Six members of the Class of 1948 pose for a group photo. Front row (from left): Steven Stadler, Natalie Basso Ryan, Ray Goldberg. Back row: Sayre Phillips Sheldon, Eleanor “Buster” Foley Glimp, and Henry Lee.

Photos by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Catching up with the Class of ’48

A vigorous vision for life after 90

5 min read

After the Class of 1948’s 70th reunion in May, the Gazette took a closer look at six of its members and found a group committed to living to the fullest as they age into their 90s.

Take Steven Stadler, who got married last year at age 91 and still travels abroad annually. Or Sayre Phillips Sheldon, who recently celebrated her 92nd birthday in the pool with her aquatics class and is politically active. There’s Henry Lee, who compiled the class’s 70th Anniversary Report, recently marked his 72nd wedding anniversary, and oversees upkeep of the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial in downtown Boston.

Eleanor “Buster” Foley Glimp, widow of former Harvard dean Fred Glimp, paints in two-hour sessions in her kitchen/studio without pausing to sit, and reads the entire Boston Globe and New York Times each morning. Her best friend, Natalie Basso Ryan, regularly walks to the Harvard Art Museums and the Cambridge Library, despite breaking her leg a while back. At 92, Ray Goldberg just published his new book on food globalization, and this month he teaches a seminar at Harvard Kennedy School.

Ray Goldberg — organizer and chairman of his class’ 70th reunion — poses in his Cambridge residence. “My dearest wife, Thelma, finally lost her battle with the Lewy body disease in 2015. Our almost 60 years together became a lifelong honeymoon. I will never forget the life we had together.”

Ray Goldberg works out at a fitness center near his home in Harvard Square. The George M. Moffett Professor of Agriculture and Business Emeritus, who is also a member of the Harvard Business School Class of 1950, hits the gym every morning at 6 before heading to his HBS office.

Ray Goldberg walks along the Charles River with close friend Joan Gordon. Stressing the importance of relationships, he said his three children call him every day and that he keeps in touch with several of his late wife’s friends.
Natalie Basso Ryan poses with family photos in her Cambridge apartment.

Natalie Basso Ryan with classmate Eleanor “Buster” Foley Glimp. “I met Buster at Radcliffe, and we’ve been best friends ever since,” Ryan said. “We went to Europe together right after we graduated with two of our classmates, for two months. In 1948 women didn’t travel by themselves like that. We had one heck of a time!”

Natalie Basso Ryan and Eleanor “Buster” Foley Glimp sing “Auld Lang Syne” in Glimp’s Cambridge condo. The two have spent 46 New Year’s Eves together, along with their husbands and a handful of close friends.

Eleanor “Buster” Foley Glimp paints watercolors in her kitchen studio. “I got tired of my landscapes, and started doing people, and then later, nudes,” she said. “I gave a nude to my daughter. When I went to visit, I found it hanging behind a door, unseen. I said, ‘What’s it doing here?’ She said, ‘I can’t have it out in the open, where the kids will see it!’”

Steven Stadler of Cambridge said he and his wife travel a great deal. “We’re about to go on a two-week cruise down the Rhine, from Amsterdam to Basel.”

“I lived with my wife Ingrid for 65 years. She died in 2015. I remarried in May 2017 to Virginia Roth,” Steven Stadler said. “Like a lot of my classmates, I was only at Harvard for my freshman year before joining the Navy to fight in the war. When I returned, we had classes with Radcliffe women.”

“We were the first class at Radcliffe to have classes with Harvard men,” said Sayre Phillips Sheldon at her home in Cambridge. “But we had to wait until all the Harvard men took their seats first, then we could take ours.”

“I’m an activist,” Sayre Phillips Sheldon said. “I joined the League of Women Voters as a young mother when I was a grad student at B.U. I had four kids at the time. I was an assistant professor of literature, and taught women’s studies. I took part in the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Montgomery. We demonstrated against the Vietnam War.”

Sayre Phillips Sheldon celebrated her 92nd birthday in an aquatics exercise class at the Cambridge YMCA, where she goes three times a week. “I do aerobics, balance exercises, yoga, and I swim. If you take care of yourself and stay healthy, it’s a great time to be alive.”
Henry Lee and his wife, Joan, live in Beacon Hill. “In September Joan and I celebrated 72 years of marriage, a pretty fair run. I got married at 20!” he said.

“One of the things Harvard gave us was an intellectual curiosity,” said Henry Lee. “A number of my classmates have said they are glad they retired, so now they can finally write poetry, compose music, follow their real interests. One of the values of a Harvard education is remembering that art education course you took, so now you can go to galleries and make use of that knowledge.”

Henry Lee at the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial near the State House. “My great-grandfather, a colonel in the Army also named Henry Lee, was part of a three-man committee that presented the memorial to the city of Boston in 1897.”
Members of the Class of 1948 bid farewell. Front row (from left): Steven Stadler, Natalie Basso Ryan, Ray Goldberg. Back row: Sayre Phillips Sheldon, Eleanor “Buster” Foley Glimp, and Henry Lee.