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My first impression of him was "upright and courtly". He was warmly courteous as we first got acquainted and always made me feel welcome. His pleasure at our marriage spoke volumes of his love for my husband and his regard for me, and I never stopped considering that a high honor.
His courtesy and welcoming manner, though, didn't stop him from putting me to mild tests. His wit was quick and sharp, always challenging his conversational partners to keep up. He probed to find out whether I could hold my own; when he decided I could, it was "off to the races". I could never be bored or mentally lazy in his presence. I suspect the same might have been true for the family as they were growing up -- in how many families would it become an annual tradition to read the Christmas story aloud in Greek?
He may have experienced a connection with me because I was the only person in the family who had, like himself, been widowed. Although he was not inclined to speak about feelings (I am probably significantly understating that), he would occasionally create opportunities to refer to our mutual understanding of losing a beloved spouse. Though he never spoke of emotion, if tears came to his eyes at those times, he made no effort to hide them or shift the topic to something more comfortable.
He was someone whose salient characteristics were so clearly defined that even a brief mention will bring vivid images to mind. A watch chain and Phi Beta Kappa key will always evoke thoughts of him, even though I never saw him in his suit-vest-and-chain workday wear and only have stories from my husband to go on. He was . . . cheese and cocktails before dinner, Scientific American and New York Times Magazine, a sensible car, precise syntax, the roast carver at the head of the table, summer on Cape Cod, gallantry, respect for tradition, and (in tribute to his wife) a Woman Voter.
He decided at age 10 that the key to life was found in Science, settling on his operating principles and life direction at an extraordinarily early age, and he never wavered. I've probably never met anyone to whom the word "waffler" was less suited.
I am grateful to him and fortunate to have known him.