Class Notes 2009
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Here's what we did in 2009 -  Please send any news to Mike Wellner so that all can share.

Spring '09

Had a short note from Henry Gurshman to report that on December 26th (2008) he became a grandfather for the second time:  an 8lb 1 oz baby girl named Reena Elizabeth Srivastava.  Congratulate Henry at 

Also heard from my old pool-playing buddy Tim Russell who reports that grandchild #19 (Holy Cow) is due shortly.  (Impressive: guess somebody’s got to keep Social Security going.)    Tim reports that he is still skiing after all these years, but is now enjoying his senior discounts – at least one benefit of getting older.  Recent ski trips included an outing at Killington, VT, and Crested Butte, CO.  (Interesting side note:  on his way up to Killington Tim drove through Troy, to check out all the new construction on campus.  He was suitably impressed!).   Tim’s wife  Chris is into gardening and flower arranging, and was recently selected for a flower arranging course at the National Cathedral in DC.   Both are looking  forward to seeing all the ’64 guys at reunion.  Contact Tim at  

Dick Heck wrote to say that he enjoys hearing about the status of all his former classmates.  He reports that after graduation, his wife, Helen and their infant son, Richard, Jr., moved to Muscle Shoals, AL where he became a Metallurgist with Reynolds Metals Co.  His second son, Donald was born there, and three and a half years later he moved to Winston-Salem, NC, where his third son, Daniel was born.  In Winston-Salem he took a position with a small packaging division of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.  Four and a half years later he became a Sales Rep, and moved to Dallas, TX, where he remained for five years.  Then it was back to Winston-Salem, where he advanced in various Sales and Marketing positions, where he continued coaching and cheering for his sons’ teams.  After 25 years with RJR, Dick retired in 1992 and loves not working.  He and Helen live in Clemmons, NC and have a home at Smith Mountain Lake near Roanoke, VA.  They now travel a fair amount, do a lot of “grandparenting” things as well as a lot of ballroom dancing.  Dick would love to see old classmates and friends; he is easy to reach at  

I’ve been talking regularly with Bob Burns, living in the Far North of Homer, Alaska.    Bob has been doing a superb job (with Barry Wintner’s help and guidance) at putting together our reunion web site.  If you haven’t seen it yet check out www.rpi64.comI know you’ll be impressed.  Give Bob any reunion-related comments you have by e-mailing him at  

Via the folks in Troy I heard that Bob Bard has just had a patent issued in February for the Stop-a-Spill drink holder and spill-prevention device.  Bob is the lead inventor, and his son Douglas, is the co-inventor.  As Bob said,  “As happens many times, necessity is the mother of invention.”   Sitting at his desk with a cup of coffee nearby, Bob was thinking of the number of times that people have spilled the drink across the desk, and into the computer keyboard, and other sensitive electronic equipment.  The device is all gravity operated, has three arms, and easily accommodates cups with handles.  You can see it at   Staples’ director of business development is evaluating the device now.  Bob had had a previous patent, which he applied for with the help of another alum. This time, however, he applied for the patent himself.   (and he said this time it was much easier: the patent examiner said it was unlike anything else he had seen).  Bob is a retired aerospace engineer, who worked for the Department of the Navy for 34 years, in Trenton, NJ, where they tested jet engines. “We could simulate conditions up to 90,000 feet.”  In 1994 the department was transferred and he retired. He now has a real estate license.  Bob is now living in a large solar home, which he designed and built.  Find out more from Bob, who says  “I like to do all kinds of unusual things” at  

Finally, don’t forget that our 45th is coming up:  October 2 – 4, 2009, on campus.  Our “official” hotel is The Century House, in Latham.  There are only a limited number of rooms available (latecomers will have to stay down the block), so make your reservations now at


Fall '09

Stopped by to have lunch with Barry Wintner on my way down to see my son in Philadelphia.  Barry reports that he is alive and well, and semi-retired, in Warrington, PA, not far from Philly.    Among the things keeping him busy is a project called, which provides reading material for U.S. servicemen and women.  I have already cleaned out my bookshelves and sent several old books to the troops; I encourage you to talk to Barry about this great program.  Barry has already made his plans to come back to Troy in October; you can see him there and talk to him before at

