YAM Notes: November/December 2022

Friends, your corresponding secretary has screwed up. I let the passing of one of our finest classmates, Peter Lee, go un-memorialized for almost a year because I was waiting for official confirmation that never came. I sincerely apologize to Peter’s family, friends, and the whole class.

Peter died on November 22, 2021, surrounded by his beloved family: “Peter and I roomed together for three years, says Sam Bingham. Throughout, we loyally dated Wellesley women we’d known since grade school but later did not marry. Peter was the truest of us all, always present with humor, understanding and a broad perspective, though we would live worlds apart. We met again only at reunions, but several times a year, in gloomy weather, my wife and I would say, ‘Let’s go to Honolulu and see Hawaii through Peter’s eyes. And yet we never went.

“Then, last week, PETER LEE appeared on my iPhone, and when I called back, he answered in a whisper, choked with mortality, ‘Sam, I’m dying! I called to say goodbye.’ He hadn’t the strength to go on, but a fresher voice behind him said, ‘I’m Jeanette, Peter’s daughter. My father’s kidneys have failed, and he has refused dialysis.’ He had not warned me. I can’t remember how I answered. Ave atque vale, Peter.”

Charlie Carter says: “Peter was a stalwart of the original listserv, contributing regularly and perceptively to conversations on a broad variety of topics. He invited me to dinner at his house on a visit to Honolulu for an annual meeting in 2006 of the American Crystallographic Association. After dinner, he showed me how to pick fresh lychees from a huge tree in his front yard, using a long, forked stick. We took them in for dessert, and they were delicious. He was an opera lover, and I had just recently become one. Peter’s office was stacked nearly solid with pirated DVDs of performances, and he sent me off with about a dozen of my favorites. I have missed his contributions to the DG, and will miss him as well.”

Narelle Kirkland adds, “Ever buoyant and considerate, he was a pleasure to be around. I am glad that he has children who can carry forward the traits of his marvelous personality.”

And there’s more sad news. Dr. Richard Wind, whose OB/GYN patients ranged from Hasidic Jews to Madonna, died of cancer just a few days before our 55th reunion in May.

“Rich was, rightly, a proud graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, one of only four in the Class of 1967, a scandalously low number from a time when Yale relied on ‘geographic’ diversity as a means to avoid accepting Jews from one of the nation’s premier high schools,” says Jorge Dominguez. “Rich was mindful of his heritage, one of the many reasons why he long served the Hasidic community in New York.

“I knew Rich best during our senior year and kept in touch thereafter mainly through reunions. The Rich of our senior year never encountered a conversation that he would not wish to join – at length! Rich loved to talk. The subject could be philosophical, profound and complex, or it could be absurdly silly, and every possibility in between. At his best, he was a wonderful raconteur, capaciously occupying an easy chair to expound, and, yes, also to listen. These conversations would go on for hours and hours and then more hours.

“Some admittedly may have found his loquaciousness a bit much, but I loved to chat with Rich, and l learned over time never to come in at the beginning of the chat and to leave before its ultimate unimaginable end, reassured that my favorite giant teddy bear would always demonstrate empathy with me, curmudgeonly disagreement at times, rare agreement, but always, always a warm, reliable, trustworthy, and engaging friend.”

“Rich was a good friend from the time we first met at Durfee Hall,” says Penn Glazier. “One of my many memories is traveling by auto with Rich and Jim Colbert to Mexico City and Acapulco in 1966. Jim’s parents, who lived in the D.C. area at the time, allowed us to take their new Ford convertible for the trip. (As a thorough New Yorker, Rich didn’t have a driver’s license at the time.) I have never met anyone else quite like him. He was a lover of opera, a raconteur, a compassionate and capable physician, and a wonderful friend.”

“I sit down to write about my good friend Richard Wind just before our monthly Class lunch at the Yale Club of NYC,” says George Lazarus. “One reason I liked attending these gatherings in the past was that Richard often came. Richard and I have been friends since high school. He edited the yearbook, and I edited the newspaper. The two publications shared an office, so we spent a lot of time together and remained friends ever since.

“Richard loved and was proud of his two daughters, and was deeply loyal to his friends and his patients. He took care of a large number of Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn in his obstetrical practice. In the past year, when he was undergoing treatment for a malignancy, he worried about missing deliveries he promised to manage. When I had lunch with him a few weeks before he died – he looked fine and neither of us knew that this would be our last meal together – he was hoping to make the reunion but had to consult his delivery schedule.

“Most OB docs give up delivering babies as they get older because it is so demanding. Not Richard. He loved his practice and was totally devoted to his patients. We disagreed on politics, but Richard could disagree without being disagreeable. He saw both sides of most arguments and he enjoyed conversation. Most people who met Richard remember that he was a big man. If you knew him well, you knew that he was truly a big man.

“By the time anyone reads any of these words, our reunion will have come and gone. We should make the most of our time together, while we have each other.”