“An opportunity to be a full class once again.”

By Peter W. Sipple

The Class of 1962 honored its 148 deceased members at a memorial service in Battell Chapel on Friday afternoon. Reunion Coordinator Bob Oliver asked me to plan the service, basing it on liturgies used at similar events by other classes. Conversations with Alan Blanchard, a counterpart in the Class of ’61, got us underway. As the centerpiece, the names of the deceased were listed in the program and read by classmates, with about 20 names assigned to each of seven readers. These were Bill Nye, Bob Oliver, Art Trotman, Lee Bakunin, Chris Cory, Roman Weil, and John Livingston. Bob Breault concluded the list by reading the names of four classmates who died while in service to their country.

Other elements included the reading of Psalm 121 by Roman Catholic Deacon Dan Murphy; Benjamin Zucker’s reading of the Kaddish in both Hebrew and English; the singing of two congregational hymns; a meditation offered by the Rev. David Fobes; and a Litany of Thanksgiving and Remembrance led by the Rev. Rod Quainton. The service concluded with reflections and a blessing given by Sharon Kugler, Yale University Chaplain.

Offering classmates and spouses opportunities to sing produced a choir of 35 voices (names below). Rehearsed and conducted by John Stewart, the group sang anthems written specially for the occasion: John’s arrangement of “All Through the Night” and my setting of the Walt Whitman poem “The Last Invocation.” We may be the first 50th class to include both men’s and women’s voices in a four-part “class choir.”

Chaplain Kugler spoke for all present when she noted how recalling and honoring those who have gone before us gave us an opportunity to be a full class once again.

NOTE: Singers who might like to recommend that their own choirs or choruses consider performing the new settings of “All Though the Night” by John Stewart and “the Last Invocation” by Peter Sipple should click on the composers’ names here to contact them.


A Litany of Remembrance and Thanksgiving
Adapted by Peter W. Sipple

Gracious and loving Creator of the earth and of all things; source of goodness, comfort and strength: receive our thanksgiving and prayers for our classmates gone before us.  For early memories of them as roommates and suite-mates; for the sharing of time over books, over meals, over dates and plans for the weekend; for the persons they had become and were becoming.

(All)  We give our thanks.

 For the joys they experienced in life; for their families, and especially their children; for good times we enjoyed with them through the years, and for the little things that connected us to them; for the love they shared with others, and for their commitment to causes in which they believed and which they supported.

(All)  We give our thanks.

 For the many and often profound ways they used their talents and gifts; for services rendered to their communities; for their contributions through tasks fulfilled and challenges met; for their loyalty and service to Yale; and for the ways they sought to make life better for others.

(All)  We give our thanks.

 For those who sacrificed their lives in service to their country; for those who died too young but whose accomplishments we nonetheless recall; and for those who suffered adversity, loss and protracted ill health and endured them with courage.

(All)  We give our thanks.

 We pray also for those whose sense of loss and grief is most keenly felt: the wives, siblings, children, grandchildren, and friends of our deceased classmates.  May they experience through your spirit not just consolation but the power and peace of shared affection with those who continue on.

(All) Hear our prayer.

 We remember our classmates who might be here today except for illness, the recent loss of a spouse or other family member, or some other disability; may they, too, be in our thoughts as we recall all those who enriched our undergraduate years.

(All) Hear our prayer.

 Finally, we pray for ourselves, men and women still blessed with sufficient health and vigor to experience this weekend together.  May we be a comfort to one another. Bless our children and their families, and help us to inspire in them hope for a future at least as bright as our past; deepen our affections, and help us to make the years remaining to us as pleasant for others as we possibly can.  And now, in the words of the old prayer, “support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and evening has come, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.  Then in your great mercy grant us safe lodging and peace at the last.”

(All) AMEN


CHOIR FOR MEMORIAL SERVICE
(With apologies to anyone inadvertently left out)

Sopranos
Jan Clarke
Jennifer Julier
Margaret Sipple
Cecily Stewart
Barbara Oliver
Ursula Fobes

Altos
Cherie North
Ann Moore
Judy Hope
Helen Cory
Joanne Gerlach
Lillian Willis
LaVine Truslow
Tansy Blumer

Tenors
Bill Gross
Dixie Carroll
Charlie Michener
Peter Clark
Louie Mackall
John Gerlach
Gary Salenger

Basses
Dan Koenigsburg
Mike Moore
Carl Kaestle
Joe Holmes
Ellis Wisner
David Hopkins
Tim Kish
Tom Cutler
Cam Carey
Murray Wheeler
David Willis
Warner North
Peter Sipple
Chris Cory
Bernie Silbernagel
Pearce Hurley
Gary Cunningham

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