some reminiscences by Walter Elling
More and more of your contemporaries drop off as you go farther down the line. You feel sorry for the loss. Invariably you mentally sum up the meaning of their having been on earth. Now and then you note someone whose life turned brown. It makes you ponder why. You automatically review what you know and wonder if you knew enough of the story for it to make sense. Once in a while the summation adds up. More often, all you can do is charge it off to fate.
Bill Shoemaker's summary doesn't follow any particular or deserved logic. Yet there are elements, some obvious in retrospect and some hidden in the haze of the human condition, to indicate that fate and logic would combine in an unsynchronous, less than happy total.
My first knowledge of his existence came to me while I was in grammar school. He was a sophomore, and had just spent a summer on a small sailing ship in the Caribbean, where he had done some experiments in underwater photography. His official job was as ship's cook. When he applied for the job, he couldn't boil water. As soon as he got the appointment, he had his mother give him a crash course. Apparently he did OK. At least he wasn't fired, and spent future summers working for the same man down among the islands. At the time of my meeting him, he was giving a slide talk to a group in town. He showed a slide of a rather dilapidated house on one of the islands. It was the crew's home while on shore. He said something about some saying that it leaned toward this type of architecture, and others saying that it leaned toward another. He said that he thought it leaned toward the northeast. That got me snickering the rest of the evening. I don't remember anything else about his talk besides my thinking that he was stout.
His home was on my paper route, and he and I would talk briefly on Saturday mornings, when I stopped by to collect the eighteen cents that was the then going price for a week's subscription.
A year or so after his slide talk, I fell desperately in love with Marion Gulling, a Christian Scientist. I suddenly realized that I wasn't cut out to be a Presbyterian, and started going to Marion's church. Bill had been likewise smitten by Jean Pettit, who's faith had been tried severely. Jean's parents were Christian Scientists, so it was natural that a healer was called when her father had a pain in his side. His appendix burst and he died. The Sunday School's teachers explained it as the result of an unnamed impurity manifesting itself. The community outside the Church had less kindly explanations. Bill and I remained steadfast and grew spiritually while we yearned for more earthly satisfactions.
Bill may have had better fortune than my miserable failure. I lost a close track of Bill a couple months after Marion moved to Rochester. I then determined that Christian Science had some major flaws in it, especially when it came to claiming that the physical was less real and important than the spiritual. I couldn't fathom any belief that didn't reconcile the reality and importance of a Curtis- Wright P-36, a Douglass DC-3 or a Pratt and Whitney Wasp Jr. engine.
High School came and went and then the war came and went. Bill served in the Caribbean with some trips down to Panama. He was a photographer's mate and made many contacts that would later serve him well. He had just one serious brush with disaster. Word went out that the navy was accepting applications for rear gunners in torpedo bombers. The applicants lined up alphabetically. Enough applications were taken in the late Rs. Two men short of Bill, the rest of the line was dismissed. Bill was disappointed. He kept getting letters from the ones who had been selected, and then fewer and fewer letters. Eventually the letters stopped altogether. Torpedo bombing was effective, but losses were nearly 100%.
During the war, Bill and Jean were engaged. Mom and I were mutually stimulated, so we got engaged and married after only a two month engagement. Jean was in our wedding party. So was Annie, a high spirited girl, attractive in a horsy way. Our wedding was on Dec. 23. The night before, the whole gang plus Bill met at Mom's home. There was some mistletoe hanging from an arch. Bill and Annie got under it, and organic chemistry happened. Sometime later word came around that Bill and Jean were no longer engaged. I didn't make a connection at the time, because Annie had by then gone to Japan to do a tour as a draftsman or woman. Besides, Annie talked a lot, and worse, she had a brain. She was always graduating from somewhere as valedictorian.
Several times during each summer in the late 40's, Mom and I went to Bill's cottage for a party. Bill's mother was there, always calm and steady. So was his dad, who was jovial and had compassion for human frailties, and was as stout as Bill. At the cottage, I could really let loose and relax. We experimented with explosives, usually sinking them under water for their detonations. There were a lot of dead fish along the shore after an evening of our experimentation's. Bill, of course was the leader in these projects. He was the only one who knew anything about chemistry. Bill had a constant stream of projects he was working on in those times. He was able to plot a predictable tide in Canandaigua Lake. It worked out to a little less than an eighth of an inch.
