R&H 2015; Delta Psi’s 65th Anniversary

img_4636New Pictures of the Celebration are now (11/1/2015) available here==> https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B82Rq5P6An4wTWRSd2F0TE1yeTg
Please send me more pictures to add to this gallery – Bob “Barney Shortle ‘74

I received two reports on the weekend and one fill-the-missing-information comment – I anxiously await your pictures plus the video and still photos from Bill Pomeroy’s professionals – contact me to add to the photo repository at – Bob “Barney Shortle ‘74

Pictured above are the twins, Dick Ross ’66 and Larry Mentz ’68, with their Oedipus Millennium tour 2000 15 year-old T-shirts.

From House Corp President, John Pfaff, 71

What a great weekend we had.  Delta Psi hosted almost 200 pledges, undergraduate brothers and alumni at 58 Pinewoods Avenue.  The celebrations started Thursday night with the pledging of 16 new potential brothers.  Delta Psi is one of about 40 chapter’s piloting a new pledge program initiated by the international fraternity.  The first change I noted was that each pledge was assigned a big brother at beginning of the pledge program who will mentor the pledge during the next 8 weeks. Being one of the pilot chapters allows our undergraduate brothers to provide feedback to the Fraternity Leadership and help mold the new program with their input; a smart move on their part.

So, with 16 young pledges, 61 undergraduate brothers and alumni all the way back to the class of 1951, we had a wonderful turnout.  There were many Sigs from the fifties including  founder Ed Ziemer ‘51, Charles “Chooch” Hodges ‘55, Robert “Smiley” Boehringer ‘55, and Carl Thurnau ‘57, sixties, led by Significant Sigs Ed Kellogg ’60 and Bill Pomeroy ‘66 plus Bob Venusti 60, Spencer Radnich ’60, Denny Powers ‘63, Bruce Allen ‘65, Dick Ross ‘66, the members of Oedipus and the Mothers, Rod Blumenau ‘65, Gary Simunzda ‘67, Jim Straw ‘68 and Louie Chiapetta ‘65.  We missed the guitar work of Woody High ‘67 (Get well soon, Woody).

Dancing to Oedipus & Muthers

First time returnees Tom Tobin ‘68 and Jerry Johannessen ‘68 led a great contingent from the class of ’68 with Dan DiLoretto ‘68 and Larry Mentz ‘68.  The class of ’69 included Larre Nelson ’69 and Jim Banghart ‘69, and Jim got an email picture of classmates Joe Stefens ‘69 and Bob Manning ’69 from a wedding in Hawaii.  Rangy (Bob Manning ‘69) promised me that he and Alice would make it back to Troy for our next event.

The seventies included Jack Belletete ‘71, Jim Campbell ‘70, Tom Krause ‘70, Paul Jossman ‘70, first time returnee Al Lubrano ‘71, yours truly (John “Leroy” Pfaff ‘71), Bob Barnes ‘71, Bill Wurst ‘71, John Golden ;71 and Organizer Extraordinaire, Bob “I’m justa a pledge” Eckart ‘71, Significant Sig, Paul Cosgrave ‘72, Tom Hey ‘72, Chapter Advisor Bob Eckart ‘73, Tom Regan ‘73, Bob Bedard ‘75, Alan Hanbury ‘74, Jeff Cooper ‘74, Constantine Sig, Bob Shortle 74, PEF President Jim Manocchi ‘75 and Larry Heininiger ‘78.

The eighties brothers also had great representation.  Thanks to the efforts of Doug Doskocil ‘83 and others.  There was also a few brothers from the nineties and millennials.

Awards and recognitions:  On Thursday night, Bob “Justa” Eckart ’73, our Chapter Advisor was recognized by the Rensselaer Alumni Association with an Alumni Key Award.  At our cocktail party, we recognized Ed Kellogg ’60 as one of our Significant Sigs.  Bill Wurst ’71 and Jim Manocchi ’75 were given Sigma Chj Seven Lights awards by the international fraternity recognizing their 10 years of alumni service. Several of our brother who have passed onto to the Chapter Eternal, including Gary “Slug” Wood ’71, who passed on earlier this year, were recognized in a brief White Rose Ceremony.  One of Slug’s favorite activities, both at home in Vermont and at 58 Pinewoods, was planting trees.  He was one of those brothers who answered the call to help at the Alumni Work Parties over the last 10 years, and on their behalf, we dedicated one of those trees he planted during a prior work Party (a River Birch) to his memory with a stone plaque.

