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We welcome submissions for inclusion in Class Notes. Submit online, mail to UVA Lawyer, University of Virginia School of Law, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903; or fax to 434-296-4838. Please send your submissions by September 15 for inclusion in the next issue.


Kemper Goffigon III sends his greetings. He is now 95 years old. In between earning a B.A. from UVA in 1941 and returning for law school, he commanded three U.S. Navy ships during World War II. He was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his service. Goffigon retired in 1986 as owner and CEO of the Goffigon Equipment Company, a farm equipment dealership near Cape Charles, VA.

Bob Nusbaum wrote to let us know of his upcoming plans. Instead of attending his 70th reunion at Harvard, he’s headed to St. Barts. “Linda and I enjoy the French cuisine and the opportunity to refresh our conversational French language skills.”

Frank Warren Swacker’s e-book, Murder Trilogy: Three Two-Act Plays, recently became available online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The collection includes plays based on his courtroom dramas: “Boardroom Conspiracy,” “Who Murdered Mom,” and “Spreading Murder and Happiness.” (See In Print.)


James Cremins '49Former University of Virginia Board of Visitors member James S. Cremins died on March 10 at the age of 93. He retired in 1986 as assistant general counsel with CSX, a 38-year career that combined his love of trains and the law. He served on the board of the American Judicature Society, was a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and chaired committees of the Norfolk, Richmond, and American Bar Associations.

Cremins served as a communications officer in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He was active in the Richmond Council of the Navy League and was a judge advocate. A descendant of an officer in the Revolutionary War, he joined the Sons of the American Revolution and was president of the Richmond and Virginia chapters and a trustee of the National Society.
In 1985 he received the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities for decades of volunteer service. He was a trustee of Commonwealth Catholic Charities and was deeply involved in volunteer work within the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and the Knights of Columbus. He served on the boards of the Maymont Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America’s Heart of Virginia Council.

Of Irish ancestry, Cremins was a charter member and president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Major James Dooley Division and served on the Greater Richmond St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. He was the parade’s grand marshall in 2000.


Charles B. Reeves Jr. writes: “I continue to enjoy ‘riotous living,’ thanks to my ‘training’ at UVA Law School. And thanks always to God! Hoo-rah-ray! U-V-A!”


Edward Caton '56Edward T. Caton died on November 18 at 86 years old. As an undergraduate at the School of Commerce ’51, he lived on the Lawn and was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma. He enrolled in the Law School and joined the International Legal Honor Society, Phi Delta Phi. Following graduation, he set up his practice in Virginia Beach. He renovated a beach cottage on Pacific Avenue in which he practiced law for more than 50 years.

Caton served in the U.S. Coast Guard and was active in the reserve for many years. As a member of the local city council he was involved in the merger of the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County, which became the City of Virginia Beach as it is known today. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1966 to 1968, in the Virginia Senate from 1968 to 1972, and on the local school board until the early 1980s. He was also a commissioner in the chancery for the Virginia Beach court system.


John Corse and three friends are known as the “Fab Four” in the U.S. Masters swimming circuit. Last October they captured a lot of attention when they set world and USMS records in the 200-, 400-, and 800-meter freestyle relays and the 200-meter medley relay at the Annual Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic, in Orlando, Fla. Corse broke the U.S. Masters swimming record in his age group in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Corse and his friends, whose average age is over 90 years, meet three times a week to swim together. Their hard work, endurance, and good cheer earned them the Growing Bolder Inspiration Award at the Masters Classic. They were featured in an article in the January/February issue of Swimmer magazine entitled, “The Men Behind the Records.”


George M. “Ted” Rogers passed away on March 31, and is survived by his wife, Patricia. Rogers was a resident of Gulf Stream, Fla., at the time of his passing.

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

With presumably all of our surviving Class of 1958 members (currently totaling 70) now well into their ninth decades, your scribe asked them to share their thoughts on what has kept them ticking for such an impressively long time. No information as to professional honors or accomplishments was solicited, although the Class enjoys an abundance of both. What follows is a distillation of a wide variety of responses to my request.

A newsy, handwritten note from Barbara Coppeto, in Sarasota, Fla. (she still eschews a computer): extensive traveling in her earlier years, and researching and planning her trips, largely consumed her non-professional time, but that has now for the most part morphed into vicarious enjoyment of the New York Times travel section. But she continues to exercise her mind by doing pre-trial work on a weekly basis when she is in Connecticut over the summer months, having served for many years on the Connecticut Superior Court.

I caught up with George Harris in his car as he was driving through Arizona on the way to a meeting at Arizona State University. George is heavily involved with a foundation whose ambitious goal is to ensure the education, largely, as I understand it, by charter schools, of every Arizona Latino child from kindergarten through twelfth grade. That project, along with the obvious attraction of dividing his life between Palo Alto, Calif., and Wilson, Wyo. (near Jackson Hole), has kept his interests vitally alive over the years.

Jesse Vogtle writes from Mountain Brook, Ala., that it is his wife who keeps him “hopping” with daily walks, but he also mentions in passing having eight grandchildren, who undoubtedly have had a salutary effect on his longevity. Readers may recall that Jesse was, and indeed may still be, in the running for being named the youngest member of our class, so “longevity” is a relative term.

From Boston’s North Shore (Manchester-by-the-Sea) comes word from Fred Goldstein; a fair conclusion is that it is Fred’s perpetually busy schedule that has kept him thriving over the years. For instance, his February response recited a calendar of  “a few duty days in New Haven, two days in Charlottesville for the Tax Study Group, a few weeks in London, and a visit to New Orleans,” which he hoped would keep him out of trouble—and his mind functioning—for the next six months.