He also took some courses in photography at RIT, and graduated from U of R. probably with a degree in chemistry. That next fall, he was at the U. of Miami, which he called Tel Aviv Tech, taking a course in oceanography. His masters thesis was on the total value of the elements contained in a cubic mile of sea water.
Somewhere during this time, he married Annie. She had returned from Japan and had starved herself down to decent proportions. Bill remembered the organic chemistry he learned under the arch, and their life's course was set.
Bill had a way with humor throughout his life. There were times when you didn't know whether he was playing the boob on purpose or not. On his wedding day, we ushers were waiting to march down the aisle. It seemed as if the organist was going over some of the tunes a second and third time. Also, the deadline for the processional march had long since past. We knew that both he and Annie were in the church, so it wasn═t a case of someone leaving the other at the altar. Eventually word filtered back to us that Bill had forgotten to bring his tux. That necessitated the best man making a frantic trip back to the cottage, about five miles down the lake. It was a busy summer day with traffic tailgating the full length in both directions. The congregation got word and it was easy to see by their smiling expressions that they thought he had pulled another fast one. He never admitted that this was the case. Suspicion lingered among those of who knew him well.
Mom and I moved to and settled in Wooster, Ohio, about then. Usually, when we came back, we would stop in at Bill and Annie's for a visit, Bill and I would talk about photo training, mostly of navy and CIA types. That was an important part of Bill's work at that time. Mom and Annie visited about family matters, and Annie's growing interest in the occult, reincarnation, witchcraft and astrology. Mom wasn't enamored with any of these subjects, but Annie was increasingly fascinated. She could talk learnedly and incessantly on the subject. She had decided that in some former life she had lived in a Scottish castle. So strong was this that she would wander through them when they went across the Atlantic on trips. Bill and I also talked a lot about muzzle loaders and other allied forms of mayhem, He was a gun nut, and while I wasn't, I had quite an interest in them.
There was one item in their family that probably reduced our contact with them somewhat. They had two boys, Billy and John. Billy, at the age of three or so, was so hyper active that he seemed a downright hazard to others his own age. Bill and Annie didn't see anything unusual in this. Later, I heard that many of his friends avoided visiting them for the same reason. They had settled in an isolated spot in Bushnell's Basin, and the two boys spent those early years in semi-isolation.
There were two houses in this spot. Bill and Annie lived in one amid an impressive collection of antiques, especially clocks. The other house was occupied by Marguerite, Bill's mother. She was an impressive lady. She had spent several years on the road, lecturing to various high school assemblies. She and her husband, Bill Sr., who was her chauffeur, took off for months at a time as they met Marguerite's tough schedule. They had a traffic accident in which she was seriously hurt and Bill Sr. was killed, After that, Marguerite lived alone in the other house. She was always gracious and had something intelligent and worthwhile to say on any subject that came up.
During our Wooster stay, we got occasional word from Mom's mother about Bill and Annie. It was an inconsequential series of comments in the letters, usually wondering just how wide he and Annie could grow.
Somewhere along the line, Bill was named director of RIT's School of Photography. At the time, the school didn't have a recognized degree program, and my scant contact with having a graduate work for a while at my studio, didn't impress me with the school's output. Either Bill or someone else had a larger vision for the school, and the groundwork was being laid for a larger, grander and better facility and curriculum.
In '68, Mom's mother died and we went back for the funeral. Bill and Annie came. Afterward, during the get together at the homestead, Bill mentioned that there was an opening for a teacher at RIT, and suggested that I put in for it. I was luke cool toward the idea, but knew that I had to do something after returning from my next planned trip to Vietnam. Somewhat reluctantly I made up my portfolio and went to Rochester for an interview. While the new RIT campus was impressive, I couldn't quite see me fitting in, and thinking of such a position in terms of a port in a storm, left for Nam. I had a solid base of subscribers there and could have stayed as the permanent Far East correspondent, but knew that there was no nearby safe place for Mom and our kids. I explained the situation to Mom, and she contacted Bill to make up somebody's mind before the fall term began, if he wanted me. He moved on the idea, and I got word to be at the campus in two weeks. At the time, I was way the hell and gone out in the boondocks. It took a mammoth effort to make the deadline.
As director, Bill had to preside over fifty or so strong willed, truculent, sometimes revolt inclined, frequently adolescent, articulate and incredibly verbose faculty members. They were like mules pulling the school in fifty different directions. Somehow, he was able to keep the place going toward a worthy goal, and ran as happy a ship as anyone could.
