Who's Who News

In 1964 the Board of Education created the Mepham Who's Who Hall of Fame, and inducted eleven distinguished alumni. The Board of Education continued adding honorees until 1969, when the activity stopped. The Mepham H.S. Alumni Association, which was formed in 1979, reactivated the practice in 1987.

Whereas the biographies of those inducted after the start of the Alumni Association series are current to the date of induction (as reported in Scuttlebutt at that time), this section is intended to include information about the honorees lives after induction or be more in the way of recollections from their high school years. These comments are listed by graduation year.


Russell Smith


Time hasn't slowed down Russ Smith. In fact, Smith is trying to speed up his time in every race that he competes in. At 74 years-old, Smith competed in the NAtional STAndards Race (NASTAR) National Championship held April 3-5, 1998 in Snowmass, Colorado. In the 70-80 age category, Smith placed sixth in a field of 15.

The winner of the 70-80 age category is judged on the average time of three runs on the giant slalom. Smith's time of 35.43 seconds was only 4.52 seconds off the first place winner and 1.43 seconds from second place. "I may never beat Hovland (the 71 year-old first place winner)," states Smith. "But I can improve my time by 2 seconds and take second." In order to compete in the national competition, Smith competed in the New England Regionals in February, 1998.

The NASTAR program is offered at 180 ski areas in 30 states and is open to recreational ski racers of all ages and ability levels. About 190,000 racers participated last year. All are timed on a modified slalom course and receive a handicap that ranks them against a U.S. Ski Team member, according to a NASTAR press release. There were over 230 competitors participating in the recent national championships in Snowmass.

Smith is a retired Engineer living in North East, Pennsylvania. He hold a B.S.in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering which he received in 1945 and 1947 from Worcester Polytechnics Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has a Masters in Electrical Engineering which he received from Penn State in 1967. He worked for 37 years at General Electric until his retirement in 1985.

"When they offered me early retirement, I realized that I could ski every day if I wanted to," says Smith. "Since then I have skied at least 100 days each year." Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Smith started skiing at the age of 55. During the off-season he follows an exercise program that includes jogging, stretching and strength exercises. Smith tackles his avocation with enthusiasm and vigor. "I have found that an ounce of technique is worth a pound of wax. In other words, practice, practice, practice!"

What's next for this senior skier? The current ski season is over, but Smith is planning to compete next year. However, this summer will find Smith at Middlebury College in Vermont where he has been accepted for a seven week German Language Instruction Program. Smith is living proof that age is no reason for us to slow down. To list at top


Tom Kelly

From The Galley, the March 1998 newsletter of the Class of 1946

Tom Kelly was our first classmate to be accepted into "Who's Who" (1964), recognized for his achievement in Aeronautical Engineering. Remembering him from High School as the one who got 100s in Regents exams, it is not surprising that he made his mark in the world.

It was Tom who put the man on the moon. He was referred to as "Father of the LM". He was principal designer of the lunar module, the engineering project leader of Apollo and LM research, deputy director of Grumman's space shuttle program, overseeing technical aspects of all Grumman aerospace projects, in charge of 3,000 engineers, and working closely with NASA. Later he became a Grumman vice president for engineering.

Now retired and living on the east end of Long Island, Tom is married to Joan (Tantum '48); they have 6 children and 10 grandchildren. He is active with the NYS Science and Technology Foundation and the National Acadamy of Engineers.
Joan and Tom

The e-mail message from Tom:
Sun, 8 Mar 1998

Bill and Tom
Bill and Tom at reunion
At our 50th Mepham reunion, Bill Griffen and I were recalling some of our escapades in those happy bygone days, and he refreshed my memory on one that I'd almost forgotten, perhaps because I was one of the perpetrators.

Griffen and I were band members for our entire four high school years, as were many other members of the class of 1946. Our last class period every day was spent in the band room, diligently rehearsing under the benign but firm leadership of Mr. George L. Pritchard, an excellent musician who insisted on quality performance and diligent effort from his students. I played trumpet, initially under a dynamic section leader Robert "Sub" Marino '44. The trumpet section was large and competitive, but we had a good time, and were able to tackle some pretty demanding pieces, such as the "Carnival of Venice" and the "Entrance of the Gladiators".

