The Rev. Ronald P. Byars '62 B.D.
4231 Wakefield Rd.
Richmond, VA 23235
Welcome to 1962'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, 2008, for publication in the next issue of Spectrum.
“I have always wondered how I (Ron Byars ’62 M.Div.) became your class secretary, but am glad to do it!” Eerdmans published Ron’s book on the Bible and liturgical language in January. At the end of June he finally retired, having spent the last year as Special Assistant to Brian Blount, the new President of Union-PSCE, including chairing his inaugural committee. President Blount is the first African-American to be President of a PC (USA) seminary.
William Charland ’62 B.D. recently published his second novel, The Heartland File (Wheatmark, 2008). Bill is the author of six non-fiction books dealing with work and vocation in the changing economy. He and his spouse, Phoebe, are semi-retired in Silver City, NM where he directs the honors program at Western New Mexico University.
Ted Chell ’62 Div. writes from Winnipeg. “Greetings from sunny, reasonably sane Canada--let's all get out of that war stuff!” Ted, and his wife, Janet, are enjoying wonderfully improved health after Ted had radiation treatments for prostate cancer in November and Janet had open heart surgery (mitral valve) in February. Ted’s tests have been clear and Janet’s heart is working well! Praise God! They are both joined in a refit program for post cardiac exercise for four months—going well and both are feeling great! Ted’s year at Yale, 1959-60, meant he started with the class of ’62 and then transferred to Augustana Theolical Seminary in Rock Island, IL. The two have been in Canada since 1963 and enjoy their retirement years in Winnipeg. They are doing a bit of interim and supply pastoral work, but are mainly enjoying times with their six grandchildren, all living here. Their three sons married Winnipeg women and all have landed or 'stayed put' in Winnipeg—a gorgeous place in summer (and otherwise in the long winter!). The summer gardening is fun. Ted’s only advice re retirement—spend lots of time with the grandchildren—live near them if you can, or visit regularly to join in the gifts they bring to life!
Frank Dent ’62 B.D. reminds us that “Ahlstrom’s not the only bow tied boy around the YDS bone-yard.” Frank was the dark horse preaching prizewinner from that spring class of 1962, and can only boast that J. Barrie Shepherd says he was the one who taught him to tie signature cravats like the one Frank sported in the class rogue's-gallery portrait collection. FYI, Frank’s "solfizz" email moniker derives from a permutation of the Puritan term for their ministers whose dusty, longish sermons he studied in the Houghton Library at Harvard while in pursuit of a terminal academic degree which mutated from an HGSAS Ph.D. in American Civilization to a Columbia Teacher's College Ed.D. in Religion & Education. "Physicians of Soul" those divines were called...Frank thought it wiser to omit the "u" from his shorthand name.
Jim Halfaker ’62 B.D. writes, “I am a week home from my 50th college reunion at Carleton and appreciating again all the stories from classmates in that context. It was the penetrating ethical integrity of H. Richard Niebuhr that was most moving and compelling to me, whether as a lecturer or reflecting on a current issue in the commons.” In retirement years Jim has learned development and major gift work, using it nationally with the United Church of Christ, and locally, with a seminary at Seattle University. Last year, he worked two days a week at leadership gifts for a new foundation to end drug and alcohol addiction among adolescents. This year Jim worked two days a week to help an interracial, very-low income preschool with leadership gifts. It is fun to hear and share stories from organizations that make a huge difference. Meanwhile, he still skis, golf’sd a bit, and plays with their English Setters, while gardening with Louisa Sandstrom Halfaker ’61 B.D., his spouse.
Kent Keller ’62 B.D. and spouse Janet have settled in Estes Park, CO after retiring from the Presbyterian Church in Hastings, MI (Kent) and teaching (Janet) in 2002. They hike and snowshoe about three days each week, and travel as well. In the past year, they have visited Eastern Europe, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as visiting a son and family in California. Kent’s personal project is to complete climbing the fifty-four 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. With only five left to go, he hopes to fulfill this ambition in the next three or four weeks. Kent is active as a supply preacher in his Presbytery, and he and Janet attend St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Estes Park. Kent is also on the Board of the local land trust, representing “my deep concern for the future of our beleaguered planet and for preserving and conserving an important part of God’s Creation.”
