By Anne Downey '95G
Long obituaries in this issue:
Robert M. Dudley '43 and Ernestine Cannon Dudley '47
Alan F. Kiepper '50
John C. Driscoll Jr. '54
Raymond E. Rainville '63, '69G, '71G
Deborah R. Smith '84
List of names
Robert M. Dudley '43 and Ernestine Cannon Dudley '47
They worked as a team to help UNH
Rob '43, and Tina Dudley '47 celebrated 62 years of marriage on Oct. 4, 2009. Their family and friends say their partnership worked because while they shared many similarities, their differences complemented each other. Both were quiet, trustworthy people, dedicated to their jobs, their family and UNH. Rob was a great organizer and had a dry sense of humor, and Tina was the kind of tireless, behind-the-scenes worker who is the backbone of any organization. Between them, they probably served on every Alumni Association committee, and both won the Alumni Meritorious Service Award.
Tina was raised in Northfield, N.H., by a single mother who worked in a woolen mill. Rob grew up in Tilton, N.H. His father was an accountant, his mother a homemaker; he was the first in his family to attend college. "They both appreciated the chance to get away, live in the dorms and build new friendships," their daughter, Andrea Dudley '74, says. "And they translated their appreciation into doing the best they could to make the institution stronger."
After graduating, Rob served in the Navy during World War II. In 1946, he went to work for New England Telephone, holding a series of management positions. Tina and Rob married in 1947. Later, Tina became an officer at the Lexington (Mass.) Savings Bank. While in Lexington, the Dudleys helped build up the Boston alumni chapter. To fund scholarships, Rob started UNH Night at the Pops, securing the whole floor of Symphony Hall. "It was a huge amount of work, and not easy to do, but Rob used to send a dozen roses to Mrs. Littlefield, who was Arthur Fiedler's secretary, which probably helped," says Barbara Newall '50.
When Rob retired in 1981, the Dudleys moved back to Durham and took advantage of all UNH had to offer, including trips and performances; they were season ticket holders for both football and hockey. They started the Active Retirement Association, which enlisted retired professionals to share their expertise. "It was a terrific idea, since Durham has so many talented retired people," says Jean French Ragonese '47.
During retirement, the Dudleys were also avid antique collectors. Their sentiment for UNH was so strong that when East-West Hall was torn down in the '70s and UNH held an auction of fixtures, the Dudleys ended up with a urinal, which they kept in the attic of their Lexington home.
In recent years, the Dudleys lived at Havenwood-Heritage Heights in Concord. Tina died from an intestinal blockage on Oct. 12 and Rob succumbed to prostate cancer on Oct. 17. "We figure they were a team in life," says Andrea, "and wanted to go out as a team."
Alan F. Kiepper '50
The man who made the trains run on time
Alan Kiepper '50 built a 50-year career in public transportation management based on a personal code of uncompromising honesty, integrity and responsibility. He was a hands-on leader, involved in every aspect of the systems he supervised, and expected his employees to meet his high standards. Everyone who worked for him admired him, and most loved him. Tall, articulate and always beautifully attired, he had a leader's presence, and was skilled at working with boards of directors, the public and the media. He kept his composure even when people were screaming at him.
He grew up in Dover, N.H., in a family of modest means. During the Depression, his father stood in breadlines and later worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. His father was emotionally distant, but his mother's large, extended Irish family made up for it. He ran track in high school—he was state champion in the 880-yard race—and was an excellent student. His father wanted him to be a plumber; an aunt persuaded his father that Alan was college material. He majored in government at UNH, and was grateful for his education, which he viewed as a privilege.
While in graduate school in public administration at Wayne State University, he was drafted and served as an Army intelligence officer during the Korean War. He was hospitalized with the flu while at Fort Hood and was attended by identical twin nurses; he married one of them, and he and Edith raised three children. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1981.
Kiepper's career began with a series of increasingly challenging jobs in southern cities, including Richmond, Atlanta and Houston, and culminated in the presidency of the New York City Transit Authority in 1990. From 1972-'82, he was the builder and general manager of Atlanta's MARTA subway and bus system. "In many ways, it was the highlight of his career," his second wife, Suzan, says. "He worked like a Trojan to build that system on time and on budget, and it was a huge success." His daughter, Jane Rosser, remembers that the night before the system opened to the public, after they had attended opening ceremonies and parties, their family rode the trains until 2:30 a.m. "He wanted to make sure that every line was running smoothly," she says.
