Penelope Reed Doob, August 16, 1943–March 11, 2017

Penelope Reed Doob

Penelope Reed Doob

Penelope Reed Doob died peacefully on March 11th, in Toronto, Ontario, after a long and brave battle with Parkinson’s disease. A member of Pemi’s Board of Directors, she was 73 years old.

Penelope was the granddaughter of Pemi co-founder Dudley “Doc” Reed and his wife Clara Jane, the daughter of Tom and Betsy Reed, and sister to Tom Reed, Jr. She spent all of her early summers at Pemi before going off to Camp Interlaken, first as a camper and then as a counselor. Pemigewassett was nevertheless her first love, and on her last visit to Wentworth in the summer of 2015, she made it clear that it was her favorite spot on earth – this from someone whose many travels had taken her as far afield as Australia. Aside from her role on the Pemi Board, she contributed directly to the camp program for decades, first helping Betsy with our annual Gilbert and Sullivan productions and then taking over as producer and co-director of the lively operettas.

Beyond the Baker Valley, Penelope was a Professor of Dance, English Literature, and Women’s Studies at York University, where she also served as Chair of the Department of Dance, Associate Vice President of Faculties, Associate Principal of Glendon College, and Academic Director for York’s Center for the Support of Teaching. Her teaching and research areas encompassed Medieval and Renaissance studies, dance history and criticism, sexual stereotypes in opera, literature, and dance, and non-fiction writing. She published three books: Nebuchadnezzer’s Children: Conventions of Madness in Medieval Literature; The Idea of the Labyrinth from the Classical Period through the Middle Ages; and, with Charlotte Morse and Marjorie Woods, The Uses of Manuscripts in Literary Studies. She also co-authored legendary Canadian principal dancer Karen Kain’s autobiography, Movement Never Lies.

Penelope’s reviews and feature articles appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, Dance Magazine, Ballet News, Performing Arts in Canada, and Ballet International. She developed more than 20 documentaries for the CBC Radio program, The Dance, and wrote extensive historical program notes for the National Ballet of Canada.

A graduate of The Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, Penelope went on to major in English Literature at Harvard University, where she graduated summa cum laude. She took her doctorate at Stanford University, her dissertation there becoming her first book, on medieval madness. Among her academic honors, she was the recipient of Woodrow Wilson, Kent, and Guggenheim Fellowships. Despite a lifelong fascination with the arts, she was also keenly interested in the sciences, and was a founding President of Reed McFadden, a medical research company focusing on HIV/AIDS.

Despite her singular academic abilities and professional accomplishments, Penelope was as proud of her family’s involvement with Pemi as she was of anything in her life. An aficionado of international opera and ballet, she was as happy to watch mealtime singing in the mess hall as she was to watch Placido Domingo or Natalia Makarova perform at Covent Garden. As brilliant and engaged as Penelope was, she was also patient and caring. She was principled but never doctrinaire, inspiring but never condescending, a most serious person who could, oh so often, be seen laughing on the very edges of bodily control. As her resume suggests, she was never afraid to try something new. If you are willing to imagine the Pemi Kid as a girl rather than a boy, she could easily have been the model. We are richer for her presence and will miss her greatly

Plans for commemorating Penelope are still taking shape. We will pass them along as they become clearer. The family has decided that donations in Penelope’s memory might be directed towards The Parkinson’s Foundation, The Humane Society, and Public Broadcasting (PBS or NPR). All were organizations in which she believed and which she supported over the years.

~Tom Reed, Jr.


Allyson Fauver Joins Pemi’s Administrative Team

As reported earlier, Pemi’s Board of Directors and the nine members of the fourth generation of Pemi’s two founding families have met both in person and via phone on several occasions over the past couple of years to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition to Pemi’s future. While many of the third generation will continue to be presences at camp during the summer and serve both in supportive and hands-on ways year ’round, we are eager to make provisions for more practical experience for those who’ve expressed interest.

Allyson Fauver

Allyson Fauver

With that in mind, we’re delighted to introduce a newcomer to Pemi’s staff, though she is far from a rookie. As a “G4” member, Allyson Fauver spent many beloved summers at Pemi, living “up the Hill” along with her grandparents, Al and Bertha Fauver, while her father Fred was on staff and her brother Jon was a camper. In 1999, Allyson served as support staff for Pemi West. More recently, she’s worked behind-the-scenes as a board member and now serves as Treasurer.

With preparations for the 2017 camp season upon us, Allyson’s role is expanding to assist director Danny Kerr with numerous administrative tasks previously overseen by Dottie Reed, including supporting parents and staff through the crucial and involved process of submitting required forms. As a self-proclaimed “organization, paperwork, and details person,” Allyson couldn’t be better suited to serve Pemi in this central capacity. (In the meantime, Dottie and Tom are enjoying settling in to their new home in Sarasota, Florida, and look forward to being at Pemi for the summer!)