David Koehler ’62 B.D. reports that he and his spouse were in Urbana-Champaign, IL in mid-May 2008, and were able to get together with two classmates. First, David was there to celebrate Andrew Sorensen ’62 B.D. receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Illinois. Andrew and David were classmates there before they came to YDS. It was a gala occasion, and Andrew made witty remarks about his “falling into the abyss of academia,” which created a rolling ripple of laughter in the huge audience. As many of you know, Andrew is retiring from his position as President of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. While in town, David looked up another classmate, Nancy Stagg ’62 M.Div. Nancy came to YDS from Oklahoma, and many of you will remember her as the Chapel organist. Upon graduation in 1962, she went on to become the organist of the McKinley Foundation Church in Champaign, and also worked for the local public radio station. She retired several years ago and is now recuperating from heart surgery. She is coming along well, and she gave David and his spouse a tour of the church (where he and Andrew belonged) as well as a mini-concert on their lovely Dobson organ.
Larry Minear ’62 B.D. retired in June 2006 from a Tufts university international research group. The first-year of the project was devoted primarily to an interview-based study of the impact of service in Afghanistan and Iraq on members of the U.S. military (available on-line at fic.tufts.edu). More recently, Larry has been enjoying a leisurely-paced life on Cape Cod, with time for music and reading.
Howard Ratcliff ’62 B.D. and spouse Sheila have lived in Ohio since graduation from YDS. Howard served pastorates in Tiffin and in Bowling Green before joining the staff of the Christian Church in Ohio in 1970. After ten years on the staff, Howard was called to serve as Regional Pastor and President in 1980. He retired from that position in 2002 after twenty-two years of service. Since then, he has served interim Regional Pastorates in Michigan and Nebraska, and contuse service as a trustee of Hiram College and a member of the General Commission on Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Howard and Sheila spend their summers on the coast of Maine, and their winters in Cleveland, where Howard is restoring a 1951 Vincent motorcycle.
Jack Scott ’62 B.D. writes from California. “Certainly, my three years at Yale Divinity School were very significant in my life. I was impacted by many of the teachers, but the three teachers that stand out most vividly in my memory are Roland Bainton and his wonderful overview of Church History; James Gustafson’s class on Sociology of Religion and Christian Ethics; and Sydney Ahlstrom, in American Religious History. In fact, Professor Ahlstrom’s lectures inspired my Ph.D. in American History and my writing a dissertation on John Witherspoon, the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence.” Jack had a career of over 30 years in higher education culminating with his being President of Pasadena City College. He then entered the California Legislature for twelve years (California Assembly, 1996-2000, and the California State Senate, 2000-08). Jack has accepted a position as Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, beginning January 1, 2009. He has been fortunate to be married to Lacreta for 53 years; they have five children and ten grandchildren.”
“Many greetings from Wisconsin,” writes Frederick Trost ’62 B.D.. “Louise and I are enjoying retirement at Elkhart Lake, WI.” Frederick is completing a book, to be published by Pilgrim Press in 2009, called: The Evangelical Catechism: A New Translation for the 21st Century. He and his spouse are traveling to Germany in November (God willing) at which time the Theological Seminary at Barmen-Wuppertal will award Frederick an honorary ‘D.Theo.’ degree. On the "Day of Repentance" he will be preaching at the Gemarke Kirche in Barmen where the "Barmen Declaration" was affirmed nearly 75 years ago.”
Jim White ’62 B.D. recalls “Mr. Niebuhr coming to class with a tin of Revelation tobacco, loading his pipe with the same, firing it up, taking a couple of puffs, and then saying, "Let us pray." He prayed and then, hand in agony on his baldpate, would talk--brilliantly, insightfully. Thinking maybe the tobacco was what "inspired" him and could help me I started smoking Revelation. It didn't.” Right now, Jim and Patti are in Seattle where, for a year, Jim is ‘Transitional Minister’ at University Congregational UCC, serving along with Catherine Foote (Vanderbilt) and Peter Ilgenfritz ’87 M.Div. Jim and Pattie are enjoying the Northwest and, so far, it has offered lots of sunshine. They’ll return to Colorado Springs next summer.
Duane Addison ’62 Div, ’62 M.A., ’65 Ph.D. (Minneapolis, Minnesota) has been on the adjunct faculty at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, primarily teaching world religions and theology since 1994. His wife, Eva, and he are part of a lively congregation with a great worship life.
Bill Barnes ’62 M.Div. is now semi-retired, serving a United Methodist congregation in Lakeville, CT part-time. Bill plays viola in the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra, which played in Carnegie Hall last Spring. He is president of the Board of Pensions and Health Benefits for the New York Annual Conference. Bill and wife Pat live in Avon, CT, and enjoy their four grandchildren.
