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1950s Class Notes


Thomas H. Beddall died at his home in Paris, Va., on September 3, at the age of 91. He served in the Army in the Philippines in World War II, and afterwards began his legal career with Sullivan and Cromwell in New York. In 1957 he was hired as assistant to philanthropist Paul Mellon, and in the following three decades became his chief in-house counsel, personal advisor, principal administrative assistant, and gatekeeper.

Beddall assisted Mellon with a number of major projects, including construction of the west wing of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, where Mellon collections are housed, acquisition of 1,864 acres of land in Fauquier County for Sky Meadows State Park, planning for Cape Cod National Seashore, and federal protection of Cumberland Island in Georgia. He was trustee and executive vice president of the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where Paul Mellon attended thoroughbred horse races. After retiring in 1989, Beddall continued occasional consulting work for the Mellon family for years.

Edgar Allan Jones Jr. passed away on May 10 in Santa Monica, Calif., at the age of 92. He taught torts, labor law, and labor arbitration at UCLA Law School from 1951 until his retirement in 1991. For several years in the 1950s and ’60s, while still teaching law full time, he was cast as the judge on three different courtroom TV shows: Traffic Court, Day in Court, and Accused. The cases in these shows were based on real cases. “Judge” Jones ad-libbed his lines for a feeling of authenticity.


Harry L. McNeal Jr. received the 2013 Distinguished Municipal Law Service Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association municipal law section and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute for high standards in his practice of municipal law. With PBA he has served as chair of the municipal law section and of a bar-related title insurance study committee, and with PBI (the continuing legal education arm of PBA), he has served as lecturer, moderator, and author of course materials. McNeal’s law practice, based in York, focuses on municipal law, wills, and estates.


By Ted Torrance, Corresponding Secretary
1955 Windward Way
Vero Beach, FL 32963

The usual preoccupations of summer and a dollop of inertia precluded me from making an all-court press on my classmates for news, but thanks to Fred Goldstein I did receive a detailed summary of our 55th reunion in May.

Fred reported the following as being in attendance: Jim Atkin, Art Berney, Bill Bunting, Terry Davis, Brent Higginbotham, Allan Johnson, Haven Knight, Doug Mackall, Ben Phipps, and Henry Williams, in some cases joined by wives or significant others. In addition, Sam Egglestonʼs widow, Marjorie, was welcomed by our class.

The reunion apparently went very well. Cocktails and dinner on Friday evening at Westover, a lovely estate in Ivy owned by the University, were enhanced by a visit from Dean Paul Mahoney. Dean Mahoney thanked the class for establishing the Dillard Scholarship Fund, to which Ben Phipps made a generous lead gift of $5,000. Fred arranged for a photographer to record the gathering, and you can see the fine results (and even identify some of your aforementioned classmates) at the Class of 1958 photoset on the site, FLICKR: Finally, Fred proposed a toast to “missing friends” and read our class necrology over the last five years. On Saturday morning most attended the Law Alumni Association meeting to hear something of the doings of the Association and to hear Dean Mahoney, before gathering for lunch at Caplin Pavilion. On Saturday night dinner was held at the Law School, after which some took the time to join the reunion of the Class of 1988 and visit with Dick Salladinʼs daughter, Anne, now a senior counsel at the Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Treasury. Fred wound up his visit to Charlottesville with a nostalgic drive around the area, looking at everything from Ivy to Vinegar Hill, noting that “Charlottesville is substantially changed, still quite handsome, still stately, but not the quiet, slow-moving place we knew when we arrived in the Fall of 1955.”

Alan Diamonstein has completed the maximum permitted eight years of service on the Universityʼs Board of Visitors and comments that he already misses his role on the Board.

A bit of sad news: Mike Gottscho, who for a time shared an apartment in Washington with Chuck Saunders, called to advise me of Chuckʼs death in August. I normally do not report on the passing of classmates in this column, but Chuck was by any standard a luminary of our class, and I think it appropriate to make an exception in Chuck’s case.

Henceforth you will no longer find Michael Kaplan at his palatial co-op in Ft. Lee, N.J., he and Harriet having sold it in favor of moving into a “somewhat smaller rental” on the upper east side of Manhattan.

Erratum Department: In the last issue I reported on reminding Don Devine that he was presumably still our class president. Since then I have talked with John Oram, who extremely gently and diplomatically pointed out that, when we left Charlottesville in 1958, he was the duly elected president, and absent an intervening election probably remains so. Clearly, your scribeʼs memory is failing, whereas his forgettery is running full tilt. My apologies to all for the oversight.

Gordon M. Hobbs retired after 40 years of service as attorney-advisor to the U.S. Army since the mid-1990s. He recently relocated from Virginia to Waxhaw, N.C., near Charlotte, to be close to his youngest daughter, Amy, her husband, a Marine (now inactive), and two granddaughters.

Peter Leisure died on September 17 at the age of 84. He worked in private practice and in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York until 1984, when President Ronald Reagan nominated him to the federal bench. He served on the bench for 26 years until retirement in 2010.

He presided over several high-profile cases in his career. In one, an antitrust case brought by the now defunct U.S. Football League against the NFL, the USFL persuaded the jury that the NFL was an illegal monopoly, but only $1 in damages was awarded. In 1993 he presided over a racketeering and drug trial that led to convictions of members of the Gambino family. In another more controversial decision, Judge Leisure ordered release of transcripts of Richard Nixon’s testimony to a grand jury during the 1949 espionage trial of Alger Hiss. He ruled in 1999 that the documents should be made public because of their “inherent and substantial historical importance.”

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