Jim Mac Pherson
... written by Jim on 4/18/09:
Joe Struble (a childhood friend with whom I keep in contact) led me to the website.
I was unaware that Dan Oberst had died and even more shocked to see that Gail Infande had died of ALS. The list of deaths seems long, but probably not unusual for a 60+ crowd. Also seeing Dan O’Connell’s name brought back a vivid college memory. We had both pledged for a fraternity at MCC. After a nasty hazing, we both got in but Dan came up to me and said he was quitting because none of the black students who applied (6-8) were admitted. Dumb me, I never noticed. I quit as well and thank Dan for raising my prejudice sensibilities. He was a great guy.
I was even more surprised that you found pics and info on me. I started working at the Red Cross blood center during college and never looked back. ABC, which I’ve headed since 1986, is actually larger than Red Cross these days. No plans to retire. I love what I’m doing; very rewarding. I’ve also been a Quaker since about 1969 and recently completed being the head of my Meeting, the largest (1200) in the U.S. Talk about very rewarding!
I have three children, Aaron, a film editor in Buffalo, Nathan, graduated from Kettering U with an auto engineering major and my baby Julia, U MD. Jeanne, my second wife, and I have been married for 26 years.
... written by Jim in September, 2009:
Thank you for forwarding Mary’s very nice message. Her story and feelings of coming to your website (Joe Struble told me about it when he relayed Gail Infande’s death) are similar to mine. It feels a bit like coming home after a lifetime of experiences. We not only shared four extrodinary years together, but most of us also had a shared experience of growing up in Rochester. Smugtown USA! Everyting from Seebreeze and Don & Bob’s to the constant opening and closing of Charlotte beach (whose “mispronunciation” gave fits to Mark Twain). We remember Sibley’s walk through wonderland at Christmas (and their fosted fugies and going with Grandma for lunch in the tre chic Tower Restaurant), the opening (and closing) of Mid-Town Mall with the silly/fascinating clock, and Edward’s shockingly closing only to open for a year or so at Oktoberfest time.
The winding road (with many great alcoves for necking and petting) from BKHS through Durand Eastman Park (and its wonderful wild animal zoo closed too soon) to the beach. The frequent opening and closing of the beach at Durand Eastman Park. Sailing on Irondequoit Bay (and docking at Glen Edith for lunch).
We remember the shock of the strangely cold PA announcement telling us from the office that JFK was shot and shortly after, dead. We left early rushing home to make sense of it, only to be baffled by the shooting of his assassin.
Golden Point hamburgers at 10¢ each—what a treat! (presuming you could find the quarter-sized meat patty). The winning football seasons. The rumors when one of our early coaches (“if it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t hurt”) and one of our early chaplins suddenly disappeared. The Great Blackout of 1965 (Martha Mary Proud drove me home through the bizaare darkness—don’t know if my heart was pounding because of that spectable or that I was sitting next to the lovely Miss Proud. The 1964 race riots and National Guard troops at my streetcorner.
The unbelieveable blizzard of January 1966 (and walking by unbelievable walls of snow to visit GF Debbie on Thomas Avenue. Affable bachelor Rochester Mayor Steve May, who lived on Prince Street in what was the odd remains of a mansion library that burned down years before.
Massive polio vaccinations in 1956—and some friends who weren’t so lucky. (I remember standing in line for hours at the downtown Armory amid thousands of screaming kids and worried but hopeful parents. The re-used needles were dull and hurt like bloody hell.)
We have also shared the same history for over 60 years, and vividly remember the fights over Medicare (“socialist medicine”), the civil rights legislation, and the failed Equal Rights Amendment. There was MLK, Chappaquiddick and RFK barnstorming through Rochester again and again in his first Senate election. Both Richard Nixon and JFK could be seen coming out of the Manger Hotel (with its elegant Purple Tree Lounge) during the 1960 election. The Rascals (nee Young Rascals) emerged from my neighbor, Gene Cornish.
So much has changed.
And so much is the same.
Our external life experiences through the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are comfortingly parallel. When they talk of Woodstock, few of us were there, but we lived it nevertheless. Our generation was shocked by the deaths of Janice, Jimi and later John Lennon. On 9/11, we remembered when the amazing towers were built and watched their collapse as if in a dream; our own foundations seemed to be crumbling.
I remember listening to the emergence of Michael Jackson as a powerful singer among his brothers as I sat with Joe Ruffino at his father’s pizza shop on Portland Avenue, only to many years later be shocked by Joe's death from AIDS. That epidemic took many friends I remember from my days living on Park Avenue in the late 1970s (and watching the classics from the 30s and 40s on the big screen at the nearby Dryden). Charlie’s Frog Pond is still there!
Ted Kennedy’s passing seems very personal and, whatever your politics, leaves a bit of a hole.
Many of us also wondered: Did Sister Alena wind up leaving the convent? Did Brothers Barwin and Tracey really spontaneously combust? What’s on our “personal record” that Mrs. Sullivan guarded so closely? Did Brothers Leavy and Heathwood have the good lives we hoped they would? Did Sister Marcian and Mr. Zicari really know how much we appreciated them? (Did I really read Animal Farm in 19 minutes?) Did Nurse Sullivan recognize the anxiety she soothed - our own personal Xanax - when the dog ate our homework?
And my mother dying at Kirkhaven on Alexander Street (next to the ghostly Genesee Hospital with memories of the nearby Rio Bamba) in 04 on a beautiful crisp and sunny fall day that said to me: Rochester!, Macintosh apples and “trick or treat”. She was ready to go; I was not ready to lose her.
I suspect as we move through our seventh and then eight decades, what Greg (the baby of our group) has started may have increasing meaning for us. So thank you for being there.
Hope to see you all in the not too distant future.
... written by Jim, Jan 2, 2015
I retired as CEO of ABC last year. I'm doing a little consulting but mostly volunteer work for my church, the church's K-12 school and for a developmental NGO that does healthcare work in the Americas and Eastern Europe. It's all on my Linked-In profile.
I've recently taken up writing short stories (contemporary fiction), which had always been my plan upon retiring. I'm enjoying it so far and am taking several classes.
... from his former company's website:
"Mr. MacPherson served as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of America's Blood Centers, the nation's largest provider of blood products and services. Previously, he was the director of hemapheresis, regulatory affairs and operations research for the American Red Cross Blood Services headquarters in Washington, DC. Before that he directed the research and special transfusion support units at the Rochester (NY) Red Cross.
Mr. MacPherson received a master's in cellular physiology from the George Washington University and a master's in pathophysiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Mr. MacPherson has written and presented scores of papers in the field of transfusion medicine, and authored and/or edited several books on the subject. He currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife and three children."