'TIS THE SEASON
Winter is coming, and unfortunately the COVID-19 cases are surging. This year’s holiday season may be one of the most challenging in many years. Along with the shortened days and colder temperatures, we must choose between the normal seasonal festivities with family and friends and our health and safety. The 14 West Hamilton Street Club will not be having its usual in-person holiday gatherings, but it will continue to provide members and guests opportunities to interact remotely. Volunteers have put together a robust schedule of Zoom lunches and events. Participating in a lunch or a book discussion is one way to brighten your day. During this season of darkness and time of disease, the Club offers all of us the possibility of fellowship and a spirit-lifting experience.
ANNUAL STAFF HOLIDAY FUND
Without our dedicated and hard-working staff, our Club could not operate. To show our appreciation for their hard work in this difficult year, the Club’s Board hopes that you will contribute generously to this year’s Holiday Fund for the 14 West Hamilton Street Club staff. The staff has literally permitted the club to stay operational through the success of the curbside carry out program. We have been served, kept solvent and kept safe.
You may contribute by adding your Holiday Fund contribution to your monthly payment. Please enclose a note to ensure the amount you’re giving will be allocated properly. Your support is much appreciated.
SENATOR PAUL SARBANES (1933-2020)
Long time 14 West Hamilton Street Club member and dear friend and colleague of many of our members, Senator Paul Sarbanes, died this past Sunday. We have attached here a link to the obituary that appeared in the Baltimore Sunpaper.
CHARLOTTE RUSS BENTON (1923-2020)
At the age of 97, Charlotte Russ Benton died peacefully in her sleep, from natural causes, on November 30, 2020, in Baltimore, Maryland. Born in Rock Island, Illinois on August 16, 1923, Charlotte was the daughter of a machinist and a homemaker and the third of four children.
From an early age, she quietly challenged prevailing gender and class expectations. She excelled at science and math, played the violin, and taught herself tennis out of a book. After attending nearby Augustana College for two years, Charlotte transferred to the University of Chicago to complete her Bachelor of Science degree. Even more exceptionally for her generation, Charlotte pursued graduate studies in the new field of meteorology, earning a master’s degree at the University of Chicago.
The University of Chicago was home to the “Chicago School,” founded and led by the Norwegian meteorologist Carl-Gustaf Rossby, a prominent advocate for the new academic discipline in the Unites States. Throughout World War II, the university was a center of ground-breaking research in meteorology. Charlotte worked with other meteorologists gathering data from weather stations around the Chicago area (at that time, before satellites, forecasters relied on field observations and data from weather balloons).
Charlotte was one of only three women to complete the university’s Institute of Meteorology forecasting course in 1944, graduating alongside 309 male air force cadets and naval ensigns. She later became an instructor in a program that trained military forecasters bound for the European and Pacific fronts. By condensing a two-year course of study into nine months, the university managed to offer seven training courses for military cadets between 1941 and 1945. Charlotte Benton was part of this historic effort.
At the University of Chicago, Charlotte met another Rossby student, meteorologist Dr. George Benton, and the couple married on June 21, 1945. They moved to Baltimore in 1948, when George joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University. The couple started a family, eventually raising four children.
In Baltimore, Charlotte became an active member of the Johns Hopkins community. She was devoted to the Friends of the Johns Hopkins University Library and served for one year as its president, and she worked for many years as a docent on the historic Hopkins properties Homewood House and Evergreen House. She was a regular at academic lectures and graduation ceremonies, especially during the years that George served as dean of arts and science and vice-president of the Homewood division.
Charlotte maintained active ties to the meteorology community throughout her life. She traveled extensively with George as he took up took up prominent roles in the field as president of the World Meteorological Organization, Associate Director of NOAA in the Carter Administration, and head of U.S. scientific delegations to the Soviet Union and China (even before normalization of relations between the United States and China). Charlotte went to China several times as part of American-Chinese scientific exchanges George organized when he was at NOAA, and she taught English to Chinese meteorologists during a six-month stint in Beijing and Nanjing in 1983.
Many of the couple’s closest friends were meteorologists, and they regularly attended annual meetings of the American Meteorological Society together. When George died in 1999, Charlotte moved to Roland Park Place in Baltimore. She continued traveling to places as far away as Antarctica and Australia, and until recently revisited at least one favorite city in Europe each year. She was adventurous—she went paragliding at the age of 87 in the Cayman Islands—and athletic.
Outgoing and sociable, she cultivated a distinctive personal style and was always ready for a party. She will be remembered as a loving mother and grandmother, a gifted conversationalist, avid museum goer, scientist, dedicated student of languages (over the years, she took classes and belonged to groups to practice her French, Italian and Chinese), and lover of reading and books (for many years she was a member of three local book groups simultaneously). Charlotte is survived by her four children, Sandra Benton Solomon (Nashville), Barbara Benton Hill (Baltimore), Jeffrey Benton (Boulder), and Lauren Benton (New Haven), six grandchildren (Gregory, Douglas, Bradley, Elizabeth, Victoria, and Gabriela), four great grandchildren, and her brother Jerald Russ (San Clemente, CA).
There will be no funeral service because of Covid-19; memorial gatherings are postponed.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts in memory of Charlotte Benton be directed to support Special Collections at the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries. People may contribute online or send a check (payable to The Sheridan Libraries) to: The Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21210 with a note indicating that the gift is in honor of Charlotte Benton.
The best way to keep abreast of scheduled lunches and events is to read the “just in time” emails and alerts that Chef/Manager Charlotte sends to all members. They provide all the details you need to know about up upcoming events.
An email with "Next Week..." in the subject line is sent every Friday. “This Week & More..." is sent every Monday.
Both emails give the detailed schedule for the week ahead of the Noon Zoom lunches with hosts. Noon Zoom lunches with hosts begin at 12:30 p.m. on every Tuesday through Friday as long as no other event is scheduled for that day. Both emails also contain detailed descriptions for the upcoming week’s Speaker and Special events. The "More" in the Monday email refers to sections on "Future Zoom Speaker Events" and "Future Special Events" that are scheduled beyond the coming week.
In addition to the above two weekly emails, there are: "REMINDER" or "TODAY" or "TONIGHT" emails that are sent early on the day of the event.
We urge you to open these emails and benefit from this service! Even if you cannot attend the event, you can enjoy the detailed information, especially the speaker events, beginning the Friday before the week of the event. Charlotte works very hard to make it easy for you to be fully informed and reminded about our upcoming events.
VOLUNTEER TO BE A ZOOM HOST
For our Zoom meetings and events to be successful, the club needs volunteers to make sure the Zoom software system works well. We can give you whatever training you need. The more Zoom hosts we have, the more events we can offer during these times of social distancing. In addition, the Club should not be dependent on one or two people. A collection of trained Zoom hosts means there is less of a burden on the current hosts and the Club is less vulnerable to our current three elderly hosts becoming incapacitated.
Sam Hopkins has been Zoom hosting almost all the Speaker events since April 1, with help from Mike Franch, who has hosted most of his own lunches both as Zoom host and social host. Sam and Mike can train you. And Jim Ulmer has just completed training and his first job as Zoom host. If you are interested and need more details, please contact Sam Hopkins at 410-935-8540.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
January 7 (Thursday) 12:30 p.m.
Book Discussion Lunch
“Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” by Anne Tyler. Published in 1982, the novel was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Set in Baltimore, the book follows the lives of three siblings: Cody, Ezra, and Jenny, and explores their experiences and recollections of growing up with their mother, Pearl, after the family is deserted by their father, Beck. The novel examines how siblings may share the same events yet experience them differently.
Be safe. Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Have a wonderful holiday!