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Thomas Patrick "Tommy" Frensley

Thomas Patrick "Tommy" Frensley

January 1, 1939 - March 30, 2022

Longtime Metro Nashville high school basketball coach Tommy Frensley died Wednesday, according to his family. He was 83 and had suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Frensley spent a total of 36 years as a boy’s head coach — 29 at Hillsboro and seven at Donelson Christian Academy. His career record was 632-304.

The court at Hillsboro was named in Frensley's honor in 2007. He was at Hillsboro from 1965-94 and won a total of 494 games, nine district tiles and two region titles. He led the Burros to the state tournament in 1972, 1974 and 1979.

Frensley, who played basketball at old Howard High and Belmont, was The Tennessean's Nashville Interscholastic League Coach of the Year in 1972. 

He was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Hillsboro Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

"There are so many lives that coach Frensley impacted," said Joe Gaskins, who played at Hillsboro from 1975-78.

"It was far more than just in coaching, even in teaching. He was a guy that really taught life lessons to every individual who was with him whether you were a player, a manager, a student. And he was guy that made everything fun. He made everything exciting, and he was always positive."

When Frensley became the coach at DCA the Wildcats had only won a total of 10 games the previous two years.

Former DCA athletics director Dennis Goodwin credited Frensley with resurrecting the program after he posted a 139-72 record and led the 1998 team to the state tournament.

Frensley coached several other sports throughout his career including assisting with the Hillsboro girls’ team when it transitioned from 6-on-6 to 5-on-5 in 1979.

Remembering Thomas Patrick "Tommy" Frensley

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David Earl Garets

David Earl Garets

June 7, 1948 - March 28, 2022

Dave Garets, whose four decades of experience in healthcare and technology included work as a technical specialist at AT&T, a hospital chief information officer, a management consultant and early leadership at HIMSS Analytics, died Monday at age 73.

He passed away March 28, following a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Garets, whose work at AT&T in the 1980s was followed by years as CIO of Magic Valley Regional Medical Center in Idaho in the 1990s, was a visionary who saw the immense potential of information and technology to improve care delivery.

He was an early proselytizer about the value of electronic health records – but also warned about the importance of ensuring they're implemented effectively. He also foresaw the evolving role of the healthcare CIO over the past decade or so, into "a businessperson as opposed to a technology person."

As a remembrance posted by HIMSS explained, "Dave believed that if technology was uniformly adopted in healthcare, then caring for patients would be greatly enhanced and outcomes would improve and become more predictable.

"Two ideas formed from his healthcare IT experience. One was that the technology had to meet certain standards because healthcare IT affects people's lives. The second idea was that healthcare IT had to be universally adopted to obtain the maximum benefit to society."

His term as HIMSS board chair "took the entire health information technology sector in new directions that shaped HIT adoption trends and federal HIT policy for more than a decade," according to HIMSS (parent company of Healthcare IT News).

In 2004, Garets was chosen to lead the new HIMSS Analytics division.

There, he co-developed its EMR Adoption Model, which over the past two decades has been the go-to assessment to benchmark health IT implementation and use in hospitals and ambulatory practices. His promotion of EMRAM in the U.S. and throughout the world was instrumental in helping drive uptake and effective deployment of technology at health systems large and small.

In 2011, Garets was voted one of the 50 most valuable contributors to health IT in the past half-century by HIMSS boards of directors.

His other professional experience includes tenures at CHIME, Gartner, The Advisory Board Company, Mountain Summit Advisors, and other healthcare and technology organizations.

"Dave was an incredible leader, pioneer and advocate for the power of information and technology to transform healthcare," said Hal Wolf, president, and CEO of HIMSS.

"As we work to reimagine health and health equity for all, we stand on the shoulders of giants like Dave. He often said, 'We’re always better together than separate in the battle of care.' The global health ecosystem has lost a great visionary in Dave, but we will continue to benefit from his tremendous contributions for years to come."

Remembering David Earl Garets

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Charles E. Baublitz Jr.

Charles E. Baublitz Jr.

June 5, 1945 - March 27, 2022

Charles E. Baublitz Jr., a decorated retired Anne Arundel County firefighter who was an enthusiastic rail fan and devoted collector of model trains, died of multiple medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Sunday at his Woodbine home. He was 76.

