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GUSTAV WILLIAM HEDLUND

Born: April 24, 1940
Died: May 14, 2016

Gus Hedlund was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, son of Gustav Arnold Hedlund and Frances Denton Hutcheson Hedlund. His father was a mathematics professor at University of Virginia and in 1948 took a position with the Yale Mathematics Department. The family moved to the Westville section of New Haven where Gus grew up. He graduated from Amity Regional High School in 1958.

At Yale he was a member of Pierson where he competed on its football, volleyball, basketball and crew teams. He admitted in our 50th Reunion Book that "at Yale I should have received an advanced degree in intramural sports as I participated in everything from crew to football to basketball and volleyball." He majored in electrical engineering but also found the time to play in the football band and compete on the freshman track team. He was on scholarship all four years.

After graduation Gus went to work at IBM. In his 50th Reunion essay he described his career: "I became an engineer for one day. They were so impressed with my skills that I was transferred into software and worked on the development of the IBM 360 computer. … I left IBM to work for consulting companies and noticed that many software people were going out and starting their own companies."

Gus then started a company which became an abject failure when he and his partners bid on a project that his employer was also biding on. The result was that he and his colleagues were immediately fired. However, his second attempt with 4 others was a great success. They created a company called Monchik Weber which eventually grew to over 500 employees and created the software systems for every major firm on Wall Street. He said that "the biggest downside was the exceedingly long hours required" and after McGraw Hill bought the company, he left with some other key personnel and created a second company. Subsequently, Gus sold the new firm and then continued to do consulting work until the mid-nineties when he retired.

Gus had volunteered for the Army Reserve and served 6 years. His Army duty exposed him to upstate New York and provided experiences producing a multitude of stories which he delighted to recount in later years, particularly during road trips to watch the Yale hockey team at away games.

After a failed first marriage, Gus met Patricia, another commuter on the platform at Grand Central Station, while waiting for the train. The loquacious workers heading home began to talk. Marriage and babies soon followed, with an old house on a pond in Darien which would became home.

After his retirement, his competitive nature needed outlets, and Gus became a member of the sailboat racing circuit on Long Island Sound with his first boat, custom built in Sweden, "Worthy Brooke," named after his favorite grandfather’s racehorse on the tracks of Long Island. With his crew he participated in all of the important races, including the Vineyard Race, and numerous others where he regularly campaigned his boat. He also sailed the waters from Connecticut to Maine for many years with his family.

Gus found another conduit for his considerable energy with the New Canaan Exchange Club, where he was the Treasurer for close to a decade. What the club members will always remember was his constant presence from late November until the end of December, where he attended to every detail of the Tree Lot, selling Christmas trees to fund the club’s various philanthropies. The Exchange Club, which raises funds to help families in crises and to prevent child abuse, has honored Gus by naming its Christmas House for Gus. The president of the Exchange Club spoke eloquently at the Memorial Service for Gus in tribute to his dedication to the charitable works of the Club.

Gus was a loyal and dedicated member of our class. He served on the Class Council, worked on the 50th Reunion Committee and gave generously in support of the publication of our Reunion Book. He was a loyal supporter of Yale football and hockey. He cheered for the hockey team in ECAC and NCAA competition and was in Pittsburgh to cheer and to celebrate the National Championship in 2013. His presence on the rail at Ingalls is now greatly missed by his fellow railbirds.

In his 60s he came back to a childhood interest in Ham Radio, and met some wonderful new friends, also engineers and inventors, who shared his passion for the hobby. There was never a tradesman or visitor at his home who did not quizzically look up at the sky at the complex web of wires his detailed calculations had devised to reach by radio every corner of the planet Earth. He found great satisfaction in Ham Radio contests and thrived on weekend long, 24 hour a day contests with participants from around the world, winning many trophies.

Gus is survived by his beloved wife Patricia and his children: Brandon of North Carolina, Dirk, and daughter Katharine Louisa Hedlund, both of whom live in Memphis. He was predeceased by his son Gustav Andrew in 2008, a loss which hurt him deeply.

Gus was an enthusiast who became deeply involved with whatever activity or hobby he engaged in. He was competitive and impatient for success. Once he committed to a course, be it Exchange Club charities, Ham Radio, sailing, or Yale hockey, he could not be discouraged or deflected.

Gus died of a heart attack on May 14, 2016, after a year of declining health.

A Memorial Service was held on October 29, 2016, in Darien attended by more than 100 friends and family. His son Brandon delivered a moving eulogy. Daughter Katharine, an accomplished pianist and singer, performed the musical program including a beautiful jazz solo, prelude and postlude for the entranced assemblage in a packed Church.

Mike Kane and your scribe represented our class at the Memorial Service.




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