After a great dinner, catered by our cook, Mike Volpe, Oedipus and the Mothers set up and entertained us, just as they have been doing for the last 50 years.

I’m sure you all will be receiving other reports about the weekend with greater detail, but let me close this letter with – I am proud to be a Sigma Chi.

See you all next time.

In hoc,

John “Leroy” Pfaff, President, Phi Epsilon Phi Corporation
From Bruce Allen ’65 [who I tried to call Dennis all weekend – Barney]

Tess, the sweetheart was the same girl in the blue dress I danced with in 2013.  This time she danced with every old guy in the room!  I had a talk with Tess during the cocktail party and found that not only is she truly the current sweetheart but a brilliant engineer (aero/mech) as well!
In hoc, Bruce, 65

From Event Chair, Bob “Ruff” Hutnick ‘71

The following is my recollections of Homecoming 2015.  Actual events and descriptions thereof may vary from Sigma Chi to Sigma Chi.  Anyone wishing to add to, subtract from, or edit, the final version that will be put in stone on the back of the Pomeroy Anvil, should contact me prior to April 1, 2016, when the etching begins . .  .  Some names have been changed to protect the innocent . . .

And so it began . .  . Homecoming 2015 was born out of our Dedication of the Pomeroy Chapter House (PCH) in 2013.    Oedipus and the Mothers, made up of the Class of ’65 – ’68, played that weekend and offered to play their FINAL gig for us at Homecoming 2015, Rod Blumenau and Louis Chiappetta’s 50th graduation anniversary AND Delta Psi’s 65thFounding Anniversary. And so 2015 began in 2013 . . .

Planning is always important. So when we considered a reunion in 2015, the date was crucial.  Though our official anniversary is December 2, it was unanimously decided that an October 3 celebration at Homecoming would be a better fit for returning alumni so they could avoid any early snowfall in Troy.  I guesstimated that we would draw about 120 alumni and guests, 30% lower than our 180 mark at the PCH Dedication because of the proximity (2 years) from the last party.  It was a lucky guess.  Since this number was chosen, it was also possible for us to have the entire party, including dinner, in the PCH and not in a hotel or in a side tent. So mote it be.  Major costs included food ($25 per person), drink ($15 per person), rental equipment ($10 per person), and cost of paying for the undergraduates ($5 per person).

My wife, Jean, and I left northern Virginia on Thursday morning and overnighted in Glen Rock, NJ, with Sue and Herb Arbeiter ’72.  Herb had a Parents Weekend on Saturday, also his 65th birthday, and couldn’t make Homecoming.  We arrived at the PCH on Friday at 2 p.m. and started the welcoming party a tad early with my own merlot on ice, of course.  With the arrival of several alumni soon thereafter, the actual welcoming party began.  After a couple of wines and tours of the house for alumni who had never seen the PCH (Tom Tobin ’68 & Jerry Johannessen ’68, if memory serves me right), my wife left me.  It was only to join the other ‘70’s alumni for dinner at the Red Front in Downtown Troy.  By 9 p.m. I was ready to call it quits and headed for Saratoga Springs where we were going to overnight with my brother’s high school friends.

The next morning, Jean & I returned to 58 Pinewoods at 10 a.m. to meet up with the videographer who was to film six alumni for two videos. The first was to be an alumni rush video to be used during rush as one of the “Seven Rooms” used by the House to explain seven different aspects of fraternity life at RPI.  The second video is our first attempt to create a “historical video” concerning Delta Psi, focusing on 1950 – 2010. Bill Pomeroy ’66 graciously picked up the tab for this endeavor.  Filming began at 12 noon with the interviewing of Bruce Allen ’65.  Bruce, also known as the “Dancing Machine” Allen, would later live up to his nickname during the band party in the Chapter Room dancing with, among others, the present Delta Psi Sigma Chi Sweetheart, Tess.  Carl Thurnau ’57, Dennis Powers ’63, Jim Manocchi ’75, and Dan Zuber ’10, completed the list of interviewees.  Bob Shortle (“Barney”) was then asked to provide more of the history of Delta Psi from Phi Epsilon Phi’s founding in 1920 to the purchase of 58 Pinewoods Avenue in 1942 to the founding of Delta Psi in 1950 and on to the present date.  Bill’s other videographer, his in-house one, Mark, arrived shortly thereafter and began videotaping alumni’s comments and recollections of Archibald Longworth Love III AKA “Arch.”  Arch was Delta Psi’s Chapter Advisor from 1950 – 1987, was Chapter Advisor for Phi Ep Phi before that from 1942 – 1950, was Delta Psi’s first Order of Constantine Selectee, and left a large endowment to Delta Psi on his death in 2000.  This video will be shown in 2020 at our 70th Founding Anniversary and Arch’s Birthday Centennial.