Allyson’s favorite memories of growing up on the shores of Lower Baker? I never wore shoes. The Nature Lodge was my favorite spot, especially the aquarium of mussels, frogs, and minnows, the rock polisher, and the bank of ferns out back. Cookout was my favorite meal of the week, and I loved helping deliver crates to cabins from the back of the big truck. (I’m sure I was a big help.) I always looked forward to the costumes of Gilbert and Sullivan, and was eternally delighted by Tom Reed, Jr’s, ‘I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.’” 

Allyson earned a BA in International Studies from Marlboro College in Maine and a JD from the University of Maine School of Law. She currently lives in Bozeman, Montana, where she is the founding partner of Solve, a team of three colleagues dedicated to supporting nonprofit and social profit institutions.

We’re thrilled to have Allyson in the trenches and know that our community will benefit greatly from both her professional skills and her deep love of Pemi.

~ Dottie Reed





Betsy Mook Reed, May 15, 1917–June 13, 2016

Here, after a busy but excellent summer at Camp Pemi, is the follow-up promised in our earlier post noting Betsy Reed’s death on June 13th.

Betsy died at the Thornwald Home in Carlisle, PA, where she had been living since May, 2014. She was literally only four blocks from Tom and Dottie’s house in town, and she announced within a day of first arriving there that she felt “so safe” amongst such “lovely people.” “Aren’t we lucky?” was for months and months to come her most frequent utterance, always delivered with a twinkling smile. Betsy quickly became the establishment’s songbird, spontaneously breaking into lilting melodies at all hours, for all present – residents, staff, and visitors alike. Even on the morning of June 11th, two days before she died, she brought our visit to a close with her final song – wordless, without any real identifiable melody, but offered with an unmistakably brave and generous spirit, as though to say in the only way she could manage, “Let my last message to you be wrapped in a joyous air.”

Betsy Mook ReedFollowing Tom’s passing in July of 2010, Betsy had spent her winters in their beautiful apartment in Oberlin, Ohio, to which they had moved from Providence twenty-one years earlier. For decades, they relished the remarkable musical and cultural offerings afforded by the College and Conservatory, and Betsy had learned to embrace the Cleveland Indians at least as warmly as she had the Red Sox. (Tom, by the way, always maintained his boyhood loyalties to his White Sox.) After Tom’s death, she was lovingly looked after both in Oberlin and at Camp Pemi by John Peck and Phyllis Rothemich, dear friends from Warren, New Hampshire, who became family in every important way. All the while, she kept Tom’s ashes on a gate-leg table near her dining room chair, labeled with this handwritten note in which you might catch a whiff of her pragmatic whimsy: “The ashes of Thomas L. Reed, Sr. To be sprinkled at Camp Pemigewassett, Wentworth, New Hampshire, along with those of Betsy Mook Reed – when available.”

Betsy Mook ReedBetsy was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 15, 1917, the daughter of DeLo Emerson Mook, a prominent Cleveland lawyer, and Vivian Maynard Mook, a former grade school teacher. Vivian died when Betsy was only three, and for a number of years, she and her older brothers Emerson and Maynard were looked after by a series of housekeepers, not all of whom were, in Betsy’s estimation, perfect Mary Poppinses. After a number of years, though, DeLo married Lois Tuckerman, who became an almost ideal stepmother for the three children: brilliant, attentive, and forever determined to live a life of intellectual fulfillment in an age when women weren’t always afforded that opportunity. Lois’s one shortcoming, according to the ever-stylish Betsy, was that she didn’t care very much about the principles of fashion. (One of the most remarkable things about Betsy, as some of you will remember, was her startling adeptness at climbing one moment into painter’s clothes and transforming a room from ceiling to floor and then, ten minutes after cleaning her brushes, emerging from her dressing room looking prepped for an Richard Avedon portrait). Among the joys of Lois and Betsy’s life together, though, were the summers they spent at DeLo’s wilderness hunting camp in Quebec, where Betsy remembered fishing with First Nation guides and eating wild rice that they had harvested in the bottoms of their birch bark canoes.

As a graduate of Harvard Law School, Betsy’s father wanted her to attend Radcliffe, but Betsy had her sights set on a completely co-educational institution, and Oberlin College, some thirty miles from the Mook homestead in Cleveland Heights, became their compromise. Once at Oberlin, Betsy continued the involvement in choral music she had begun in High School, and she soon decided that a major in English best suited the love of the classics she had cultivated with a very literate father and stepmother. She was also quickly noticed as one of the most beautiful young women on campus, and when it emerged that she and the dashing Tom Reed (four-letter athlete and stellar English major in the class just above hers) were seeing each other on a regular basis, it was widely deemed a match worthy of Hollywood.