You can add to this burden the fact that there were over a thousand students, mostly males, and mostly sitting out the draft the easiest way they could. In short, many of them didn't care a whit about learning. All they wanted was, to get a degree and use up a few more years waiting for the war to finish. Bill let the standards slip where he absolutely had to. It is to his credit that he kept performance levels as high as he did.
The fact that he could keep a steady sense of humor under these circumstances never failed to amaze me. When I became a division head and realized just how juvenile, parochial and petty some of the faculty could act, I was dumbfounded at Bill's skill at steering around treacherous shoals. It was almost as if he knew what the individual faculty member's scheme was better than the faculty member himself. I could be suckered into a scheme and persuaded to present it to Bill. On these occasions, Bill would say, "Not only 'No', but 'Hell no═ţ . He would then explain to me what was really behind the suggestion and what nefarious goal was the true objective. It was new to me, and I was sometimes shocked at the idea that such a self serving and transparent ploy was attempted. These sessions didn't do a lot for my introspective image as anything but a ruse. Still, I would leave his office having to agree that a wading through flypaper had been avoided. It didn't seem to faze Bill, and if the person who had proposed such treachery had come into his office in the next five minutes, the traitor wouldn't have the foggiest notion that his plot had been thoroughly and accurately dissected.
Bill could also be a source of utter frustration. One summer, he kept putting off an authorization for lab assistants in my lab. I badgered him incessantly, both verbally and in written memos. He played jolly boy with me, hedged, solemnly promised to give me an answer ´next day', but I couldn't get more than a doubtful maybe out of him. The day before classes were to start, he snuck off early. I had already promised the lab assistants that they would have a job, which was a continuation of previous years' practice. In desperation, I stopped by his home that afternoon about supper time, and confronted him in front of his family. He still tried to hedge, but I had him cornered, and didn't leave until he OK'd the schedule. The next day, he said, "Well, I'm not so sure that I gave you the 'Go ahead'." The badgering had to start all over again before I got the schedule approved,
He may have thought of my having to go through the whole litany as his revenge, and maybe it was. Once in only a few occasions, I out foxed him. For example, he said that it had come to his attention that my lab was the second largest consumer of lab assistant time. This was done publicly, and I was supposed to explain myself at the next Staff Chairman's meeting. I did some digging and was ready. His statement was true. What didn't come through was the fact that the greatest user of lab assistants was using ten times as much as mine, and the other nine labs used from 75 to 97 as much time as mine. I also had logs that showed that there were as many uses of my lab as the greatest consumer of lab assistant's time. Man, that felt good. He didn't bug me on the subject after that, and if revenge was his motive, he lost.
The school was constantly loaded with Byzantine plots and gossip. Ordinarily I was excluded as a confidant. There were times when this didn't hold, and I would be asked for an opinion. My normal reply was to ask what the occasional few eccentrics who believed in minding their own business thought. That sort of an answer had a frosting effect on my being brought in on plots. Now and then I would hear of one. If it was outrageous enough to get me riled, I'd talk it over with Bill. His answer was usually some variation of 'It's only a silly game that goes nowhere'.
Bill hated to drive to and from work, and he would ask for a ride from other faculty. In my case, it was a natural, since he lived on the way to my home. We seldom talked about problems at school, but that left the whole world to attract our attention. Having grown up in the same town and environment, and both being talkers, it was never hard to find subjects for discussion.
Beneath his considerable power and influence, I discovered a man who had fought for, and had been somewhat driven by a wish to be thought of as 'someone'. Being someone in Canandaigua meant achieving high station or wealth, and never mind the means. His father had been fire chief in Canandaigua when I was a youngster. His home was next door to the mayor's home. Farther back, apparently there had been quite a struggle for what in these days is described as upward mobility. In that, his family was largely successful. Still, there was an underlying sense that what had been accomplished was under some sort of threat. This wasn't perceived as a threat engineered by any specific person or group, but the feeling was there, somewhere below the surface. The seamy palace plots at work were generally easily handled. Farther back though, there had been snubs, the awareness of which sometimes surfaced, He nursed a continual intense ambivalence toward the Brahmans of the old Canandaigua.
He had his battles with the mayor's family, more especially the mayor's wife. That was one with which I could easily understand. I delivered the afternoon paper to her home. She was the chief headache on my route. Among those who remember her, there are few, if any who remember the woman with tenderness. Hopefully, she was a good wife to a popular mayor.
