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'59 Celebrates 50
Reunion Menu--a la carte

It might look as if the Alumni Weekend Committee of the Tufts University Alumni Association and your Reunion Committee have scheduled an event every minute, and we tried to do just that. But, remember, this is an a la carte menu and you may choose what you wish to attend. We've tried to give you many options. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

10:30 AM - 1:30 PM Campus walking tours

1:00 PM Registration: Mayer Campus Center

*4:00 PM Bus from hotel to Pops

*5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Pre-Pops Reunion Kick-Off

8:00 PM Tufts Night @ Pops

*10:30 PM Post Pops Party at Hotel
Friday, May 15, 2009

9:30 AM - 4:30 PM Super Seminar Series - TBA

9:30 AM - 2:45 PM Campus Walking Tours

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Registration: Mayer Campus Center

*Noon - 3:00 PM '59 Jumbo Lunch - laughs & good times for all

6:30 PM Cirque d'Elephant -- great food, killer desserts, music, games, suprises

Saturday, May 16, 2009

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Registration: Mayer Campus Center

9:30 AM - 4:30 PM Super Seminars - TBA

*9:30 AM 1959 Class Meeting

*11:30 AM 1959 Class Photo

11:45 AM Alumni Day Cavalcade of Classes-- all reunion classes parade to lunch under the Big Top

12:00 Noon Alumni Day Family Picnic honoring "the fabulous" Class of 1959

1:30 PM ROTC Commissioning Ceremonies

*2:00 PM Conversations & Coffee- -back by popular demand, a chance to sit and chat

3:00 PM Tufts Baccalaureate Service

*7:00 PM The Main Event- -'59 celebrates 50!

11:45 PM Top Of The Hill Illumination Ceremony to welcome the Class of 2009 as Alumni

Sunday, May 17, 2009

*8:00 AM Bus from hotel to campus

*8:30 AM Pre-Commencement Coffee at Goddard Chapel

9:15 AM 153rd Tufts Commencement with 1959 leading the procession

*11:00 AM Farewell Brunch at hotel

Click to print the Reunion Schedule

Here, There & Everywhere

Class Notes

Bob McLaughlin (Liberal Arts)--For my 70'th birthday, my children and 11 grandchildren gave me a scuba dive in the Great Tank at the New England Aquarium in Boston. I think because of my profession (trial lawyer), the sharks gave me a professional courtesy and I survived. Great fun and a memorable experience. (See photos in Photo Gallery)

Dick Levine (Engineering)--Kevin Heanue and I were room mates at Tufts in 1958 & 59. This past summer, 49 years later, we were room mates again as we shared a suite at an inn in Cape May, NJ for a long weekend accompanied of course by our lovely wives. We all had a wonderful time and are looking forward to our fiftieth reunion with great anticipation. P.S. I think the website is a great idea.

Elsa Dorfman (Jackson)--I loved seeing old friends at our 45th reunion. But the incessant pitch for $$$$ really got on my nerves. We all know that Tufts WANTS my money and I know that Tufts believes it NEEDS my money. But I hope the pitch is less blatant at our 50th reunion. Lets hope we all arrive on the Hill healthy and sound. Please check out my web site: www.elsadorfman.com. Send comments to elsad@comcast.net.

Ginny Berwick (Bouve Boston School - Physical Therapy)--I look forward to reading the new 1959 web page news. I hope other Bouve classmates will send in their email address & news. I can be reached at vaberwick@msn.co

Hank Brandli -- A Profile In Courage

Pictured at the Ton Son Nhut Air Force Base in Vietnam, circa 1967, is Bill Balestra, Hank Brandli and Walt Ebo. Brandli, a longtime Bulletin columnist and well-known Bostonian, passed away last month. A memorial service is planned for Nov. 5 at St. Joseph?s Church in Needham, starting at 11:30 a.m.


Richard A. Carey
Special to the Bulletin

(The following was submitted to honor the memory of longtime Bulletin columnist Hank Brandli).

Hank Brandli died last month, on Sept. 26, at 5:04 p.m. at Wuestoff Hospital in Melbourne, FL, after having battled Multiple Sclerosis for more than half his life. He would have been 70 on Nov. 5. His obituary described the retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel as a satellite meteorologist, who received a Bachelor's degree cum laude in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and two Master's degrees from MIT in Meteorology and Aeronautics/Astronautics - but he was so much more than that. Hank Brandli was the bravest and most remarkable man I ever met.

My first look at Hank and his best buddy, Chuck Dixon, was from the other side of the line of scrimmage on a YMCA football field in Dorchester in the early 1950s. In those days the Y's Youth Centers, and Boy's Clubs of Boston used to compete against each other in tag football, basketball, softball and swimming. Hank excelled in all of these sports but, most of all, in a sport few kids played in those days -- golf.

