The Berkshire School community extends its sincere condolences to the families of the following alumni and friends of the School. To send obituaries or remembrances of classmates or family members, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A note to our readers: The list of names for the In Memoriam section is reported from January 1 through June 5, 2020. If we have missed a name, please accept our apologies, and email us at email@example.com.
James C. McCurrach, Jr. '53
April 8, 2020
My father sadly passed away at age 85 on April 9, 2020 of natural causes. Dad was a true character and always quick with a witty comment or observation. A sincere lover of life who considered every day a gift; he was never one to waste time. In fact, he wasn't too fond of people who didn't make the most of each day! Dad lived a colorful life and was at various times a banker, restaurant owner, squash player, and for the last 20 years a teacher, which was his true passion along with reading and movies. Dad always held a special affection for Berkshire School, which lead to both myself and brother Peter (Class of 1982) attending. A New Yorker at heart, he spent the last 25 years in his adopted home, San Francisco.
—James C. McCurrach III '78
I was saddened to learn of Jim McCurrach's passing. Jim and I stayed in touch over the years as we both worked in New York and lived in Rumson, New Jersey.
In subsequent years we corresponded as Jim was having his up's and downs. Through it all he maintained his very cheerful countenance.
His memoir "Unrequited Time" is riveting as he recounts how he tries to understand his sexuality.
I received my last letter from him just a month before he died and he was his usual upbeat self writing about all of his activities in San Francisco.
—Charlie R. Berry '53
- Bulletin Class Notes Winter Edition 2020
- Bulletin Summer 2019
- Bulletin Class Notes Winter Edition 2019
- Bulletin Summer 2018
- Bulletin Class Notes Winter Edition 2018
The names below were reported from June 15, 2019 through December 31, 2019
The names below were reported from January 1, 2019 through June 10, 2019.
John P. Chapin, Sr.
January 18, 2019
Matt Mansfield '58 Remembrance of John Chapin:
Like many others, I was sad to hear of the passing of my classmate, John Chapin, during January this year. The last time I saw John was during our 50th Reunion at Berkshire. His wife, Dindy, and he stayed for awhile but left early to get back to Blue Hill, Maine. Although brief, it was a chance for us and our wives to meet and to recall more youthful exploits during an unusually wet weekend.
My fondest recollection is three of us aspiring to Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" adventures, so current at the time, by driving from Boston to Berkshire to southern Connecticut and back during a spring break weekend in search of parties and whatever other trouble we could get into. Phil Gallman '58, John, and myself—sort of a prep school version of the three amigos—saw driving at night with headlights beaming into blowing snow as high adventure. And Phil and I sneaking out of the dorms with John, a day student, aiding us with the runaway car to see movies in Great Barrington. Oh, yeah! We're bad, we're bad!
Another remembrance is taking a Latin class with Frank "The Bird" Stevens for a couple of years. Though not directed at us, Bird will live on for his acerbic wit such as pointing out to flailing students who protested the challenge of sight translating Latin to English, "You can be polite even though you're stupid." We would furtively share round-eyed glances of "Thank God, it's not me!" I don't imagine that would fly in today's world.
Antics aside, we three went separate ways after graduation: John to Princeton, Phil to Yale, and myself to Harvard. Not a bad achievement for our small class at the time (about 44–46 students as I recollect). For me, only at the Reunion was there a brief chance to recall what we had for a moment and how far our separate travels had taken us. Then, we were gone along our different roads.
Travel on, John, travel on wherever the journey takes you.
—Matt Mansfield '58
Thomas J. Grahame, Jr.
June 8, 2019
Obituary and photo provided by Thomas' sister, Heather Grahame
Thomas John Grahame passed away on Saturday, June 8, 2019, from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Born in 1945 in Philadelphia, PA, he was raised in Westport, CT, and lived on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1977 until his death.
Grahame graduated from Berkshire School in 1963 and was a National Merit Scholar. He graduated from Harvard University in February, 1969, having dropped out as a sophomore to hitchhike around North America. In 1970/71, Grahame hitchhiked around Europe for 10-1/2 months.
After working in planning offices of several local governments in Massachusetts in the mid-1970s, Grahame studied city planning at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, graduating a Master of City and Regional Planning in 1976. Grahame’s later career focused on energy and environmental issues, including a year on the staff of US Senator John Durkin (D, NH) who was serving on the Senate Energy Committee at the time.
During his last decade at the Department of Energy, Grahame researched air pollution and public health issues, authoring 12 articles of different types in scientific journals. His 2010 article called for consideration of a public health standard for black carbon, a primary emission of older diesel engines. Two years later, the World Health Organization, EU branch, in its call for consideration of a black carbon health standard, cited the only two extant articles recommending such a standard, one of which was Grahame’s. His articles have been cited over 500 times in science journal articles.
