Howard Kestenbaum ’67
We all mourn the senseless loss of Howard Kestenbaum. Kesty was a dear friend. From Williams Hall to Wood House, as roommates, members of St.Anthony’s and teammates on the freshman and varsity wrestling teams, together we threaded our way through four glorious years at Williams.
Ours was the sort of friendship that could be resumed at any time, in easy stride, and with the same comfortable trust and empathy we shared 30 years ago. That’s why his loss now feels so painfully immediate though we had not seen each other in years.
Throughout those tumultuous years of the mid-’60s, Kesty was always solid. Thinking back, I am struck by a truth that had previously eluded me. Kesty was our center of gravity. His work ethic, compassion, humor and decency were constants in a time when constancy was not in favor. No doubt, he left Williams to become a center of gravity for his family and community, and my heart aches for their loss.
The nation now struggles to deal with the unfathomable hatred from which this tragedy sprang. We can only hope that the world becomes as wise as Howard Kestenbaum.
– Paul Sloan ’67
I was terribly saddened to hear of the loss of “Kesty.” He was one of my best friends at Williams. We both lived at Wood House. After graduation, we stayed in touch for a long time. I still remember his phone number in New York at his first post graduation address. We eventually lost touch with each other. I think I last saw him at a reunion in 1987 or maybe 1992.
He was extremely warm and kind, with a great sense of humor. He was just a lot of fun to be with. The main thing I remember about Kesty is that he was very much his own man. He was unconcerned about projecting a certain image or struggling to be “cool.” He was very genuine. I still can’t believe he’s gone. I’d like to talk to him again and experience the good feelings and fun I always experienced with him.
–Steve Mark ’67
The memorial services for our classmate, Howard Kestenbaum, were held Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Beth Ahm Synagogue, in Verona, N.J. According to his 24-year old daughter, Lauren, special moments during the standing-room only service included testimonials from his friends, a rendition of the Beatles’ “In My Life,” and a reading of Psalm 150.
At the time of his death Howie was the Executive Vice President of Risk Services (AON) and very actively involved in Beth Ahm. He was especially noted for his work in Kaballah studies, a very rarified form of Jewish mysticism. More than a few of the fellow congregants apparently noted with pleasure that a man well trained in the field of applied physics could also thoroughly appreciate the world of mysticism.
In talking with Lauren I sensed again how close we Williams men are as classmates, even though now separated by three decades. And I realized – especially after learning that Lauren graduated three years ago from Haverford College, where my daughter is a sophomore – how much our lives continue to intersect, even when we are little aware of it. As one who has at least a passing understanding of the Kaballah, I know that Howard would particularly appreciate these “intersections,” and feel a void in not being able to chat about this with him.
“In My Life”: “There are places I remember, all my life, though some have changed. Some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain. All these places had their moments, with lovers and friends, I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, in my life, I’ve loved them all. But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you. And these memories lose their meaning, when I think of love as something new. Though I know I’ll never lose affection, for people and things that went before. I know I’ll often stop and think about them, in my life I love you more. Though I know I’ll never lose affection, for people and things that went before. I know I’ll often stop and think about them, in my life I love you more. In my life I love you more.”
Psalms 150: “Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty deeds. Praise Him according to His exceeding greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound. Praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with timbrel and dance. Praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals. Praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”
– Gregg Meister ’67
[On Sept. 18], Congregation Beth Ahm in Verona, N.J., began the holiest period of the Jewish year without one of their own. In her mind, Leah Ruth Robinson can still see the handsome face of Howard Kestenbaum poring over a reading. She didn’t know much about him, didn’t know he worked in the World Trade Center. She just knew that whenever she visited the synagogue, he was there, head bowed in the front row. His presence seemed as reassuring as her faith. Kestenbaum should have been standing beside her Tuesday in his role as gabbai or elder, guiding her as she read from the Torah in celebration of Rosh Hoshanna. He should have been preparing the readings for the week’s Yom Kippur service.
There’s a lovely prayer that Jews recite on Rosh Hoshanna, asking God to inscribe them in the book of life for the coming year,” Robinson said. “It struck me so keenly that for whatever reason, whatever God’s own plan, Howard had not been inscribed.”
– excerpt from AP article by Helen O’Neill; submitted by Paul Sloan ’67
Brian Murphy ’80
I knew Brian worked for eSpeed, the web trading platform funded in part by Cantor Fitzgerald. I knew that Cantor had taken a huge hit, and I was hoping eSpeed’s offices were not in the same location. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I checked the Williams site last week and found the very sad news. I only hope the end was quick and relatively painless, though we all saw the horrid clips on the news.
I knew we shared a passion for cooking good food and washing the food down with the appropriate matching libations. We even swapped a few recipes. I think he particularly liked a duck breast one I sent him. He had a zest for that kind of thing.
We were both in the business-to-business e-commerce sector, so we compared notes over a few drinks at the Helmsley when I was in NYC last year and caught up a bit. Neither of us knew where the whole thing was going to end up, but it was exciting to be on the cusp of something as dynamic as B2B was then and experience it as it unfolded.
