BHT Member Memorials – Tom Fenaughty

Tom Fenaughty

Died March 26, 2021

Thomas J. Fenaughty’s love of theatre and music was obvious every moment of his life. Tom joined the Troupe as a Frontstager, and he was briefly active. But he was an ardent supporter and audience member, both of Troupe shows and of other shows that friends were part of. He was very much involved in theatre and performance throughout his many years in New York. Tom was an active member of The Actors Studio and participated in many theatre and concert productions, both amateur and professional.

He had at least three film credits: Anything But Love (2002), Alchimie (2002), and The Kiddush Man (2008).

After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan, and serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, he attended Columbia University, eventually obtaining a Ph.D. He then began a lifetime career as a professor, first at Columbia and subsequently at St. John’s University in New York.

Tom died peacefully at his home in Manhattan on March 26, 2021. He was predeceased by his parents and two sisters, Marian “Tot” Geesman and Joanna Larkin, and a niece Sharon Geesman.

He is survived by two nephews and several grand-nephews and a grand-niece.

— Carol … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Victor Reiling

Victor G. Reiling Jr., 80, of Sarasota FL, passed away peacefully on February 1, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Nancy S. Bushnell. Formerly of Cornwall, Salisbury, and Kent, CT, he and Nancy moved to Sarasota FL in 2008.

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BHT Member Memorials – Henry Cole

Henry Cole

Died October 14, 2020

Henry P. Cole Jr. was a charming, intellectual, talented man, who left an indelible mark on the Blue Hill Troupe and then movedto Alaska, where he literally became a local legend. I knew Henry only through his infrequent visits to New York. From descriptions, I was expecting a god, and Henry came pretty close. Read on.

He lived a full, multifaceted life as an academic, outdoorsman, scientist, hockey player, teacher, singer, and beloved partner and friend. Henry was born in New York City on Sept. 21, 1937. He graduated from Williams College, with a BS in physics, and earned his Master’s in physics from Michigan State. Henry moved to Alaska in 1969 and completed his doctorate in upper atmospheric physics in 1977 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.

Henry was a singer from the time he was a soprano until the end of his life as a baritone. During the ‘60s, not only was he a member of the Troupe, but he also performed in summer stock musical theater up and down the New England coast. In Fairbanks, he helped found Fairbanks Light Opera Theater; he performed in their productions and … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Sarah Vickery Hammett

Sarah Vickery Hammett

Died October 6, 2020

Sarah Vickery Hammett was an active Troupe member from 1955 to 1957. She worked behind-the-scenes in the Backstage costume and props departments. And alongside her many Troupe friends, she also shared her musical talents with the Canterbury Choral Society.

Sarah grew up in Darien, CT, and graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore with a degree in anthropology. She began her post-college career in New York City as an administrator at the Brearley School before moving over to the Rockefeller Center’s personnel department. Her 1957 marriage to the Rev. Robert Lee Hammett soon changed her focus. With her growing family, Sarah followed her husband’s New England postings from Sharon and Middlebury, CT, to Troy, NY, and Needham, MA. At every stop, she became active in the administration of local schools and founded Student Tours Inc., which continues to be run by members of the Hammett family and offers student trips to NYC, Boston, Washington, DC, Colonial Williamsburg, Quebec City, and Montreal.

Sarah also turned her love of needlepoint design, knitting, and quilting into a business called The Skipper’s Wife. Drawn to sports (especially tennis) and the ocean, the family made East Chop on Martha’s … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Dan Bergfeld

Dan Bergfeld

Died September 25, 2020

Dan Bergfeld died at home peacefully in Vero Beach, Florida on September 25, 2020 after a long battle with cancer that he met with faith and courage. The genuine smile that lit up his face reflected his lifelong gratitude for a good life, well lived, with people he loved and who loved him. Dan will be remembered for his warmth, his welcoming smile and white fluffy hair, his kindness and thoughtfulness for others, his wit, and his embodiment of love through the language of music.

Born in Bronxville NY, he lived most of his life in Stamford and New Canaan CT, until he and his wife, Holly, moved to Vero Beach full-time in 2018. He was educated at New Canaan Country School, Milton Academy, and received a BA from Yale College in 1965, where he was a proud 2T with the Whiffenpoofs. He later received his MBA from the Stephens Institute of Technology.

His career in NYC was in management consulting and operations analysis, including for NYC government during Mayor Lindsay’s administration. But his real life passion was music, and his tenor voice gifted choral groups, the Blue Hill Troupe in NYC, Whiffalumni … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Ambrose Carr

Ambrose A. Carr Jr.

