Yale University

In Memoriam

Andre de Havenon

Andy de Havenon
1964 graduation


New York Times
December 3, 2000

de HAVENON―Andre Victor, 58, on November 20 in New York City. Mr de Havenon, a clinical psychologist, was the son of the late Gaston de Havenon and Carol Brewster of Baltimore. Mr. de Havenon graduated from Yale in 1964 and obtained a Master's Degree from New York University. He lived in Europe for many years where he was a writer for Radio Luxem­bourg. He then returned to New York, married Susan Beeson, a photo stylist and interior designer. They had one child, Victor. They resided in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan and spent their summers in East Hampton where they were members of the Devon Yacht Club. He was an avid golfer and a superb angler whose knowledge of sports was encyclopedic. He is survived by his wife Susan Beeson de Havenon, their son Victor William Helme de Havenon, his mother Carol Brewster, his sisters: Rebecca Kapell Leigh and Sarah de Havenon Fowler; his brothers Michael de Havenon, Alex de Havenon, Daniel Brewster, Gerry Brewster and David Kapell. Mr de Havenon was a brilliant and compassionate man who lived an interesting life. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. A Memorial Service will be held at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South at noon, Saturday, December 16. Memorial contributions to the American Heart Association, 122 East 42 St. NYC 10168, would be appreciated.

Remembrance of Andy de Havenon at our 40th Reunion

by Gary Saxonhouse

Our classmate Andy de Havenon died of a heart attack on November 20, 2000. For those of us who remember Andy from the long-ago days when we were undergraduates, it is hard to think of him other than as an extraordinarily interesting individual.

Andy's early childhood was spent in Greenwich Village where his father, a Tunisian-born perfumier, was a friend and early patron of many of the Abstract Expressionists who were coming of age in New York during the 1940s. Andy's parents divorced when he was still quite young, and in the early 1950s Andy's mom married a prominent Maryland politician who was soon to be a US Congressman and later a US Senator. In this way, with a stop or so in between, Andy came to be transported from artsy Washington Square to a 450-acre estate in Maryland's horse country.

Whether because of these diverse experiences, or because it was hard-wired into him at birth, the Andy I remember had a sense of detachment. At the same time, when aroused, he could make savage fun of most everything he saw around him at Yale. That is, everything save what was connected with the literature he admired, and most particularly what was connected with the novella he seemed to be slaving over during those years.

During the time I had day-to-day contact with Andy I was something of a self-styled civil-rights and peace activist. Andy took it upon himself to tease me about this relentlessly. Even now I can see his impish grin and his blue eyes shining as he attempted to work me over. Andy challenged me not because he disagreed with anything I was trying to do ― that was certainly clear to me ― but rather because he thought I would be more effective if I took myself less seriously and had a greater sense of humor concerning what I was about. Beneath the iconoclasm and the literary poses, Andy was a thoughtful and, I must say, a sweet person who wanted the best for his friends.

After Yale, Andy spent many years rather exotically as an expatriate in Paris and Portugal. Not long before our 25th Reunion he returned to this country and, to the surprise of at least some of us, enrolled at NYU's Graduate School of Social Work.

About a dozen years ago, Andy, accomplished yachtsman that he was, finally found his safe harbor. With about five minutes forethought but, as it turns out, with considerable wisdom, Andy clad in shorts and a tee-shirt married a likewise-attired Susan Beeson. The marriage brought Andy happiness and, when he was 56 and Susan just ten years younger, a miracle baby boy.

Andy took great pride in his improbable fatherhood. Unfortunately, he did not live to see his son Victor's second birthday. How sad it is that Andy is not here with us today to show off his look-alike son as so many of us have done with our own kids at reunions now already long past. Thinking of the Andy of forty years ago, it would have been quite a sight.