Guy Webster

Profile Updated: May 18, 2019
I Reside: Pasadena, CA USA
Spouse/Partner: Katie Crown (WWHS '69 classmate)
My Homepage: I don't have one
see Katie's at
Occupation(s): retired
I am not planning to attend the 50th Reunion:

I hope you '69ers have a good time without me!

Where I was born:

South Dakota

An Opening Statement:

Many thanks to John Hoke and others for organizing this site and the reunion.
My No. 1 reason for remembering Whitman fondly: Katie and I met while working on the yearbook.

Those were memorable years. It's hard to sort out how much of the experience was because it was the '60s, how much was from being a teenager, and how much was from being around D.C. and at Whitman in particular, isn't it?

An Opening Statement (Part 2):

I retired in 2018. Katie is still working full time on paintings and sculptures. I spent most of the past two decades working with Mars exploration teams, as newswriter for Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Before that, I was a newspaper reporter in Arizona. In the first few months of retirement, I helped a Democrat oust the only remaining Los Angeles County Republican in U.S. Congress. Another retirement activity is frequent hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains. It's fun to explore my neighboring national forest on foot after years of exploring Mars on a computer screen.

Elementary School:

Ward (in Newton, Mass.)

Jr. High School:


Marital Status:


My Email address:

My Parents:

My folks, Tom & Tupper, died in 2009 and 2017. They left their Bethesda home in 2008 after 45 years there. They moved to the Boston area to be close to my sister, Warnie (WWHS '67), and my brother David, (WWHS '71). Helping to clean out that old house on Woodhaven was a time-machine trip -- all those old letters and papers and pictures.


I started at Reed College after Whitman, but only stayed a year. Took classes at Tufts and Northeastern while working my two years of conscientious-objector alternative service in the Boston area. Finished a degree at the Univ. of Minnesota, in journalism. Added some graduate work in biology while working at the Univ. of Arizona in the early '80s, but no degree. Enjoyed a mid-career science writing program at MIT for 10 months in the late '80s.

Professional Achievement(s):

I had the good fortune to work with the people who run NASA's missions to Mars while I was a newswriter for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Before coming to JPL, I was a reporter for daily newspapers in Arizona for 15 years. Earlier, I was a writer for the agricultural extension service at the Univ. of Arizona, traveling plenty around that beautiful state. In the mid-70s, I worked for a little weekly paper in Nebraska for two years.

My Biggest Disappointment(s):

Presidential elections in 2000, 2004 and 2012, and the dire consequences.

Three words to describe myself in 1969?

lucky, lucky, lucky

A Walt Whitman Story:

What a big class we had! When I got the 30th reunion booklet that Susan Sharp did such a nice job putting together, I realized that the year before I had voted for a high school classmate, Eric Ehst, for U.S. Congress without remembering that he had been a classmate. I thought his name was familiar from Phoenix activities, not recognizing that it was familiar from much earlier and the other side of the country. Eric was brave to run in that heavily-GOP district.

My Favorite Teacher(s):

Mary Jo Walz and Richard Abell came to our wedding. Lois Croft, Richard Crowley and Nancy Hoon also taught me life lessons that stuck. I never thanked Jim Higgins for lessons about the importance of labor unions. Please buy a union-made car if you're going to buy a car. And I never thanked Regis Boyle for lessons in how to write a tight news story. Scratch out those adjectives.

What was my BEST moment at Whitman:

Among 'em I would count the day we collated those hundreds of EFFE class catalogs. It was really going to happen and it seemed so experimental and so free-form. Thanks, Lance! Daryl Shaw went out on a limb for us, and scores of students volunteered many hours to show innovation could work. Another: hearing friends' reactions to distribution of "Marshmallow News," alternative rag to "Black & White." Thanks, Bruce!

Family members who attended Whitman:

My sister, Warnie, class of '67, is a retired psychiatrist living in Acton, Mass.
My brother, David, class of '71, retired in 2018 from a management role with the Environmental Protection Agency, cleaning New England's waters. He lives in Belmont, Mass., married to Lynn Dyer, who also went to Whitman, and they have a beautiful baby granddaughter.

My Interests:

Some of us had a jug band during Whitman years (thanks, Peter; thanks, Trench; thanks, Donna), inspired mainly by the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Katie and I got to hear Kweskin in a coffeehouse concert in Altadena recently. See what I mean about being lucky? I'm spending more time with music since retirement than I had in the past three or four decades. Never would have anticipated back in the 60s that you could watch Django Reinhardt play guitar any time you want, by looking on YouTube.

My Favorite Hero(s):

I met a gentle fellow in Arizona, Rick Seegmiller, who lost his life doing field research to improve habitat for threatened wildlife.

My Favorite Book(s):

A couple I'd recommend are each a stew of science, arts, adventure and history: "Passage to Cosmos," by Laura Walls, and "River of Shadows," by Rebecca Solnit.

My Favorite Movie(s):

Recently saw "Double Indemnity" again. Wow. Right up there with "Postman Always Rings Twice." If you like John Garfield movies, too, check out "We Were Strangers" for a strange one set in Cuba.

My Favorite Musicals:

How can you top duets by Crystal Gayle and Tom Waits in "One From the Heart"?

My Favorite Smell:

creosotebush after desert rain

My Health:

It'd be a jinx to say anything.

I am a Veteran:


I was a Hippie:


About My Wife:

Katie Crown, whom I met in the Whitman yearbook room, still creates amazing paintings and sculptures. She graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Tufts University. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in a dozen states and Washington, D.C. She plays dobro. She's a cancer survivor who exercises every day.

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