Tom and Betsy were married on May 17th, 1941, with Tom’s longtime best friend and Camp Pemi compatriot Al Fauver standing as his best man. Tom had begun his graduate studies in Art History at Harvard, but the war led him to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he served on the medical staff in the Induction Center in New York City. Their daughter Penelope was born in August of 1943 – in New Hampshire, Betsy having retreated to her in-laws’ house at Pemi during one of the hottest summers on record. Son Tom Reed, Jr., followed in June of 1947, after which Tom, Sr., took a position on the Art History faculty at Brown University.

Betsy Mook ReedAs their years in Providence unfolded, Betsy’s love of working with children (together with a remarkable talent for woodworking that she had picked up who-knows-where?) led her to jobs, first, at The Gordon School and, then, at Providence Country Day School, teaching what was then quaintly dubbed “Manual Training.” Summers, of course, were spent at Camp Pemi, where in the summer of 1951, Betsy and Scott Withrow were the motive forces behind the first-ever Gilbert and Sullivan production at our camp, HMS Pinafore. The show featured Betsy as Josephine and the future mayor of Indianapolis, Bill Hudnut, at Ralph Rackstraw. She thereafter kept that ball in the air for well over half a century, making Pemi an incalculably richer place as a result.

Betsy’s later involvements in Providence included her taking an apparel design course at the Rhode Island School of Design (to which Tom had moved in the mid 1950’s) and then teaching the same at Providence’s storied Handicraft Club. Her circle of friends and former students in Providence was huge and appreciative, so when she and Tom moved to Oberlin in May of 1989, some of us were worried that she would miss the connectedness involved. Always outgoing and gregarious, though, she and Tom quickly established themselves as dynamic members of Oberlin’s community of cosmopolitan seniors. They continued to love and indulge in European travel, something they had begun with Penelope and Tom, Jr., on Tom, Sr’s year-long sabbatical in 1953-54. It was then, in fact, that Betsy first and indelibly established her capacity to travel with a modestly-sized suitcase yet emerge every day as though Edith Head and a dozen wardrobe assistants had seen to her apparel.

Betsy Mook ReedEffortless grace. That, whether it was apparent or actual, was Betsy’s essence. Her kindness flowed from her soul – instinctually, it seemed. She was willing to tackle absolutely anything and, by the time she had thought about it for a moment or two, her impeccable planning flowed into speedy execution and, thence, into most satisfactory completion. She was beautiful, but in a modest way that never called attention to itself. She sewed, and entertained, and built as though a needle and thread, Amy Vanderbilt’s books on etiquette and cuisine, and a hammer and Skil-saw had been the equipage of her cradle. In another age, she could have been anything. In her own, she was happy and fulfilled attending to the world she found around her – as an adoring but sometimes skeptical wife, a loving yet challenging mother (to hundreds of camp boys as well as Penelope and Tom, Jr.), an inspiring teacher, and a spirited fellow traveler to all who knew her. “Hurricane Betsy,” is what Tom, Jr. liked to call her – “wreaking order wherever she goes.” Order and joy.

A celebration of Betsy’s life will be held some time in the coming year, perhaps in conjunction with Pemi’s 110th Reunion next summer. In the mean time, contributions in her memory may be sent to Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, where Betsy volunteered; The World Wildlife Fund; or The Fred Rittner Pemi Campership Fund.

~ Tom Reed, Jr.

Betsy Mook Reed, May 15, 1917 – June 13, 2016

Pemi's 50th Reunion, 1957

Pemi’s 50th Reunion, 1957

We want to pass along the word that Betsy Reed died Monday afternoon, June 13th, in Carlisle Pennsylvania.  Tom and Dottie were at her side as she made the peaceful crossing. She had just turned 99, “nearly a hundred.” The sadness of the news is tempered by the fact that Betsy had enjoyed a long and wonderful life and was as ready to go as anyone could possibly be. We imagine that Tom Sr. had been looking impatiently at his watch for several years, and Betsy finally closed the books on her busy worldly engagements and went to join him with a ravishing smile on her face. Al Fauver may have been in the vicinity with a pitcher of whiskey sours.


Summertime mother and grandmother to generations of Pemi boys

Summertime mother and grandmother to generations of Pemi boys

We will send out a longer and more detailed account of Betsy’s storied life within the next weeks, together with information about where charitable contributions in her memory might be sent. There will also be a memorial gathering at some future time, most likely at the camp she graced for over seventy years. In the mean time, hers has been a long life filled with, and producing, much joy. It was our supreme good luck to have had Betsy Mook Reed in our world for so many years.



Alfred Nye Fauver, August 15, 1915 – February 13, 2016

Al FauverWe are saddened to share the news that Al Fauver died on February 13, almost 6 months following his 100th birthday. Since passing the century mark, Al’s spirit has remained strong, though his physical decline has been steady, suggesting to his heart and mind that the time had come to move on. Al’s love for Bertha, his family, and Pemi have dominated his thoughts in his final months.