Some alumni went to RPI during Saturday afternoon and morning and toured the campus. Others attended the RPI Football game won by RPI over the Merchant Marine Academy.  By 4 p.m. the alumni began to drift into 58 Pinewoods for the ensuing cocktail party set up and provided for by our own House Corporation president and Social Chairman wannabe, John Leroy Pfaff ’71.  With the cocktail party in high gear, at 5:45 p.m. I attempted to get everyone’s attention in the Alumni Room to begin our afternoon program.  I began with the recognition of our honored elderly alumni, led by Ed Ziemer ’51, and followed by 60-year graduate anniversary alumni Chuck Hodges and Bob Boehringer ’55, AKA Chooch and Smiley. I then recognized our 55-year celebrants Ed Kellogg, Spencer I. Radnich, Jr., and Bob Venusti ’60.  I was chided for NOT mentioning Carl Thurnau ’57 (ruff crowd) but got back to the Class of ’65 and their 50-year graduation celebrants Rod Blumenau, Lou Chiappetta, and Bruce Allen.  I then recognized the 45-year celebrants: Tom Krause, Jim Campbell, Dan Hudson, and Jack Belletete, followed by the 40-year celebrants of Jim Manocchi and Bob Bedard.  I think I ended it at 35-year celebrants which were:  Warren Doener, Jay Heaslip, Michael Donovan, and Doug Sands, but I may have stopped at 40.

The next part of the program began with Bob Shortle ’74 giving a brief history of the Order of Constantine and the official opening of the OoC Wall in the Alumni Room with the pictures of Delta Psi’s six OoC Award. They include: Arch Love ’42, Larry Mentz ’68, Bob Hutnick ’71, Bob Jones ’73, Bob Eckart ’73, and Bob Shortle ’74, who was elected President of the OoC and served from 2011 – 2013.  Barney then gave a brief history of the Seven Lights Award and presentations were made to former House Corp. President, Bill Wurst ’71, and Jim “Do they call him Jim the House Builder?” Manocchi ’75.  Leroy Pfaff and Bob Eckart made the presentations of the Award to them respectively.  Bill Pomeroy ‘66 then said a few words about fellow Significant Sig Ed Kellogg ’60 whom we had failed to recognize in 2013.

We next turned to the White Rose Ceremony.  Ruff began the ceremony and Tom “Hobie” Hey ’72 did the final prayer.  See below.

Sigma Chi White Rose Prayer

Ruff:  Brothers in Sigma Chi. We are taking this moment to pay our
tribute of love and respect for the memory of our beloved Brothers who
have passed into the Chapter Eternal since we last met.  The following
tribute is adapted from the public service available to all Brothers.  The
Delta Psi Alumni Chapter is willing to perform such a service
when one of our members is called to the Chapter Eternal roll.

Following the reading of the deceased brother’s name, please respond with
the familiar response, “All honor to his or her name”.

  • Martin H. Mard ’49
  • John G. Herre ’53
  • Significant Sig Dr. Les Cole ’54
  • Jerome E. Snider ’56
  • Charles “Roger” Meeker ’58
  • Barbara Von Kleeck, Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, Delta Psi, late 1950s, beloved wife of John Von Kleeck ’60
  • George Robert Wurm ‘71, AKA Earth
  • Gary Duncan Wood ’71 AKA Slug

Hobie:  Dear heavenly father. We recognize the passing of these and other brothers from our circle to the Chapter Eternal; and yet in our hearts is the confidence that their
living spirit hovers near.  To their memories, we would offer our homage
for their qualities of heart and mind.  We have known them as a friends
and as brothers among us, and as men and woman of affairs, we have known them as
loyal and devoted to the high ideals of The White Cross which we wear. In this reverent moment the thought is dominant that life and its true friendships are indestructible.  Because of the spirit in man, death cannot have the victory.  That which we call death is but the gateway to the life immortal; for the life of the spirit does not die.