I particularly liked playing in the Mepham dance band, the Jolly Rogers. Mr. Pritchard got us big band arrangements of the popular swing and jazz classics of the era, including most of the great Glenn Miller tunes. Some of the numbers showed off the trumpet section, such as "One O'Clock Jump", "In the Mood", and "Kansas City Blues". We played a Pop Concert each year in the Mepham auditorium, all dressed up in tuxedos and rehearsed to a peak of excellence. My first year as a freshman I fell hopelessly in love with the Jolly Roger's glamorous blonde songstress, Audrey Meyer '42. (She never knew it!) The Jolly Rogers played for evening dances in Mepham's gym -- one action picture from the Harvest Ball in 1945 survived and was displayed at our 50th reunion.

Bill Griffen played drums, initially under the talented drum section leader, George Hoffman '44. Hoffman and the drum section members had the chore of putting all the percussion instruments away after band period ended each afternoon. The bass drums, snare drums, bells, chimes, cymbals, etc. were stored in large built-in cabinets that lined the outer wall of the band room, and locked to prevent tampering, since the band room was open all day long.

One afternoon Hoffman and Griffen were finishing up storing the instruments. I was helping them since I was going to hang around with Griffen afterwards. Bill went deep into a cabinet to put away the last snare drum, and my eyes met Hoffman's with sudden mischievous intent. We smiled sardonically, and seizing the opportunity, closed and locked the cabinet doors with Bill Griffen inside.

Hastening from the band room, we turned off the lights as we left, leaving the ring of cabinet keys on their accustomed hook. We could hear Griffen's muffled cries of outrage as we left.

Out in the hall Hoffman and I had a good laugh over our prank, and assured each other that we could just go home, and someone would soon come along and release Bill. We were wrong about that -- when Griffen didn't return home on the late bus as usual, his worried mother called the school. A custodian went into the darkened band room to check, and heard a tired voice calling for help. Our prisoner wasn't released until after six o'clock.

When Hoffman and I heard the next day how much upset our prank had caused we were afraid to admit our involvement, and Griffen never "squealed" on us. Mr. Pritchard attempted to find the perpetrators, but gave up when the student "wall of silence" held firm. The incident was soon forgotten by all except Griffen, who 50 years later still recalled his apprehension and discomfort when confined in that dark, stuffy cabinet. To list at top


Bob Carn

From The Galley, the March 1998 newsletter of the Class of 1946

Bob Carn is our second classmate to be elected into "Who's Who (1965). His field is mathematics and operations research. He was a scientist at the US Army's Ballistic Research Laboratories and Systems Analysis Agency at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD ... (Whew! That's a mouthful!) Bob was responsible for conducting effectiveness evaluation studies of all proposed, developmental, and fielded small arms weapon systems, land and aerial-delivered mine systems and countermine systems. The basic purpose of these studies was to provide a quantitative cost-effectiveness basis for determining which weapon systems should be developed, fielded, and retained by our combat forces.

Bob also participated in the national and international arenas as a (1) US representative to various NATO Technical Panels, (2) US leader for The Technical Cooperation Program between the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and (3) member of the Tri-Service (Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force) Joint Technical Coordinating Group for mine and countermine systems.

One of the more notable assignments Bob received was when the Warren Commission requested that he assist in the investigation of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Bob designed and conducted experiments and analyses that determined that Lee Harvey Oswald could have fired the assassination rifle accurately within the given timeframe.... and thus Oswald could have acted alone.

Bob retired from the Federal service in 1985 and went to teach math and accounting at Harford Community College in Bel Air, MD. In July 1997 Bob and his wife, Irene, moved from Aberdeen, MD. to Issaquah, WA. (I wonder how that is pronounced?), which is near Seattle. They have two daughters, Linda and Janet, and one granddaughter, Kelly. They moved to Issaquah to be closer to their granddaughter, Kelly, and their daughter, Linda, and son-in-aw, Larry.
(left to right) Bob and Irene
Kelly, Linda, Larry, and Janet

Bob and Irene have what I consider to be a "not-your-everyday-usual" hobby. They are hikers and belong to the "High Pointers Club". This club is a national organization of people whose goal is to climb to the highest point in every state in the U.S. So far they have climbpd to the highest elevation point in 38 of the 48 contiguous states. During the summer of 1998 they are planning to get to the summit of Mt. Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii.