Marty Bupp II ’62 M.Div. retired as a Conference Area minister for the United Church of Christ in 2000. He and Gale live in Chalfont, PA. He serves as an Annuitant Visitor for the Pension Borad of the UCC. They have four children and eight grandchildren.
Fred Buss ’62 B.D. reports a conversation at a hotel reception desk in Gettysburg. Given a choice between parking his car nearby or far away, a stranger advised him to walk the greater distance because it would be “better for your health.” Turns out the stranger was Acting Surgeon-General of the U.S.!
Tha Din ’62 B.D. served with the Baptist Mission in Burma (Myanmar) after student days at the YDS. Beginning as Associate Secretary (1962-66), Secretary (1966-68) of the Burma Baptist Churches Union; Lecturer at the Burma Divinity School (1969-77); Vice-Principal (1977-78) and Principal (1978-79) of the Burman Theological Seminary and Principal of the Myanmar Institute of Christian Theology (1979-92). Din served as Honorary Assistant Pastor of the Kyimyindine Baptist Church, in Yangon to assist the late Rev. U Ba Hmyin ’52 B.D., who was called upon to serve as the General Secretary of the Burma Baptist Convention in 1970. Ordined on Sunday February 22, l970 and married to Choe Yi Lun on May 1, 1964, Din has four children, one daughter and three sons. Elected to serve as President of the Myanmar Baptist Convention for a term of three years 2000-02. Din is now serving as pastor of the Kyimyindine Baptist Church, Kyimyindine in Yangon and also as Chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Myanmar Council of Churches.
David Duncombe ’62 B.D., ’63 S.T.M., ’65 M.A., ’66 Ph.D. (White Salmon, WA) suffered the death of his wife, Sally, last year and is now in the 13th year of his retirement after many years of medical school teaching and activity in the peace movement including 100+ arrests, and jail time. More recently he has been involved in long term fasts (40-50 days) around world hunger issues on Capitol Hill. His three children, Steve, Jane and Betsy, are all grown and spread across the United States.
Jim Halfaker ’62 B.D. had a career as pastor, Conference Minister, and Development officer for the UCC and for a Jesuit Seminary. In retirement, he serves on the Board and as a volunteer for Northwest Harvest, a huge food bank system, and works for a rural economic development non-profit. He cares for two grandchildren, 7 and 10, three mornings a week, and loves to downhill ski in the winter.
Jim Holland ’62 B.D. retired in 2003 from his position as Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. He and his wife, Bobbie, are active in their church and community and are enjoying their children and grandchildren.
Archie Vernon Huff, Jr. ’62 B.D. arrived at YDS in 1960 in a car with Dick Gibson ’61 B.D., ’62 S.T.M., and quickly joined the camaraderie of Seabury House, making frequent use of Ed Bottemiller’s ’59 B.D., ’61 M.A., ’66 Ph.D. library in the basement. Between Bainton and Napier lectures, and field work at St. Andrew’s Methodist, Huff also learned to walk downtown up and down Prospect Street hill. He served as an Associate Pastor and Director of Youth work after graduation before returning to graduate school at Duke studying history (1965-68). From 1968 until retirement in 2003 he taught at Furman University, eventually serving as department chair and vice president for academic affairs and dean. He married Kate Trivette in 1972 and they have two grown children and three grandchildren in Charleston, SC and New York City. Huff still writes, lectures occasionally, serves on the editorial board for the SC Historical Magazine, chairs the state Commission on Archives and History, and serves on United Methodist archives commissions. For the past three years he and Kate have taken a group on study tours—a Wesley Heritage tour, Celtic Christianity in Ireland, and Celtic/Scottish Reformation in Scotland. He closes, “Life is full and rewarding, though I need to quash my Methodist compulsion to keep busy!”
David Koehler ’62 B.D. and wife Mary Beth (sister of Andrew Sorensen ’62 B.D., ’69 M.Phil., ’71 Ph.D.) divide their time between Minneapolis and the New Brunswick shore (Google “Koehler house New Brunswick”). Dave left ordained ministry after six years and entered the business world. Now retired, he and Mary Beth have two grown children.
After retiring from the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana in 1994, Kofi “Nathan” Opoku ’62 B.D., ’65 S.T.M spent a year at the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC as a Visiting Professor of Religion and thereafter spent the next eleven years, 1995-2006, in the Department of Religious Studies at Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvanis teaching courses on Indigenous Religions of West Africa, African Diasporic Religions in the Americas, African Cultural Institutions, Islam and the Qur'an and Religion 101.Opoku is now retired and living in Ghana, spending part of his time farming and growing such crops as oranges, bread fruit, coconuts, plantains, cocoyams, bananas, corn, papayas, avocado, and an incredibly sweet red berry, Synsepalum dulcificum, that makes beer that taste like Sprite! He also tends his 30-acre dense tropical forest, which is his puny answer to global warming and his gift to the world. The rest of the time, he does some writing and research and currently, is working on a project on African Proverbs that he calls ‘Wisdom from Nature: Proverbs from Africa’.”
