"I have a vision for the journey of the class through life - a metaphor - that I would like to share with you. I want to take you back to a beautiful day, a spectacular Cinemascope day, the 14th of June 1955. On that day in the world of reality, we graduated from Princeton. But on that day in my world of metaphor I see in my mind's eye something different. I see 803 Princetonians gathering in a large, open field. They line up in a single line of skirmishers, shoulder to shoulder, and begin to march across the field of life with energy, enthusiasm and optimism.
But we are not alone on that field. On the other side, across from us, is another line of skirmishers, dark, hooded, forbidding - I won't say they are evil, but they are certainly lethal - let's just call them the vicissitudes and vagaries of life, and, for short, I call them "the dark forces" and from the very beginning, the dark forces take shots at our class and from the very beginning, we lose classmates, but in those days, to military accidents, automobile crashes, rare diseases, early heart attacks, but we close ranks, and we move forward.
And we have marched forward for fifty years, and now the weapons at the disposal of the dark forces are stronger and more lethal - cancer in all its forms, heart attacks, and infectious diseased that weren't even heard of when we began our march - and the toll on our line is significant. It is much shorter than it was when we started out - almost 20% shorter - and the weapons of the dark forces are stronger and are fired more frequently. We have lost 150 classmates, some are missing, and as to the wounded, well, we're all wounded.
Fifty years is a long time to be in our line of march, and chronic diseases, major surgeries, disappointments, tragedies - they've all taken their toll - but we close the gaps and go forward. And we go forward in spite of the fact that each one of us knows that someday - the day will come, maybe 25 years from now, something like that - the very last skirmisher will fall, and the last member of the Class of '55 will perish.
When that day comes, it's not the end of the story, and it certainly is not the whole story. We have, after all, been in our line of march for 50 years with capabilities, and we have used those capabilities to attain magnificent achievements; let me just list a few: a family formed, loved, cared for and launched into the future; a business begun, or made better; a profession, law, medicine, teaching and others enhanced; institutions established and improved; lives saved, and enemies defied; friends supported; causes served.
We have done all of that and more. We have created a legacy of achievement, a heritage, which will live. Our families, communities, institutional colleagues and above all Princeton herself will ensure the immortality of the Class of 1955. Generations from now students will still attend Princeton on Class of '55 scholarships, '55 endowed chairs will teach them, the class numerals etched in the great window of Firestone will still be there, and the buildings we have all built, either in their entirety or partially, will still stand.
The 20th Century is now history, and that was our century. As President Tilghman made clear, from that century are emerging a few classes defined as great by others, not by us, and '55 is one of them. We will live and all 803 skirmishers will share that immortality."
Our classmate Tom Boyatt spoke these words at our Fifty Fifth Reunion Class Memorial Presentation on May 29, 2010. Listed below are the names of classmates who have passed away within the past twelve months plus earlier death notices of which we have just become aware.
David Alan Roblin May 17, 2020
Richard Kollock McMullan November 29, 2020
John Ross-Lewin Howell November 2, 2021
Victor Arthur Hanson Jr November 24, 2021
Richard Ellsworth Evans December 14, 2021
Wayne R. Ulisnik December16, 2021
Charles Humbert Tinsman Jr December 26, 2021
Roger L. Barron December 28, 2021
William Schoonmaker Ames January 19, 2022
Emery Sanborn Fletcher January 26, 2022
Lawton Storrs Lamb February 28, 2022
Truman Snell Casner March 15, 2022
William Wirt Mills Jr March 20, 2022
David Sala Summers April 2, 2022
John Roger West May 5, 2022
Joseph Rollin Otto Jr June 5, 2022
James Sullivan Gleason June 17, 2022
William Faux Gray July 24, 2022
Thomas Edward White August 1, 2022
James Dougal Lynn August 10, 2022
George Britt Barr August 15, 2022
James Fayerweather Babcock September 2, 2022
Theodore Charles Miller September 7, 2022
Stanton Peele Nolan September 19, 2022
Gilmor Semmes Hamill IV September 27, 2022
Harold Byron Smith Jr October 1, 2022
Albert William Dibbins October 12, 2022
Sydney Rhodes Prince III October19, 2022
Memorials can be found on the PAW Classmates Memorial page. Click here for a few memorials from outside publications.