Al and Bertha were fortunate to spend the last several months at their home in Plymouth, rather than at their usual winter retreat in Vero Beach. This was a decision that allowed them to enjoy the peace of fires in the fireplace, a few snowflakes, and time with family and friends in the pastoral place where they have lived and loved for more than 50 years.

We look back on Al’s birthday celebration in August as a time when many had the chance to share thoughts and memories of the past, and to recognize and appreciate the Pemi connection that has enriched so many. Al, son of Pemi founder Edgar Fauver and his wife Alice, had a life-long connection. Pemi was his first home, where he arrived several days after his birth in August of 1915. He was later a camper, counselor, owner since the ‘40s, director from the ‘40s to the ‘80s, and an active board member until the time of his death.

In the ‘50s, Al moved his family to New Hampshire, to be closer to Pemi. Al was known for his kindness, wisdom, leadership by example, and selfless devotion to Pemi. There are many who are better for something Al might have done or said, in the times that their paths crossed on the shores of Lower Baker. The fondness Al felt for so many in the Pemi family is something that gave him strength and nurtured the good will in his heart until the end of his days.

There are no plans for an immediate service; it is expected that a celebration of Al’s life will be set for a later date. The Pemi family will be warmly welcomed to attend.

– The Fauver Family

Cans From Campers: A Community Service Effort

Let’s Start a New “Season of Giving” with Cans From Campers

In June 2015, Camp Pemigewassett launched Cans from Campers, a food drive on the opening day of our season, an initiative in response to a growing interest in community service among our campers. Our focus was timely. We learned through the process that food pantries suffer a significant decline in donations during the summer months since food drives typically are held in November and December, the “season of giving.” Additionally, according to “Summer Shouldn’t Mean Hunger” in November 2015’s US News & World Report opinion section:

During the school year, approximately 22 million kids count on the nutrition they need from school meals. At the close of the school year, access to those meals ends and for far too many kids, summer break means struggling with hunger.

Cans from Campers was simple to implement. A conversation in the spring with the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester helped to identify a local food pantry, and a call to the head volunteer at the location provided us with the information we needed to coordinate our schedule with theirs.

In a pre-season email to our families and staff, Dan Reed and Sarah Fauver, members of the fourth generation of Pemi’s founding families, suggested they add a canned good or non-perishable when they packed camp gear for the coming weeks. As a fun twist to the idea, they also suggested that campers and staff consider bringing a can for every year they’d been at Pemi. (For several campers, that could mean 6, 7, 8, or even 9 items. And for one of our staff members, 46!)

Cans From Campers took place on our opening day in June and again in mid-July when our Second Session boys arrived. After being warmly greeted by Director Danny Kerr and Assistant Director Ken Moore, campers arriving by car came upon Dan and Sarah, who had staged a collection site near the office—a bright yellow kayak—just in case our campers came with a donation in hand. It didn’t take long to see that the food drive idea had been embraced enthusiastically by campers and parents alike. Even boys who came by bus and plane managed to wedge a can of tuna or a box of mac ‘n’ cheese into their luggage. By the end of the day, the kayak “looked like a cross between Noah’s Ark and a polyethylene cornucopia” (to quote that week’s summer newsletter).

Cans From Campers at Pemi

Many boys (and Dads who are alums) brought a can for each year they’d been a camper at Pemi

As the window of time for arrivals came to a close, eager helpers stepped in to count, sort, and organize the soups, cereals, canned vegetables, beans, and rice that filled and surrounded the vessel. Two days later, five campers—selected from 30 who volunteered—hoisted dozens of loaded boxes and bags into a camp van to personally deliver the bounty to the local food pantry during their open hours.

Cans From Campers at Pemi

Pemi campers load the goods into a van via assembly line and deliver them to a local food pantry

After our boys unloaded the goods, Ted, the head food pantry volunteer, gave an informative talk about the services they provide and the 351 families they serve in fourteen surrounding counties. Another volunteer referred to charts on the wall to illustrate how servings are calculated. Two refrigerators and a freezer hummed in the background, ready for the possible donation of soon-to-expire meat and produce—staples needed for a nutritious, balanced diet—from two local grocery stores. We learned that, unfortunately, one such dependable store had recently started to sell these items at deeply discounted prices rather than donate them.


A volunteer at the food pantry gives a talk on the families they serve; a chart illustrates how to calculate servings

By all measurable means, our inaugural food drive was a tremendous success—with our modest camp community of 254 campers (from our two arrival days), plus staff donating over 800 cans and other non-perishables, serving well over 100 local families ranging in size from one to nine members and providing an appreciable contribution to the 3,052 meals served by the food pantry during the month of July.