“Charlie was a class act. He was more than a friend, he was a brother to us in the fire service,” said Bill Poteet, a retired Anne Arundel County firefighter, who is president of the Anne Arundel County Retired Firefighters Association. “He was well liked and well respected and was very conscientious about the job and took it very seriously.”

Charles Edward Baublitz Jr., son of Charles E. Baublitz Sr., a Bethlehem Steel Corp. worker, and his wife, Ethel May Thompson Baublitz, was born at home on Wasena Avenue in Brooklyn Park.

 

Mr. Baublitz, who was raised in Brooklyn Park, attended Brooklyn Park and Andover high schools, and later earned his GED diploma while serving in the Army from 1965. He spent a year in the Netherlands and Belgium serving with NATO Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe.

Mr. Baublitz’s path to becoming a firefighter began at 16, when he became a volunteer at the Ferndale Volunteer Department.

“I first met him when I was 16 and we were both volunteers at Ferndale. Charlie was a little bit older, and I looked up to him,” Mr. Poteet said. “He taught me a lot about firefighting and was truly a role model for me.”

After he was discharged from the Army, he was working at General Motors Corp. on Broening Highway, and after taking the Anne Arundel County Fire Department test as a member of Class Three, he was hired as a firefighter in 1969.

“He was at General Motors and then they went on strike,” said his wife of nearly 51 years, the former Eleandra Ann “Ellie” Mullenax, a former longtime Baltimore Sun newsroom editorial assistant. “The fire department called him on Friday, and he started working there on Monday.”

Mr. Baublitz was assigned to Ferndale Station 34, where he spent 27 1/2 years and worked his way up to Firefighter III, or engineman, who is also known as a pump operator and equipment driver.

Ron Galella, the celebrity photographer whose pursuit of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis resulted in a restraining order against him after he stalked her for years, died at age 91 on April 30, 2022, at his home in Montville, N.J., of congestive heart failure. (Carlo Allegri/AP)

“I worked with Charlie at various times and he was a very good engineman and driver, and if you had to rely on a pump operator and driver, he was the guy you wanted to be with,” Mr. Poteet said.

The two men along with fellow firefighters were called to a Glen Burnie house fire one day where a mother and two children were inside the house.

“Our crew had been ventilating the fire and then we went inside looking for the victims who were rescued by another crew as we went in,” said Mr. Poteet, who attained the rank of captain and retired in 1995 from the Linthicum Station. “And we were given a commendation for our participation in the rescue operation.”

Ms. Baublitz said: “Charles earned several commendations for performance in helping save lives during serious house fires.”

Jim Lenz, a fellow firefighter, had worked with Mr. Baublitz at Ferndale in the mid-1970s, and retired from the department in 1996 as a pumpman.

“Charlie was a hands-on guy who could fix anything. There wasn’t a lot of money for the department in those days, so we had to fix things ourselves,” Mr. Lenz recalled. “If we got into trouble, Charlie got us out of it. You’d watch him and you learned by osmosis.”

He praised Mr. Baublitz for being a “master fabricator.”

“If he needed a part to fix the equipment, he made it himself so we could keep the fire engines moving,” Mr. Lenz said. “At the time, we were still driving 1957 engines. Charlie was an excellent driver. He never had any crashes and got us there on time, so we could put the wet stuff on the red stuff.”

During off-hours, Mr. Baublitz and another firefighter, the late Melvin Morrison, operated a home improvement business for 25 years.

“Whether they were fighting fires or installing siding and windows, they knew what they were doing,” Mr. Lenz said.

Lois H. Feinblatt was a pioneering sex therapist who practiced with the Johns Hopkins Sex and Gender Clinic for more than three decades and was a also a philanthropist. (handout)

“Charlie was quiet, unlike most fire department people who tend to be boisterous,” Mr. Lenz said with a laugh. “He also liked doing the occasional prank. He’d sneak up on you, so you really had to keep him in sight. No one ever got hurt and they were just fun, and he was just good at it.”

Robert Bailey, who worked with Mr. Baublitz for nearly eight years at Ferndale, retired in 1992 from Engine 32 in Linthicum where he had been a pump operator.

“Charlie was a born leader who liked to teach,” Mr. Bailey said. “We got along together and I used to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the firehouse with him during a shift. He was just a jolly old guy who’d help anybody and would give you the shirt off his back.”

