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Hopkins Grammar School
The Class of 1965



John P. Mordes

John's Graduation Photo John Mordes entered the Third Form from St. Francis School in Fair Haven. He went to Harvard College where he majored in social relations and secured a fellowship to study for a year in France. The draft board demurred, however, and he went instead to Harvard Medical School. After internship and a residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, he went a little west to became a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.


  There his work is dedicated to understanding the pathogenesis of juvenile diabetes and finding a cure. He teaches and has a small clinical practice, but spends most of his time in research related activities. Most of his publications make for pretty dry reading, but you can learn a little about what he has been up to by clicking here to see a news story from the American Diabetes Association from June, 2006.
He and colleagues also published an online book for people with diabetes on the web: The Healing Handbook for Persons with Diabetes. He's also published the Spanish translation.
In 1971 he married Dr. Regina "Sunny" Yando who has successfully extracted him from the lab on a regular basis to tour the world.

This photo shows John and Sunny on the summit (21,400 ft.) of Mt. Mera in the Himalaya in 1982 (Everest is in the background).


Together they have been to North and East Africa, Indonesia, much of Central and South America, the Himalaya, Papua New Guinea, an Algerian caravan, China when it opened in 1984, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and, most recently, Namibia (1995), Antarctica (1996), and Botswana (1997). Click here (soon)  for a little photo album of one classmate's travels after HGS.

For reasons not consistent with sanity, but solidly grounded in fear, he has run 11 marathons. By 2006, however, he has achieved marathon retirement.

They recently celebrated their 25th anniversary and on a cliff in Malibu in 1996.
Dr. John was elected president of the HGS class of '65 at the 30th reunion and is slowly getting used to the job.

Dr. John is at the left standing, in this photo from our 39th mini-reunion in February 2004.
In 2005, after looking back over the opportunities that HGS had opened up to a kid from Fair Haven, Dr. John thought it would be a good thing to try to help others have a similar chance.

So he has established a scholarship fund in the name of his parents, John, Sr. and Elizabeth.

On December 1, 2005, the school hosted a luncheon in their honor. Both were 88 at the time. Click here to see an album of that event.

 Mordes Family

At the luncheon December 1, 2005. From left, Head of School Barbara Riley, Dr. John, his mother Elizabeth, John's brother Robert, and his father, John, Sr.

On March 29, 2006 Dr. John realized a longstanding ambition and traveled to the Egyptian desert to see this total eclipse of the sun.

Click for a larger image.

Bill Kneisel, my wife Sunny Yando, me and Deena Mack at the Boston area Hopkins gathering April 19, 2007.


We also had a chance to visit mountain gorillas in Rwanda together, and to see the Serengeti wildebeest migration, which was incredible.

The highlight of 2008 was our trip to East Africa. We had last been there in 1972. We returned to do something we didn’t have time for then…to climb Kilimanjaro, and we did it, summiting on September 1, our Anniversary.
Dad passed away in December, 2009. No more rides down the hill...

BUT... That fabulous '59 Olds that so many of you rode in has achieved a bit of fame and immortality. Click here to find out all about it!

He was at our virtual 55th Reunion

Home Address: Newton, MA 02468
Office Address: Endocrinology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 364 Plantation Street, LRB 222, Worcester, MA 01605
Office Telephone: 508-856-3166

Something non-medical that John wrote appeared in Views from the Hill in 1995. It's about running and life. There being no other archive for it, it is reprinted here:

"Six years ago, training for the New York marathon, I would occasionally see a thin statuesque gray haired woman running in the early morning near my home. She wore a radio like a tiara, though, and we never said hello. Months later, at the 8 mile point in the marathon, those who start on the upper deck of the Verrazano Bridge merge with those slower men folk like me who start on the lower deck. Some 21,000 people merged there that day. When my turn came, who was at my shoulder but this woman! I could not help but  introduce myself as a neighbor, and she must have thought at first that I was an alien. She was then in her early 50's; her daughter had started her running a decade earlier. Her name was Phyllis Levine Dana. After the marathon, and this assuredly spiritual coincidence of meeting, we decided to do morning training runs together. For nearly 6 years we did so. A lovely person, she attracted other neighbors to our little 6 a.m. group. She and I did several more marathons together, and our families became close friends. Last winter, she learned serendipitously that she had multiple myeloma, and some months later, in October, 1994, she died, bravely, of a rare complication of bone marrow transplantation therapy. Three weeks earlier, we had done a 13 mile run together.

It is hard to make sense of this, if it isn't patently futile to try. Demographics snare us all in the end, and I am not alone in knowing loss Nor was she alone in confronting disease. All of us who loved her and continue to listen for her vanished footfall on every walk in our neighborhood and far beyond, have had to seek our own personal peace in the silence. The cosmic improbability of our meeting, followed by the senselessness of her passing, has given me great pause. Emerging now from the shadow of grief, I do know that we cannot run and plan thereby to live long lives. We can only run to enjoy the time we have and to make something of both or time and others' legacies."

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This page last updated November 20, 2020