YAM Notes: September/October 2018

By Martin M. Snapp, Jr.

If you ask any guy in Calhoun/Hopper who was the most memorable character during our years at Yale, chances are he’ll say Doug Crawford, aka “The Bag.” Doug didn’t go in much for extracurricular activities—not the academic or athletic kind, anyway—but he did achieve his primary goal: to be chairman of the Yale Prom, the job he was born for. (He was the one who booked the Ronettes.) Doug reports that he and Betty are picking up stakes and moving to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, to be closer to their daughter Christy, son-in-law Andrew, and their two little Baglets, Clayton and Brooks.

“We have loved our more than 40 years in our adopted city of Atlanta and shall dearly miss our many good friends here, but we have caught the ‘grandparent virus’ going around, the only cure for which is proximity to grandchildren,” he says. “Fortunately, we are not exactly leaving the universe, nor are we retiring, as we maintain significant business interests as well as medical connections in Atlanta. Travel time is less than three hours from Cancun to Atlanta and return visits are expected to be frequent. By the way, jets fly in the reciprocal direction as well!”

Speaking of little kids, why do parents in some parts of the world rarely play with their babies and toddlers? Why are children not fully recognized in some cultures as individuals until they are older? How are routine habits of etiquette and hygiene taught—or not—to children in other societies? That’s the subject of Dave Lancy’s 11th book, Raising Children: Surprising Insights from Other Cultures, which he followed immediately with his 12th, Anthropological Perspectives on Children as Helpers, Workers, Artisans, and Laborers. In both books, he makes a good case that we’re micro-managing our kids, and we’d do better to relax and stop worrying so much about our own parenting skills. Meanwhile, Allen Chauvenet is still racing his Windmill sailboat—winning two more regattas last year; spoiling his two little granddaughters Sonia and Maya; and teaching chess at three local high schools.

Unfortunately, that’s the end of the good news. The rest is sad: We have lost two more classmates, Lanny Carroll and Chuck McGregor.

I got a note from Steve Campbell saying that Lanny died May 27 from metastatic cancer. “A gentle, loving, elegant, and competent man loved by many, he handled this last challenge with his usual great dignity, love, and consideration for his family,” his family wrote in his obituary. Lanny came to Yale on a Navy scholarship, rowed on the lightweight crew, and deejayed on WYBC. To fulfill his military obligation he served as lieutenant at the naval nuclear power headquarters in Washington, DC, by day and attended Georgetown Law School by night. He moved to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in 1973 and practiced law in Portland until his retirement.

In 1985 he married Nancy Apel Altenburg, and they blended their families of five children. Lanny and Nancy enjoyed rich friendships, travel (including a trip to the Galapagos in April), tent camping, hiking, and time with their growing family. For the last ten years they divided their time between Scarborough, Maine, and Naples, Florida, where Lanny was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples.

“Lanny and I were from the same hometown, Hagerstown, Maryland,” says Steve. “I got to know him back then because his younger sister and my younger sister were best friends in high school. What’s not mentioned in the obit is that Lanny married my sister, Sally Campbell, in the 1970s. They had two daughters, my beloved nieces Amy and Stephanie. My wife and I attended Lanny’s memorial service in Portland. All the family were there, as well as many old friends. As these events often are, it was bittersweet.”

Meanwhile, Chuck died at home on June 5, surrounded by his adoring family. His last words, appropriately, were “Life. Love. Music.”

A gifted bass player since childhood, his greatest joy in life was playing both his enormous acoustic bass, which accompanied him wherever he went for more than 60 years, and his Fender electric guitar. “He was our original bass player in Tim Weigel’s band, Cleopatra and the Seizures,” remembers Greg Jorjorian. After Yale he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Mediterranean as leading radioman aboard USS Gearing, receiving the Navy Achievement Medal for his exemplary communications work.

He took those skills into a career in the burgeoning field of audio design. His contemporaries in that field call him a legend for his creation of sound systems throughout the US and abroad. Working with dozens of symphony orchestras and theaters, he collaborated with conductors, musicians, directors, and actors to provide audiences with the clearest possible sound.

One venue especially close to his heart was Ravinia, the outdoor summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he worked alongside Zubin Mehta. He also worked with the Vienna Opera House, the Cincinnati Riverfront Stadium, and a number of Broadway theaters. He provided the original concept for the Carlos Moseley Pavilion, a portable sound reinforcement system for the free concerts given by the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera.

Wherever his work took him, Chuck mentored his colleagues. He enjoyed a great reputation as a teacher of audio technology and a writer about loudspeaker performance data, a big deal in the professional loudspeaker industry.

But despite these achievements in the field of sound, his first love was always music, playing with his band, the Rusty Hinges, and many others in countless concerts and jam sessions with fellow musicians, friends, and musical soul mates.

“Chuck greeted the last months of his life with monumental courage,” his family wrote. “He remained valiant to the end. He firmly believed that we are formed of stardust and that to stardust we return. He also knew that the end of all meetings is parting; the end of all striving, peace.”