June (Imperial College Press, London, and World Scientific Publication, Singapore). He also continues to write and teach on topics related to the interaction between science and Christianity. He served as university chair on a number of Ph.D. exams in engineering, and once again edited the Materials Science Alumni Newsletter, which he founded twenty-two years ago. Since the death of his wife, Betty, in April 1997, his four children have visited regularly.

Gordon Stuart, Corrales, N.Mex., writes: "I last reported that Mrs. Stuart and I were scheduled to do a motorcycle trip to Europe. We had to cancel it. She got quite ill and passed away July 16."

From the July / August 1998 Issue

Gordon L. Stuart writes: "Our health is back and we will take our ninth motorcycle tour of the Alps, Dolomites, etc. The weather is good enough here in Corrales, N. Mex., that I get to ride one of my four motorcycles almost every day, even in the winter. Sometimes I resort to the side car."


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