John Quam ’62 Div., ’62 M.A., ’68 Ph.D. served Lutheran parishes, retiring in 1996. He now works part-time as Visitation Pastor at St John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield MN. His hobby is refereeing high school football, basketball, softball and volleyball games. He and Louise have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.
Woodrow “Woody” Richardson ’62 B.D. is presently “tired” after three careers, as a professor and Dean at the American Baptist College in Nashville (’62-’67), Financial Planner and Broker (’86- ’05). He has been married 50 years to his college sweetheart, Camele, and they have three great sons and now three grandchildren. Richardson played full-court basket-ball up to age 55, swam the Mississippi at Memphis during 500 year flood conditions at age 57; whitewater-canoed up to age 70, and is still snow skiing (Vail in January). His Current concerns include the ethical dimensions of assisted dying.
Jack Scott ’62 B.D. is a California State Senator, having served on the faculty at Pepperdine and as president of both Cypress College and Pasadena City College. He chairs two Senate committees responsible for education and education funding. Jack will retire in 2008. He and Lacreta have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.
Prentice-Hall has published the 6th edition of Anatomy of the New Testament co-authored by Bob Spivey ’58 M.A., ’62 Ph.D., ’62 Div., D. Moody Smith ’61 Ph.D., and C. Clifton Black of Princeton Seminary. Bob recently served as president of the Society for Values in Higher Education. He and wife Martha live in Tallahassee.
Reginald Stackhouse ’62 Ph.D. returned to Toronto after graduation. That same fall he joined the faculty of Wycliffe College where he has remained ever since in varying roles. He was a member of the founding committee of the Toronto School of Theology, and was the first Chair of its Theological Department. Active in community and national life, he served on the Board of Education, chaired the founding board of Ontario's first community college, served in the Parliament of Canada, chairing its Standing Committee on Human Rights, and representing Canada at various United Nations meetings. He was elected nine times to the national governing body for the Anglican Church in Canada. He has preached on three continents, including in St. Paul's, London, UK, and the world's most northerly cathedral at Iqualuit in Canada's Arctic. He has contributed almost 500 articles, columns and reviews, and is currently writing my ninth book. He has accumulated many honors and honorary degrees. He and his wife live in Toronto; they have nine grandchildren. Our travels have taken us to 33 countries on four continents. So I have had 45 fulfilling and productive years, thanks to God's mercy and grace, and thanks to Yale Divinity.
Herb Talabere ’62 B.D. retired from Jewish Family Services, where he was in charge of training immigrants (mostly Somali and Ethiopian) for business. He is busy volunteering for two organizations that serve the unemployed. He and his wife, Laurel, live in Columbus, Ohio. They have two sons and a daughter and four grandchildren, the oldest of whom will be sent to Iraq next year.
Like his classmates, Frederick R. Trost ’62 B.D. has fond memories of those days long past, recalling Professor Bainton’s escapades in Church History, taking the class to Wartburg, specifically. He transformed himself into the Reformer and even threw an ink bottle out a wide open window on a lovely day in May. Having missed the devil, there were reports later that he nearly struck a gardener down below with this flying object. Trost also recalls Professor Muehl’s rhetoric course in which he stood in the pulpit on the first day of class and showed us all how to begin our sermons by saying something like "To hell with you." Other professors come to mind as he says, “Most of us would probably agree that those were great and glorious days at Yale Divinity School.” He and his wife Louise lived in Bellamy Hall for a couple of years, where they, with classmates who became great scholars and faithful pastors, discovered every Saturday night how "Perry Mason" could perform wonders in a court of law. This past summer, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and moved into a new home in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. They’re healthy, and count their blessings!
Jim White ’62 B.D. has returned to Colorado after an interim ministry at University Congregational Church in Wichita, KS. In October, he and Patti will be traveling to the Czech Republic where he will meet with clergy of the Czech Brethren, to Wales where he will speak to Trade Unionists, and to southern Spain.
Larry Young ’62 B.D. retired on June 30 from his staff position at First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, although he plans to be involved in pastoral assistance on a volunteer basis. His plans are to combine travel with volunteer service, both in the U.S. and abroad.