He received one slight that bothered Bill, and one that he would retell to me several times. Malcolm Campbell was a man of small stature and large breeding, with an abundance of money in the family. During the war, he was the chief photo interpreter for the 8th US Army Air Corps. It was a vital desk job, far removed from the sound of gunfire, but important enough to gain William well earned medals for meritorious service. He came back with the rank of major, a rare accomplishment for a Canandaiguan. He had gone to the Congregational Church which attracted more than its share of Brahmans. At the church, and I don't quite know how Bill managed this with Jean Pettit around, he met Malcolm for the first time since before the war. They were both in uniform, he in his enlisted color suit and Malcolm in his shiny, bemedaled army outfit. People were basking around Malcomb, and Bill rushed up to greet his fellow serviceman. He threw out his hand in his usual hale and hearty fashion, and addressed him as a co-equal in the struggle just ended. Malcomb coolly looked him over from head to foot, regarding his relatively lowly status, and slowly turned his back on Bill.
The struggle to be regarded as someone of note sometimes took on amusing proportions. Oneupmanship in the church belfry was one of them. On special occasions, like on Christmas eve all the church bells in the city would ring. This was done by husky, ambitious boys pulling ropes. At a designated time, after the parishioners had gone home, the bells were supposed to stop. Bell ringers in some of the churches would hide in the towers after the church was dosed. Then, a few minutes later one church would emit a single "Ding". A few minutes later, a single gong would come from another church. This was a contest between the bell ringers to see who could ring the last bell of the night. There was no continuous clangor, just an isolated 'ding' punctuating a long silence. Bill was the acknowledged monarch in these contests. The Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalian, Presbyterians and Baptists were no competition for Bill's endurance,
He particularly enjoyed stories about George Eastman. Eastman was the richest man in Rochester, but he was never accepted as one of the in crowd. The pedigreed rich couldn't quite stomach a garrulous newcomer. This bothered Eastman, but he got his revenge. He built a larger, more luxurious mansion than any of the established families had. He built it on East Avenue, toward the center of the city, so the in crowd had to pass by it on their way to town. If one family endowed a college or built a building for it, he would give a bigger gift or build a better building. The capstone of his revenge were the parties he threw on his front lawn. They were for his domestic help. Such conspicuous generosity to those of such low estate was an affront to the other families as they rode by in their carriages on the way into town. Bill thought that this revenge was the sweetest nose tweaking the old line families had to endure.
For a period of about ten years, Bill and I would sneak off for a hike in one of the gullies at the south end of the take. Bill had amazing agility and endurance, considering his size. Once in a while, he would stop on the trail during a long climb, to 'view the scenery' as he caught his breath. Usually, he was able to keep up a good pace. During these hikes we would discuss the history of the glens, politics, photography and swap our adolescent experiences. Long afterwards, it dawned on me that he virtually never mentioned anything about his home life. It seemed as if he had compartmentalized his Iife and that he preferred to talk about things he didn't talk about with others.
He had an intimate knowledge of the hills where we hiked. He would lead me out into a field partially overgrown with brush, and go straight to a specific spot. He'd kick at the dirt, lean down and pick up an uncovered rusty hinge, and tell me about the family that had a home there years ago. I would have passed it by, totally oblivious of any previous construction. The hills had a way of rapidly reclaiming their dominion. A half century or so of abandonment, and it took a sharp eye to find so much as a trace of the foundation of a building. The flinty soil surrendered only a meager harvest, so the land was largely vacant.
On rare occasions, we would launch into some sort of mad endeavor. One Friday night, Bill showed up at my home, about ten o'clock. The temperature was about fifteen degrees outside. His son, Billy, was with him. It was Bill's idea that we should go down to the bottom of Clark═s Gully for an overnight camp out. I agreed and gathered up a bedroll and whatever came to mind, and we took off. We established a spot, built a fire, sat around it for a while and realized that fifteen degrees is a very cold temperature. We were all trying to think of a way to repack our gear and take off for the warmth of home, without losing our resolve as hardy campers. Billy went down to the creek and scooped up a canteen cup of water, then returned to the fireside. He sat on a log for a few minutes. When he put the cup to his lips for a drink, he didn't get any water. The water in the cup had turned to ice. That was enough to give us a way of retreating with at least a shred of dignity.
