Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Reed moves on to the Chapter Eternal. VTL, Brother.

Funeral services are today for my old friend and Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity brother Reed McCormick.

Here’s his obit:

Dr. Clarence Reed McCormick, 68, of Sun Lakes, Arizona, passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on March 28, 2012. He was born on September 1, 1943, in Lafayette, Ind., and had grown up in Pittsburg, Ind. On June 11, 1967, he was married to Stella Kesterson McCormick, and she preceded him in passing on September 14, 2009. On October 3, 2010, he married Patricia M. Talbert in Arizona, and she survives.

Reed was a 1961 graduate of Delphi High School, and graduated from Indiana State University, where he was a charter member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He later got his Doctorate in Education, and was a Administrator at schools in Arizona, as well as Principal of Delphi Community High School, retiring in Arizona in 2007. While in Delphi, Reed was also a founder of, and very active in, the Wabash Erie Towpath Walkers Kiwanis Club.

Survivors with his wife include two daughters, Katrina McCormick Meyer and Tanya McCormick Mitchell, both of Arizona; and three step-children. Visitation will be Tuesday, April 3, 2012 ,from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Melcher Mortuary Chapel of the Roses, 43 South Stapley Drive, Mesa, Arizona 85204 (480) 964-4537. Funeral service will be on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Melcher Mortuary Chapel of the Roses. Interment will be Tuesday, April 3, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. at Mesa Cemetery, 1212 North Center Street Mesa, Arizona 85201. Please pay tribute to Reed by visiting http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=C.Reed-McCormick&lc=4528&pid=156765703&mid=5050768&locale=en-US.

I blogged about one of my favorite memories of Reed back on Oct. 28, 2005:

I got an e-mail from fraternity brother Reed McCormick this afternoon. Reed and I were the only Delphi High School grads in the fraternity during our time there. He was a charter member and was instrumental in me pledging Alpha Tau Omega.
Reed was a skinny hell-raiser with a kind heart and an outrageous sense of humor. His face was almost skeletal and we often kidded him that he had been the model for the skull on the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity badge.

Those, as I've probably related earlier, were the Animal House days for American fraternities. Lots of drinking and plenty of what would be considered criminal hazing by today's standards.
The Tekes, whose house was next door to ours, had a grease pit in the garage. One of their favorite games was to crowd their entire pledge class - could be as many as 20 guys - into the grease pit, giving each pledge an onion and a cigar. Then they would cover the greasepit with boards and lay a piece of carpet over the boards. Nobody came out until everyone had eaten his onion and smoked his cigar.
Over at the ATO house, my pledge class had it considerably easier. Mostly we got to do endless push-ups, "happy time" (back against the wall, knees bent in a sitting position and arms straight out in front of us until our muscles screamed in pain and failed us), and lineups where we stood at attention while the actives got in our faces with generous amounts of "constructive criticism."
One or two pledge classes later, someone came up with the idea of "ice baseball." The playing field was the fraternity house basement and the bases were three cakes of ice. The bat was a fraternity paddle. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
Anyway, there was also a tradition of "road-tripping" in which pledges abducted actives or vice-versa, drove them miles out into the countryside and dumped them.
I was among a group of pledges who got road-tripped one cold March night. I think there were six or eight of us. We were bound, blindfolded and driven many miles from campus before we were released far up a remote southern Indiana valley at the foot of one of the world's longest wooden railroad trestles. It was a moonless night and the temperature was well below freezing, but we'd been gifted with extra sweatshirts and coats, so frostbite wasn't an issue. The first three houses we stopped at didn't have telephones - it was that deep into the boonies. We finally hiked into a small town, found a storefront hotel lobby that was open and phoned one of our pledge brothers who lived with his parents in Terre Haute. He rescued us and we were back in town in plenty of time for me to use my starter pistol to awaken the actives, slumbering in the third floor dorm at the house.
So this is all leading up to a story about the time some pledges bagged Reed and were preparing to road-trip him. According to the gentlemanly rules of road-tripping, if you were abducted alone you could request a buddy or a bottle. Reed chose the bottle. They provided him with a fifth of whiskey and he drank most, if not all, of it. He got so drunk and so sick that his abductors were panic stricken, worrying that he would die. Obviously, he didn't die, but it made everyone think twice about offering a bottle to a road trip victim after that.
Reed went on to a career in education in Arizona and Indiana. At present, he's at a cutting-edge charter school in Arizona and presumably has maintained a respectable front for many years.

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