He added with a laugh: “And I became his personal chef.”

Mr. Baublitz spent the last few years of his career at Glen Burnie Station 33, from which he retired in 1996. He later returned to work in 2005 when he took a job as a stockman for Boscov’s Department Store in Westminster Mall, until retiring a second time in 2017.

He had belonged to the fire department’s bowling league for several years and was an active member of the Anne Arundel County Retired Firefighters Association.

Mr. Baublitz’s fascination with railroading and model railroading began in his childhood, his wife said.

Through the years, he had amassed an enormous collection of trains of all gauges and an operating layout that eventually overwhelmed his basement and required the building of what was called his Train House in the yard of his Woodbine home.

“In 2014, we built a 24-by-30-foot building that Charles filled with his trains,” Ms. Baublitz said. The building also included a working layout, along with shelves and shelves of locomotives, and freight and passenger cars.

Mr. Baublitz also had a taste for the real thing — he visited his favorite operating railroad, the Cass Scenic Railroad, many times. The lumber railroad dates back to 1901.

The 11-mile-long standard gauge railroad, officially known as the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, is entirely steam-operated, with the majority of its seven-engine fleet dating to the 1920s, and its most recent to 1945.

Other interests included reading science fiction and going to yard sales and flea markets. He was also a cat fancier.

In 2001, he realized a life dream when he and his wife traveled to England where they spent weeks visiting ancient sites such as Stonehenge.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Burrier-Queen Funeral Home at 1212 W. Old Liberty Road in Sykesville.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Baublitz is survived by two sons, Charles E. Baublitz III of Woodbine and Jerid Baublitz of St. Petersburg, Florida; a brother, James Baublitz of Brooklyn Park; a sister, Ruth Hopson of Westminster; a half-sister, Betty Morgan of Hagerstown; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. A daughter, Jennifer Baublitz, died in 2007.

Remembering Charles E. Baublitz Jr.

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Jason Goldenberg

Jason Goldenberg

May 7, 1944 - March 27, 2022

Jay always had a great smile and a good word for all. He had a twinkle in his eye. He had a glowing light about him that drew you right in. He made sure everyone was included, part of the magic circle that was him. He was intelligent, kind, generous, and we are fortunate to have had him in our lives.

Remembering Jason Goldenberg

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Sedat A. Acton

Sedat A. Acton

August 21, 1944 - March 26, 2022

The University of Louisville's "handstand man" — who for nearly three decades entertained spectators with handstands during men's basketball games at Freedom Hall — died Saturday, March 26, 2022.

Sedat Acton, 77, performed his last handstand at a basketball game in 2009 during the Cardinals' last season at Freedom Hall, and his last handstand ever in 2017, shortly after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. 

His wife of more than 40 years, Teresa Acton, also died last month, according to his obituary. The two met in beauty school in 1976 and together owned a salon in east Louisville.

They left behind their three grown children, Anthony Acton, Tijen Lines and Sarah Colombo, as well as eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild, numerous nieces and nephews, and fans who remember him fondly.

Acton was known for getting the crowd rowdy during key moments, especially when the Cardinals were playing rivals like Memphis or Kentucky and needed the inspiration to close out the game. A gifted gymnast, Acton would hoist himself over the handrails of Freedom Hall's upper levels during timeouts and breaks in the action, as Louisville fans in the crowd looked on.

"You hear a roar, look up and thousands of people are cheering for your husband," Teresa told The Courier Journal in 2019.

Acton became interested in gymnastics as a young boy walking the beaches of his native country Turkey, often practicing in his backyard. He watched men perform acrobatic flips and twists on parallel bars and thought it could be a way to conquer polio, which he was diagnosed with as a toddler.

He left Europe for Louisville at age 23 in 1968, where his sister was already living. He joined the gymnastics team at the old YMCA at Third Street and Broadway — the gateway to his first halftime performance at a Louisville basketball game that same year. 

He performed with cheerleaders at football and basketball games, as well as Kentucky Colonels games. It wasn't until 1980 that he performed his first stunt on a Freedom Hall railing. 

Acton once turned down a job performing in Las Vegas to stay in Louisville and build a life with Teresa, and to continue performing at Freedom Hall. He was a common sight at Trinity High School and Sacred Heart Academy athletic events as well.