While our goal was to provide a basic need for those less fortunate in our surrounding area, the opening day endeavor also had an extremely positive impact on our own camp community. A single camper’s simple and kind gesture upon his arrival quickly grew into a visually stunning, cumulative effort, achieved only when many work together. The spirit of generosity and community-mindedness and of respect and empathy in action—a culture that we aim to build each and every summer—was launched in a yellow kayak in the center of camp for all to see and consider.

Pemi boys and food pantry staff

Pemi boys and food pantry staff

When asked about his experience of going to the food pantry, Matthew McDonough, 12, said, “I’ve done food drives before at home (New Jersey) so I know it feels good to help. Mostly I was surprised to hear how many hungry families there are. When I think of New Hampshire, I think of going to camp and how rural it is.”

This coming June we’ll do our part and will host Pemi’s 2nd annual Cans From Campers. But just think; if food pantries regularly see a decline in donations starting in June, and if summer camps are gearing up at exactly that time, imagine the potential impact that summer camps across the country could have in fighting hunger in the rural or urban communities that surround them merely by adopting this simple tradition. After all, every summer camp has an opening day, and camps with multiple sessions have multiple “opening days” throughout the summer. All it takes is the suggestion that campers pack a can of food along with their bathing suit and sunscreen.

To that end, we’ll reach out to other camps in our area to relay our experience…the camps we typically see on the soccer pitch or baseball diamond, or camps that many of our campers’ sisters attend. If they’d like to host their own opening day food drive, perhaps we can coordinate efforts. The NH Food Bank stands ready to serve as a resource for camps that join in.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the idea catches on with summer camps all across the country? Camps could very well be a key player in helping to reduce the spike in summertime hunger experienced in the communities around us all. Perhaps Cans From Campers could even establish a new “season of giving.”

~ Dottie Reed

Cans_From_Campers_KayakLinks to further reading:
Feeding America
No Kid Hungry
NH Food Bank

Find your local food bank:





Alumni Magazine – November Edition

Greetings Alumni and Friends. Here is the second installment of the Pemi Alumni Quarterly! The first edition outlined the 2015 summer, offering an update on Pemi’s facility, enrollment, and an in-depth look at our Senior Division Head. This edition highlights two Pemi Alumni, their memories of camp, and their lives since. Thanks to Jake Sargent (87-96) and Bill Bradford (43-53) for being profiled in this edition.

And finally, Things to Look For…the 3rd Edition slated for winter, will feature Alumni News, so please be in contact with any updates: new job, marriage, family addition, wonderful trip? We’d love to hear and share with the Pemi community.

Jake Sargent, an eight year Pemi veteran, former camper, and counselor lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Ann, and children Janie, Zander, and Nick. Jake is now a senior director for APCO Worldwide focusing his expertise on crisis communication.

Jake demonstrating the proper tennis grip, Pemi catalog worthy!

Jake demonstrating the proper tennis grip; an image worthy of the Pemi brochure!

He started his Pemi career in 1987 as a camper in Lower 5, with Robie Johnson as his counselor. During his camper years, Jake was a mainstay on the tennis courts, baseball diamond, and rifle range, earning letters in those sports all four years. One of his favorite memories as a boy at Pemi was summiting Mt. Osceola with his cabin. Upon finishing the hike, the boys jumped in a nearby stream, which started a love of jumping into bodies of water. Jake is a card-carrying member of the Pemi Polar Bear Club.

In 1989, Bean Soup incorrectly predicted that in 2014, ‘Jake Sargent [is] a dentist in Washington, D.C. He is popular because he is so nice. Patients love to go to the dentist even to get their teeth pulled.’ That same year, similar gracious sentiments were written about Jake, as he won the Senior Divisional Citizenship trophy, with the individualized inscription, ‘Quiet in word, but strong in deed, happy to extend himself to others in help and friendship, a superb camp citizen in every sense of the word.’ Jake won the Founders Citizenship trophy in 1990 as a member of Senior 3.

In 1992, Jake transitioned to being an Assistant Counselor in Junior Camp and immediately found a passion working with the youngest campers. During the school year, Jake studied government at Cornell University and from 1994-1996, held down the fort in Junior 1, demonstrating an uncanny patience and genuine joy working with 7 and 8 year olds. During those years, he won the Joe Campbell Award and served as a Bean Soup editor. It’s obvious that Jake’s years in Junior 1 prepared him well for his role as a

Jake and daughter Janie enjoying time on Senior Beach.

Jake, and daughter Janie, enjoying time on Senior Beach.

crisis communicator, helping companies weather big storms.

When thinking about Pemi, Jake reminisces, “It all began with rest hour. Sunday rest hour meant writing a letter home. Letters home meant thinking and writing with a little exaggeration; thinking and writing with a little exaggeration led to being a Bean Soup editor with Sky Fauver and Zach Rossetti. Thinking and writing with even a little more exaggeration led to speechwriting for Governor Schwarzenegger and after that a member of Congress. From there it was an easy transition to crisis communications.”