Bill's other son, John, was enrolled in RIT in the late seventies. He was taking a course in one of my A-V sections. He appeared well adjusted and was gaining a grasp of the material. He turned in work that normally earned him a B. He hung out at the lab quite a bit, His sense of humor was slightly off to the side of the mainstream. At least that was my view, and afterward, when his fellow students and I discussed it, appeared farther off the wall. Frequently he brought comic books to the lab. They were an odd sort, with humor and story line escaping most of us. They were cheaply printed on the coarsest pulp paper. It didn't occur to me that he was involved in drugs. A few of his fellow students thought he was in them, but those few didn't think the involvement was deep. He was accepted as one of the crew who made the lab a place to work and relax. At home, he had taken over a shed and made it into 'his' place. He usually slept there. One night he put the muzzle of his twelve gauge shotgun into his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Bill, Annie, and Billy were devastated. At the lab, we went over what few fragments of information we had, trying to make sense of it and explore if there was any way we could have foreseen his suicide and prevented it. He had made a few downer remarks about the way things were going in the government, and some widely scattered comments about not having a girl friend. None of it added up to what he did. Now, years later, with the knowledge of his considerable involvement in drugs, it still doesn't add up to what happened, unless the drugs contained a special mental virus for him.
For reasons beyond a personality conflict with the Dean, which I believe both of them enjoyed in an inexplicable way, the pressures on Bill grew. The ever present plots may have notched up a bit. I was vaguely aware of more griping among the faculty, but my position was more or less insulated from the normal buzz associated with plotting. When Bill came by my home late one night, he told me that he was resigning his post the next day as Director and was going to take on a faculty slot again. I was totally surprised. He didn't seem depressed at the prospect. If anything, he appeared to be somewhat relieved. In a few ways, I could see his dropping back to faculty status as a release from tensions. As Director, he did yeoman work getting equipment for the school from manufacturers. The relationships involved in these transactions were not always solid and required much stroking of individuals with not always appealing personalities. Bill was great at this, but now and then things would go sour. It wasn't pleasant around his office when such an episode occurred. You could almost see the bile rising in Bill. His eyes would harden, he'd clench his fists, tell me in colorful phrases what led up to the withdrawal of his soothing strokes. I hate to imagine what his blood pressure was during these episodes.
My opinion on this matter may be flawed. Ego is an unevaluated item. His wanting to be 'someone', in the eyes of the remaining old guard Canandaiguan, had to be reduced with his dropping the title of Director. And he did enjoy the perks that went with the job. The title, "Professor', carried a lot of weight, especially in Europe. As Director, he managed to make a trip over there usually on an annual basis. His military contacts made him welcome at a wide variety of army and navy bases. He was also the man to see when it came to consulting jobs, which was a source of fairly big money. By dropping back to a faculty position he was giving up a lot of these benefits. It wasn't long after this that Annie had her first stroke. Her mind and speech came through the experience in good shape. Her body suffered a lot more. With her considerable bulk, it was tough to move her much. Because of this size, she wasn't highly ambulatory before the stroke. Afterwards, she was less than ambulatory but more than semi-invalided. Bill cheerfully went to great and dutiful lengths to help her gain back some of her mobility. On a regular basis he faithfully transported her to a pool where a physical therapist worked with her to move and strengthen her extremities.
It was steadily downhill, though. There were rallies of a sort, and then another stroke. After each stroke, less of Annie came back to this world. Toward the end, about all you could tell of her consciousness of her surroundings was a fearful sidelong look, as if she was afraid of falling when she was moved. Verbal communication was all one way. She couldn't express herself except for those looks of fear. The end came quietly, a blessing to all, including Annie,
I left full time teaching and a couple of years later had my first heart attack. It was a fairly mild one, but it took several months to recuperate from the surgery. Bill would come down for a visit frequently, a sort of minor miracle when you think of his distaste for driving. It was always enjoyable to see him, and we yakked a lot as we always had, I noticed one thing about his conversation; He wasn't as quick in recalling names or dates as he was in the past.
After a decent interval, Bill remarried. Her name was Helen Mary. She came from the Maine coast, where she had a home. Her personality was quite different from Annie. Where Annie was loud, she was quiet. I never quite got to know her, but from where I stood, she seemed to be devoted in a self contained way, to Bill. Both Mom's and my evaluation of her was decidedly positive. I believe she had a strong attachment and love for him. Prior to his marriage to Helen Mary, Bill confided to Mom that he was considering a union with a Dutch girl who was still living in Holland. Apparently that one fizzled.