Bob and Irene like adventure-type vacations. In June 1990 they flew in a ski plane to Kahiltna Glacier, which is the base camp for summit climbers, on the West Buttress of Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska. In the summer of 1996 they explored the tundra region operating out of a tundra camp near Kantishna, Alaska. More recently in February of 1998 Bob and Irene went to Yellowstone National Park to shoot wildlife (with a camera). They traveled to all areas of the park on snowshoes and snowmobiles to view bison, elk, coyote, river otters, bald eagles, Trumpeter swans, porcupines, and a variety of other birds.
Carn with snowmobile

Some Memorable Mepham Moments: Two things I remember from my JV football experiences are: (1) Coach Sabetto saying, "When you throw a body block I want to hear the leather crack." and (2) Being "creamed" by Clarence Rydberg (class of 1944) when scrimmaging with the varsity football team. Another unforgettable moment was during the operetta "Lelawala". The script called for Chief Wokomis (me) to strike Shungela, the warrior [Reuben (Bud) Coleman], in the face. We decided that in the opening night performance I would strike Bud really hard to get maximum realism. The audience's "gasp" of shock and surprise when I struck Bud so hard that everyone in the audience heard a loud noise was a truly memorable moment. P.S. Bud and I are still friends.


Albert C. Neimeth

From The Galley, the February 1999 newsletter of the Class of 1946

Al Neimeth was elected into Who's Who in 1966 for Law. He sent information in third person:

Al and Doris have three children: Christine of Portland, Oregon who is getting married this August; Susan Fulshaw, mother of two girls, of Concord, Massachusetts; and Steven, single, living and working in Manhattan. They currently spend their summers at their Breezy point, LI beach house. They've sold their Ithaca house and now have a home at the Indian River Colony Club, where they plan to spend the 7 colder months of the year. Betty Savona and Gene and Elaine Gazzaniga Prime also live in the Melbourne (FL) area. Al hopes to continue renewing old friendships at future Mepham get-togethers and encourages his classmates to join him.

Al has fond and happy memories of Mepham and his classmates. Having grown up in the Merrick Gables, a good number of his classmates also attended the Merrick Avenue Grammar School. Al believes that he and Tom Kelly were the first Mepham Graduates to matriculate to Cornell University. Jane Muhlbauer, then a Cortland State Sophmore and Al's Fraternity houseparty date, was chosen Junior Weekend Queen at Cornell's major winter social event. Two years later, Barbara Goldstein, who was later married to Al's undergraduate and law school friend Stuart Paltrow, began her graduate studies at the Cornell Law School. The Mepham class of 1946 was well-represented at Cornell. Thanks to the excellent education received at Mepham, its caring faculty and its outstanding facilities, any initial concern that Al might have had about being able to compete academically or athletically at Cornell was soon found to be unfounded.

His extracurricular loves were and continue to be sports. Many high school memories are of classmates who played baseball and football for the Pirates. A former pitcher, he fondly recalls his catchers, and also football players: Bob Phelps, Barry Waters, and Carl Paladino (the shortstop who occasionally caught). His classmates made high school a pleasure, and he enjoys meeting them at class reunions. As an aside he recalls being quite bashful when it came to girls, as were a number of his buddies. He regretfully missed a lot by not attending school dances or coed affairs, but remembers looking fondly at a number of girls and not knowing how to proceed further. At Cornell his social skills were brought into the 20th century!

At Cornell Al was quite active: varsity baseball, student government, USAF ROTC. While attending Law School he pitched summers in the Brooklyn Dodger farm system. Upon graduation in 1952 he was called to active duty, serving during the Korean War. After discharge in '54 he served in the active reserve for 25 years, retiring with rank of Colonel. Perhaps Sanford Calhoun, Fred Stunt, Herman Tennant, Sprig Gardner, Gus Versocki, Nick Sabetto, Winston Tuttle, Bill Perrine, etc. provided the discipline useful in the military.

