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In last month’s e-letter, we sent out a survey to our Lambda Iota Graduates. Now, we’d like to share some of our favorite responses with you! If you want to answer these questions yourself, please CLICK HERE to take the survey. You may see your Lambda Iota memories, photos or reflections published in a future newsletter or e-letter. We’d love to hear from all our Lambda Iota Graduates! Here are your Brothers responses. 

Orrin Eames ‘55

“Here is a picture of the remaining Class of 1955 (and spouses) taken at a reunion gathering in Wisconsin late last year. Brothers from left to right are: Dick Talbot, Loren Graham, Orrin Eames, Bob Carrel, Doug Stuart, Roger Gay and John Shippee.”

Paul Henderson Jr. ‘61

"I now spend the summer in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on a permanent resident visa, then the summer in Chagford, Devon, England where I have lived for more than 40 years: I have lived 80% of my adult life in England and am a British citizen, also still have a US passport. I was class of ‘61 at Purdue LI, and still in close touch with several of the brothers.  If memory serves me, there were 21 in our class and I think 14 are still alive. We have regular reunions that are well attended: most recent Chicago 2007, French Lick 2013, Port Washington WI 2015, Montecello IL 2017, Devon England 2019, and Coronavirus permitting, we are scheduled for Montecello IL again Sep 2020.

Of the 21 in the class of ‘61, I am closely in touch by email with 5 of them, and they have all visited me in Devon, England, most recently last autumn when 4 couples came for a 3 night house party. Two of my best friends in the class died early, Bob Woodard in an Air Force accident in 1963, Tom Carolan of cancer in his 50s.

The class of '61 started in the 1960s to have reunions every 5 years, now every 2 years because we know that each time there will be one or two fewer. I am attaching a poignant photo from Nov 2015, the year that my wife died, when friends who live in western MA asked me to come to spend Thanksgiving with them. One of my best friends in the class was Doug Peklo, EE 61 and captain of the swimming team. He was then in a care home nearby with Alzheimer’s, and I phoned Merlin Miller who lives near Boston, he drove out 150 miles and we took Doug, centre in photo, to lunch. He passed away not long after.

French Lick October 2010, 4 brothers and 4 different wives now ad Astra

Port Washington WI Sep 2015, 1 ad Astra since

An English photographer friend took a very battered and washed out snapshot of mine, dated Sep 60 which would have been the beginning of our senior year, and digitally enhanced it. There are 4 missing, and of those in this photo, 4 are ad Astra. That’s me in the top row centre of the photo.

Photo of me, age 81, having brunch at The Gasworks, Newstead, Brisbane

I have lost 30 pounds since this next picture!

Gerald V. Lyles ‘64

"The most valuable part of my FIJI experience was learning to live with so many people of different mindsets, backgrounds and interests. I loved having the benefit of observing so many potential great leaders developing and in action.  

Those with whom we are close arising from our college days will always be brothers. The impact of the Pandemic may very well strike and kill some of our dear friends from college days. They need our full support. When the family of a brother loses a member, they need to know that others care. 

I am mostly in touch with Brothers graduating around 1964. The brothers of the 1964 period included those from the pledge classes of 161 and 1962. Unfortunately, we have lost by death quite a few. Currently, my contacts are with most of that class excepting one who unfortunately has chosen to stay distant. 

Class of 1964 people are in an age of transition. I have served on many community boards and transitioned on to others. My current enjoyment is being a trustee of a startup health science university currently offering programs in pharmacy and doctor of medicine. We are now graduating our third class of students with a doctor of pharmacy. I still enjoy attending sporting events and playing golf. Vacation travel is a real highlight having done several trips with brother Bob Swinehart and wife Cheryl."

Caden Taylor ‘99

"I have only been back to campus once (this past fall) since my graduation in 1999, as I live in San Diego, and don’t necessarily have strong ties to the current events at 640. I really enjoyed the ritual and memories.

Everyone is busy these days, and finding someone dedicated to updates is probably difficult.  

I am in touch with all of the brothers, with the exception of Neil Gerber. The class of 1999 cannot locate him. 

I am the Vice President of davisREED Construction (San Diego, CA). I am married to Jenn Taylor (Pilot w/ Alaska Airlines), and have a 2.5 year old son named Ford."

Joseph Mack ‘05

"The most important thing to me was the friendships I made. I piss purple.

Times like this will only make humanity stronger, and propel all of us in a more positive direction in the long term. These times will make lasting memories both good and bad, just like brotherhood. You remember the good, you remember the bad, but you will never forget. 

I am most in touch with the class of 2005

This past July, I became a father to my daughter Sienna. My days of chicks and beer are now officially behind me."

William Hanley ‘60

"Several years ago our family met and developed a “ family mission statement” One of the highlights of this document is to “give back to people, organizations and communities that have impacted our lives''. Purdue and Phi Gamma Delta are on that list and have certainly been a major contributor to our families success and achievements!

Our pledge class was not great in external campus activities but we all became very close after graduation and for many year’s thereafter with many reunions and get-togethers! In fact we are planning our 60th as we speak! We are also very fortunate to have 2 Fiji sons - one from Iowa State and one from Kansas State! We hope to have some grandsons become Fiji’s as well! We do have 3 granddaughters as Purdue Thetas following their grandmother and aunt!  

One of the most important things I learned as a Fiji was the importance of education and striving to stay in the top five on campus—-quiet hours meant something! Keep the tradition going!"

William Gettings ‘78

"My 4 years at Purdue, and my 3 years living in the house were significant. The FIJI house and fraternity experience was a valuable life lesson. Learning to live closely with 70 uniquely different guys (and there were a few very uniquely different brothers) takes patience, respect, and strength; fortunately I connected with most, and I cherish the experience and memories. My most valuable FIJI experience is the life-long relationships and close friendships created.  

