Memorials for deceased members of our Class of 1969 can be found by clicking on the main In Memory: box, but on this page are tributes we've received for other people we knew at Oberlin. :Contact Us: if you'd like to add more.
Class of 1968
Gideon Schein of the Class of 1968 passed away in Los Angeles on December 14, 2020.
Our long time and frequent (!) Class President and Lead Class Agent ran out of Miracle Recoveries on Monday afternoon. The ups and downs of his recent determined battle to live have been posted on the Class of 1968 Home Page over the past two months. It's been my honor to have known him for so many years, and, for the last seven years, to be his friend. There will be a small funeral and graveside ceremony at a family plot in New Jersey this weekend. Paul Safyan ‘68
I join our many classmates who have expressed their appreciation for our classmate Gideon. I think I first ran into him as a WOBC radio colleague, when he ran the popular Sunday morning program "Broadway Music Hall."
With some help from the alumni office, I want to pay tribute to Gideon's extraordinary record of service to the college. The digital alumni records apparently don't go back before the 1980s, so we're probably missing something but for many years Gideon was our lead class fund raiser. I had been class president, and back in 1998, Gideon and I essentially changed positions: He was elected president and I switched to fund raising. Many of you may not be aware of the many hours of behind-the-scenes work involved in planning reunions and conducting fund raising. Gideon did it all. He served at times as an alumni admissions rep and a career counselor, was on the alumni association executive committee, the communications committee and former President Krislov's advisory council. He won an alumni association distinguished service award in 2006, funded his own winter term fund and a scholarship.
Before our 50th reunion, Gideon had been hospitalized for cancer and wasn't able to take part in many meetings. He generously offered his NYC apartment to host a long planning meeting involving Susan Gardner, myself, and a college staff member.
We've all had triumphs and setbacks in our lives. Here's a minor example of the latter. For an earlier reunion we set up a brunch meeting involving Gideon, me, and then-class officer Bridgie Barry on the morning after an Oberlin Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall. Bridgie and I arrived on time but no Gideon. He then called to say that he had lost his wallet at Carnegie Hall and was frantically trying to find it. He eventually made brunch, and later recovered his wallet, but we joked that he had gone to great lengths to avoid paying for brunch.
This was just a tiny fraction of Gideon's illustrious career. I hope some of you can join in his on-line memorial service this Wednesday, February 3, 2021. [Over 160 of his friends did so.] Ted Gest ‘68
I appreciate Joan's inclusion of the lines from Ulysses (recalling how Robert Kennedy quoted some of those same lines back when we were at Oberlin) – especially:
“We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find – and not to yield.”
Gideon certainly was of “heroic heart” in living those last two lines through his long health struggles. He fought the good fight –for life. Ted Morgan ‘68
I have a vivid memory of talking to Gideon in the lounge at Pyle one night. He had undergone heart surgery during the summer to correct a congenital defect. He had been told that without surgery he wouldn't survive past forty. Now the surgery was behind him, he was back at Oberlin, and his future was wide open. "Now I have time!" he kept saying, with such joy and astonishment. "I have time!" I'm sad to learn of his passing, but I'm glad he was granted those decades beyond age forty, the chance to live his life to the fullest and to contribute in so many ways. Deborah Kent Stein ’69
I was really saddened to learn of Gideon’s death in Pasadena on Dec.14. Lynn (Anthony, ’69) and I carry many fond memories of Gideon both from college days and after.
At Oberlin we got to know him through French House and anti-war activities and in addition became fans of his innumerable theatrical productions whether as actor or director. Many will recall his fondness for musical theatre (esp. Gilbert & Sullivan) and his own Waiting for Godot.
Beyond Oberlin, however, Lynn and I will never forget the wonderful performances he shared with us over the two years we overlapped in grad school in Minneapolis. He was just recovering from long-postponed surgery that repaired a congenital heart defect (who knew?) and, with this second chance at life, was launching enthusiastically into an MFA program that included interning at the renown Guthrie Repertory Theatre where we saw many extraordinary productions together. He often got us better seats than we could afford and once snuck us into an amazing cast party full of costumed celebrities. As part of his McKnight fellowship in directing, he produced two memorable plays at the University. Afterwards, we kept in touch as he ventured off to work at the Berlin State Opera and subsequently as Artistic-Director of a theater in Rochester (Geva, I believe).
