GS Class of 1958
Robert C. Arruda ’54, ’58 MAT, of Bristol, R.I.; Apr. 14. He earned advanced degrees from Georgetown University and University of Coimbra (Portugal), and a doctorate of modern languages from Middlebury College in 1977. He was a professor of modern languages in French, Portuguese, and Spanish at State University of Bridgewater (Mass.) for 37 years, retiring in 1997. Following his retirement he taught classes at several local and international colleges and universities. Well-versed in French, Portuguese, and Spanish, he spent many years working and studying in Europe, bringing his experiences back to southern New England. Much of his career was spent teaching languages at Rhode Island universities, including Brown, Providence College, Rhode Island College, and Salve Regina. One of the original founding members of the Bristol Art Museum, he also served several local organizations, including the Coimbra Club, Alliance Française of Providence, and Mosaico Community Development Corp., and he was a 20-year trustee of the Rogers Free Library. He was an active communicant of St. Mary’s Church and served as a eucharistic minister, lector, and on the St. Vincent de Paul Society committee, and he enjoyed giving guided tours of the stained glass windows and the stations of the cross of St. Mary’s. Later in life, his favorite activities included traveling the world with his wife, weekly breakfasts with his “Romeo” group, and working in his garden. He is survived by his wife, Linda; a daughter; a son and daughter-in-law; four grandchildren; a sister; and several nieces and nephews.
Malcolm L. Searle ’52, ’58 AM, of Springfield, Va.; Dec. 19, 2020. He taught social studies and history in Sykesville, Md. before teaching social studies in Rhode Island public schools. In 1963, he and his wife moved to Virginia, where he served as the assistant executive secretary of the National Council for the Social Studies. He also briefly served as the curriculum director of the Presidential Classroom for Young Americans. He later entered the real estate and insurance fields as agent and manager for Mount Vernon Realty. He also taught classes at Northern Virginia Community College. He volunteered in his community and was involved in theater as one of the founders of the Greenspring Players, where he was active for many years as a player and set designer. He is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, three granddaughters, and three great-grandsons.
Daniel Abbott ’54, ’58 AM, of Brunswick, Me., formerly of Bridgton; Dec. 31. He taught music at Tufts University and conducted the Tufts University Orchestra, retiring in 1996. He also conducted the Reading Symphony Orchestra for many years. He volunteered with Meals on Wheels, taught music appreciation at the Bridgton Senior College, was an active member of the Bridgton Historical Society, and participated in the Lexington Quartet. He enjoyed fly fishing. He is survived by his wife, Sharon; two sons; and nine grandchildren.
Donald H. Fortnum ’58 PhD, of Gettysburg, Pa.; Feb. 2. He began teaching chemistry at Ursinus College in 1958. In 1965 he joined the chemistry faculty at Gettysburg College and was appointed a full professor in 1972, when he was also selected to Outstanding Educators of America. He retired in 2000. At Gettysburg his final exams were filled with challenging equations but also inspiring quotations and jokes served with a table full of snacks, including homemade chocolate chip cookies—his motto being “when the chips are down, down the chips.” A member of the Gettysburg United Methodist Church, he was active in leadership roles and taught Sunday school classes for many years. He enjoyed photography and participating in the Washington Apple Pi and the Keystone MacCentral user’s groups. He is survived by four children and their spouses, four grandchildren, two brothers and their spouses, and several nieces and nephews.
Conrad P. Caligaris ’58 AM, ’61 PhD, of Franklin, Mass.; Feb. 19. He was an economics professor at Northeastern University for 30 years. He had previously taught at Boston College and the University of Maine. He enjoyed spending time at the Franklin Senior Center, where he played cribbage. He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, four sons and daughters-in-law, and 13 grandchildren.
Irwin H. Polishook ’58 AM, of Teaneck, N.J.; Sept. 15. He began his teaching career at Hunter College in September 1961 and continued at Lehman College. He authored numerous articles and published two books: Roger Williams, John Cotton, and Religious Freedom: A Controversy in New and Old England and Rhode Island and the Union 1774-1795. He cofounded the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty union for CUNY, and served as its president from 1976 to 2000. He was a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, chair for the AFT Higher Education Program and Policy Council, member of the executive committee and board of directors of the New York State United Teachers, and an officer of the American Association of University Professors. He was also an active member and former trustee of Temple Emeth in Teaneck. He is survived by his wife, Sheila; son Lewis ’92; a daughter-in-law; and two granddaughters.
Lawrence M. Washington ’58 PhD, of Weybridge, Vt.; Apr. 23. He began teaching at Kings College in 1950 and subsequently taught at Gettysburg College, Bowdoin College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Hamline University, and Upsala College before spending the last 20 years teaching at UMass Dartmouth, together with his wife, and running a successful German degree program. He and his wife published the textbook A Preview of German Literature in 1969. He was a veteran of World War II, in which he served as a translator. He is survived by six children, 16 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and a brother.
John R. Billings ’58 AM, of Stevens Point, Wisc.; Aug. 16, from Parkinson’s disease. He was a professor of philosophy and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for 31 years. Trained as a fencer, he coached and advised the UWSP fencing club in the late 1960s, as well as being the soccer club advisor. He enjoyed playing bagpipes and started the Wisconsin Kilties, a bagpipe and drum band, at UWSP. He was proud that the Kilties performed at numerous parades and won second place at the Highland Games in 1972. He served as president of the local Rotary Club and studied to become a minister in the Presbyterian Church, where he served on several committees and was an interim pastor at Abbotsford Church. He is survived by his wife, Victoria; four children and their spouses; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a brother; and his former wife, Evelyn Schaffer.