I expect the alumni association is an opportunity to continue the FIJI custom, “It’s not for college days alone” . 

Relationships are central and brotherhood is strongest when a brother experiences loss or pain - it’s my observation that we are there for one another when we are needed. With the Pandemic, and self-quarantine,  perhaps reaching out and re-connecting or simply touching base to say, “how are things going in your world” may make a difference to someone?

Reconnecting would be most enjoyable with my pledge class and perhaps those we lived with over our 3 years living in the house. Currently, I do stay in touch with several of my P.B.s and many between 1976 – 1982.

Life is good – my wife and I are entering the pre-retirement phase. Professionally, we just launched our new Registered Investment Advisory firm, and a succession plan is in place so I may begin to enjoy time away with my wife, our children, grand children and friends."

Thomas Spurgeon ‘61

"Our fraternity has been special for me. Although one typically thinks of the fraternity when in school, the saying that Phi Gamma Delta is not for college days alone is so dramatically true. Over the years I probably have seen a brother frequently, and some are pledge class brothers. Others perhaps I’ve never before met. There is just a common bond that one feels. I have relished the feeling for years. 

Yes, the word is experience, a fantastic experience. When at school, we functioned as a unit, dedicated to one another, proud of our relationship. Then, as adults, we again would take time to look after one another. Presently, we are planning our 60 year reunion...with my best friends.

The alumni association has the responsibility to ensure the ongoing, providing for the present and future brothers, affording them the necessary assets represented by house, character, history, and talents."

William Brock ‘63

"FIJI was a big influence on my life. It made me focus on something bigger than myself and my daily activities. There were founding principles, impressive history, honorable brothers who had changed the world, diverse brothers in the house, all having something to contribute and to teach us all. 

I gained humility, in that some brothers had talents way beyond mine. The value of Leadership- someone has to take charge and try to be an example for others.

On the PGD Financial Advisory Committee, I met many men helping the organization move forward. I met PGD staff and found them high caliber, friendly, and dedicated. As the President of the SW Florida Graduate Chapter for six years, I bonded with FIJIs from all over the US. Great guys. I tried to design programs and speakers to enhance their FIJI memories.

Some “move on” and leave their FIJI friends. WHY?? Keep those friendships alive. With the pandemic, we learn that friends, family, and community are really important. You can’t do it alone. Stay in touch with the groups that have served you well. We’ll get past this pandemic, just like all the many pandemics in our history.

Life is good, health is good, just living the dream in Connecticut and Florida."

A classic photo:

Robert Schmidt ‘52

"I love my Fraternity. Always have - Always will. I made lifelong friendships there. In College days the Fraternity provided good direction along with the beginning of those friendships.

Alumni Associations keep us informed and focused on the Fraternity. In the case of Lambda Iota it provides the management of the chapter affairs. I moved to Naples, Florida in the 1980's and started going to the SW Florida Fiji Graduate Chapter. Great group- we met every month Oct. thru April with lunches with great speakers, an annual outing to an interesting location, and ending with Pig Dinner. We also gave out two scholarships to deserving Florida school Fijis.I don't think I ever missed a meeting.

Leaders should make sure there are attractive opportunities to bring alumni together. A GREAT Secretary keeping the mailing list up to date is a MUST. The Pandemic will pass but hopefully the gathering of Fiji alums will carry on with good leadership.

I would like to connect with any brothers. I am in daily contact with 3 of my Pledge Brothers via the internet. For the first 25 years my class got together every year at Homecoming. After that we kept having get-togethers at various locations and for our 50th we had a 3 day Reunion in Naples with Golf, Fishing, Sightseeing, Eating/Drinking. etc. I was especially lucky to have 3 of my class retire in Naples, FL and we gathered often.

As I am now in my 90th year my life is much simplified in retirement. My Theta Pal of 60 years left us in 2012 and my knees gave out shortly after that;so I am now living with my oldest Daughter in Sun City West, AZ. After graduating in 1952 I spent 2 years active duty in the Army, then became a Manufacturer's Agent in Detroit selling Textiles to the Auto Companies and their suppliers; items such as Seat Upholstery, Headlining Fabrics, Vinyl Coated fabrics for Seating, Door Panels/Instrument Panel covers,Carpet,Station Wagon Flooring, etc. Our company "Schmidt, Lamb, and Smith Associate Inc."is still operating today as "Materials Unlimited"."

Roger Gay ‘55

"As a Fiji from the Class of 1955, I welcome the opportunity to share my Phi Gamma Delta experiences at Lambda Iota.

There were six in my high school graduating class, so pledging Phi Gamma Delta in the Fall of 1951 was a great new experience. I was one of twelve pledges and another seven joined us in the Spring. Fiji brothers have meant a great deal to me and they still do today.

When I pledged the Phi Gamma Delta, there was an outstanding group of bright, talented men in the fraternity that cared about one another. Bill Dudley, Bob Schmidt, Ed Ogden, Ron Ballantyne, Doug Shortridge, Jack Noyes, Bill Brant, Jim Lefler, Bob Supple, Harry Ballard, Dave Anderson, Mike Schaffer and many more.  I still think of them with wonderful memories and lessons learned. They taught me the importance of friendship, teamwork and self-discipline. If it hadn’t been for Windy Cook, Jim Idol and Bob Sargeant helping me learn Chemistry, I would never have made my grade to become initiated.

My Fiji Class of 1955 has been a big part of my life. Although there are only seven of us still living, we continue to have reunions with our wives. It is a wonderful group that I always enjoy and treasure their friendship.

The world is experiencing another great challenge. I have no doubt that we will win this challenge as we have solved many in the past.  

I was fortunate to become a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and associate with such a talented group of men that became my brothers."

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