"I love Louisville because it's small and people understand you," Acton told The Courier Journal in 2019. "If you try hard you will be successful. And I truly believe people should help people, love each other, care about each other. Who knows who needs help and who don't?"

Acton requested any donations made in his name go toward the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in memory of his wife.

Cards fans who were wooed by Acton's stunts were disappointed to hear of his passing.

Remembering Sedat A. Acton

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Richard C. Riggs

Richard C. Riggs

April 1, 1939 - March 23, 2022

Richard Cromwell Riggs Jr., the former owner of the Barton Cotton printing firm who led the restoration of the Maryland Club after its 1995 fire, died of Parkinson’s disease complications March 23 at his Poplar Hill home. He was days short of his 83rd birthday.

Born in Baltimore, he grew up in Catonsville and on a Baltimore County farm that is now the Caves Valley Country Club. He was the son of Richard C. Riggs Sr., who bred Hereford cattle, and his wife, Eleanor Allen Reifsnyder, a world traveler.

He attended the Calvert School and was a 1957 graduate of Gilman School. He earned an economics degree with honors from Princeton University and a master’s degree in business from Harvard University.

Mr. Riggs then was a research assistant in corporate finance at Harvard Business School and from 1966 to 1973 worked privately with business partners in venture capital.

He met his future wife, Sheila Benhan Kayser, at a Christmas party in Boston. They married in 1970.

In 1973 Mr. Riggs acquired a financially troubled printing business, Barton Cotton Inc. He expanded its scope and moved it into the direct mail and fundraising fields.

Friends said he brought a rigor and sophistication to what had been a teetering, old line business. He made it highly profitable, they said.

“If you presented Dick with a business proposition, he could get to the essence of the issue quickly. He had a wonderful business mind and was a clear thinking individual,” said Benjamin H. Griswold IV, a longtime friend. “He was a year ahead of me in school and I always looked up to him.”

Mr. Riggs later sold Barton Cotton to American Capital Strategies.

“Dick was a son of Baltimore. His family had long ties to the city and to the countryside around the city, to its history and its present,” said his wife, Sheila. “Those ties were a major part of his soul and informed any number of his activities.”

Dr. James Gieske said, “I met him in kindergarten and Dick was private and dignified then and he never changed. He was skilled at hiding his intelligence. He was an understated person and a great listener. He did a lot of charitable work in Baltimore under the radar for causes that promoted the disadvantaged in the city.”

The Maryland Club, a Mount Vernon neighborhood landmark at Charles and Eager streets, erupted in flames on a Saturday night in Aug., 1995. Mr. Riggs was its president.

Reached by phone while vacationing with his family in Colorado, he flew home and initiated plans for the restoration of the structure. He convened a meeting of the club membership at Gilman School days later and vowed the club would survive. He assured them it was fully insured.

“He was a smart, focused individual and was instrumental times 10 in making the club get open again,” said Walter Schamu, a friend and architect. “Dick had that spark in his eye. He told me he worked by listening to everyone in a room and but then made his own decision. And like a good manager, he stepped back and let people do their jobs.”

His cousin, Clinton R. Daly, said, “Dick had a beautiful mind. He looked at things differently. He was a deep thinker and you could not respond to him immediately. You had to step back and consider what he had said.”

Dr. William F. Fritz, a family friend, said, “From finance to fishing, you could count on Dick’s good advice. He was an avid sportsman who loved the Eastern Shore. His character and ethics were above reproach. His quiet, soft-spoken manner belied his leadership quality and the strong convictions he held.”

Dr. Fritz also said, “Baltimore will always be a bigger city for having Dick Riggs as a citizen.”

 

Remembering Richard C. Riggs

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Joyce Veda Abel

Joyce Veda Abel

September 3, 1942 - March 15, 2022

When Joyce Veda Abel survived rectal cancer, she turned in true form to raising awareness about the disease. She set up colon screening programs at Honeywell, and the disease became the focus of her master's thesis, "The Cancer No One Wants to Talk About: Preventing Colon Cancer."

It's a good example of how Abel channeled her energy into health care and helping people dealing with challenges, her children said.

"When she saw a need in the community, she really went after it," said her son, Jedediah Kaufman of Seattle.

After living for years with Parkinson's disease, Abel, 79, died peacefully March 15 with family members by her side in her St. Louis Park home. A caregiver was playing Jewish guitar music when she passed, said her daughter, Renanah Kaufman Lehner of Chicago.

