The Class of 1961 Received More Than an Education…

June 7, 2011

Love was in the air at Brooklyn College in 1961. At the same time that they returned to campus for the 2011 Commencement Exercises as members of the Golden Anniversary Class, a couple of couples were also celebrating their 50th anniversary, while one recently reacquainted pair was celebrating their engagement.

The Geffners

Marge and Barry Geffner met in the cafeteria.

"We shared a table, he was friendly, so we started dating," said Marge Geffner, plainly remembering it all. "We took some classes together, and we used to sit around by the lily pond. Romance blossomed."

They married in April 1961, after their January graduation. Marge majored in English and ending up teaching in the New York City public schools before retiring to become a homemaker. ("During those days, as soon as a woman starting showing her pregnancy, she had to go home," she explained.) Barry majored in biology and also became a teacher. They had two kids and now have four grandchildren.

"Fifty years flew by," he says. "We feel very, very fortunate in that they were very well spent years."

The Gilors

Dov and Barbara Gilor both frequented Hillel House, and after he taught her an Israeli dance, they became dance partners for life. They married in September, just after their graduation, and went on to have three sons, 17 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

The couple relocated to Israel in 1973 and has lived there ever since. Dov, a former sociology major, ended up working for IBM Israel while Barbara taught and worked for the Federal Reserve Bank in New York before they moved.

"We had 50 years of growth on the foundation of the liberal arts education we got here," said Dov, who was hoping the class could march out on campus to the Fiddler on the Roof tune, "Sunrise, Sunset."

"It was quite an experience being here at Brooklyn College," said Barbara, "and it's been quite an experience being married to him for 50 years."

Tibbi Duboys and Gilbert Klajman

Their paths first crossed at Brooklyn's Thomas Jefferson High School. Gilbert Klajman was a geometry whiz, Tibbi Duboys not so much, so they studied together some but never became close social friends, even when they both went on to Brooklyn College. They both attended graduate school, married other people, had kids, divorced, and had success as professors — he at Montclair State University and she at Brooklyn College.

In 2004, Klajman was on sabbatical in Paris when an advertisement for classmates.com popped up on his computer. "I usually ignore those things," he said. "But that day, I must have been bored so I decided to see what it was about."

Soon enough, he was perusing a list of names "straight out of 1950s East New York" when he came upon one that he instantly recognized. "There was only one Tibbi Duboys in the whole world," he stated. "All these years, I had thought about her from time to time."

He didn't e-mail her for nearly a year because he was afraid he'd "look like a stalker." But when he finally got the courage to drop her a line, she e-mailed him back a few days later, and the rest was history. The two are currently engaged but have not yet set a date.

Back to BC News