“Also,” Jake reflects, “rest time is part of our family weekend routine, which has been invaluable to raising our children and loving them even more. There are times when camp is more present in our lives than others. So take it all in when we are physically there, and then pack up the character, humility, skills, and friendships and take them with us when we’re not.”


Bill Bradford grew up in Rochester, New York, where his father was a pediatrician at the University of Rochester. In 1943, under the recruitment of Doc Win, (Edwin Fauver who served as U of R’s Director of Athletics), Bill attended Pemi and first lived in Lower 4 with Wes Merritt as his counselor. Bill would later enjoy the counseling tutelage of other Pemi legends, including Brad Jones and Joe Campbell. He always did have an eye for talent, as you’ll learn later! Bill enjoyed nature study, baseball, track, riflery, and acting during his camper days, even winning the 1946 Vaudeville Award for Best Actor.

Vivid memories leap to mind for Bill when asked about his camper days. “Of course the business of childhood is fun and these good things are available in abundance at Pemi; the Nature program (who will forget Mr. Dike!), the music and Mr. Waln directing the Pemi Silver Cornet Band, along with the trips up Pemi Hill, to the Rock, Mt. Cube, and Goves Falls, not to mention the Franconia and Presidential ranges. It’s a very rich experience and I was so fortunate to have been there.”

Bill Bradford at Pemi

Wonderful to have Bill and his family visit Pemi during the 2014 summer.

Bill spent his ten summers on the shores of Lower Baker, and even throughout his time at Amherst College, served as a counselor. After Bill’s years at Pemi, he earned his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Bill completed his board training in pediatrics in Boston, and then served as a pediatrician in the US Navy, before returning to Harvard as the Chief Resident in Pathology at the Boston Lying-In and Women’s Free Hospital, now Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 1965, Bill moved to North Carolina to begin his work at Duke University, where he became a professor of Pathology in 1981. His passion for medical education led him to serve as the Director of the Residency Training Program in Pathology, and now in his current role on the executive committee for the Duke School of Medicine Admissions, reading applications and interviewing candidates. During his tenure at Duke, he also served as Faculty Chairman of Athletics, charged in 1979 with the task of hiring a new men’s basketball coach. I’d say Coach K fit the bill!

While at Duke University, Bill served as a volunteer physician at Camp Sea Gull/Seafarer in North Carolina, where in 2011, he celebrated 40 years of service to one of the largest YMCA camps in the country. He is no stranger to the camping world: “Overnight camping is a formative and life changing experience for youth in surroundings of health, safety and strong leadership. Those priceless days in the White Mountains at Pemi fostered enduring appreciation of natural beauty, sharing with others, development of skills, leadership, and confidence. Little did I know that my future would be in education and medicine, the groundwork largely formed by the leadership experience at camp.”

Bill and his wife Anne, have two children and four grandchildren.

Good luck, long life, and joy!

Kenny Moore

Ethan Schafer, November 21, 1975–August 8, 2015

It is with a profound sense of loss that we pass along news that Ethan Schafer died on Saturday August 8, 2015 following a major cardiac event. Ethan, 39, husband to Kelly and father to Andy (6) and Adam (3), was a Pemi camper, counselor, and dedicated alum.

We will write more about Ethan and the wide-reaching, sustaining effect he had on family, friends, colleagues, and the camp world, but here is a glimpse of Ethan’s relationship with Pemi….

Ethan’s first summer at Camp Pemigewassett was as a ten-year old in 1986. He went on to spend six summers as a fully-engaged Pemi camper, exploring all facets of Pemi’s diverse program. In 1991, Bean Soup honored him with the Camper of the Year Award, shared with Danny Kusik. The following was read aloud to the gathered camp community and published in the bound version of the Soup:

This award is going to two Pemi campers. They have both given this camp so much that it seems hard to think of this place without thinking of them. They are both leaders in their division, and are respected for the friendship they give to those in their cabin and all the many others who are around them. Both love camp and realize that it has been an important part of their lives. They have come to camp year after year, where they have settled on the soccer field, baseball diamond, and tennis court. They have won victories that have inspired themselves and others. They have shared loss and been able to bounce back with enthusiasm and energy. In every way, these two campers represent what a true Pemi camper should be. They are the 1991 Pemi kids. 

Ethan with Tyler Casertano, 1998

Ethan with Tyler Casertano, 1998

In 1993, Ethan transitioned to the Pemi staff and quickly became one of Pemi’s best counselors. He spent the majority of his time with the youngest boys, demonstrating an uncanny patience and rapport with youth. In 1996, Ethan was voted by his peers as the winner of the Joe Campbell Award – which bears this text:

Inscribed heron is the name of the Pemi counselor who most fully embodies those qualities which made Joe Campbell one of the best-loved counselors in Pemi history – integrity, generosity, happiness, enthusiasm, modesty, and an unsurpassed ability to give laughter to all those who knew him – qualities by which he contributed immeasurably to the success of every Pemi season of which he was a part.