Died August 29, 2020

Amby Carr was a gentle man of deep integrity who always had a twinkle in his eye. I first met him when he joined the Troupe for the 1971 Mikado. My husband, Tom, and I cemented our friendship with Amby and his delightful wife, Nancy, over more than 40 years of summers near the ocean in Quogue, LI. Summering in Quogue all his life, Amby eventually became Commodore of the yacht club and then President of the beach club. He was an avid tennis player. In his later years on the courts, I particularly loved his phrase “Age and treachery will beat youth and speed!” He also loved skiing and delighted in teaching friends’ children how to ski.

Born in Brooklyn in 1931, Amby went to the College of Holy Cross and then the NYU Business School. After he and Nancy were married, they moved to Manhasset where they raised their three children, Paula, Margot, and Amby. Both Paula and Margot followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the Troupe. Amby worked for IBM for 33 years, primarily in the area of sales and marketing

Amby was a man of many interests … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – William M. Hannay, III

William M. Hannay, III

Died August 11, 2020

William M. “Bill” Hannay, III, BHT class of 1977, passed away in August 2020 in Sag Harbor, NY, surrounded by his beloved wife, Donna, and their three children, Capron, Blaike, and William. A lifetime G&S devotee, Bill was a member of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society while a student at Georgetown Law. He loved the satire of the plots (especially those with a legal twist!), the quick wit of the dialogue, and the easy-to-get-stuck-in-your-head musicality of every note.

As a new attorney in the Manhattan DA’s office in ’77, Bill sought an outlet for his creative side. With Ron Romaine’s sponsorship, he eagerly auditioned as a Frontstage hopeful. The legendary Troupe musical director Charlie Walker, always with an eye and an ear for talent, spotted Bill’s potential and asked, “So, how are you with a camera and a hammer?” A true thespian to the core, Bill was delighted to join the Backstage crew and spent many happy years supporting the productions he loved—and never missing a good party!

His passion for the theatre continued long after leaving NYC. Settling in Barrington, IL, Bill and Donna raised their family with theatre and music … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Nathan Hull

Nathan Hull

Died August 9, 2020

I heard of Nathan Hull, long before I finally met him. Nathan Lee Hull was a larger-than-life personality whose commitment to the local community opera and operetta scene was staggering. He worked with many wonderful companies and, while his time with Blue Hill was fairly short, he remained a steadfast supporter (you always knew when Nathan was in the house—his booming laughter gave him away!). When Amato Opera closed in 2009, Nathan was determined that something arise from its ashes and founded Amore Opera, which he ran tirelessly for 10 packed and adventurous seasons.

Nathan was a life-long lover of the Gilbert & Sullivan canon and one day noted that, while there were many versions of A Christmas Carol, there were none that featured music from the same era. And so Scrooge and Gilbert and Sullivan was born. I had the joy of performing Scrooge, in his version, in front of him, in 2011. He loved it. It was a true honor when he asked me to revisit the role with Amore some seven years later, and I finally had a chance to work with him and get to know him better. I can … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Sandy Kennedy

A true Renaissance man, Sandy, throughout his life, enjoyed not only being on the stage and attending theatrical and musical performances, but traveling and the outdoors, sailing, hiking, and even roller skating with his children, Anna and Tommy, whom he dearly loved.

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BHT Member Memorials – Dan Brooks

Dan Brooks

Died August 2, 2020

Dan grew up in Chappaqua, NY, and attended Princeton, where he cut his teeth on G&S as the technical director for the Savoyards. He went on to earn degrees in electrical engineering and in law at Stanford. He became a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, working in the New York office and later in Washington, DC, specializing in computer law. He later formed his own business, Computer Law Associates, in Washington after a stint at the SEC.

In the words of his Princeton obituary, “Dan was a lifelong putterer and tinkerer who could build and repair machines from boat engines to motherboards.” These talents fit right in with Blue Hill needs as he began with the team, building sets in the boiler room below Hunter College. He and his wife, soprano Barbara Badertscher Brooks, had joined the Troupe in 1968. His skills and reliability were quickly recognized, and he shared set construction leadership beginning in 1970-1971. Edgar Masters recalls latching on to Dan as the guy who knew what to do backstage, and the guy people listened to, especially while moving the set into Hunter Playhouse. “It was fun working with Dan … Continued

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