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Yale 62

Einar J. Westerlund, Jr.

Einar J. Westerlund, Jr.Born: May 6, 1940
Died: March 2, 2019

Einar Westerlund was born in Warren, Ohio, son of Dorothy Hagey Westerlund and Einar John Westerlund, Sr. He prepared for Yale at Andover.

At Yale, he was in Saybrook and an English major; he was on Dean’s List. He was blessed with a beautiful baritone voice and began a career in radio and communications while an undergraduate. He was on the WYBC board for 3 years and was chief announcer his junior year. In our senior year he broadcast a nightly program – “The Yale Digest” – for New Haven area radio station WELI.

Classmate Rodger Gabrielson recalls that he and Einar served as interns with the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1961.

After graduation, Einar had a long and distinguished career in management and human resources consulting. He began his professional life in the world of broadcasting at commercial radio stations. After briefly working in the Nielsen Market Research organization, he decided to set up his own business, a management consulting firm that he opened with Alan Foster and Ted Emond. Ted would remain his partner for the majority of Einar’s professional career, until his “twilight years.” Of particular significance was Einar’s consulting work with airline plots and crew. It was during this training that he met the love of his life Maria Angeles Ugalde, his wife of 31 years.

A voracious student of literature, the Spanish language, and psychology, he never curtailed his interest in new things. Throughout his life he was always ready to explore new frontiers. He was a passionate collector of cars and music; a writer, a fitness enthusiast who exercised almost every day; an always-willing party-goer with a fine taste in food, drink, and conversation. However, his main focus was always the people around him – his colleagues, clients, friends and family.

His son “Niki” (Einar III), who delivered the eulogy at his father’s Memorial Service at the Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre in Toronto, graciously permitted your scribe to quote from his eulogy and share it with his classmates:

Whether you were his client, his friend, his sister, his granddaughter, his son, or his wife – we all know how special he was because he made us all feel special just to know him. Proud but not arrogant. Funny but not cynical. Free but never irresponsible. My father had a remarkable understanding of human nature. He had a remarkable gift. He always managed to show us his own warmth and intelligence, by making us feel even better about ourselves.

He could make every minute we were with him into a memorable event. Perhaps it’s all because of his beautiful voice. His velvet tones led him to the stage, into radio broadcasting, and eventually to open his own business conducting seminars to help people improve their performance and enjoy their lives.

His authoritative voice could shock you into paying attention.

Uncanny trivia, outside-the-box solutions to confounding problems – Einar was ever curious and loved sharing his discoveries with all of us. Incredible car designs, timeless melodies, stories of surviving against terrible odds were his rocket fuel and above all else, he wanted us to enjoy these wonders with him.

His love of training and discovery wasn’t just enjoyable – it may have even saved lives. He often said one of his most important professional achievements was his work training pilots to focus and compartmentalize their communications with each other in the cockpit. He had developed these communication strategies after listening to the black box recordings of distracted pilots moments before fatal plane crashes. Air travel is a bit safer today because of Einar’s work.

He considered himself blessed to have studied at Andover and Yale with renowned scholars like Dudley Fitts and Robert Penn Warren. But Einar showed equal awe and respect for his classmates. And not simply for their banner achievements. He proudly recounted how friends had pulled off epic pranks like re-building a Ford Thunderbird in the school library. Or how another friend managed to conceal an illegal radio inside a bureau in his dorm-room.

His love of mischief and pranks was infections and my brother and I would often recruit our father into breaking rules with us at camp or boarding school. Of course it’s okay for my father to drive us to a local amusement park when we were supposed to be on campus – we will get to spend quality time with him!!

Einar died on March 2, 2019, after a two year battle with cancer which he fought with dignity, grace, strength, and calm. In addition to his beloved wife Maria, he was survived by two children Eric and Einar III, two grandchildren, Lumi and Isabella, and his sister Julie and her family.

Einar and Maria resided in Toronto at the time of his death where his widow still resides. The family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

 

– Robert G. Oliver

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