Both Hank and Chuck, who grew up in Roslindale, played for the West Roxbury YMCA. A few years later, we all played together on the same high school basketball team at Boston Latin School. We did not have a great team in 1953-54, but I remember we were good enough to beat Boston College High School twice.

In 1954-55, however, the Purple and White, captained by Hank Brandli (who had enough talent to draw the attention of Providence College coaches), won the city championship. Then, in the opening round of the prestigious Tech Tournament, they faced a formidable Durfee High School team from Fall River. The perennial powerhouse was led by legendary Coach Luke Urbin. It was anybody's game until Hank suffered a severe ankle sprain late in the first half. Lacking Hank's strong rebounding and scoring in the second half, Latin lagged and fell to the favored Fall River five, who, if memory serves correctly, went on to win, not only the Tech Tourney but the state and New England titles as well.

The last look I had of Hank Brandli was on a basketball court. For 50 years, I heard very little about him. Then, two years ago, Connie Holland (BLS-'57), a Rossie native, gave me a copy of an article Hank, who was living in Melbourne, FL, wrote for the Boston Bulletin. It was entitled, "What Are the Odds?" It described how Hank and two of this three Tufts orientation-week roommates, years later, were struck with Multiple Sclerosis. What were the odds? About a billion to one.

After reading Hank's article, I wrote a similar one about him in the Needham Times. Hank's mother, Helen (Shea) Brandli, and sister, Donna Vigliano (grandmother and mother, respectively, of Peter, an outstanding Rocket running back in the mid-1980s), read the column and brought it to Hank's attention-all of which prompted a telephone call from Hank. It was the first time I had spoken with him in half a century. Hank asked about former teammates and boyhood buddies-in particular, Bobby "Auto" (for automatic two) Thompson, who used to live on the same street as I did in Dorchester. Through Hank's gentle and persistent persuasion over the next few weeks, I traced down Bobby and another old Fuller Street neighbor, Jimmy McDermott, both of whom I had not seen in 50 years. As a result, because of Hank Brandli, last October we had a great reunion that included Chuck Dixon and other friends of our youth. Hank, of course, was unable to attend; but I thanked him for having made it possible. For it would have not happened except for him. Getting me to track down a missing high school teammate was a piece of cake for Hank, a guy who had the guts and persuasive power to get the Navy brass to change reentry pick-up plans for our men returning from the moon in 1969.

Hank suffered from MS for 44 years, 20 of which he was cared for by his wife Ellie, a living saint. While his paralyzed body would not work for him, Hank's marvelous mind worked wonderfully well. He remained active as a renowned and much respected meteorologist, which he had become in the Air Force. In fact, Hank, as reported by Noel A. McCormack (of the Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance) in his piece on the Rescue of Apollo 11, was the man most responsible for bringing the astronauts safely home.

McCormack wrote that in the summer of 1969, Captain Hank Brandli had classified information indicating danger to the Apollo 11 crew (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins) returning to Earth from their historic mission for a July 24 splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. However, from his highly classified weather forecasting work, Captain Brandli realized the heroes could face a watery grave.

For, with just 72 hours to go, Hank had classified photos of a deadly "Screaming Eagle" thunderstorm forming over exactly where he knew the Apollo 11 astronauts were going to come down. The storm would have ripped their parachutes to shreds. Without parachutes, they would have crashed into the ocean with a force that would have killed them instantly. Hank was the only person who knew this; and, because the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and its technology were strictly classified, he couldn't warn NASA.

Capt. Brandli moved quickly to bring his secret knowledge to the attention of the right people, putting into motion risky actions to try to save the astronauts' lives. Despite running into road blocks, Hank continued his climb up the chain of command until he convinced and persuaded the "powers that be" to change the landing site.

With some difficulty, NASA and the U.S. Navy made legitimate changes to Apollo 11's re-entry and splashdown profile. Thus, the astronauts and their mission were saved - all because a kid from Rossie, who learned early in life on the links, courts, and fields of Boston never to give up, never did give up.

A few days after Hank died, I was privileged to join with some of Hank's boyhood friends at their old stomping grounds, the still-popular Pleasant Cafe on Washington Street in Roslindale, just a nine-iron shot from where Hank and the others lived as kids. The "Irish wake" was held to celebrate "The Life and Times of Hank Brandli". That might make a good title for a book and/or movie on Hank. (In fact, that is similar to the title of a great movie on another Hank - "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg). But a better title would be "Hank Brandli - A Profile of Courage".