On a personal note, I just returned from a ten-day RPI Alumni trip to Holland and Belgium.  We are four RPI couples on a riverboat (100 passengers in total) that sailed from Amsterdam to Antwerp (Belgium).  The miracle was that we had sunshine and 65-degree weather every day – in an area that gets 240 days of rain every year.  The trip was great:  we were that at Tulip time and spent one day at the world famous Keukenhof Gardens.  Simply spectacular.    Be sure and check out all the alumni trips on the RPI website at  

Heard from none other than Earl Sedlik the other day, who says that he will make the big trip from Seattle to Troy for our upcoming reunion.   Drop Earl a note ( and tell him to be sure and bring his ukulele.

Had a very nice, long note from Lou Billera.   He has just finished my 41st year teaching at Cornell, starting in 1968 in Operations Research and moving more than 20 years ago to Mathematics.  In addition to teaching, he’s still active in research, so retirement is not yet on the immediate agenda.  In August 2010, he’s slated to give an invited lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Hyderabad, India.  After leaving RPI with a degree in mathematics, he spent a year at Princeton in the psychology Ph.D. program, before returning to math at the CUNY Graduate Center.  After getting his Ph.D. there, he went directly to Cornell, where he’s been ever since.  He’s held visiting positions at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Brandeis University, the University of Louvain in Belgium, UC Berkeley as well as a couple of stints at the
Mittag-Leffler Institute, a research institute outside Stockholm, Sweden
(perhaps our favorite stop).  He hand his wife Jeanne have been married since a week after our RPI graduation and have two sons (now in Boston and Washington, respectively) and one granddaughter (in DC).  When not in residence in Ithaca, they can often be found at our house in South Orleans, MA
(on Cape Cod). Lou would love to hear from any classmates
(  He will be joining us for our 45th reunion.   Why not plan to join us on campus?

Also heard from Frank Thiel, who reports that he and his wife Patricia spent four weeks in the Middle East this past February and March.  He had been in Egypt 28 years ago, and it was quite interesting to see the growth and development that has occurred since the days of Sadat, before the peace treaty with Israel.  While in Egypt, he was one of five of a group of 25 to climb Mount Sinai (no additional Commandments in evidence up there!).  Other destinations included Saudi Arabia (Duba port, Tabuk city, and a fun afternoon at a camp with the Atawe Bedouin tribe), Jordan (especially enjoyed the Nabatean city of Petra, the Roman city of Jarash, getting away from the group for dinner in a lovely old Italian restaurant in Amman, and a "float" in the Dead Sea).  He also spent time in Israel (Jerusalem, of course, and Tel Aviv and Caesarea and Haifa), and Bethlehem in Palestine.  He reports that retirement can be exhausting!  Find out more by e-mailing Frank at

Allan Sperber reports that he retired from Jetro cash & carry/ restaurant depot in 2000, and that his wife Madey retired as a middle school guidance counselor in 2007.  They moved to a condo in Woodbury, NY last year, and are enjoying life there very much. They have six grandchildren, and Allan says that if he only knew how great they were he would have had them first!  He has gone back into music in a big way, actively playing sax, clarinet, flute and piccolo in many different performing groups including concert bands, symphony orchestras, jazz bands, swing bands, combos & klezmer.  Who knew that he had such talent?  He is also teaching music to both kids and adults.  He also reports that the brother of one of his music student’s is going to RPI this fall.  He was accepted under the early decision program, & Allan certainly was influential in his decision. You can reach Allan at 

Karl Petersen reports that he has returned to Boise, Idaho after ten years living in Illinois.  He spent 33 years in the product development of vehicle electronics. Now, he is again consulting in advanced steam vehicle systems, for which the interest has evolved to niche applications using renewable fuels.  On a more personal level, Karl and his wife Robin peeled an 1879 hardware store (located on the town square in Rushville, Illinois) back to its original “bones” and accurately restored it, in the process winning the highest state award for that project!  They then opened an antique/kitchen/gourmet emporium, which continues as the anchor business on the square.  Last October, the county art council staged a one-man show of Karl’s posters, which have become somewhat of a collectible in the area.  Robin developed and populated the rootsweb genealogical sites for Schuyler and McDonough Counties in Illinois.   A student of George Rickey at RPI, Karl is developing kinetic sculptures similar to Rickey’s “Chrinitoid” which guarded the Greene Building for years, hoping to site a monumental example in a visually significant location where it can encourage the creative instincts of others.   Impressive, to say the least!  Find out more by e-mailing Karl at 

