Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Fall 2017 - 44
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With sadness we report that Mac Schetky died
Feb. 14, 2017. L. McDonald Schetky was a metallurgist who spent 10 years in precision instruments,
20 years in copper technology, and more than 10
years in product development, most recently as
chief scientist at Memry Corp. He enjoyed sailing
his 40-foot ketch from the Chesapeake to Nova
Scotia, and after 45 years of home ownership,
designed and built his dream home. Mac served
as class correspondent from 1989 to 1996, and
returned to the "job" in 2012. He will be missed.
We had a little over 300 names and addresses for
the 50th Reunion and over 100 made it to the
50th. We are now moving toward our 75th in
2020! My new listing of the Class of '45 has 144
names; 81 have no mailing address, 39 have a mailing address only, and 24 have mailing and email
addresses. The 63 were contacted about sending in
their career story for these notes. I heard from one
or two that had recently contributed their career
stories, but nothing else. Thus I had nothing to
send in for this issue of the magazine!
I realize every morning that we are not getting
younger and things aren't working like they used
to, but I also realize that our class story is not complete without the stories from the rest of the class.
Take a little bit of your time and energy, along
with the assistance of people close to you, to put
together your career story and send it along to me
(firstname.lastname@example.org) to keep the Class of '45 shining
brightly in the future Class Notes. Other events in
your life are also quite welcome too!
A note for you to give some thought to your experience: Near the bottom of the Rensselaer icon on
your ring, or on some of the Rensselaer printed
material, you will find the RPI motto "Knowledge
& Thoroughness." As you should expect from
RPI, and as I have thought about my own career
and read the career stories, the successes in those
careers are marked by the knowledge that was
available about the problems and the extra effort
that was made to find all the facts in the data
about the problem! When you look "thoroughly"
you will no doubt find that shows up in your career,
too. It is an effective motto! Be proud of it! -Herb
Asbury '45; email@example.com
Fred Grob has decided to step down as class cor44 RensselaeR/Fall 2017
respondent. Many thanks to Fred for his service. If
you have news to share, or would like to serve as
class correspondent, contact Meg Gallien, alumni
news editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"You've got (no) mail," has been the Inbox story.
I'll try "pretty please" in my plea to you for news.
In that absence I have been encouraged to restore
a sea story that was excised for space last time.
That was relative to the NROTC 75th anniversary
celebration on campus (the post-WWII NROTC
program proposed by Admiral Holloway) covered
there. I wrote: To insert a bit of NROTC trivia;
it was my luck to get to know ADM Holloway's
daughter Jean. She was the wife of the executive
officer of my first fighter squadron, VF-61, NAS
Oceana VA. I saw her last in 2002 at the 60-year
celebration of the establishment of the "Jolly Rogers" banner which had proudly passed from squadron to squadron when a current holder was disbanded. Jean's husband, RADM Lawrence Hayworth, had died only two weeks earlier. I reminded
her of the fact that her father had put me through
college. Her brother had become a four-star like
I mentioned last time that Dick Powell (Arch)
and I served together in USS New Jersey off Korea.
What I left out was that we both graduated late,
January 1951. Commissioning held us up. We did
not share our troubles with the NROTC program
until 40 years later. Two lieutenant instructors
teamed up to write each of us up as not being team
players. We were too prominent on campus while
ignoring unit extracurricular activities. Facing
expulsion from the program and the Institute, all
those Navy programs, you know, we each managed to save our butt. I was told in no uncertain
terms that there was no room in the Navy for a
"rugged individualist." ADM Rickover, anyone?
Dick went straight to the ship and suffered a
couple months of intensive day-and-night training at Gitmo: the Underway Training Command.
Anticipating flight training, I took advance leave,
reaching the "boat" the evening before its return
to Norfolk. Within three weeks, I avoided assignment to engine and boiler rooms, not that kind
of engineer, got Ops Department and arranged
collateral duties as photographic and cruise book
officer. I never stood inspection, enjoyed lots of
helicopter flights and "working-hours" with camera ashore in Japan when in port. Dick said that
he emulated those moves in his next ship. Prior to
our return stateside the executive officer who set
all this up was transferred. At his going-away party
in Yokosuka, "Poison Charlie" sat, put his arm
around me, and said: "Pfeiff, I like you. You are the
only officer in this ship who isn't scared stiff of me.
Keep it up!"
One of the officers who wrote me up was the aviator. An incredible coincidence had us shoulder to
shoulder after I earned my wings. At a duty officer's desk we were having our flight plans signed
off. Each flying the twin-Beech SNB. I was headed
to jet fighter transition, he back to his desk. He was
doing black-shoe duty on a subsequent encounter in the Med. I flying fighters, as later, serving
together aboard Intrepid with him flying tankers.
He got to wish me good luck at test pilot training.
Sweet! -Robert L. Pfeiff '50; Vincrows@aol.com
We received a news clipping about Robert Vanderminden. His company, Telescope Casual Furniture, recently celebrated his 65 years of dedicated service. While a student at RPI, he redesigned
the company's iconic director's chair to have a
removable seat and back, enabling customers to
easily customize and change the colors. The chair
exploded in popularity. When 100 of the world's
best designers and architects were asked to pick
the best 100 designed products in the world, the
47th item they picked was the Telescope director's
chair. His designs helped win many awards over
the years, and in 2011, the International Casual
Furnishings Association awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bob Fopeano sent out the annual report of the
class to those who have email addresses. He
writes: "Briefly, instead of giving the school a clock
or something, we contributed approximately
$650,000 to fund three
initiatives: 1) to provide
scholarship support for
students coming in at the
secondary level primarily
from community colleges,
2) to award a faculty member who demonstrated
innovative teaching methods, and 3) to award
entrepreneurial activities. Over the years our class
has been featured at the Celebration of Support
where the Class of 1951 Scholarship is awarded,
the Faculty Recognition Dinner where the Class
of 1951 Teacher Award is presented, and at the