Profiles

An interview with one of Peddie's oldest alumni

We recently caught up with class secretary and reunion volunteer Ken Seyffer ’39, who lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts with his 15-year-old cat, Max. The former VP of Shawmut Bank was married to his wife, Lolita, for 72 years before she passed away in 2016. Seyffer has four daughters and is a great-grandfather.

At 98 years old, Seyffer is one of Peddie’s oldest living alumni. But age hasn’t stopped him from being active in his community (he sits on a few committees and boards). Or giving up his dream of joining the Yankees.

Q: What motivated you to serve as a reunion volunteer and class secretary?

A: Simple — I wanted to be a part of the action. I am the class secretary for Colgate University’s Class of ’43. There are 12 of us left out of 224. So I thought I would test Peddie. There are only two of us left (that we know of) out of the entire class: Duyane Hoffman and me.

Ken Seyffer '39 Peddie yearbook

This photo Ken Seyffer ’39 is from the 1939 Peddie yearbook.

Q: What do you remember about your time at Peddie?

A: Larry Kelly ’33 (the first Heisman Trophy winner) was my floor supervisor. I remember trying to analyze the poem “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth. I had great trouble.

Q: What’s it like living with your cat, Max?

A: Max is my best friend. For years I have been trying to teach him to speak. He is fed, has his litterbox, sleeps on his bed in the guest room … why should he learn to talk when he gets all of this for nothing?

Q: You are an avid reader of biographies. What have you read recently?

A: I am currently reading “Patton: A Genius for War” by Carlo D’Este. I was in the 76th Infantry Division in his Third Army. We never met.

Q: You want to be on the Yankees?

A: I believe I have the speed on the base paths with my walker. But Max disagrees, and I have yet to hear from them. I guess they don’t want to meet my large salary request.