Yale '62 - Obituaries - Basil E. Kaiser

Basil E. Kaiser

Born: December 7, 1939
Died: December 15, 2002

Basil E. Kaiser was the son of Sylvia K. Keiser of Wilton, Connecticut and the late David M. Keiser. He was a graduate of St. Paul's School where he played football, hockey and baseball.

Basil attended Yale with our class for about two years. He played varsity hockey and was a member of Fence Club. Subsequently, he received his B. A. in English from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He later earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts summa cum laude from the University of Bridgeport.

During the mid to late 1960's Basil served as assistant to the president and held a corporate directorship at North American Sugar Industries, Inc.

Basil pursued a variety of activities he loved. As a devotee of classical and flamenco guitar, he traveled to Spain to study with the legendary flamenco puro guitarist Diego de El Gastor. He continued his classical studies in New York City and was well known in Fairfield County, Connecticut where he performed at numerous public and private gatherings. Classmate Fred Appell reports that on his visit to Basil's home during his final illness, he kept his favorite guitar on a stand near his bed to look at and enjoy.

He was also a life-long hockey enthusiast. He first learned to play while skating on the Wilton pond of future Yale classmate Rob Symonds. After his stint with the Yale varsity, he played competitively with amateur and senior teams and in recent years completed a series of Old Timers Games in Europe. He also was an assistant coach in a Stamford youth hockey program for many years.

An avid artist, Basil is remembered by his friends and family for the deft touch and depth of feeling that characterized his watercolors. His home was filled with art including many of his Lake Champlain watercolors. He also was an ardent beekeeper and his apiary produced superb honey of which he was quite proud.

Basil was an active and committed environmentalist and loved and fiercely protected his hometown of Redding and its rural New England heritage. He was a member of several conservation organizations and had deeded portions of his own land to the Nature Conservancy to preserve it for the future. He was also a long time champion of the movement for a pollution free Norwalk River.

Classmate Michael DeHavenon, with whom Basil roomed both at St. Paul's and at Yale, delivered the eulogy at the Memorial Service:

"Basil was one of my oldest and closest friends. ... He was not the most organized person and timeliness was not one of his virtues. Perhaps we understood each other so well because I shared these qualities. There was a certain sweetness about Basil and he never took himself or life too seriously. At the end he told me in a bemused tone how he had confounded his doctors who, more than a year earlier, had given him only two months to live. He never asked for pity and fought tenaciously to live on, but when he knew that his life was about to end, he accepted the fact graciously."

Basil died at his home in Redding, Connecticut of complications from leukemia. He was survived by his mother; his daughter, Frances Julian Kaiser of Brooklyn; his granddaughter, Nadia; his sister, Florence Romanov of Wilton; two brothers, David S. and Peter C. of Wilton; his son-in-law, Malik Camara; and his longtime partner and special friend Marianne Treantafilos of Redding.

In addition to Michael DeHavenon and Fred Appell, who supplied information for this obituary, a number of his '62 classmates from Yale and St. Paul's, attended the Memorial Service for Basil including Pat Rulon-Miller, John Schley, and Lee Patterson.