He was very loyal and devoted to his beloved mother, one reason he could never wander for long away from NYC and similarly from brave mother Oberlin and especially our classmates, on whose behalf he performed many valuable services, including his very thoughtful handling of memorial services. We will surely miss seeing and catching up with him at reunions. We will always remember him as a dear friend. Hint: We would willingly contribute to a scholarship or prize in his name for French and/or the Performing Arts. Roland Higgins ‘68
Gideon was one of the most wonderful people in my experience at Oberlin. No one was more pro-Oberlin than he. He directed me in Guys and Dolls and Finian's Rainbow. He was so gentle, never critical and always made the actor feel she was doing the right thing. I was so happy to keep up our relationship over the years. As I have seen on the website, so many of us have. In recent years when two scandals developed on campus, the awful event at the apple cider and donut shop that we loved and at the firing of all the service workers in the dining rooms, Gideon stayed true to Oberlin, thinking about the long haul, that the college would overcome these unfortunate events. He must have been one of the most generous graduates the college has ever known. According to all the encomiums on the website, it is clear there are so many of us who will forever miss him. I too would like to participate in a scholarship in his memory. Love to Gideon, Wendy Simon Schwartz '69
I knew Gideon only slightly at Oberlin, once sharing a History of Judaism class with Nate Greenberg and once appearing together in Betty Lind's production of Blue Bird combining dance and drama. Gideon, as I remember, played a large floppy dog. I got to know him better at our intermittent five year reunion meetings over the past 25 years. We laughed together over his memory of watching a particular scene in Blue Bird in which I had to roll over my dance partner's bent back and invariably ended up on my rear end. I still chuckle over Gideon's revelation that he had a betting pool going with the other actors whether I would actually land on my feet. (I never did...) At reunions we talked of many things, particularly about growing older and his expertise in helping the elderly remain at home. We often ended up waiting for a plane at the airport and shared our impressions of the reunion. I will remember him with tears in my eyes and laughter. Eve Goldberg Tal '69
Gideon was the director of Finian's Rainbow during my sophomore year at Oberlin. I tried out for the chorus – no dice against the really good singers. Then I tried out for the dance troupe and made it! Wonderful Mary Lewis choreography! I was delighted when it was announced that the dancers could sing in the finale and we rehearsed. François Clemmons was my dance partner and I was pretty sure that any wrong notes I sang would be covered by his superb tenor voice. Imagine my disappointment when Gideon yelled "Cut, cut cut! Dancers just mouth the words!" My husband quotes Gideon if I'm singing in the shower. To this day, I'm sure François was unbalancing the chorus and THAT'S why Gideon told us dancers to just mouth the words. Gideon got us theater tickets to see a desired musical on Broadway some years ago and then came to visit us in Lexington, Va. I had great admiration for his enormous talents and will miss him. Biz Glenn Harralson '69
Gideon was so accomplished as a director, as a French speaker, as a person who lived life with such passion that people naturally clustered around him. All this left me in awe, so I was amazed I got to work with him, first when he directed Finian’s Rainbow, and I did the choreography. I remember a particular incident near opening night when we were rehearsing a jig number with lots of footwork, twelve dancers in unison. It looked pretty good, and I was going to be satisfied, unwilling to press these hard working dancers any more. But Gideon saw the potential and drilled them over and over. That’s exactly what they needed, and the dancers were as thrilled as I was, at how much better it got. What a lesson. After that I wasn’t afraid to insist on that extra push in any number of things I did, not just choreography. I got to know him better when he directed and I choreographed the summer G &S players on Cape Cod one summer, and once the two of us, not needing to be in a performance, took the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard to see Wendy Simon in a production of Pirates by Yale I think, a modern version in black leather jackets and motorcycles instead of Brits on the high seas. She was great! And so were the conversations we had about theater, the arts, whatever, he knew so much. He was always someone I hoped to see at reunions, if our clusters allowed. Once when I arrived for a class picture from a a tour around town on my roller skates, because I hadn’t planned enough time to change, he happened to be nearby and took a moment to roll his eyes and say something like, of course, it’s Lewis. Thanks for that, Gideon, and for all the other stuff too. Mary Lewis '69