Steve Cornell reports that his technical career in Plastic Packaging formally ended on 9/11/01, after the entrepreneurial company for which he was a VP and technology generator, collapsed.  Since then he has been consulting at Plastic Technology Partners in Plastics, Plastic Packaging Technology, and Expert Witness Cases.  He re-thought his options after 9-11, and in 2001 and went to a Seminary, where he earned an M.A. in Worship & Spirituality.  When the position he thought that he had lined up also disintegrated, Steve went on for a Masters in Divinity.  He is now ordained (both in 2006), and operating as a Pastoral Teaching Partner.  For two years, he has had a small congregation (count members on one hand) in a Roman Catholic Retirement Community, servicing their Protestant members, and preaching every week.  So he is a sort of a non-Methodist circuit rider, providing interdenominational worship services to retirement communities.   Steve has already performed his first wedding, but still is waiting for his first solo funeral.    Like so many of us, Steve has one foot in retirement; but unlike most of us he has one foot in the ministry, one foot in consulting, and one foot taking care of five grandchildren as the sole surviving grandfather of two families.  All in all, life is good!  Contact Steve in Illinois at


Winter '09 - '10

Heard from Steve Weinstein, who reports that he retired from a career in Marketing in 2006, in positions with companies that included Becton Dickinson, Texas Instruments and Louisiana-Pacific Corp.   Steve and his wife Judy live in Surprise, Arizona where he can play golf year round, play softball and Pickleball (what the heck in Pickleball?).   He and Judy enjoyed a cruise around South America last year, and they routinely go to Cancun each February with other family members, including two children and four grandchildren.   Their daughter, Rachel, is an attorney for T-Mobile living in Snoqualmie, WA, and their son, Brian, is a Commander in the Navy living in the Norfolk area.  Steve summers each year in the Adirondack Mountains to escape the Arizona summer heat.  You can contact Steve at   

Bob Huhta reports that he spent his entire career in the telecom industry, starting right after graduation he started work at New York Tel, in their Intermediate Management Development Program.  His first job was in Schenectady, NY in the Traffic Department.   Almost 30 years later, he took early retirement from my job as Division Manager in a subsidiary, the Telesector Resources Group in White Plains, NY.   He went through the dissolution of the Bell System, and, along the way he had rewarding assignments in many departments. While at AT&T he was fortunate enough to be selected to attend the company sponsored Executive MBA program, and got a degree from Pace University in 1979. After retirement in 1992, he was engaged as a Telecommunications Consultant for Complan Associates, a consulting company headed by another RPI graduate, John Arcate (it’s the network!).  There he took on multiple assignments for the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Authority, and also worked for Telecom Finland, among other clients.  He retired from Complan in 1999. 

Bob and Mary Ellen were married in Troy in 1965 and have one daughter, Susan, who is an attorney in Washington, DC.  Their last move, in 1997, took them from Cos Cob, CT, to Ponte Vedra, Florida, a golfing oasis in Northeast Florida. (Ponte Vedra is home to the Players Championship held every May at TPC Sawgrass).  You can find Bob playing on the Marsh Landing community course three or four times a week.  He and his wife are avid bridge players, do volunteer work, and travel at least once annually to Las Vegas to see Fred Stebbins (’65) and his wife, Judy, and to try our luck.  You can contact Bob at

Just got word that Anthony Tether was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Aurora Flight Sciences, of Manassas, VA.   He used to be Director of DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) for eight years, from 2001 to 2009.  Tony got his Ph.D. from Stanford, and was one of the original employees of Systems Control, Inc. and also held senior positions at Ford Aerospace, SAIC, DTI, and the Sequoia Group.  Today Tony serves as a Fellow at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness.  Congratulate Tony with an e-mail to  

Heard from Jim Anderson, who advises that he is about to retire, after spending 23 years in the Air Force, and then 21 years with Teledyne Brown Engineering.  He and his wife Marg  are still in DC area, but theay have moved to an active adult community, west of the city near the Manassas Battlefield. You can find out more by e-mailing Jim at