Kiepper had an unbendable code of ethics. "Our family never rode in his business car," his daughter recalls. "He would park it in the driveway on Friday night, and it wouldn't move until he left on Monday morning. He didn't want to be accused of abusing his power." Early in his career, he was the city manager of Richmond, Va. The city annexed a portion of county land, and the change went into effect one evening. Shortly after the hour of annexation, he got a call at home from a citizen who wanted his city water. Kiepper filled up a bucket of his own city water and delivered it.
Kiepper managed the stress of his 14-hour-a-day job with exercise, and was very fit throughout his life. But he suffered a stroke when he was 67 and never recovered his health after that; he retired in 2002. In August, he went to the hospital with pain in his jaw, and doctors found an aortic aneurysm. It ruptured while he was still in the emergency room. Suzan says in retirement, he looked back fondly on his career. He told his daughter, "My job wore me out, but they were the best years of my life."
John C. Driscoll Jr. '54
For him, law and service went hand-in-hand
Jack Driscoll '54 was a gregarious, hardworking, big-hearted lawyer with the map of Ireland on his face and a twinkle in his eye. The Catholic Church provided him with a moral vision and the football field taught him about teamwork, discipline and, as he once said, "the importance of being part of something larger than yourself."
In November, Driscoll went to a Harvard football game. He stumbled on the stairs, and people in the crowd who knew him could tell something was wrong, especially when his speech became slurred. He died the next day at age 77 from a brain aneurysm. More than 600 people attended his funeral, including three chief justices and the parking lot attendants from the Harvard Club. Six priests served at the altar, and two members of the Kennedy family were pallbearers.
He was born and raised in Somerville, Mass. His parents emigrated from Ireland in 1918, and married here. Driscoll's father was a custodian in the local schools who built an impressive real estate portfolio by buying properties and renovating them, eventually building his own house in Belmont, Mass. He demanded the same work ethic from his children. Driscoll's mother loved music and dancing, and Driscoll inherited both his parents' personalities in equal measure.
Driscoll attended Malden Catholic High School, where he excelled academically and played football well enough to win a scholarship to UNH. A defensive tackle, he made the inaugural Scholastic All-American team in 1952, the only athlete chosen from a Division II school. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, where he washed dishes to pay for his meals, and went to church every morning. "Jack used every hour of every day productively, either studying, working, playing football or participating in one of the numerous clubs he belonged to," says Basil Bourque '56, a fraternity brother who later became Driscoll's brother-in-law. It was at UNH that he started his St. Patrick's Day party, which over the years has been held in both fancy hotels and humble dives and attracts people from all walks of life, the prerequisite being that one has to contribute something: a song, a joke, a story.
After graduation, Driscoll attended Harvard Law School, which he paid for by being a football line coach. He excelled at it, and Harvard offered him a job. "Is that what you went to Harvard Law School for?" his father asked him. Driscoll became a corporate litigator; his clients included a wide variety of public and private companies. He married Jane Bourque in 1958; they raised three sons and lost an infant daughter to cystic fibrosis.
He was especially devoted to his pro-bono work, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Children's Hospital. He founded the Boston Coalition in 1991, which was highly successful in creating a community-based approach to ending gang violence. "I used to kid Jack that we would be millionaires if he spent as much time on his for-profit work as he did on his not-for-profit work," Jane says. "The only thing that he found disheartening about law was boiling it down to billable hours. For him, law and service went hand-in-hand."
Raymond E. Rainville '63, '69G, '71G
He never let anything hold him back
In March 2009, Ray Rainville '63, '69G, '71G was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. A month later, his doctors informed him that he had throat cancer. Rainville was angry —a psychology professor at SUNY Oneonta, he was almost finished with a project that would top off his 39-year career. He was also a compulsive exerciser and had anticipated a fit, healthy old age.
But Rainville had faced physical challenges before, having lost his sight in his 20s. So he did what he had done back then: sized up his illnesses, figured out how to live with them and went on. "He said, 'Thank God for the cancer,' because he didn't want to live with ALS," his brother, Richard Rainville '67, says. He died on Oct. 4 at the age of 69.
Rainville grew up amidst a large, extended French-Canadian family in Suncook, N.H. His father was a grocer and his mother was a weaver in a textile mill; he spoke only French until he entered school.