Gideon was for me a commanding presence, in equal parts intimidating and inspiring. I spent time with him in French house where he showed an impressive command of the language. He was a driving force on the French House soccer team and offered explicit directions to those of us who knew little about the game. And I recall that he was always surrounded by women who seemed attracted to him because of his respect, kindness and sense of purpose. He lived life at 140%, and I marveled at where he got all his energies and his talent. William Harman ‘68
My hike in the hills today was my memorial path for my dearest friend, fellow actor, director, best man, college roomie, genius with chutzpah, Gideon Schein. We shared what were for me the most memorable moments from my stage life, our production of Waiting for Godot. His spirit is everywhere inside me and beyond. Barry Mallis ‘68
I remember that production of Waiting for Godot in the Arb – perfect setting for a perfect performance. I think of it whenever I hear someone use the phrase. Robert Goertz ’69
During our freshman year at Burton, I knew Gideon as a leader and take-charge person and as an excellent communicator, infused with positive energy. Although I didn’t follow his theatrical career, evidently these qualities propelled him to success and personal fulfillment. Years later, when he became involved with Oberlin alumni activities, I sat down with him for brunch on the upper West side of Manhattan. I was impressed by his understanding of Oberlin issues, his grasp of details, and his devotion to Oberlin. Truly this is a big loss in the Oberlin family. Jeffrey Liebman ‘68
I got to know Gideon on my trips back to Oberlin for the Heisman Club and the Alumni Council. We would meet and talk about Oberlin or current events. One evening he joined me for a Heisman Club reception. As a former varsity athlete, ice hockey, he was a member of the Heisman Club. He told me his biggest thrill of his Oberlin career was sitting in the Notre Dame locker room after defeating them on their home ice. I am saddened and will truly miss him. David Eisner ’69
Gideon and I knew each other on the peripheries while at Oberlin. Was at a handful of reunions that we got better acquainted, especially over discussing art, theater, technologies, and bugaboos in a morphed culture. One thing always echoed about Gideon, regardless whether we agreed or not...he was never just a malleable script for sale but a statement of the heart, worthy of his 'stubborn' insistences and worthy of respect. His was never just a temporary act on stage but a true Mensch within the many intersections of life itself. Thanks for the guidance and refinements, Gideon; and for hollering 'cut, cut, cut', when necessary. Michael Lubas '69
I got to know Gideon best in the years we shared as Alumni Executive Board members (2000-2003?). At a Maine summer meeting during a free afternoon, he gave me a few tips on rowing technique. Mostly we engaged in a lengthy philosophical conversation to the sound of waves gently lapping against the sides of the boat. Afterward we browsed through a gift shop and I desperately wanted to buy a blueberry print apron. I knew it would make a treasured memento of the Maine blueberry pie slices that were a ritual at every summer meeting I attended. I didn’t have enough cash with me, but Gideon opened his wallet to cover the gap. (I paid him back that night at dinner.) I still use that apron for spring/summer cooking, stained as it is. And I think of Gideon. At our campus Executive Board meetings, Gideon would passionately advocate for the continuation of printed alumni publications. In those years a lot of publications were going electronic and he used to say he spent enough time looking at a computer screen and wanted to hold what he was reading from Oberlin in his hand. I tended to agree with him. Last time I saw him I should have asked what he thought about that subject this far into the 21st century. Another Gideon memory I have is of walking across Tappan Square at a cluster reunion and spotting him on a bench facing College Street. I stopped to chat and he spoke enthusiastically of the dappled sun, the streetscape, and the reconnections a cluster reunion provides. For that moment, at least, he was savoring the moment. I had not always remembered him in that mode. I will miss him in all of his modes at our next cluster reunion. Jean Bailey Jerauld ’69
I knew Gideon since freshman year. My first impression of a brash New Yorker changed as I came to appreciate his humane sensibilities and his clear understanding on what was important in life, an appreciation that has grown over the years. We will miss him. John Henretta ‘68
I, too, as a Kentucky boy took note of this larger-than-life, multi-lingual New Yorker – Gideon Yahuda Schein, of all too-easy-to-stereotype names (I'm Jewish,too; I can say that). He dutifully called his Mom from the phone right outside my 3rd floor Barrows room weekly – not a habit I even considered living up to. All the theatre – Finian's Rainbow, Three Sisters – at Oberlin, plus G&S at Highfield. Then, how surprised Danica and I were when he was announced as new artistic director (ca. 1974) at Rochester's GeVa Theatre where Danica was already costuming. I last saw him in NYC just a few years ago. He would frequently guilt-trip me a bit – gently – for not being more involved with Oberlin. In his memory, guess I'll need to remedy that.