Abel was born in New York City and grew up in Queens, the oldest of three girls. Her father, Jacob, was a mechanical engineer and inventor; her mother, Mona, was a chemistry teacher.

After graduating from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Abel taught elementary school in Harlem, where she helped organize a free summer school program, Kaufman said. She later earned a degree in social work from the University of Chicago, and while she was there met their father, Stuart D. Kaufman, who was in medical school.

Kaufman said his parents moved to the Duluth area around 1971 for his father's residency program and to Eau Claire, Wis. During those years, Abel worked with midwives to improve access to prenatal care and birthing classes, her children said.

They moved to St. Louis Park in the early 1980s to be part of a Jewish community in a larger urban area with good public schools. Abel became a certified nurse practitioner and taught mental health nursing at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. She helped set up the school's program to assist recent immigrants and at-risk students in managing the anxiety of taking the national nursing licensing exam and improve their test results.

Abel also worked as a therapist and led a support group for people living with chronic illness.

Her children said she loved naps, brisk walks with her dogs, gardening and garage sales, but she could also be intense, Lehner said, a restless spirit who struggled with her own mental health issues. She had a strong spiritual side, though she wasn't bound to any one synagogue.

Given her New York humor and accent, she was also something of a fish out of water in her adopted Minnesota home, Lehner and Kaufman said.

"She was definitely New York through and through," her son said. "If she wasn't interrupting you and you weren't interrupting her, you weren't having a conversation."

Lehner said that after her mother passed, she was touched to discover a personal note to her and her brother in her living will. It said how much she loved them and how having real and authentic relationships, even when they include struggle, is better than living only on the surface.

"It was sort of a message from beyond," Lehner said. "To get this very coherent note that was written, like 10 years ago, was like getting a little snippet of the best of my mom."

Beside her son and daughter, Abel is survived by her sister, Cora, of Cambridge, Mass.; her niece, Leah Abel of Watertown, Mass.; and five grandchildren. A service was March 18 at Adath Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery in Crystal.

Remembering Joyce Veda Abel

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Pete St. John

Pete St. John

January 31, 1932 - March 13, 2022

Pete St John, the composer of ‘Fields of Athenry’ and ‘Dublin in the Rare Old Times’, dies at 90

When Irish rugby and soccer fans give a lusty rendition of The Fields of Athenry it is a fitting tribute to its author, the songwriter Pete St. John, who died in Dublin yesterday aged 90. Best known for what became a sporting anthem, the song was first recorded in 1979 and was a hit for Paddy Reilly. He also wrote Dublin in the Rare Old Times.

“He was a great songwriter and storyteller, he was one of the greats of our business,” said Donie Cassidy, who co-wrote the Charlie Haughey election song Arise and Follow Charlie with him, as the campaign song for the 1982 General Election.

His most famous song, The Fields of Athenry, was sung all over the world by Irish and international folk groups, including the Dubliners, as well as being used in films like Dead Poets Society and television productions. The royalties from the song alone allowed him to live comfortably for the latter part of his life. It also allowed him the luxury of long lunches at his own table, No. 24, in the Beaumont House on Dublin’s northside, where he held court with his great friend Jim O’Connor and where interesting guests were invited to partake of lunch and listen to his stories and banter.

He always did things with slow deliberation and knew exactly how he wanted them to be done.

“We’ll eat our food and then talk”, he used to tell his guests,

“Because you can’t do the two things at the same time.”     

Born Peter Mooney in Inchicore, Dublin, on January 31, 1932, he was educated at Scoil Mhuire and Synge Street CBS. He recalled an idyllic childhood roaming free and learning to play the guitar and sing under the influence of one of his teachers. He served his time as an electrician before emigrating to Canada.

He also worked in construction in Washington, DC, where he had a house for many years. During his time there he was involved in doing renovation work at the White House.

Although he is best known as a songwriter, he was also a musician and singer in his own right, touring extensively in Ireland, Europe and the United States. His concerts were a mixture of songs, mostly written by himself, and stories. He had a great interest in Irish history.

In one of our conversations, he told me that when he came back from a tour shortly before Christmas, 1983, his wife, Sue, told him: “You had better have a good look at yourself”, referring to his ballad-singing lifestyle. He never drank again. His songwriting was meticulous and well thought out.