Shortly after he retired from RIT, Bill had his first stroke. It left him in a slowed physical state and somewhat quieter. He had trouble getting around, but his speech, while slowed, was unaffected. Mom and I would visit him in his home at Bushnell's Basin on occasion. He didn't get up much, resigning himself to sitting in a chair. His sense of humor, while more philosophical and muted, was the one thing that didn't lose its quickness. He needed some help in his personal care, which Billy supplied. Now and then, I would take him on trips down into the hills where we used to hike. After another stroke or so, it was much tougher getting him into and out of the car. When we stopped at Bob and Ruth's, a favorite restaurant in Naples, it would take ten minutes or so to get him from the car to the dining room and back into the car. His humor didn't leave him during these episodes, and I found his company fully as enjoyable as at any time during his life. He would talk of some of the personalities at RIT and his frustrations in dealing with them, but there was never a streak of vindictiveness or meanness in what he said of others. Sometimes his comments were insightfully pithy and earthy, though.
Originally, he had stopped hiking after John's death. The hurt in being in the same places that he and John had visited was too great. It took about five years for this to heal enough for him to consider going back to those places. By then he wasn't up to it physically.
Inexorably, his physical state deteriorated. He moved to Maine for the summer with Helen Mary, then came back in the fall, and became too much for Helen Mary and Billy to handle. They secured a spot for Wm at the VA hospital, here in Canandaigua, in their long term care facility. Neither Mom nor I were prepared for the drop in his spirit when we visited him. He broke into tears uncontrollably. When he recovered, he haltingly apologized profusely. When I asked him if there was anything I could bring him, he said "Big Mac" without hesitation. I checked with his attending physician. He went through the usual litany of how bad all that fat and cholesterol was for him. I suggested that there was no where up that Bill could go, so why not let him have a treat. He grinned and said "OK". From then on, Mac Donald's was a mandatory stop for me on my way to visit Bill.
Later he recovered more of his speech. He then emphasized that while he couldn't express himself or express himself appropriately, his awareness of what was being said by others was more acute. He also said that he was more sharply aware of the general ambiance around him than at any time of his life.
It was still possible for Billy to bring him out to see us, and we tried to include him in as many family functions as we could. He seemed to enjoy being out in the yard or in the living room as the grandchildren noisily played. I was bothered that such an impossible 'might have been' would weigh down on him. He exhibited no visible sign of wistfulness, and I hope that his broken dreams were in some small way fulfilled in the peace of our family.
One way he sure was satisfied was in the cholesterol laden chow we lavished on him. I made it a point to stock up on Oreos and chocolate covered grahams whenever they went on sale. Our kids are addicted to them, and know that they are free to take home a care package of them whenever they come to visit. When I had some, I always saw to it that Bill had a pack of each when Billy brought him out to our place. By then, he could barely move his arms. That wasn't the case in these situations. He didn't need help breaking the seal and tearing through the plastic cover. It was almost magical the way he could glide one Oreo after another into his mouth. He would eat a whole pound of them while we sat around and visited with Billy. Bill was barely able to talk by then, but his Herculean ability to consume Oreos never left him.
That was the way I last saw him. I knew it would be at the time. The VA told the family that they could no longer keep him. Billy brought him out to our home for one last visit. There was no possible way we could get him out of the car and into the house. We just stood around and made some clumsy conversation- I went into the pantry and got out one more pack of Oreos and chocolate covered grahams and laid them in his lap. His dexterity didn't fail him. We hollered some silly nonsense to him to cover our sadness as Billy drove him out the driveway. It was time to go to Maine, anyway, so he was bundled off for a long ambulance trip. It took twelve hours.
Within a few weeks of his arrival there, he entered eternity while he was sleeping. All of us, Helen Mary, Billy, Mom and 1 were thankful for him. Knowing his humor, I think he would have appreciated the thought that momentarily slipped past my thought police, which shouted with exultation, "BROWN NO MORE".
At his interment ceremony, his once great mass was reduced to fit in an urn with scarcely more space than a cigar box. That was the tangible part. What didn═t show were the lives made better by him; the students he led through the mysterious labyrinth of chemistry, the troubled kids who were counseled in a gentle and compassionate manner, and the bumptious, loud and often rebellious faculty guided to the side of their puny schemes into being a part of a world class school. It reached its pinnacle during his tenure. No one can take that from him. Thanks for coming our way, Bill.