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Class of 1948


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   Rev. Robert E. Seymour, Jr. '48 B.D.

   Unit 219 750 Weaver Dairy Road

   Chapel Hill, NC 27514-1467






Class Notes

Welcome to 1948's Class Notes page. Here you will find news from your classmates on what they've been doing since graduation.  Enjoy!

Moved? New job? Retired? Newly married? New grandchildren? Please submit your Class Notes to your Class Secretary or the Alumni Office by August 31, 2010, for publication in the next issue of Spectrum.


2010 Notes


After the publication of Doug Dorchester’s ’48 B.D. wife Janice’s publication of her fourth genealogy in October 2008, their newly discovered Dorchester family in Alberta, Canada (home of the Dorchester cowboys and chuck wagon racers!), came to visit for a week over Easter 2009. It was the first ever reunion of the American and Canadian Dorchester families, all of whom go back to the Progenitor, Anthony Dorchester, who arrived in Hingham, MA in 1963. The family came together by the grace of God and the miracle of genealogical research.


Doug is no longer able to preach and teach since his stroke, but he writes an article each month for the local church paper to keep his brain alive. Subjects included are Bible study, the environment, women in the ministry, evolution and intelligent design, United Methodist polity and theology, the DaVinci Code, the “ Lost Gospels,” Vibia Perpetua, and others.


Last fall Doug did a piece on the election of Barack Obama, dealing openly with our history of personal and national racism and entitled “A Moment of Transcendence.” The article was widely circulated, published in several papers, and resulted in an invitation to address the scientific community at Woods Hole during Black History month in 2009. He was honored but had to decline due to health limitations. Here is a quote from the article: “The outcome of the election was a divine miracle, an unbelievable moment of national conversion, and a reaffirmation of the true greatness of America.” Copies of this piece or others are available upon request: 30 Shaker Drive, Bourne, MA 02532.


Paul Pruitt '48 B.D. stays active in Fauntleroy Church UCC teaching in the Adult Sunday Church School class and singing in the choir. Pruitt is also an active member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a peace group. With his wife Mary Margaret they have logged fifteen years proposing a Single Payer Health Plan for the State of Washington. Through faith commitment is involved in many more measures for social justice.


Jean Scheufler Johnson ’48 M.Div. continues living in a St. Petersburg, FL retirement community after the death of her husband, Jay ’47, in 2007. Since then she has traveled to see a son and family in Beijing, China, two sons and families in Los Angeles and Napa, CA, and was met by her fourth son when she was flown back from an Elderhostel trip to Scandinavia with a broken ankle, the summer of 2008. She is actively serving in both church and community.


James Noland ‘48 B.D. continues to live with his wife, Mary, in their Houston home, where they have resided the past 42 years. Mary is recovering from a broken back she suffered four months ago. James is well and remains busy developing Internet service programs for the Personalysis Corporation, a worldwide testing and consulting firm he established in 1975.

Charles E. Steele ’48 B.D. moved from St. Simons Island after 16 great years to Macou, GA to be near his daughter Sandra. His two married daughters; Suzanne and Sally live in Atlanta, GA 75 miles up I-75. His wife Evelyn has Parkinson’s but it has not progressed in 5 years. Ned helps in a lot of ways! All are active United Methodists and involved in community services where they live. “We like that and are grateful for YDS background!”

Dick Stein ‘48 BD retired as founding pastor of Sanibel, FL, Congregational UCC in 1990. He moved with wife, Frances, to Rock Hill, SC, 2006 to be near granddaughters, now eight and 12. They Observed their 40th wedding anniversary and his 85th birthday April 2009. Active in First Presbyterian Church, where Frances is on the Session. Both are choir members, volunteer in public schools helping kids with reading, exercise regularly, enjoy good health and want health care for everyone.

Ed Towle '48 B.D. and Marian, his wife for 62 years, continue their condominium-style residency and active participation in the Wesley Homes Des Moines retirement community south of Seattle. Ed still sings in the choir and Marian holds an office in United Methodist Women at the local United Methodist Church. In May 2008 both traveled to Washington, D.C., where Ed presided at the wedding of the oldest of their four grandsons.

Robert E. Willoughby ’48 M.Div. is still living in Lakeland, FL, and has just had his fifth book published: The Future of Christianity in a Post Christian Era. It includes essays on the decline of religion, new dimensions in spirituality and religion in a global community. He remains an associate member of Westar (the Jesus Seminar), and remains active in his Unitarian Fellowship where he was recently honored with the Cleo Thomas award for humanitarian service. He also remains a part of a progressive study seminar dealing with social, political and theological cutting edge issues.


Notes from 2008


Eugene Brown ’48 B.D. spent 20 years in Parish Ministry in Oklahoma and Indiana, 20 years as Director of Clergy Development for the Disciples of Christ (USA/Canada) and ten years in Interim Ministries in IN/FL. Eugene is currently an Elder at Downey Avenue Christian Church, Indianapolis and is sometimes a volunteer – joining Evelyn, a 20 year Volunteer – at the Indiana State Museum. He considers it a pleasure to serve as YDS ’48 Class Agent.