As a child psychologist, Ethan continued to support and mentor Pemi counselors by leading pre-season staff training workshops. In August of 2015, Ethan was to assume a seat on Camp Pemigewassett’s board of directors.

Calling hours will be from 5-8 pm on Wednesday, August 12 at Billow Funeral Home, located at 85 North Miller Rd. in Fairlawn, Ohio. Ethan’s funeral service will take place at 10 am on Thursday August 13 at Faith Lutheran Church, 2726 West Market St., also in Fairlawn. It will be followed by a private burial service.

Education was of the highest priority to Ethan. His family asks that, in lieu of flowers or similar gifts, friends, family, and anyone else that knew and loved him consider donating to The Schafer Children’s College Fund that has been set up to support Andy and Adam.


We invite you to share your memories of Ethan—whether in short line or detailed story—in the comments section below. For those of you who subscribe to Pemi’s blog and, as such, receive this in your inbox, please visit this post in order to leave a comment. Thank you.


Bean Soup Special Edition

Greetings one and all for a special, limited-release serving of Bean Soup, sponsored by the Pemi Archives, where the discovery of a vintage photograph depicting what must have been a very special event—but for which we have no documentation—inspired us, in true Bean Soup fashion, to forego fact in favor of fabrication. So we asked the Pemi community to create their own back-story, aiming to give reason for such elaborate fanfare. Here, now, are a few inventive responses from some Bean Soup editors of the past. Please feel free to respond in the comments with your own version of the story, and as they say…on with the Soup!

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The pomp and circumstance of the event suggests the honoring of the transported figure wearing a suit. The semi-militaristic uniforms of the counselors and campers gives the scene a feeling of a victory celebration. So after a major inter-camp sporting victory, let’s say that on this day in 1924, Director Dudley Reed is being transported from Lower Baker Pond on up to the mess hall for a coronation of sorts, all the while being serenaded by Pemi-ites singing:
                             “And when the battle’s over, he shall wear a crown
                              He shall wear a crown,
                              He shall wear a crown!
                              And, when the battle’s over, he shall wear a crown
                              In the New Jerusalem!”
—Jack Price

The Direct Dock Procession, or, noissecorP kcoD tceriD ehT

Ah, yes! The lost PEMI tradition of The Direct Dock Procession, forerunner of Backwards Day — both of which have been lost to the sands of time and reasonable water safety standards. During the seasons of 1915 to 1929, one of the directors would be selected to ride on a hoisted litter from the Mess Hall down to the beach where the current Counselor’s Memorial Library stands. Backwards. The procession processed completely backwards, including all walking and music-making. The occasion was accompanied by pomp and fanfare from the Silver Cornet Band and the Sailor’s Sceptre-Making occupation (which, in the year this photo was taken, had only one participant, a barrel-chested 15-and-under named Ulysses S. S. Granthformer). And as you can see from the photo, this year’s procession honoree was Doc Reed.

The Direct Dock Procession began in the 1915 season, after a particularly unintelligible series of announcements from the directors. In order to calm the fury and incredulity of the campers, who felt they had journeyed far enough and paid far too much to be shouted at in gibberish, the Direct Dock Procession was organized to praise the enlightened qualities of “nonsense speech.” During Carnival Week of summer 1915, after a hasty construction of a canopied litter, the Silver Cornet Band was given the task of learning Ippolitov-Ivanov’s, “Procession of the Sardar” in retrograde in a modified wind band arrangement, which of course sounded incredible and not at all cacophonous in any way. The litter-carriers were selected from the Intermediates, and the rifle-bearers were chosen from the Seniors who could successfully fire over their shoulders without burns or whiplash. A flag (obscured in this photo) was painted with the words “TTESSAWEGIMEP PMAC,” and the dock was inspected for load-bearing safety (“It’s probably sturdy enough…”). Once the director was carried backwards to the middle of the dock, the Silver Cornet Band stopped playing at the soonest appropriate downbeat and a 10-gun salute was fired backwards. And then: the director would give a majestic, backwards speech. The rise and fall of the inverse cadence was rousing, and every so often one could make out a single word or short phrase, but it was otherwise complete balderdash, ending with a soft and crisp backwards greeting to the assembled spectators. Finally, the director was carried to the edge of the dock and tipped backwards into Lower Baker Pond, so that, indeed, if recorded on a modern video camera and played back in reverse, he would be seen to emerge mythically from the very depths of the water!