Grahame enjoyed volunteering in retail political campaigns if important issues were at stake. He was a precinct captain for Father Robert Drinan’s successful 1970 anti-Vietnam war campaign to unseat a long-time supporter of the war; for Sandy McCall’s 1997 run for Ward 6 DC City Council; and for Anthony Williams successful campaign for DC mayor in 1998.
Grahame was also a board member of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society for several years after 2001.
Grahame’s love of the natural world was boundless. Between 1978 and 1997, he took 13 one-week canoe trips to various wilderness areas in Ontario, Canada. Visiting his sister Heather and her family in Alaska 17 times allowed him to take upwards of 100 hikes in Alaska. Hiking took him to most major mountain ranges in both the eastern and western US multiple times, and to Nepal and the Alps. Birding trips to Bhutan, Mexico, and Guatemala resulted in articles in Capitol Hill’s local paper, the Hill Rag.
The Corner Store art gallery on Capitol Hill asked Grahame to exhibit his best photos from his many wilderness trips. “Wilderness Light and Life: Canadian Lakes and Alaska” ran for 16 days in December, 2018. Jim Magner, art critic for the Hill Rag, said “These are extraordinary photographs, and an incredible tribute to the beauty of the natural world. “Wilderness Light and Life: Canadian Lakes and Alaska” has you soaring, visually and emotionally."
Grahame’s lifetime love of soccer led to countless friendships. He played for 18 years before tearing his ACL, and then coached adult teams for another 20 years.
In his last 8 years, he very much enjoyed re-entry into the bridge community, and playing with his 4 favorite partners.
His greatest loves were his wife Jan and his sister Heather. For more than four decades, Jan has shared his life bringing a richness and a depth of love Tom had never experienced previously. Jan expanded his world and together, they had an incredibly loving and supportive relationship and life.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Morris Boggs Grahame, in 1981; his father, Thomas J. Grahame, in 1989; and his brother, Ted, in 1970. He leaves his wife, D.C.-artist Jan Kern; his sister, Heather Grahame (Ken Ford), and nieces Haley and McKenna Ford. Donations in his name may be made to the Capitol Hill Village.
A memorial will be held in the fall.
His collection of vignettes, “Adventuring Toward Adulthood: If You are Impulsive, You Better be Lucky,” will be available on Amazon by the fall.
Jennifer H. Gardner
January 1, 2019
Charles Waggaman Spinola Berl '82's Remembrance of Jennifer H. Gardner:
Jennifer was an extremely peaceful and nice person. She always made me happy with her calm and thoughtful ways. We lived in Vermont together.
A short poem in remembrance of her:
Jennifer with love
Kind you always are
Remembering your laughter
Remembering your hug
Thank you for all you gave,
With kindness, you always are
We will miss you
And be forever in our remembrances
You will be missed by all.
The names below were reported from June 15, 2018 through December 31, 2018.
Milo D. Folley, Jr.
October 5, 2018
Obituary and photos provided by Milo's daughter, Brooke Folley Counts
Milo D. Folley, Jr., 75, of Nicholasville, Kentucky, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on October 5, 2018. Upon moving to Kentucky from Syracuse, New York, in 1969, Milo worked as an editor and photographer for The Horseman and Fair World, where he won multiple writing awards, while he and his wife, Marcia, were fixtures at The Red Mile. When their daughter, Brooke Folley (Counts) was born, Milo left his job to join his wife’s new company, Classic Insurance. While raising their daughter, Milo and Marcia worked together insuring horses, farms, then police dogs. Classic Insurance wrote the first, and only, insurance program in the country to protect police, military, and service dogs.
Milo, Marcia, and Brooke spent many weekends traveling the country showing their hall-of-fame Vizslas. Milo loved building furniture, working outdoors, and never missed the opportunity to tell a good joke. Milo basked in each of his roles, from husband, to Dad, and finally as Papa, when his granddaughter, Lauren, was born.
Milo was predeceased by his parents, Milo Folley, Sr., a prominent architect, and Ruth Folley of Liverpool, NY and will be remembered and loved by his wife of 49 years, Marcia; his daughter and son-in-law, Brooke and Chris Counts; his granddaughter, Lauren Counts, all from Nicholasville; and his four brothers, Marc (Charlene) Folley from Elfrida, AZ, Craig Folley (Carole, who preceded Milo) from Tully, NY, Cris (Kathy) Folley from Colchester, VT, and Erik (Tracie) Folley from Liverpool, NY, and their families.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, October 13, 2018, from 3-6 p.m. at Milward Funeral Home, 391 Southland Drive, Lexington, Kentucky 40503. Donations in Milo’s memory can be made to Friends and Vets Helping Pets, PO Box 910117, Lexington, KY 40591, or online at www.FriendsandVetsHelpingPets.org.
George G. Francis
November 13, 2018
Robert B. Field, Jr.
December 26, 2018
Francis N. Bishop, Jr.
October 17, 2018
George Lanman '68's Remembrance of Nat Bishop:
To the Class of ‘68:
With great sadness I/we all learned that Nat Bishop passed away on 10/17/18 after a long bout with cancer.