One of J.T. Horricks’s ’48 S.T.M. retirement highlights was to preach at the Cathedral of Bangalor, India before going on to Fort St. George, Madras. In the chapel, the register was open to the wedding of Elihu Yale, Governor of the East India Company 1687, which sent raw cotton to England for manufacture only at Horricks’s forbears, Horrocks Cotton Mills, Manchester. At retirement, Yale returned to England and eventually made benefactions to a college named “Yale” in his honor, New Haven, 1718.


Robert McCan ’48 B.D. lost his first vote for President in the 1948 election.  Thomas Dewey, the confident Republican, was running against President Harry Truman, who was crossing the country by train and, as he said, "giving Dewey hell."  Henry Wallace, former Vice President, led a vibrant third party. Robert attended his rally in New Haven prior to graduation in May. He was a powerful speaker, seeking accommodation not confrontation with the Soviet Union and calling for radical social reform at home. Communist literature was everywhere, although Wallace was not a Communist. Norman Thomas was the fourth candidate, well known in the Yale Divinity community; a social visionary who believed that social justice from scripture can be translated into public policy. Robert returned to Missouri after graduation and by election time was minister of The First Baptist Church, Marshall, MO.  He decided to vote absentee ballot from his parents’ home in Owensville, a town of 1,500. When the votes were tallied and printed in "The Gasconade County Republican, the newspaper still published weekly, there was not a single vote recorded for Norman Thomas. Robert speculated that the election folks did not want to embarrass him, as all would know he was the one who cast that vote! Robert is semi-retired and living in Falls Church, VA with wife, Peggy.  They are both active in yet another political campaign for social justice and look forward to a better result when they cast their ballots on November 4.


Mary Margaret and Paul Pruitt ’48 B.D. are very active in this political year. They have many issues they urge their politicians to deal with, the major one being healthcare. They are convinced that the present system is broken and that we need to institute a system that takes its cues form the major industrial nations of the world. About their plan, which they call “Single Payer,” they state “everyone is no one out.” There would be a public single plan with Private delivery that includes children and adults. It would be both universal and affordable. Over Paul and Mary Margaret’s more than ten years working toward such a plan in Washington State, they are having some progress in their legislature. They hope that someday soon, if not in this political year, they will be successful.


Pearl and Robert Seymour ’48 B.D. remain residents of The Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, NC. This is their eighth year there. They feel fortunate to be able to remain in Chapel Hill where they have now lived for over a half-century! Bob is still very active in many things, including writing a column for The Chapel Hill Herald and recently being appointed to the board of UNC Healthcare as a community representative. Pearl is suffering from arthritis, and both struggle to remember names, but life is good. They especially enjoy their proximity to their son and his family with the four grandchildren in nearby Raleigh. Their son is an anesthesiologist and likes to tell people that he is upholding the family tradition of putting people to sleep.


Evelyn and ‘Ned’ Steele ’48 B.D. retired in 1989 and lived 16 wonderful years on St. Simons Island off the Georgia coast. In 2005 their daughter, who has Downs Syndrome, came to Wesley Glen, a community for some 50 mentally handicapped adults in Macon, GA. Ned and Evelyn followed after several months to be nearer to her and their two married daughters in Atlanta, GA. They live independently in an active retired community close to every convenience. This year Ned celebrates having been a United Methodist minister for 61 years. Ned was pastor of eight churches and served as District Superintendent twice. He counts as one of the highest points in his career aiding in the integration of schools, libraries and other public facilities in Georgia, as well as assisting with the merger of the black and white annual conferences of the church in 1972. Ned has always been proud of the ideals and challenges his YDS education stirred up within him and his classmates! Ned thanks God for his years at YDS, and comments, “What a great faculty (They ‘marked’ us.)!”


Carl Viehe ’48 M.Div is in a Senior Living Residence in Southwest lower Michigan. He turned 91 this year and is still in good health, although his hearing has deteriorated. Viehe is thankful for each day. He enjoys writing, and has written poetry and children’s stories and has contributed to three anthologies with a fourth coming out in the Fall. Viehe has written for devotional magazines such as Upper Room, These Days and currently for Secret Place.


Robert Willoughby ’48 M.Div. spent 20 years in pastoral ministry and an equal amount of time teaching community college in inner city Detroit, MI. In 1963, Bob worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi. In 1965 he served as a delegate at the Helsinki Peace Conference and was inspired to become active with anti-Vietnam war involvement in the States. Bob then pastored in Cornwall, England through a pulpit exchange during 1966 and retired in 1985. After retirement, he found writing to be his delight and calling and has since written four books. The most recent is The Great Disconnect; Why the Christian Church is Dying (Firstbooks.com, 2007). At the age of 85, Willoughby is grateful for his health, the great love of five children and the inspiration of his beloved wife, Elizabeth, who, even beyond death, he can hear encouraging him: “Right on Bobby, tell it like it is, and I’m with you all the way.”