In this photo from the summer of 1924, one of the Fauver twins can be seen waiting in a rowboat (over Granthformer’s right shoulder) ready to assist Doc Reed, should he have needed rescue swimming back to shore in his heavy three-piece tweed suit. Additionally, Doc Reed can be seen covering his nose with his right hand, owing to a low water level and the ensuing rash of dead fish washed ashore. The litter-bearers can also be seen alternately laughing and grimacing from the terrible stench. As a result, Doc Reed spontaneously shortened his speech and hurried his drop into the water with the phrase, “Ydaerla em pmud tsuj!!” to the relief of all. And although the annual Direct Dock Procession has been abandoned, the grand tradition of non-sensical directorial oratory continues even today!

— I.R.A.

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“Our backs hurt!” thought the campers carrying the counselor down the dock. Still, they were all smiling, and the marching band played happy music, because Pemi was celebrating the successful completion of the very first polar bear! Way back in the 1920s, when the world was still in black and white, things at Pemi were still quite prehistoric. Little icebergs and tiny swimming dinosaurs filled Lower Baker Pond. Instead of cabins, everyone lived in caves, and instead of soccer balls and basketballs, athletes had to use big round rocks, which Charlie Malcolm had the hardest time fishing out of the swamp. Instead of butterflies and moths, the Nature Lodge was filled with pinned pterodactyls, and camp director Reilly McCue rode around the grounds on his very own wooly mammoth named Tecumseh.

But we digress. Because the lake was so cold, most people who tried to take a polar bear were flash frozen in cubes of ice, and had to be slowly thawed out by the campfire. But one day, an especially brave counselor proved he could handle the cold. He jumped off the end of the dock, fought off several small dinos, took a quick soap bath, and then jumped back to safety! The campers and counselors traded their animals skins in for more modern clothing, and decided to honor him with a complete honor guard, marching band, and procession up to the mess hall, where the cook threw some dinosaur meat on the grill for Sunday barbecue.

—Rob Verger

Doc Reed returning from the 1922 Country Music Awards, having won Top Honors in the Confessional Pop category for his plaintive lyric, “I Kissed the One-Armed Brakeman — and I Liked It.” The song, part of a musical comedy featuring the summer adventures of a Wentworth milkmaid, has unfortunately been lost to Pemi — the result of an attempt by J.H.Nichols to suppress stories that might scare Junior campers. An early recording by Billie Holiday allegedly survives amidst Camp Tecumseh’s infamous “Blackmail Files.”

—Tom Reed, Jr.

Special Bean Soup patches to the above authors for their renditions, and remember, you can always turn in a Bean Soup article to be included in the printed (and then digitally saved) version. We welcome your version in the comments section!

Kay Withrow Thomson, July 18, 1943–January 16, 2014

Kay Withrow Thomson

Kay Withrow Thomson

It is with a great sense of loss that we pass along word that Kay Withrow Thomson has died.  Kay was a uniquely vibrant member of our summer community from 1978 through 1992, as the wife of Music Director Scott Withrow and the mother of Grant Wilkinson and Nikki Wilkinson Tropeano. Kay’s contributions to the spirit and welfare of Pemi were legion. They were highlighted not only by her stellar vocal performances at Sunday meetings and in our Gilbert and Sullivan operettas but also, just as irreplaceably, by a buoyant, witty, and energetic disposition that brightened the day for everyone she encountered. If the Pemi Kid were to have a grown-up female counterpart – cheerful, tireless, always functioning at top speed, bringing heart, generosity, and commitment to every activity from belting out the camp songs to cheering on the boys out on the soccer pitch – it would be Kay.

Kay’s professional accomplishments are too many to enumerate here, but her resume gives ample testimony that she brought to her “off-seasons” the same dynamism and engagement she brought to her summers with us. Given Pemi’s long and vital association with Oberlin College, it is significant to note that, following Scott Withrow’s death and Kay’s subsequent marriage to Haskell Thomson, Kay joined the Oberlin administration, ultimately serving as Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs. In retirement, Kay and Haskell moved to Massachusetts, but Kay’s lifelong commitment to education and service led to her becoming a founding Trustee of Antioch University New England.

Kay was born in Derby, England, on July 18, 1943. Those of us who are Anglophiles are, among all the things that endeared Kay to us, particularly delighted that she never lost her charming native accent – that or the irrepressible spirit that brought her country through the global conflict she was born into the midst of. She left us on January 16, 2014, after a prolonged illness, at home and surrounded by her family. Memorial contributions are welcome and should be mailed to VNA Hospice, 434 Route 134, Suite D-3, South Dennis, MA 02660 OR memorials to St. Christopher’s Church, 625 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633.

To draw on the words of an old Pemigewassett salute, often alluded to at times such as this, Kay’s battle is over; may she wear her much-deserved crown with all of the dignity, beauty, graciousness, and verve that she brought to every day of her life.

~ Tom Reed, Jr.