During Reunion Weekend, Hobart and William Smith Colleges honored four alumni and one faculty member who died during the Vietnam War, paying tribute with their families, loved ones, classmates and Reunion guests.
“We celebrate the cardinal Hobart traits of loyalty and leadership that these men demonstrated in their life and we honor their memory,” said Dr. Jeremy Cushman ’96, president of the Hobart Alumni Association, during the remembrance ceremony. “On behalf of all Hobart and William Smith Colleges alumni and alumnae, I thank all those who have served and today these five brave men, who both in their life and death brought honor and distinction to their alma mater.”
Preceding the ceremony, the names of Captain Robert Beale ’61, Corp. James K. Kirkby ’68, PFC Thom T. Osborn ’67, Major Charles C. Winston III ’61 and Major Theodore J. Shorack Jr. HON ’66 were engraved on the Memorial Bench located near the flagpole on South Main Street.
“These were five vibrant men with full lives ahead of them, dreams, ambitions, families who loved them very much, classmates, fraternity brothers who looked up to them, relied on them for advice and support,” said President Mark D. Gearan. “By all reports they had so many gifts but sadly not the gift of length of years, or as the Irish poet Yates poignantly wrote, ‘They would not live to comb gray hair.’ So today we honor them and we proudly, proudly call them sons of Hobart.”
Two of Shorack’s children, Candace and Todd, shared remembrances of their father, “a family man who freely showed his love, shared his life, and had the good sense to marry a woman who loved him wholeheartedly and is a wonderful mother,” Candace recalled.
Todd recited a poem he wrote as a seven year-old, asking his father to return home safely. “But my dad couldn’t fly and fight carefully — he was a professional soldier, officer, airman. He practiced what he preached to his ROTC students. And how could he teach and recruit others to do what he could not do himself?”
Jim Albright ’66 and Corbin Butcher also voiced their remembrances of Shorack.
“He was a husband, a father, a friend, a leader, a mentor, and a warrior,” Albright said. “He exemplified love of family and love of country. He set the example for students at Hobart College during the important time of their early development. They learned from him what it was to be moved from a high school grad to college men both in social and in intellectual development.”
“Ted really made an impact for those of us in Iraq,” said Butcher, a veteran Marine captain with family ties to the Hobart ROTC — his grandfather worked with Shorack and his father was also a member of the ROTC. “It always touches me very deeply that these men, especially in the Class of 1966, made life so good for us when we came back from Iraq.”
Lt. Col. Frederick A. Scheeren ’59, who served in the United States Army 4th Infantry division during Vietnam, served as the master of ceremonies for the dedication ceremony, introducing the Honor Guard for the Geneva post of the American Legion, who presented the colors.