R.I.P. Eugene Read

Some 13 years ago, when I first assembled the pioneerclass.com website, I wrote that we had no information about Eugene Read, but that I found a Eugene M. Read who was the correct age living in Suffield, Connecticut.

It turns out that was the correct Eugene. He lived two decades in Suffield. He was a stranger to our alumni community. He didn't attend reunions or stay in touch with anyone else from the class. He didn't answer our letters, although we apparently had the correct address. I don't know why. I never talked to him and was never in any classes with him. I didn't know him at all, except as a face in the hall, yet I find myself saddened at his desire to separate from us so completely, and by the fact that we didn't know about his death until 3 1/2 years after the fact.

Picture me as described by James Joyce, "His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

That's who we are, as humans, so vulnerable that we are capable of being affected by old news about a faintly seen ghost, nothing more than a dimly remembered image from nearly 60 years past, now perished with the ancient memories unchanged. We are touched this way because his death is ours,  a memento mori, reminding ourselves of our own mortality, and the vast mileage already on our tires, with perhaps not so much wear left on the treads.

Farewell, Eugene. Nos morituri te salutamus.

Here is Eugene's obit.

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