In 1969, my father took these pictures of Choate Headmaster Seymour St. John. The New York Times outlined his professional life and context in their obituary.
I showed these pictures to a handful of old and close friends who knew him well. I have sprinkled some of their more personal comments to me throughout.
The big question is always, "what is a good life?" If the answer is "having a deep and profound positive impact on people," I would say that Seymour St. John led a good life.
"As you know, he was my cousin and he was the most charming man.”
"Seymour had an ice skating party every winter and would ask me to skate with him. I can't tell you what that was like."
"I loved Seymour and his Springer Spaniel. Later he had a pet otter who followed him around. The otter would periodically go missing as the instrument of many a Choate boys' pranks."
"Gram and Seymour's mother were great friends. Gram called Seymour her 'naughty little boy'. He would climb up into the bell tower and ring the bells attempting to play Johnny Get Your Gun and wake her sleeping babies.... Gram's house is now part of the campus."
"One of my biggest regrets in my life was turning down his offer to dance..."
"His birthday was the same as Dad's and they grew up together there on the Choate campus. His father had been headmaster before him. Seymour married us in the Choate Chapel. Your dad caught Seymour perfectly. He looked like that ALL of the time."