“What you need is a simple chorus, a melody that everybody can sing, and the rest will take care of itself,” he used to say.

It was highly effective, and he left behind him a lasting legacy of songs as a result.

He was also a passionate campaigner for a special Famine Day commemoration, which came to fruition when it was given government approval after 16 years. He described himself as “a nationalist” in political terms.

In later years he suffered from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease and in late 2018 fell out of bed and later had to have a brain operation, which kept him in Beaumont Hospital for 10 weeks.

His wife died in 2010. He is survived by his two sons Kieron and Brian.

Remembering Pete St. John

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George Vafiadis

George Vafiadis

January 23, 1934 - March 9, 2022

George Vafiadis, who founded the Acadia Repertory Theatre in Mount Desert, the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor and L/A Public Theatre in the twin cities of Lewiston-Auburn, died Wednesday, March 9, from Parkinson’s disease complications in Bradenton, Fla. The actor, stage director, voice-actor and theater producer was 88.

Vafiadis, who performed as a regular on the HBO series “The Wire” among many highlights from his lengthy career, has been a major force in Maine’s theater world. In 1973, he and local artist and theatrical producer Louis Collier formed a summer stock company called the Acadia Repertory Theatre in the rustic Masonic Hall in the Mount Desert village of Somesville. That troupe has become one of Maine’s longest continually producing theaters (except for a 2020 COVID hiatus). As an offshoot of Acadia Rep, he founded the Penobscot Theatre Company in 1983. And in 1990, he started the L/A Public Theatre in the Lewiston-Auburn area. All three theaters continue to operate to this day and owe their existence to Vafiadis and his commitment to the concept of regional theater production.

Ken Stack, Husson University’s Director of Entertainment Production, worked as an actor and director with George for years. The two worked together on more than 60 theater productions.

“George had an amazing capacity to instill energy and creative passion into the process of making theater.  Even in the early days of the Acadia Rep.  We were working in horrible conditions.  We couldn’t afford to heat the winter theater unless we had an audience,” Stack recalled Friday. “So we would rehearse in our winter coats, which became rather cumbersome when practicing swordfights!  But George’s commitment to the story and the emotional line of each character kept us going at a fever pitch.  It was this passion that built the foundation of three separate theater companies here in Maine.”

“All of us benefit today from his boundless energy and dedication,” Stack continued. “And his respect for the craft of the actor never waivered.”

Born on Jan. 23, 1934, in Hackensack, N.J., George was the son of Nicholas Vafiadis and Xanthe Mamukari Vafiadis. After his father’s death, the family moved to San Antonio, Texas, where George would eventually study theater at the University of Texas at Austin. There, he worked with legends B. Iden Payne and Francis Hodge, who shaped so much of his views on theatre production and ensemble acting. Later he would continue his training by studying with Dimitris Rondiris at the Greek National Theatre in Epidaurus. That experience inspired him, throughout his life, to share the power, clarity and beauty of the classic Greek tragedies from his ancestral home.

As a professional actor, George worked for dozens of regional theaters across the country including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Theatre Impact, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cleveland Playhouse and the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival.

His film and television work began with a broadcast of “The Rivalry” produced by David Susskind for his series “Esso Repertory Theatre,” and originally staged by the Cleveland Playhouse. This was a dramatization of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and began George’s lifelong love of Abraham Lincoln, who was to reappear in his professional work for the rest of his life. George also appeared in the film “27 Dresses.”

His love, though, was with the theater and especially the classics, from Sophocles to Shakespeare. He would go on to perform in over 100 plays as well as produce and direct another 80 in regional theaters and colleges across the country.

One of his favorite accomplishments at the Penobscot Theatre was the creation of a foreign director program, presenting plays mounted by European directors Patrick Laffin (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), Vasek Simek (Prague, Czechoslovakia) and Dame Joan Knight (Perth, Scotland). George exchanged directorial duties with Joan Knight and traveled to Scotland to direct “The Gin Game” in 1988.

When the average artist would perhaps start to relax and reflect, George chose to enter into another career as a voice actor, recording audio books, including the complete and unabridged King James Version of both the Old and New Testaments, and Lincoln’s Letters, both of which won the national audiobook of the year award. His love of Lincoln led to his writing and performing “Mr. Lincoln’s Public Opinion Bath,” a full-length, one-person show which premiered at the Acadia Rep and was later performed for schools and theaters across New England.