Perhaps what can be best said – and it was said by someone speaking at their 50th reunion last year – is that Williams is with you forever. And while I did not come to know Brian that well until late in our time in the Purple Valley, and after, our shared experiences at Williams gave us a common bond to move forward on equal ground, and develop a friendship which was unfettered, only interrupted by time. In that sense, when I think of Williams I will think of people like Brian, who I came to consider a friend, due largely to my continuing relationship with the College, and when I think of Brian I will think of Williams. These things stay with you for the whole journey, and for that, for the relatively short time I knew Brian, I am grateful.
– Steve Leous ’80
I knew Brian pretty well. We both lived in Perry House together. He was just a really kind soul. He was a genuinely nice person.
– Tom Walsh ’80
He was a friendly enthusiastic wonderful guy. That was certainly my impression from the times I interacted with him.
– Bob Pickel ’80
Lindsay Morehouse ’00
In memory of Lindsay Morehouse, Class of 2000, her Williams friends have arranged for a memorial tree and plaque, which will be planted near the tennis courts on campus. The tree will be dedicated on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 12:30 p.m. during an informal service. Everyone is welcome to attend. We hope the Williams community will visit this spot in remembrance of Lindsay.
If there are any questions about the dedication please contact Nicole Steinmuller (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jocelyn Olsen (Jocelyn.Olsen@Bain.com) or Kristen Grippi (Kristen.Grippi@gs.com).
As Lindsay and I both know, no one can say it better than Bono:
“Who’s to say where the wind will take you. Who’s to know what it is will break you. I don’t know which way the wind will blow. Who’s to know when the time has come around. Don’t wanna see you cry. I know that this is not goodbye.”
I love you Lindsay and I miss you very much and of course I will never hear another U2 song (especially #8405 on the jukebox at Canterbury’s) without a lump in my throat. I am thankful for all of the memories of good times we had together. You were a wonderful friend and I am blessed to have had you in my life.
– Kim Massimiano ’00
Most freshmen have an upperclass friend who looks out for them when they’re down, and I will forever remember Lindsay as that friend.
She was the one who took me out and treated me to lunch and asked me how I was doing, and who was willing to hear how I was really doing…not just the superficial answer. She listened to me the entire time and gave me her advice and her support. I looked up to her. I always admired her confidence, her way of knowing herself and knowing her limits. She never tried to be anyone she wasn’t, and she pushed me (and us as a team) to work harder and strive for more.
– Tracy Cheung ’03
Words are still difficult and could never do justice to the blessings the wonderful Lindsay bestowed on all of us here at Williams, nor to the irreplaceable void she leaves in our lives.
As I struggle to understand all that has happened, however, the one thing I am acutely aware of and can express is how much Lindsay’s spirit is alive in me. She is with me every time I put on my shoes and head out for a run, her boundless energy powering me up the hills at a much slower pace than she always seemed to maintain. She is with me when I shop for match food; even though she graduated a year and a half ago I succumb to cheddar Chex mix and sun dried tomato cream cheese, her favorites. She is with me when I listen to her favorite music, my tastes forever influenced by the day we practiced in preparation for nationals with 2pac blaring out of her jeep, the van ride where she introduced me to “Steal My Sunshine,” and (of course) the day I drove by Perry her senior year and looked in the windows to spy on the team as they, too (with me soon to follow), acquired Lindsay’s love for Seeking Homer. She is with me as I coach the team she was so instrumental in building; I see her fighting spirit, strong leadership, and inclusive nature in every member of today’s squad. And, finally, she is with me every time I walk past the new Thai restaurant on Spring Street, where we ate the last time I saw her. I smile as I recall her cynicism about the addition of good restaurants in town AFTER she graduated. I smile even bigger as I recall her animated accounts of her post-college adventures, her stories laced with Lindsay’s signature energy, intensity, and joie de vivre.
Lindsay held herself and those around her to incredibly high standards of both achievement and character. She challenged me to become a better coach, person, and friend, and I will forever remember, respect, love and be thankful to her for that truly special gift.
– Julie Greenwood ’96
I came to Lindsay’s service filled with a mixture of emotions…overwhelmed, sad, scared, and shocked. The past week had been a whirlwind of disaster. I had been living in New York City in the midst of this huge tragedy. Many of my close friends had witnessed the fall and fled for their lives, the children that I teach were scared and confused, and everywhere I went I was confronted with the loss of so many lives and my best friend.
My close friends and I were among the first to arrive at the church, anxious to get the closest seats in the place and review what we were going to say about her. After I reserved a seat, I walked outside into the beautiful day. I did not understand why these days filled with so much disaster had been filled with such beauty. It just didn’t seem right. In the sunlight, I paced around the church reciting my speech. I was so nervous for everything to begin… Would I be able to say this about Lindsay in front of so many? Would I be able to see and talk to all these people that would be coming, all of her family and friends? I was overwhelmed by everything and hoping to have the strength to make it through.
As I stood outside with my friends, people started to fill the church. Each person that I saw was greeted with a hug. Regardless of how well I knew them it seemed appropriate at this time. It was so comforting to see so many familiar faces and see so many people that cared. About 15 minutes before the service began, my friends and I ventured inside and filled the two rows behind the family. The church was filled and more and more people were piling in, leaving many standing in the aisles and waiting outside.