He began losing his sight as a child, but neither he nor his family let his disability stop him. He was very social and as an adolescent hosted a mini "American Bandstand," persuading neighborhood boys to dance with the girls. He had an uncanny mechanical ability and loved to fix things. His mother insisted that he take driving lessons as a teen. "The instructor couldn't issue him a license, of course, which my mother couldn't understand," Richard recalls. "He said, 'Your son is a good driver, but he just can't see.' I chimed in, 'Mom, he can't see the stop signs!' 'That's all right, Ray will figure something out,' she said."
Rainville was a political science major and a member of Phi Kappa Theta at UNH. In 1965, he had experimental surgery that promised to either arrest his increasing blindness or leave him completely blind. "When we learned that he had lost his sight, we were devastated," his brother says. "But when we picked him up at the hospital, Ray was very upbeat. 'Thank God that's settled,' he said, and told us he planned to get a Ph.D. in psychology."
In graduate school, he acquired a seeing-eye dog named Wanda and found a mentor in psychology professor Frederick Jervis '49, who was also blind. In the mid-'70s, Rainville's research on football announcers' speech patterns caused a national controversy when he demonstrated how he could discern a player's race based on the announcer's commentary. "Ray loved to point out how one's ability to see wasn't always a good thing," Richard says. In 1967, he married Barbara Mudarri, and they raised three children.
At SUNY, Rainville's sleep and dreams course was one of the most popular on campus; he was an accessible, engaging and dedicated professor, winning many teaching awards. He also had a private practice as a psychotherapist, and his patients appreciated both his insight and his practical advice. A fun-loving person, he had many friends and loved to exercise, especially when it involved speed—he swam every day, rode a tandem bicycle and loved to downhill ski. "Ray had an extraordinary ability to size up any situation," his friend Marvin Taub says. "When a group of us watched movies together, he always had the best observations and the most interesting questions. He was blind, but he understood more of it than we did."
Deborah R. Smith '84
She lit up rooms without even trying
Deb Smith '84, who died of breast cancer in October, was a gifted environmental educator whose talent derived from her ability to live in the present. She was curious about, and awed by, the natural world: it was both her lab and her sanctuary. A deeply spiritual person who had a childlike sense of fun, she spontaneously broke into song and dance, had vast collections of feathers, twigs and rocks, and couldn't tolerate boredom. After her death, a friend wrote, "She never tried to light up a room—she just did."
Smith grew up on an island in Narragansett Bay, R.I. When she was 8, she acquired six stepsisters and two stepbrothers. "Adjusting to a blended family wasn't easy, but Deb took it in stride," her stepsister Rowena Burke says. "She was a beautiful body surfer, and that's the way she handled life." A grandmother, Josephine Spooner, nurtured Smith's curiosity and encouraged her explorations; Smith spent her childhood going to the beach, taking long bicycle rides and visiting a local bird sanctuary. She was athletic and energetic—with her blond hair and all-American good looks, she was a natural for the cheerleading squad at Middletown High School.
At UNH, she was a zoology major and shared a Dame Road farmhouse on 500 acres with her friends Peter Gill '85, Dave Agran '84 and Martha Stewart '84, as well as all kinds of birds and animals. The housemates jogged in the woods and paddled and swam in the property's ponds. Smith was an instructor in the Fireside Program, a weekend outdoor-education program for faculty and students. After graduation, she and Gill worked for Outward Bound on Hurricane Island in Maine.
Smith got a master's degree in environmental studies at Antioch in Keene, N.H. She and Rich Grumbine were married in 1998, and they had a son, Carl, now in third grade. For the past 15 years, she was a school program coordinator at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center in West Brattleboro, Vt. Her water ecology curriculum included play and performance. Wood frogs, she wrote, sound like crazy ducks, and you imitate them by saying in a loud, nasal voice, "wiggle-jello, jello-wiggle-jellow, wiggle." Each spring, she organized the Salamander Crossing Brigade, helping spotted salamanders migrate to their breeding pools by directing traffic in a spotted salamander costume.
Friends say that Smith never lost herself during her illness. "Deb always tried to be as much in life as possible, and when her breathing became painful, she distanced herself from the disease so that she could focus on what was happening around her," Gill says. Once, when she was lying on the ground, she told her friend Chip Blake that she could feel the earth breathe. "If she could feel the earth breathe, then I have to think that the earth must have been able to feel her as well," he wrote at her death. ~