For three hours we told stories of Hank and "the good old days". Boyhood buddy Larry Harding was there; and he recalled how and when he made his Boston Park League pitching debut as a teenager in the mid-1950s. With Hank and Chuck cheering him on from the Fallon Field right field tunnel, Larry came into the game for the Roslindale Royals with the bases loaded and nobody out. The hard-throwing right-hander promptly proceeded to strike out the side - and he still looks as though he could do it today.

Don Hoffer (BLS-'55), who was privileged to have had Hank as best man at his wedding, concluded his BLS 50th Reunion autobiography a couple of years ago with this on-the-money observation, "If there is a hero in our class, Hank Brandli is that man." Jane Parks and Elaine Dixon marveled at how Hank never lost his zest for living despite his difficulties, which he did not dwell on. Rather, he was grateful to God for what he did have - his memories and his magnificent mind. He was an inspiration to all who knew him.

Needham's Bill Parks (BLS-'55) told of how the U.S. government would pay millions for its weather equipment, while Hank built his own satellite air weather station for $6,000. With it, Hank, who would give seminars from his wheelchair, contacted the Chinese government. In addition, he was a technical consultant to the Swedish Air Force, and he wrote more than 400 technical and scientific papers, not to mention untold numbers of other articles, many of them nostalgic pieces for the Parkway newspapers in Roslindale and West Roxbury.

This latter kind of writing, I could relate to, for recreational writing we had in common. We shared this avocation, the seeds of which were sown in the classrooms of Latin School. We exchanged some of our articles over the last year or so; and I always appreciated his cogent comments, especially those that came over the telephone. Just to hear the enthusiasm in his voice was inspirational, as it was to many, many more. There was no way you could complain about your own problems after listening to Hank talk and after reading his writings, in which he never focused on himself but on others.

Bill also noted that, in the tribute paid Hank after his death, his fellow meteorologists said, "We lost the best man we ever had. He knew weather the best, and he could report it with humor." But simply to call Hank Brandli a weatherman would be like calling Babe Ruth a baseball player. Hank was "The Weatherman." He was the man. When anyone, even Hawaiian surfers, for example, wanted to know anything about the weather, they would "Ask Hank" for the answer. As Chuck Dixon said the other night: "Everyone loved Hank, because Hank loved everyone. He had 125 e-Mail correspondents."

Classmate and neighborhood pal Don Hoffer recalled that, in 1955, Latin won the annual schoolboy parade competition - a big deal in those days - and, at the head of the parade leading the Wolfpack was none other than Hank Brandli. In 1995, a scholarship in Hank's name was established at his alma mater. To learn more about it, you can contact Boston Latin School.

Hank Brandli looked a lot like Ted Williams, tall and handsome, but he could do something better than Ted - hit a ball, not a baseball but a golf ball. Hank was a great golfer, and in 1955, he won the Boston Globe Schoolboy Gold Tournament. Hank went home before the tourney ended and had to be called back to the George Wright Golf Course in Hyde Park to receive his trophy. Poignant footnote: Hank played his last game of golf at 27 years of age.

Even today, Hank's best buddy Chuck, who used to talk with him on the phone every week, uses two balls when he plays a round of golf by himself - one for Hank and one for himself. Hank's ball always wins. Appropriately Chuck closed our celebration of Hank's life by reading the following Celtic Folklore meditation:

He does not leave, his is not gone; he looks upon us still.
He walks among the valleys now; he strides upon the hill.
His smile is in the summer sky; his grace is in the breeze.
His memories whisper in the grass; his calm is in the trees.
His light is in the winter snow; his tears are in the rain.
His merriment runs in the brook; his laughter is in the lane.
His gentleness is in the flowers; he sighs in autumn leaves.
He does not leave; he is not gone; 'tis only we that grieve.

If Heaven is, indeed, the satisfaction of all our desires, then I have no doubt that Hank is now either hustling up and down a basketball court showing the Heavenly Hoopsters how to run a fast break; or he is walking confidently on God's gorgeous 18th green, needing only a six-inch birdie putt to break the course record.

Hank Branli was a true profile in courage, and this piece does not do him justice. It only scratches the surface of his life. For there are mounds of miscellaneous material that could be used to make an inspirational movie about an extraordinary life of faith, love, and courage. I hope, someday, that movie will be made. Meanwhile, I shall continue to pray often for Hank - but, more often, I shall be praying to him, as I picture him standing straight and tall now in his new Heavenly Home. Requiescat in pace!

(A memorial service for Hank Brandli was held at St. Joseph's Church in Needham on Nov. 5).


Please check out your Class of 1959 "Photo Gallery" at: https://admin.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/TUF/photogallery/1959_Class_Photos/index.html

A few pictures from your 45th Reunion have been posted. More will be put up shortly. Please send photos--vintage and/or recent! Contact: margot.lenhart@tufts.edu

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