I froze as the family started proceeding into the church. The moment I saw her mom tears began to fill my eyes. Lindsay and her mom were inseparable. Lindsay talked to her mom at least once or twice a day and looked to her for every piece of advice. She was everything to Lindsay. I had been filled with so much grief over the past few days and could not imagine how her mom must be feeling.
When she walked into the church, however, she was filled with strength, with her head held high and wearing a gleaming white dress. I looked down at my clothes, all black, and frowned. Why had I chosen this when I knew it would not have been what Lindsaywould have wanted? She would have wanted white and smiles. Then I looked down at my program, “A service of celebration and thanksgiving for the life of Lindsay Stapleton Morehouse. A celebration? Not exactly what I was expecting, but again exactly what Lindsay would have wanted.
The entire service was not what I expected, but exactly as it should have been. It was beautiful in every aspect. It was a day for Lindsay, to honor this wonderful person. Her mother spoke with dignity, strength, and poise. I sat beside my closest friends, squeezing their hands throughout. I went up in front of this huge mass of people and spoke with a strength I never realized I had in me and an intense desire to honor my best friend. Each person that spoke alongside me had something unique and beautiful to share. I didn’t cry once during the service. Not only was the service a wonderful honor of Lindsay, it brought so much comfort and peace to me.
When the service was over, everyone filed outside. As they did I realized the full number of people there…it was amazing. There were people there from every part of Lindsay’s life with an overwhelming amount from the Williams community. At the reception afterwards, I was able to talk to each person that was an important part of Lindsay’s life.
With her family and friends, we talked about the service, our lives, the tragedy, and most of all Lindsay. I was enjoying the time with these people so much that I stayed till the very end. I found that the hardest part of the day was leaving. I did not want to go…I did not want to leave these people and most of all for this celebration to be over.
As I drove away, however, I realized that this celebration did not have to be over. There were so many other ways in which to honor this amazing person and this beautiful day in Connecticut was just the beginning. So many people have helped me with this effort this past month. This article is an example. Along with a benefit for Big Brothers/Big Sisters with Lindsay’s favorite band, Seeking Homer, a memorial scholarship fund for Williams, and a tree being planted near the tennis courts. Each of these things has meant so much to me along with all of her friends and family. They not only honor Lindsay, but help us remember her.
This loss has made me reflect upon my life and value so much. I value my friends, my family, and my life in general so much more than I ever did before. I also value Williams. It is an amazing place and community. I never realized the gifts that this school gave me before. At Williams, I was not only able to achieve an excellent education, but make some of the most wonderful friends of my life like Lindsay.
I was also a part of a community; a community that cares immensely for everyone around them. I am so thankful for and amazed by all the support this school has shown through this loss. This support was evident through the mass of people that attended the service, from her close friends, acquaintances, teammates, and even the president himself. It was a beautiful sight to see all these people together to honor Lindsay. Their kind words, thoughts, and actions have been so comforting to everyone affected by this loss.
Lindsay always realized the beauty of Williams. She loved everything about the school and participated in so many ways. She was an important part of this community as a motivated and successful student, a captain of the tennis team, a caring and kind friend, and a friendly face. She loved the beautiful location, the energetic and motivated students, the challenging courses, and the successful sports teams…. all that Williams had to offer. She was the typical Williams student, yet she stood out in this environment with so much motivation, enthusiasm, and conviction. She left an important mark on this place as she did everywhere she went. I know she will be missed immensely by our community, as she will be in so many other places. Lindsay was an important part of my life, just as she was an important part of Williams. She gave me friendship, strength, comfort, loyalty, laughter, advice, joy, a love for dancing and music?and so much more.
I will miss each of these things and all our times together immensely and I want to thank her for everything. I will, however, never get this opportunity. Therefore, I keep remembering and honoring her. I write about her, talk to her friends and family, go see her favorite show or band, look at old pictures… these are my ways of keeping her close to me and an important part of my life. At the service, I realized what Lindsay would want for us all, white and smiles. She would want us to celebrate our lives as we do hers and live them to the fullest. She would want us to try to make this world a better place and create beauty around us. By keeping the memory of Lindsay alive, we can thank her for being a part of our lives and our community. And in her memory let us try to make this world a more beautiful place so that this loss is not in vain and this tragedy does not happen again.
– Nicole Steinmuller ’00
I shared much of my love for Lindsay at her memorial service, and I have not been able to adequately put into words everything that I’ve been thinking and feeling over the past month. Linz was a wonderful constant in my life through college, and has now become a part of my waking up, my breathing… she will always be there as a heartache, a presence, a comfort. I would like to share a reading that has often run through my thoughts in the wake of this horrific tragedy. I don’t know who the author is, but the words have been passed through my family for many years.
There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living.
These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for all people. If life is sacred it should not be allowed to perish. True, the body will return to dust from which it came, but the remembrance of the life should continue.
At the rising of the sun and at its going down
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn
We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends
We remember them.
For they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength
We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart
We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share
We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make
We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live,
For they are now a part of us
As we remember them.