Finally, the white sand beaches of Sarasota, Fla., called and George and his wife, Katherine Knowles, retired to this community in 2013 where both of them continued to contribute to the world of the performing arts, she as a grant writer and he as a guest lecturer and author, having completed his autobiography, “A Flame: The Fire of a Stage Actor.”

George is survived by his loving wife, Katherine, sister-in-law, Elaine Vafiadis, and by countless artists and audiences who have benefited from his passionate commitment to the world of live theater.

Remembering George Vafiadis

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Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.

Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.

April 11, 1935 - March 8, 2022

Nelson W. Aldrich Jr., an author and magazine editor who unsparingly scrutinized his fellow heirs to America’s aristocracy, primarily in “Old Money: The Mythology of Wealth in America,” which one reviewer called “a self-help book for those who have too much,” died on Tuesday at his home in North Stonington, in southeastern Connecticut. He was 86.

The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, his daughter Liberty Aldrich said.

Mr. Aldrich also edited “George, Being George” (2008), an oral history that lionized George Plimpton, a fellow patrician and literary journalist, and he wrote “Tommy Hitchcock: An American Hero” (1985), a biography of the famed polo player.

Mr. Aldrich “was driven by a need to understand, uncover, and explain to others the class he was born into; being a writer gave him the opportunity to do that,” Ms. Aldrich said in an email.

He did that most prominently and self-reflectively in “Old Money” (1988) and in a January 1979 cover story for The Atlantic magazine headlined “Preppies: The Last Upper Class?”

While the article parodied prep school students, it also described a “Preppie ideal” as “a collective yearning; with respect to money, it is a yearning for a triumph — of class over income, of grace over works, of being over doing.”

“Gracefulness is less a gift than a standard,” Mr. Aldrich wrote, “something to measure up to, a performance.”

He went on: “The delight of the thing comes from the knowledge that it’s all contrived, that the effect of effortlessness requires a good deal of strain, that negligence requires attention, that indifference requires concentration, that simplicity and naturalness require affectation. The most delicious ‘in’ joke of Preppiedom is the anxiety everyone feels about being carefree.”

Reviewing the book in The Los Angeles Times, the author Adam Hochschild wrote, “Aldrich’s voice is that of someone in a comfortable leather armchair, telling a story during a long evening over brandy and cigars at an elegant New York or Boston club — a men’s club, definitely.” He called the book “as thoughtful a psychological portrait of America’s aristocracy as we have.”

In The New York Times Book Review, it was Jane O’Reilly who called “Old Money” a “self-help book for those who have too much,” adding that wealthy people would be delighted “to discover that someone, one of their own, has defined both the essence and the existential quandary of being Old Money.”

Mr. Aldrich wrote insightfully about the drawbacks of too much freedom, as personified by the lament of a member of a self-help group for beneficiaries of inherited fortunes called the Dough Nuts, who complained, “Sometimes I feel as if everything I’ve done in my life has been a hobby.”

Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich Jr. was born on April 11, 1935, in Boston. His father was an architect and chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. His mother was Eleanor (Tweed) Aldrich.

“I was entitled to a IV rather than a Jr.,” Mr. Aldrich wrote in “Old Money,” but “I was persuaded that Roman numerals were pretentious.”

He dedicated the book to, among others, his great-grandfather Nelson W. Aldrich who after 30 years in politics — he was a Republican United States Senator from Rhode Island — turned a modest profit from his wholesale grocery business into a $12 million fortune thanks to good investment advice and favors from friendly robber barons.

Senator Aldrich, who was said to have become a millionaire shepherding legislation for those corporate titans, was considered the father of the direct federal income tax and the Federal Reserve System. His daughter Abigail married John D. Rockefeller Jr., the only son of the founder of Standard Oil. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, the former governor of New York and former vice president, was a cousin.

After attending the exclusive St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire and graduating from Harvard with a degree in American history and literature in 1957, Nelson Jr. held a series of jobs: reporter for The Boston Globe, New York City public-school teacher, Paris editor of The Paris Review, senior editor at Harper’s Magazine and editor in chief of Civilization, the Library of Congress magazine.

Remembering Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.

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Updated: August 16, 2017