Bill Edwards’ e-mail to me from Corpus Christi, Texas, was straightforward: his secret to a long and happy life is, simply, continuing to work, and work hard, around 40 to 50 hours a week in his case, and to lecture occasionally. Much of his work centers on barratry and deceptive advertising, and even a cursory reading of his note demands the conclusion that his continuing professional activity works admirably for him.

At perhaps the other end of the occupational field is Bruce Williams, who reported on the extensive travels he has undertaken with his wife on his Grand Banks 36 (for landlubbers: a magnificent 36-foot recreational trawler), which he acquired in 1998. They have cruised from Maine to the Florida Keys, to the Bahamas and points in between, but Bruce says that from now on he expects to be cruising locally, on the Chesapeake Bay, “since I find it harder to climb in and out of the bilge.”

Also to the point was Michael Kaplan, in New York City: “I’ve done two things to keep me “young.” I decided years ago that exercise shortens your life, so I’ve basically done none.” But what he did do was marry Harriet, a prominent dental practitioner and administrator, who “puts on my flea collar and drags me all over the western world.”

A possible convert to Michael Kaplan’s approach to exercise is Hobart McWhorter, who wrote that at the end of December, while working out on a treadmill, he suffered a coronary arrest and woke up a week later in a strange hospital. He is currently going through cardiac rehabilitation, and, in light of his experience, he says he is not inclined to boast about longevity. To the contrary, he notes that, for him, “every day is a lagniappe,” and cautions that we should not make the mistake of postponing our fishing trips. Well said.

Bill Griesar writes from Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. that he has always been a bit of a hobbyist and do-it-yourselfer, with woodworking, woodcarving, and clay sculpting filling his non-legal time, along with horology and the collection and repair of old clocks. Add a Maine waterfront cottage and fishing and boating to the picture and you can understand he has not been idle these many years. But in Bill’s words: “Best of all, a wife and four children to keep track of” are critical to his enjoyment of life.

With a creaky back sidelining his beloved golf game, John Oram has been studying the masters of English literature, taking courses at the Savannah (Ga.) Senior Center and, over five summers, in England at Cambridge University. “To see if I have learned anything from all this, I am also trying my hand as a writer of short stories. The Pulitzer Prize Committee has so far ignored these efforts, but if nothing else, I now have an even greater appreciation for the genius, both ancient and modern, that can be found on our library shelves.”

From Louisville, Stuart “Blue” Jay writes that he takes a little different approach to dealing with longevity, “by playing bridge about daily,” wagering on horses, and attending all University of Louisville basketball games.

From the Far West, Bill O’Connor, now of Eugene, Ore., sent along a good and extensive summary of what keeps him alert and interested in the world: primarily a keen interest in work and study, for the pure enjoyment of both. Bill didn’t retire until 2011, when he converted four state bar memberships to inactive status, retaining, for nostalgic purposes, only his license in American Samoa, where he was chief justice in the late 1970’s. Since retiring he has finished writing a two-volume historical novel about the American Revolution, but from a British point of view. It is titled At War in America and is available on Kindle and the Web. Rounding out all this is his continuing study of world mythology and generally keeping abreast of current events.

I suggest that Bill is representative of many of us who have found that keeping life meaningful and enjoyable at our ages calls for a real effort to keep engaged with the world at large and to pursue vigorously whatever interests happen to turn us on.

By the way, if you should meet up with Bill while out walking some evening, I suggest you give him a wide berth: he is often accompanied by his 185-pound Rottweiler, Thunder.

I was delighted to hear from Murray Falk after all these years. Murray immediately attributed his longevity to “lots of luck,” including meeting and marrying “Margie, my wonderful wife of 35 years and still going, and finding and acquiring Frosty, our Bichon Frise joy of 13 years and still going.”

A verbatim reply from Henry Williams: “Some of my missing the reaper has been luck: a near miss in the Navy; another, 35 years ago on Main Street when a concrete cornice on a nearby building landed next to me; a close call with a bus; and the luck of having a very capable sailor with me in Newfoundland when I had a heart attack. He took the boat into an impossibly shallow fishing port. From there I was driven by truck to Gander and plane to St. John’s. Tennis since high school has helped. Skiing, hiking and exercise, too. Vitamins and supplements have been good.”

I need a little assistance with Bob Smith’s response. His “keep on ticking” hobbies include cosmology and astronomy, and he is working on a cosmic calendar to supplement our present Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian is, he notes, limited for recording and projecting past and future cosmic and evolutionary events and does not include spacetime, whereas Bob’s does. With a cosmic year equaling 250 million Earth years, we are now in Cosmic Year 56, dating from the Big Bang. “I am now about 10½ cosmic seconds old. I hope to reach 12½ cosmic seconds of age. I will let you know if I make it.” Help! I am out of my depths; even Hardy Dillard never prepared me for this.

Lastly, I know that Karl Velde is alive and well, for he recently took me on a tour of the lovely home he is refurbishing, not far from mine here in Vero Beach, Fla. And I have seen his name in the winners’ circle at our local golf club, so keeping athletic and domestic must be in large part his key to extending his later years.

What is a fair conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing? I submit that it demonstrates that it is not the particularity of the varying interests captivating us that is critical in extending our enjoyable years, but rather the intensity and enthusiasm with which we pursue them—thereby crowding out Old Man Time as a factor in our lives. So, whatever your interests may be, keep after them!

Many thanks to all those who contributed to this column.

In October Robert G. Sullivan was honored, along with three of his contemporaries, as a recipient of the inaugural Ross M. Pyle Career Achievement Award in recognition of his expertise, integrity, and outstanding contributions to bankruptcy issues in the San Diego, Calif., area. He was unable to attend the event, and his three children accepted the award on his behalf.