Three Sisters. Gideon as Tchebutykin is seated (audience) left, bearded, reading newspaper. Sue Gere in profile, Tiffany Brennan, Andy Meltzer, and other names it'll take me work to recover. Andrew Eskind ’68
If a person's obligation is to leave this world a better place for having lived in it, Gideon had a very successful life. Daniel Miller ‘68
Gideon was a dear friend and colleague from the first time I was in a show he was directing to many, many ACWs to my last conversations when he answered his phone in the hospital and then at home. He was still his wonderful irascible self and thanked me so much for calling and urged me to call again, which I was planning to do the day I heard he had died. May he rest in peace, though he'll probably resist doing so... Walt Galloway ‘69
Michael Craig Clement of Cleveland died at the age of 72 in October 2018.
Mike Clement and I were dear friends for 50 years. He was a retired psychologist. He was a wise and giving friend with a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh. He was kind, gracious and beloved by those of us whose lives he graced. He will be sorely missed. Sal Barbatano '69
I remember watching Mike play basketball. As a senior, he was the captain and the only senior on the team. There was one night at Jones Field House — December 2, 1967, the first game of the season — when he came off the floor just before halftime having made 11 of 17 field goal attempts, including two that would be 3-pointers today. He had scored 24 of Oberlin's 39 points! The crowd gave him a standing ovation. We led 39-33 at halftime. But, according to a letter I wrote the next day, the second half was a different story: it was our team that gave up 39 points, many on layups, and we lost 72-66. Mike led all Yeomen scorers with 36. Tom Thomas '69
Mike was a funny and tenderhearted man, and I vividly recall the way he suffered through crushes on several beautiful women. He'd moan and carry on and sing for us parts of various songs that contained their names or reminded him of their beauty. This was all in good humor and I admired his self-awareness and ability to distance himself from these ordinary pains of college life. I'm not surprised he worked as a psychologist, because he already had a keen understanding of life. We who were his friends were always glad to be in his company. Mary Pulliam '69
Class of 1970
Christopher Bullock of the Boston area died in October 2018, nine days after his 71st birthday.
Chris lived in Newton Highlands and is survived by his wife Carolyn Bernstein M.D. and three daughters: Jemma Benson M.D., Rosie Bullock, and Molly Bullock. He received his B.A. from Oberlin in 1970, majoring in English, and his M.D. from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1982, specializing in psychiatry. A lecture series on the intersection of psychoanalysis and literature is being established in his name.
Walker Cunningham of San Francisco died in May 2013. He held multiple degrees from Oberlin: a Bachelor of Music in organ performance from the Conservatory plus Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and German from the College. He went on to a distinguished career as an organist and harpsichordist.
Walker was a double degree student who graduated in 1970. However, he entered Oberlin with the class of 1969 and was well known and loved by members of that class. He was an outstanding musician and a good friend during our years at Oberlin. I spoke with him a few years before his death, and we filled each other in on the twists and turns our lives had taken. Although we did not stay in touch over the years, I felt a true sense of loss on learning of his death. He was an example of the best of Oberlin. Andrew Soll '69
Michael Seifert of the Philadelphia area died May 7, 2013, from complications of the rare spinal-cord disorder syringomyelia.
A member of the Class of 1969 for most of his years at Oberlin, he supported the civil rights and anti-war movements, studied philosophy, and “lived his life by reason.” For a time he was married to the late Lynne Ransom '69.
“Rational people are so hard to find,” wrote Mike's brother Hank in the guest book. “You were and are the most interesting and nicest person we knew.” Cindy Bertrand Holub added, “Joe and I were in awe of the grace with which you bore your burdens and the richness with which you lived your life in spite of all the obstacles you faced.” And Mary Beth Bowman wrote, “I loved our talks even when we disagreed about where you will be at this moment. I think that you are in a beautiful place with those that you have loved.”