Response by All:  So mote it be.

Patty Rist ’71 was in invited to the lecturn and surprised us all with a 40+ year old revelation.  Her mother had hidden an 8×10 black and white photo of Patti with whipped cream on her face taken at the orginal Derby Day in 1967. It had been hidden for more than 40 years behind her Sweetheart picture, sitting in the Library all of those years.

We then sang our Sweetheart of Sigma Chi song with Patty Rist ’71 Brown and our present Sweetheart, Tess, in the center of the floor. I think Carl Thurnau’s ’57 wife, Barbara, was a former Sweetheart and she completed the trio of Sweethearts.  Lastly, was the tree dedication and placing of the etched stone in honor of Gary Duncan Wood ’71 AKA Slug by the tree outside of the library which he had planted during work session in 2013.  After a few words by Ruff and acknowledgment of Jim Board’s ’75 work in getting the stone bought and etched in time for the ceremony, the gathering moved outside to the tree and Bill “Turk” Wurst ’71 led us in a short prayer. We then returned inside and awaited the “Call of the Classes” for dinner.

Chef Mike had been working all day on dinner and had brought his own smoker to the PCH during the week in preparation for our Homecoming Dinner. He ended up smoking beef brisket, chicken breast, pulled pork, and salmon. I thought they were all delicious.  He had potato salad, cole slaw, and beans to accompany the meat.  A special cake with Sigma Chi Crest and Motto was prepared by a bakery in Troy.  The classes were called and they lined up by seniority with Ed Ziemer leading the way followed by Chooch and Smiley with Carl next in line. Jeff Cooper ’74 was asked to say “grace” which for the first time in the world and the second time at 58 Pinewoods, he said “grace” in Hebrew!  He was gracious enough to translate it into English so most of us could understand the prayer. Well done, Jeff!

After dinner, Oedipus and Mothers began playing and Bruce the Dancing Machine Allen began his swirling ways.  It was now 10 p.m. so Jean and I headed for the exit.  Another great party with 120 alumni and guests and another 30 undergraduate brothers.   The House undergrads did a great job at Homecoming doing the necessary work sessions in the morning to get the PCH ready for alumni, assigning two undergrads to the driveway to ensure that only Class of ’77 alumni and earlier parked in the rear of the PCH, and being there throughout the day and into the night to assist the alumni and their guests.  The kitchen crew led by Joe were super – food servers and waiters alike.  Kenny D’Aurizio ‘19, House Tribune, worked with me for the past 3 months to make sure everything went smoothly and it did.  Chris Higley’16 not only oversaw the whole weekend as Consul but he could be seen toting trash barrels and working as hard as any fellow undergraduate.  There were no cars reported stolen and to my knowledge no serious casualties from the gatoring that went on the cement floor of the Chapter Room – though Alan “HJ” Hanbury ’74 tried to injure himself so he could retire! LOL.

Though we had several “holes” where virtually no alumni returned for Homecoming (1976-1979; 1987 – 2002; 2005 – 2009), it was great to see the early 1980s (1980- 1985) come back for Homecoming 2015.  They had around twenty-something come for dinner and/or band party. Great Spirit.  Besides the 1980 group celebrating their 35th graduation anniversary, Class of ’82 brought back Gary Stottler, Andrew Brush, Dave “Navy Davy” Trumpoldt, and Rob Stone. Gary and Andy made work sessions and Gary is the new work session task master. Doug Doskocil ’83 was there from ’83. His son Sam is a undergraduate. Ron Cadet and Jay Panek ’83 also came as did Tom Hamlin, Eddie Easton, and Bruce Leshine. Another five were in Saratoga for golf and came for the band party. They were:  Kurt V, Greg Herbert, Jim O’Brien, Rich Antaya, and Kevin Picotelli. Alan Roberts, Ed Anderson, Ron Gescedi, Bruce Hoover, Joel Jermakian, and Steve Rosato, Bernard Badami, Mike Caccavale attended Saturday night along with Satbar Nayar.  As usual, the 1960’s and 1970’s alumni made up over 50% of the returning alumni, despite the fact that the Class of’78 was a no show. They plan on having reunions in 2018.