He and I roomed together in our Junior and Senior years at Berkshire and for 2 more years while at Northeastern University in Boston from 1968-1973.
Although we only talked a few times by phone after those years, I thought about him often and the great times we had those few years we spent together. They were enough to build and maintain a lifelong bond whether we saw each other or not.
Our last communication was by email a few months before our 50th wherein I learned of the extent of his illness and the fact that he would most likely not be able to make it back to the reunion. Sad as it was, he was certainly upbeat and glad we could touch base, as I was, and talk about old times, albeit, for the last time.
I will remember his beaming smile, his incredible wit and sense of humor, and although an accomplished prankster, his kind heart and soul.
Of all the crazy, fun antics we had together one sticks in my mind.. we were both on the varsity football team; he was a running back and I was an offensive lineman and being considered for defensive linebacker.
During practices he would always, purposely, telegraph the play to me when he was getting the ball; but knowing he was a prankster, I didn’t believe him and thought he would run the opposite way.
As the plays developed and he ran for touchdown after touchdown, I still would be looking to tackle him on the opposite side of the field. After several practices, being thoroughly embarrassed, along with a coaches decision that I would be second string linebacker, I asked him what the hell he was doing and he responded: trying to make you look good but it’s not working!!!
After finally catching on to his purpose, he would then reverse the telegraphed play and fake me out again!!!
Exasperated, I went to Defensive Coach Minnerly and announced I did not want to play linebacker when Bishop was running the ball and he said neither do we and gladly acquiesced.
We are all shocked and saddened by his loss, way too soon... but our lives are all enriched for having known him and having been fortunate to be his friend.
Rest In Peace old friend and should there be another life, dimension, or world for all of us, I hope our paths will cross again.
—George Lanman ‘68
The names below were reported from January 1, 2018 through June 10, 2018.
Chris White '73 writes: "I met Web Walker sophomore year (my first at Berkshire). It was Web's second year at Berkshire and he was well established as one of the BMOC, soccer star, friend to most of the upper class men and inclusive of everyone in the room. He was the first Bear I met, as his nickname was Goober Bear. Who was this guy who laughed and chuckled all the time, always positive? So confident in himself that he wore denim overalls with patches, a red bandana handkerchief hanging in the back pocket and Topsiders! Always the fashion plate, he began a new fashion trend when he moved to Florida wearing Hawaiian shirts to most formal occasions.
Web loved the mountain and took full advantage of it by hiking Benny Lane and up to Black Rock. If I remember correctly he was involved in the "Outward Bound" activities, led by teacher and coach Sam Dibbins, where Web honed his skills of leadership, responsibility, trustworthiness and doing what is right and expected of you. As an example, Web had a roommate, Floyd Jefferson who had epilepsy. Web accepted the responsibility to watch over Floyd and possibly saved his life on more than one occasion. In four years at Berkshire, Web touched the lives of hundreds of students and faculty with his kindness, inclusiveness, and good nature. Always happy to give advice, he also accepted it, although sometimes begrudgingly.
Web and I went off to college together to Florida Southern College. We were roommates and fraternity brothers, best of friends, and had dreams for a wonderful life and future families. After college Web lived in Southport, Conn., and I in Boston. We were groomsmen at each other’s weddings, played many member/guest golf events together, and spent many weekends together. Web eventually moved back to Florida where he worked and then ran a citrus company in Vero Beach, SunSweet Fruit, purveyors of the best citrus you ever tasted. Web made annual trips up the East Coast calling on customers, stopping in Boston for three or four days and staying with my wife Jane and me. Our two sons loved the annual fall visits by 'Uncle Web' and his tall tales of our boarding school and college lives. He would always depart by saying, 'If you guys didn't have winter, I might consider moving back!' How I wished it to be.
Web was a humble person, not to be confused with modest as he always bragged (rightfully) about his wonderful wife Ellen and beautiful children, Jane, Camp, and Holly. Although we lived miles apart and didn’t see each other often, he was remarkable about keeping in touch. He sent me thousands of emails and texts over the years of his beloved dogs, children, grandchildren, and absolutely anything to make me laugh. I named them the Walker Family chronicles.
Web was a wonderful husband, a great father, and a true best friend. Our generation was raised by the 'Greatest Generation' and it showed in Web. Respectful and kind to all. Do your job well and expect the same from others. Live the Golden Rule. Be a gentleman, one of the finest I’ve known.
The names below were reported from June 15, 2017 through December 31, 2017.
David R. Fink
November 7, 2017
"I am so sad to hear about David’s passing. He was my roommate our first year at Berkshire. I remember when David arrived from Minneapolis, he had such a positive attitude. He walked into our dorm room with a smile on his face. David was always willing to accept challenges that came his way and triumphed over them. He was also willing to help others when they were in need, which was the case with math with Ms. Jensen. He patiently coached me through the course in the first months until it all clicked. David will be missed by all those whose lives he touched."
—Drew Goldman '89