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Dave Griswold’s 70th

Dave joined the ranks of those of us who’ve slipped into our 8th decade, in August. His kids, Laura, Eric and Jeff, organized a surprise for his birthday, collecting more than 70 “memories” from Dave’s friends and family into a book presented to him on the big day. (The book was a surprise; the party was not, as Dave didn’t trust his kids to do it “big” enough and took a hand in planning the festivities.)

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Dave was appropriately treated like a King For A Day. In the photos here, Laura (who did most of the work) presents the memory book to Dave, who then reads one of the letters out loud as granddaughter Elizabeth, wife Elaine and grandson Michael look on.


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Ever the raconteur, Dave had plenty of his own memories to share (often making fun of himself), as shown above. Below, a particularly funny memory as told by Dave’s first born, Jeff (at left in blue shirt). Jeff tells of how Dave is always getting the names of his sons mixed up (calling Eric- Jeff and Jeff- Eric). One day, Jeff received a letter of encouragement from his dad with a check to get him through a hard time. Jeff was touched but noticed the check was accidentally made out to Eric. “No big deal”, Jeff thought- he must of mixed up our names again. Jeff calls his dad and says he was touched by his kindness, but would he mind resending the check as he accidentally wrote Eric’s name on it. “Whoops”, Dad says- would you mind giving that to your brother- I mixed up the name on the envelope. Jeff hasn’t let him live that down since!


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Here are a few of the (mostly kinder, gentler) memories of Dave contributed by his Darrow friends:



From John Ho: Dave asked me at our 45th Darrow reunion if my wife has sisters, I told him yes, but he needs to learn how to speak Mandarin. The subject came up again at our 50th reunion. I asked him if he had made any progress in learning how to speak Mandarin. Since it was very late at night at the Inn where a lot of the class of '62 were staying, his speech was a bit slurred in English.

So please ask him, if he has sufficient white wine, will he be able to speak slurred Mandarin at this time? Pending his readiness, I will alert my wife accordingly. If he is not ready, my wife's sisters do speak slurred, broken and accented English as well as slurred Mandarin when given sufficient white wine.

Happy Birthday to your father! Did not know he is a month older than I. I will be 70 this September. Incidentally my wife has met your father on a few occasions, but cannot remember all these foreign names of my classmates. However, she has always identified him as that "handsome old man."

Dirty old........



From Bob Lang: Hi Laura. My funniest memory is when your Dad stopped by my house in Bay Head to pick up a used bed to take to Atlanta that I said he could have as we were re-doing the upstairs. As it turned out he stopped by when we were out of town, and mistakenly took our bed, not the the one originally meant for him. My future wife went berserk and I ended up buying us a new one.

I did however get to sleep in my own bed when I visited you in Atlanta!!



From Peter Gorday: When Dave was at Darrow, he was a superb athlete, and, as I recall, played second base for the varsity baseball team. Since I was an aspiring athlete myself, but nowhere near so talented as Dave, I used to watch him with admiration (and a little envy).
One of his particular talents  - one that stands out sharply in my nostalgic memory -  was an ability to scoop up low throws to second base. He had a remarkable ability in this regard, since scooping up such throws not only requires excellent hand-to-eye coordination, but also enough courage for the second baseman not to flinch as the ball hits the dirt in front of him. It was not unusual for a pickoff throw from the catcher to take such a low bounce, but Dave unfailingly would scoop them up and make the play. I think that I can also recall his scooping up such low throws from the shortstop or third-baseman, in order then to turn and successfully make the throw to first base for the double play.

I used to think to myself that a young man who can perform those tricks will do well in all things and turn out to be, all in all, and when life itself deals a “low throw,” a pretty good human being. And to the best of my knowledge that is exactly what has happened!

Happy birthday to Dave on his 70th.



From Grant Bowry ’63: Dave, as I prepare to travel back to Darrow this Wednesday to celebrate my 50th Reunion with 8 members of the Class of ’63, just wanted to say congrats on your upcoming 70th birthday, ‘Ol Man, that Eric, Jeff, and Laura are pulling together.  As a youngster, just turned 69 yesterday, I hope it’s a total surprise and that it finds you in good health.  Knowing you back then, I’m sure that’s the case! 
I remember you well, Dave.  You were the Captain of the baseball team that I played for as a junior and for which I was fortunate enough to inherit being elected captain for the ’63 team.  You were an excellent role model, great athlete, and a pretty good looking guy.  If I remember correctly, and this is where I’m mentally challenged, you played shortstop?  Here’s some more metal challenges.  I think you lived in either Neale or Brethrens.  Didn’t you and Phillips hang out together?  Unlike me, a dining hall raider, you were well respected around campus.  Again, if I remember correctly, you were a Prefect. 
Time erases a lot of things, but those great memories that we shared at Darrow will remain forever.  I am glad that you and your class didn’t have to go through the fires the year after you left.  That was tough!  But thanks for the great times, Dave.  Again, congratulations on your 70th birthday.  Hopefully, our paths will cross in the near future.  Where does 51 years go!  If you ever are out here in the Denver area, PLEASE give me a call.  Would be great to grab a Rockies game if it’s that time of year or a brewski if nothing else!  Take care, Dave.



From Llew Haden:

Mr. David Griswold
Home for the Feeble
Mt. Lebanon, NY

Hey Dave:

Good news!  You are around to celebrate your 70th, yes, 70th birthday.  Bad news.  It is your 70th birthday.  Other news.  Not having birthdays is a bad sign of what happened to you.  Other, other news.  You are older than I.

So, enjoy being on the right side of the grass.  Wish I were there to drink some of your beer.
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From Ned Groth: I actually have hundreds of memories of Dave, who sat next to me in chapel and other school events with alphabetical seating for three years. We played on the baseball team together (he at shortstop, me at second, the vital "keystone combination" in our senior year), and we shared a wide range of other "Darrow experiences." After we became alumni, and I started a class newsletter in the late '60s, Dave was one of my most regular and most candid contributors, sharing with me and the class his experiences in Vietnam, his marriages and adventures with parenthood (the good and the bad), and his careers, at first as a baseball coach, later as a life-adjustment coach for athletes going through end-of-career transitions.
One of my favorite photos of Dave is one he submitted to the class newsletter in 1978, when he had just been made the head coach of baseball at Trinity College in Hartford. He's in uniform, looking very managerial (and handsome, as Xiao-Yun Ho has observed). You can see that shot on the class web site at: http://www.darrow62.com/Newsletter%20File/nl11_1978.pdf

If I had to pick one favorite memory of Dave, it happened on the softball field, during one of our big reunions, either the 25th or 30th, I forget which. We had fielded an All-'62 team and were in the process of thrashing either the faculty or the class of 1957, again I forget which, in one of those traditional Alumni-Day games. We had scored about a dozen runs, mostly driven in by Cook and Coffee, but I had contributed with a pair of singles and a couple of doubles. After I had scored my 4th run of the game and we were standing on the sidelines, Dave came up and announced, loudly so everyone could hear, "Groth, you've had a 4-hit game, way to go." I hadn't been counting, and in those days (when I was playing on a company team, in a co-ed league) I frankly almost expected to get a hit every time up and took it for granted when I did (those days are long gone now), but it still felt very nice to get an "attaboy," especially from the professional baseballer in our midst.

So, "Thanks, Coach!" I appreciated it then and still appreciate it now.


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