Unfortunately an unsuccessful elbow operation ended Al's professional baseball aspirations, so he began his law career (11 years) until 1965 when he returned to Cornell Law School as Assistant Dean. Twenty nine years later he retired as Associate Dean Emeritus (1994).

Al & daughter, Christine, at Cornell '87

Al's extensive background includes: Pres., Nat'l Assoc. for Law Placement; Pres., Federation of Bar Assoc. of the Sixth Judicial District; Pres., Tompkins County Bar Assoc. and activities with Lutheral Assoc. of Ithaca; Ch., Republican Party, Ithaca; Ithaca Rotary Club; Tompkins County Cancer Crusade; Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce; Ithacare, Inc.; Coaching and Managing boys and girls youth sports; various Cornell alumni clubs and associations.


Pascal J. Perri

From The Galley, the February 1999 newsletter of the Class of 1946

Pascal Perri was elected into Who's Who in 1966 for Business. He sent information in first person:

After graduation from Syracuse U. in 1950, I was out looking for a job. With a little luck, I had the good fortune to get a position in the publishing industry with Simon & Schuster as their salesman on Long Island at the grand salary of $45.00 per week. With all that money coming in, I could afford to marry my college sweetheart, Florence Meyer. After two years selling on LI, I was promoted to Asst. Sales Manager, and thus started my daily trips to and from the Big Apple. Promotions came quickly during the next few years until I reached the position as the youngest VP in the firm. I enjoyed many opportunities to develop properties, formulate programs, and plan marketing campaigns that were very successful.

After 16 years with Simon & Schuster I left the firm to organize a new publishing company with two associates. At Harver Educational Services we developed several interesting products including a full color dictionary with a U.K. publisher and a color illustrated encyclopedia with a Dutch company. In 1989 I became a partner in another publishing company, Natalis Press. We developed a highly successful series of birthday books which involved 365 books - one for everyday of the year. I finally retired from business in 1996.

During these many years I continued to stay deeply involved in amateur wrestling. It gave me an opportunity to maintain a relationship with so many of my high school and college friends. A highlight of my officiating career was the most famous wrestling bout in college history, when Larry Owings (Washington) handed Dan Gable (Iowa S.) the only defeat of Dan's illustrious career.

Florence and I have two children, Kathleen, a riding instructor, horse trainer and show judge; and Michael, an architect (RPI) who lives in Saratoga Springs and at 47 still plays competitive hockey.

The entire family are history buffs and enjoy travel, particularly to the U.K., where we have loads of relatives from my mother's side. We have gone to Europe at least once a year for the past 30 years.

We have many hobbies. I am a pretty fair woodcarver. I am also an untrained, limited talented oil painter. I love gardening, an activity I share with my daughter. I ski, but my real passion (Florence's too) is golf. Florence and I have many husband/wife championships. Over the years she has won 6 individual club championships. I have won 4. But most important we have fun playing together.

We now live in Fort Salonga (Northport) in a house designed by our son and built by the family (brothers Mike and Vito) and myself. We love LI and dread the day that we may have to move south. We look forward to life in the 70's (Flo is 70; I'm 71) with eager anticipation. There are still lots more things to see, do and enjoy.

I am often asked how I got started in wrestling. The truth is, I played basketball (a game I always loved) when I was a freshman at Mepham. But at the end of the winter season all the boys who took gym were expected to participate in the intramural wrestling tournament. I wound up in the finals against Clary ("Stump") Rydberg '44, who was as tough as nails and a much better wrestler than I. We put on one of those action-packed bouts that you rarely ever see. The score was 19-21 when "Stump" slipped and fell on his back and I fell on top of him to win the match. I was immediately told "Forget basketball, kid; you're now a wrestler!" (much to the basketball coach's relief). And so ended a potentially brilliant basketball career. I've been involved in wrestling ever since.
Ken Hunte, Joe Settanni, Pascal Perri,
Lou Tschirhart, and Hal Cook
on the Syracuse University wrestling team

Pascal's wrestling honors include: Captain, Syracuse Univ.; Eastern Collegiate Champion; Senior Metropolitan Champion; Junior Metropolitan Champion; LI Champion (2 yrs); South Shore Athletic League Champion (2 yrs). To list at top