Sunday, I returned for the formal Chapter House Ritual Meeting which began at 2 p.m. Though several alumni, who will remain nameless, assured me of their attendance on Sunday, only Jim “Cramble Ramble” Campbell ’70 and myself made it.

What’s next?  Well, on November 21, 2015, Delta Psi will be initiating their new class of brothers.  We’ll have our 11thannual alumni-undergrad work sessions in August 2016.  In October 2016, the Class of 1966 will be returning to celebrate their 50th graduation anniversary at Homecoming. Not sure if Leroy will get my Class of ’71 back for our 45th.  And though we did “lose” both Slug and Earth this year, it was great seeing Al Lubrano AKA “The Fonse” ’71 back at the PCH.  In 2017, we are “scheduled” to return to SoCal (Southern California) for our 4th Great Western Trip at Zoomer’s (Chris Serocke ’73) and Spurt’s (Dan Burt ’69) but I’m thinking about making it in 2018 instead so that the next GWT after that is in 2021 and not 2020 so it doesn’t interfere with our 70th founding anniversary.  We also have Grand Chapter in 2017 in Providence, RI. New England and New York/New Jersey Delta Psi Sigs may want to attend that.  As mentioned earlier, the Class of ’78, absent from this year’s Homecoming, is planning a 40th graduation anniversary in 2018 at Homecoming.   And Ruff & Eddy (Ed Youngkin ’74) will be hosting their 44th consecutive Sigma Chi Belmont Stakes on June 11, 2016, in Elmont, NY, at the Belmont Race Track.

So why do we go back to the House or get together at all? To me, it’s multi-productive, if there is such a word.  Returning to Delta Psi, whether it is for the Alumni Rush Dinner, Initiation, Homecoming, Spring Alumni Weekend, Alumni-Undergrad work sessions, etc., not only encourages friendship and brotherhood and camaraderie between old friends and brothers, it also demonstrates the longevity of brotherhood to the undergraduates.  Sigma Chi is a life-long obligation and responsibility.  Friendships and brotherhood are also life-long.  They are only broken, and temporarily at that, by death, as we experienced this April and July with Gary Duncan Wood ‘71 and George Robert Wurm ‘71, AKA Slug and Earth.  I still remember their middle names from pledging almost 50 years ago.  That’s why I attend House events – so the undergrads can visibly see brotherhood in action – sustained brotherhood and friendship.

I’d like to thank everyone who made the extra effort to come to Homecoming this year.  For those who couldn’t but had a “legitimate” excuse, I thank you too for considering to come.  Family obligations, including friends, health, etc., effect all of us. “Stuff” happens.  But for those who came this weekend, I believe our presence does have an effect on our undergraduates.  There is something that we don’t normally do and I’ve been remiss with this myself.  If you have a chance, please send an email or letter to the House thanking them for the weekend and for all the undergrads did for us. 58 pinewoods Avenue, Troy, NY 12181. Or email Chris Higley ‘16, Consul, or perhaps more appropriately, Kenny D’Aurizio ‘19, tribune (Alumni Relations). Their emails are:  higleyc@gmail.comkennethgeorge1995@gmail.com

I’d also like to say that I am very happy to hear that almost everyone, if not EVERYONE, continues to fulfill their financial obligation to the Phi Epsilon Phi Corp and Pinewoods Educational Foundation (PEF) as part of the Building the Bridge to Excellence Fundraising campaign that we began 3-4 years ago. I think we have two years left (2016 and 2017) before our 6-year pledges are completed.  Very proud of everyone who is participating in this too.  We continue to put our time, effort, and money into Delta Psi and we have been rewarded with a great group of undergrads.  It is my hope, our intention, that they forge similar friendships and a strong brotherhood like we did to carry them through life.  We’ll all have our share of suffering.  But knowing that you have “strong arms” to support you helps me get though these storms.  Bidding you Godspeed brothers, until we see each other again . . .

I’m proud to be a Delta Psi Sigma Chi.  In Hoc Signo Vinces, Ruff ‘71

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