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thoughts on the may issue
From Adriana Troxell Elliot ’93

As you I felt sad after reading Eric Overmyer’s article [“Burning House,” May 2002 Reed], in which he equates being with biological life, having faith only in what we can see with our eyes and know with our thinking brains. Which gives ultimate power to forces of destruction and decay, since mortality always wins out eventually. But my children teach me otherwise because they are innately idealistic. We need ideals to survive reality joyfully. I get out of bed in the morning because I make a conscious decision to live according to ideals. Ideals are not based in cliché, nor in blind optimism, but in a commitment of the heart to move toward the light. Ultimately, our human lives are minuscule in the grand scheme of time and multitudes. Regardless of how I go—be it a natural death at a ripe old age or something gruesome and untimely—what makes my life my own is how I strive toward my ideals. No act of violence, no suicide mission, no breed of fanaticism can take that away from me, or from any of us.

a well-earned “f”
From Aharon (Schlesinger) Sheer ’58
Your article about biology professor Kleinholz, in last November’s Reed, reminded me of one (of many) conflicts I had with him. In the early 1900s a biologist counted the number of chromosomes in the human cell and published that there were 48. For decades biology textbooks and lecturers repeated this number. Only around 1950 did someone prove that a healthy human cell has only 46 chromosomes. Much to my surprise, when I took Introductory Biology in 1957-58, Professor Kleinholz informed the class that there were 48 chromosomes. After class I told him that his information was out of date. At the end of the year Kleinholz gave me an F in the class, but it certainly was not because we disagreed on the number of chromosomes in the human cell.
remembering steve nygaard ’69....

From Jeanie Daigle Nygaard Forte ’70
I read with dismay the obituary of Steve Nygaard ’69 in the May 2002 of Reed. Steve grew up in Snohomish, Washington, and learned his father’s trade of master carpentry, developing a love of fine and antique furniture and an appreciation for hard labor. Still, he was an intellectual first —much given to philosophy and debate. Reed was his salvation — to discover a place with so many like-minded people, so many others with keen and avid intelligence — was like discovering heaven. He loved the heady atmosphere of inquiry and discussion and appre-ciated the independence. He also discovered poker, which at that time was king in lower commons, and Steve became a stakes player, gambling to pay his rent. After graduation he moved to Palo Alto to work for Hewlett-Packard. For the next few years Steve drifted between California and Washington, eventually moving to Norway, where his parents had retired. He worked for a series of electronics firms in Norway, writing, translating, traveling all over Europe. The last time I spoke with Steve, he said he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, but had temporarily beaten it, and was in high spirits. According to his father, he died rather suddenly. His ashes are interred in Norway, next to his mother. Ron Hinckley ’69 and I are planning a service in Steve’s memory, to be held in Portland in August. For details, email
....and milt fischer ’87
From Eric Contey ’83

Reed alumni in Portland and around the country were devastated by the death of Milton Fischer ’87. He was a brilliant hunter and fisherman and a very special, charismatic man. His requiem at the Nehalem firehouse was attended by people from all walks of life, for one couldn’t meet Milt, even casually, and not value his dynamic personality and skills as an outdoorsman. To me, Milton will forever mean flowing water, high ridges, open country. Beginning on a hunting trip down an ice-rimmed John Day River in 1986, right through the last time I saw him, Milton was a continuous treasure of outdoor experience. I watched him consistently out-fish and out-hunt everyone who dared to compete, directly or indirectly. He was a virtuoso at his craft and in his life. While his outstanding abilities in the field were recognized and acknowledged by all, only those privileged to know him well realized his many other sterling qualities. He was an amazing chef, a tower of strength, in addition to being incredibly generous, sensitive, and chivalrous. Milton Fischer was hard not to love, a unique person, and now the world is just not the same. I still hear the rivers calling him, a paean to the fallen master: Dean, Deschutes, Necanicum, John Day, Snake, Nehalem, Grande Ronde, Owyhee, Lostine. Adios, my great friend. [Ed. note: Read more about Milt here.]

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