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Yale 62

YAM Notes: November/December 2021

By Stephen W. Buck

Despite the continuing constraints of COVID and its variants, as of this writing, classmates are beginning to venture out of their immediate environs, but doing it as safely as possible.

From George Snider: “Wife Nora and I planned to spend the last week of August in South Lake Tahoe, celebrating her birthday and our wedding anniversary. Three days into that vacation, our plans came to an abrupt end as heavy smoke and approaching fire made us retreat to Reno and on to Cleveland.” The full details of George’s amazing account are available on our class website, at

From Roger Lauer: “Like others in our class, I joined the foreign service—but I waited until age 58. I closed my psychiatric practice in San Francisco and stopped my work at UCSF medical school; my wife Brenda retired from her job as a hospital administrator—and we moved to Tokyo for my assignment as a regional psychiatrist at the American embassy. From a Tokyo base, I traveled throughout northern Asia and the Pacific, taking care of Americans working at embassies and consulates, including assisting them during crises. Living in Tokyo, we sampled kabuki, noh, bunraku, sumo, and a host of other cultural delicacies.

“Next, I was posted to Bangkok, and covered southern Asia and the Pacific. Thailand was a stark contrast to the cleanliness, order, and precision of Japan, but had its own cultural and culinary delights. My work at regional posts included responding to the Bali bombing and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. After retirement from the foreign service and returning to San Francisco, we remodeled our home, and then I returned to work, this time at a community clinic, where I continue to work half time—now remotely because of COVID-19.”

Charles Merlis writes: “Since March 4, I have been mainly in L.A. (three short separate trips back east for my granddaughter’s second birthday, completing a brief for Connecticut Appeals Court in my foreclosure case, attending my second son’s wedding, and being with my sister, who is in an acute care facility in the final stages of pancreatic cancer). The good news is I now have another grandchild, named Max Wilder Merlis Matthews. The Wilder comes from Tappy Wilder’s family, because the father of the newborn loved Thornton Wilder’s writings.”

Lee Bakunin shared the following: “Born in 1940. Member of the Silent Generation. Army brat in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Avoided listening to the Metropolitan Saturday Afternoon Opera on radio at age eight by convincing my mom to send my brother and me to the movie theater matinee. Got to know the Lone Ranger, Superman, and Bugs Bunny instead of having to listen to the fat lady sing.

“First real job at age 12 cleaning the floors and clerking in my Uncle Joe’s hardware store at Christmas, and later worked as a busboy, waiter, and prep cook in restaurants and country clubs. Most important, taking orders and advice from bosses and managers prepared me for my life work in problem solving. Then on to Yale and eventually completed MA at Teachers College, Columbia, while working full-time in New York City in advertising, then on to law school at NYU. Fifty-year law career as attorney, mediator, and judge. Twice married, five children, 15 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren.

“Been a lot of places, counseled and problem-solved numerous matters for numerous people. Plus a lot of traditional and non-traditional experiences. Skeletons in my closet: worked with and counseled psychics, shamans, sangomas, mediums, astrologers, native healers, tarot card readers, and UFO-ologists; lived for a while in an Old Catholic monastery; studied alternative medicine and past-life regression; attended Hopi Kachina ceremonies. Still searching for what I want to do in life.”

Astonishing coincidence from Geoff Bogeaus: “My law firm, Buchalter, in Los Angeles, recently merged with a firm in Portland—whose principal turned out to be my roommate at Saybrook freshman year, Jonathan Ater. Small world!”

And last but definitely not least, Terry Croft is “proud to report that I have been named Atlanta Mediation Lawyer of the Year 2022 by Best Lawyers in America. This follows having been named Atlanta Arbitration Lawyer of the Year 2018 by the same group and having been named best (top 2) mediator/arbitrator by the Daily Report (Georgia legal newspaper), 2019.”

Sadly, we note the recent deaths of EdwardTed’ Hard, Jim Whipple, and Allen Overmyer, whose obituaries will be available at our class website in due course.

Correction: We reported the death of Henry Clay Childs in the September/October column, and omitted the ‘s’ from his surname. We sincerely regret the error.