Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Club's historic membership roster, part VIII: members joining 1964-present

Note: no new members joined in 1962 or 1963.

1964

Charles F. B. Richardson — senior vice-president, Berkshire Life Insurance Company

Kelton Miller Burbank ("Kim") — attorney in Pittsfield. Born 1935(?); died June 29th, 2015. He was a graduate of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., and received his Bachelor of Arts from Williams College in 1956, before graduating summa cum laude from Harvard Law in 1959. He was a law clerk to Justice Harold P. Williams of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for a year before becoming an associate at the Boston Law firm Choate Hall & Stewart. After a year he left Boston to return to the Berkshires where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1961 he joined the firm of Cain, Lewis and Humphrey, and in 1963 became a partner at Cain, Hibbard and Myers. In 1984 he opened his solo practice where he continued practicing until his retirement at the age of 78. Kim served on the board of numerous Berkshire County non-profits and arts organizations, donating countless hours of his legal skills, including the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, the Pittsfield YMCA, the Elizabeth Freeman Center (which assists and counsels victims of rape and domestic violence), the Audubon Society, the Family and Children Service of Berkshire County, the Berkshire branch of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Housatonic River Watershed Association, Shakespeare & Co., South Mountain Association and many others. He also served as a Selectman of the town of New Ashford for nine years. Kim was an avid skier in his youth and well into middle age. He was captain of the Williams Swim Team and his passion for swimming continued throughout his life and he swam competitively at the master's level where he won several events when he was in his 60s. Kim had a wide variety of interests, including but not limited to, hiking, playing tennis, bird watching, reading poetry, and completing the New York Times crossword puzzle (in ink) before anyone else arose. He loved the Berkshires not only for their intrinsic beauty, but for the ready access to art museums, lectures, musical and theatrical performances, and he attended as many cultural events as he could. His chief passion was gardening. He spent the majority of his free time digging in the dirt, pulling weeds, and planting vegetables, flowers and shrubs. Kim enjoyed nothing better than to spend the entire day in his garden, coming in at dusk covered from head to toe in the dirt he so loved. In 1999 the Berkshire Natural Resources Council dedicated a trail on Yokum Ridge in his honor for the then "30 years of mostly anonymous but invaluable service" in ensuring the preservation of vast swatches of land throughout Berkshire County. Kim continued his work for BNRC until his passing. The past president of BRNC noted that the overwhelming portion of Kim's work for BNRC had been without charge, in keeping with his generous nature and dedication to land preservation.

1965

John B. Lidstone — engineer, General Electric Company, Plastics Division. Moved to the Troy, N.Y. area in 1970.

Robert Austin Acly — retired, U. S. State Dept. His posts included Burma and Panama, where he served as counselor of embassy and charge d'affaires, as well as Honduras, France and South Africa. He headed the Burma desk at the State Department in Washington and also served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. Foreign Service postings: U.S. Vice Consul in Montreal, 1930; Tegucigalpa, 1930-35; Strasbourg, 1935; Johannesburg, 1938; U.S. Consul in Johannesburg, 1940-42; Cape Town, 1942-43; Rangoon, 1949. Born Feb. 25, 1906, died July 1, 1973.

1968

Robert M. Henderson — paper manufacturing executive

1969

William A. Selke — paper company chemist. Born in Newburgh, N.Y., June 16, 1922, died in Pittsfield, Mass., February 25, 2013.  He received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with the class of 1943. He entered the Naval Reserve, and served with a motor torpedo boat squadron in the Pacific theater. He returned to M.I.T.for a master's degree in 1947, and received a doctorate in engineering from Yale University in 1949. In 1952, he married Martha Whitney Floyd, a native of Pittsfield, then living in New York. Their weekend trips to the Berkshires introduced him to the many pleasures of the Berkshires, including skiing and Tanglewood. He joined the faculty of Columbia University, where his research and publications were in the fields of ion exchange kinetics, thermodynamics and heat transfer. In 1951 the U.S .Atomic Energy Commission established its Heat Transfer Research Facility at Columbia. After working for the DuPont Corporation on the design of the Savannah River reactors, Mr. Selke became the manager of that Columbia laboratory. In 1955, he moved to the Berkshires to establish a research and development department for Peter J. Schweitzer Inc. manufacturer of specialized technical papers. The laboratory was built at a mill site in Lee. The work that he did with his colleagues resulted in a number of U.S. and foreign patents on specialized papers, and novel applications of the papermaking process. The company was acquired by Kimberly-Clark Corp. in 1982, and was merged with other portions of the company. In 1982, Mr. Selke moved to Atlanta to be Vice president of the Corporate Science and Technology Group. He retired in 1986, and returned to Stockbridge. From 1986 through 1996, he was a consultant for several major companies, and served as a professor of environmental Engineering at The Lenox Institute for Research. He served as Chairman of a United States committee of the International Standards Organization, and represented that committee at meetings in Beijing and Berlin. He was a member of the board of investment of The City Savings Bank in Pittsfield. In 1966, Mr Selke became a member of the newly formed Massachusetts Board of Education. In retirement, he taught reading and English as a second language with the Southern Berkshire Literacy Network, and read science books for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic here in the Berkshires. Mr. Selke served the town of Stockbridge on a number of committees, including chairing an attempt to establish an historic district in Stock bridge Village. He was chairman of the committee on Affordable Housing, which promoted and helped develop the Pine Woods project in Stockbridge. He served on the Planning Board for eight years, and was chairman from 1976 through 1980. He was also a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. In 1993, he was elected to the Stockbridge Housing Authority, and was a member of the committee which formed the Berkshire Hills Regional School District., and built the Monument Mountain Regional High School. Twenty years later, after retirement, he became a substitute science teacher at that school. After serving as co-chairman of the Council of Tanglewood Friends in 1974, he became an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and from 1979 to 1985 served as a atrustee of the orchestra. In 1984, while living in Atlanta, he joined the board of The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He was a member of the boards of The Laurel Hill Association and The Berkshire Museum, and served as president of the Old Corner House-Stockbridge Historical Society, and the Stockbridge library Association. He was a member of the Western Regional Committee of The Trustees of Reservations, and on the Advisory Council of the statewide organization. He had a lifelong love of music, especially classical music and "good" jazz. He also loved sailing, and spent a lot of time on the water, both here and in far off lands. He loved traveling. He and his wife saw a good deal of the world together. [Berkshire Eagle obituary]

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Do the Bell: The remarkable career of Evan Dobelle

Presented to the Club on Monday evening, March 24, 2014 by John H. Spencer

Evan Dobelle during his presidency at the University of Hawaii
In my ninth-grade classes I used to give lollypops for various things: first A-minus, most footnotes. One student actually got one for misspelling his own name, but also I gave one, each time a paper was assigned, for best title (even though some students worked harder on the title rather than the content of the essay).

Megan Cort was the best I ever had and I told her she would one day make a fortune in advertising (she is now 23; I need to find out what she is doing). She was so good I had to ban her for a while. I am sure she will groan at the title I came up with for tonight — although she might smile.

Who has a guess what it means?

I am a political junkie and what makes people tick, especially in the use of power — from all the King's Men with its view that man is conceived in sin; to the marvelous biography of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro, three volumes complete and the fourth to come; to Citizen Kane and Rosebud.

So, I pick a person not as powerful, not as complicated, but still remarkable and with local connections — Evan Dobelle. ("Do the Bell" — sorry, Megan.)

Did he have his Rosebud? Did he have a fatal flaw? Or has his journey through life been overlooked by the fact that he, at times, lived that journey high on the hog and loved credit cards other than his own? As I tell his tale, you judge.