ROLL OF HONOR – Fall 2016
John Dempsey ’56: Embodiment of the American Spirit
August 23, 1934 – May 7, 2016
Jack Dempsey’s grandson recalled the day he attended elementary school wearing a set of jungle fatigues given to him by his grandfather. “My teacher pulled me aside and asked, ‘Did you know you are wearing a general’s fatigue uniform?’ That’s when I knew that my grandfather was kind of a big deal. He was an impressive man. He embodied the American spirit and had the go and get it attitude.”
Full military honors and the love of a community marked the funeral of retired Vermont Army National Guard Brig. Gen. John M. “Jack” Dempsey ’81, who died May 7. Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Paul Smith of Ashburnham said Dempsey’s funeral was a special service. “We have people here from Massachusetts because he was a Massachusetts native son, and from Vermont because he served in the Vermont National Guard,” Smith said. “This doesn’t happen all the time. We never forget leaders.”
A Vermont Army National Guard Color Guard and one from the Richard A. Ruether American Legion Post 152 of Williamstown, Mass., stood at attention under a soft rain as the service began. A VTARNG fire party and honor guards from both Massachusetts and Vermont stood at attention. Howitzers delivered a powerful farewell salute. A three-shot volley followed the cannon tribute. Several people wept as a lone military bugler played taps. “This is a wonderful send-off for a very well-respected man, a man who served honorably for many, many years,” Smith said.
Dempsey’s legacy includes ownership of the former Martin’s Shoe Store (1974–2002), as well as leadership roles such as trustee of the former North Adams Regional Hospital, chair of the former Downtown Development, Inc., and member of the Northern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce. North Adams’ mayor Richard J. Alcombright recalled Dempsey as a strong businessman and civic leader. “I’ve known Jack for years,” Alcombright said. “I was very familiar with Martin’s Shoe Store. Jack was a consummate gentleman; he was there for everyone. His military service speaks for itself.”
Dempsey’s military leadership included battalion commander of the 172nd Armor Division, brigadier commander of the 86th Infantry Brigade, and brigadier general of the 50th Armored Division, all of Vermont.
DiLego Jewelry Store owner Cynthia Lamore remembered Dempsey as a business colleague and a friend. “He always had a smile; he was always so pleasant,” she said. “He was a great business owner. He knew your parents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins.
It was part of what made him so likable. He was one of those businessmen that made North Adams great.”
American flags were presented to Dempsey’s children: John M. Dempsey Jr., Carrie Alibozek, and Eileen Clark. The reverence shown during the service touched the family deeply, Alibozek said. “He retired from the military in 1988 and you forget what it is,” she said. “But this, today, it was so much deeper than we knew, all the respect and the honor.”
Prior to the service, Alibozek said that her father loved being in the National Guard and enjoyed participating in the drills and trainings. “He absolutely loved it,” she said. “It was a big part of his life. We are all so proud of his military accomplishments.”
Dempsey may have embodied the best of military service and business ideals, but at her 2014 wedding, Alibozek said he was “Dad.” The memories of that day are equally precious to her heart. “He walked me down the aisle and we had that dance,” she said. “I thank God that he was there for that.”
The 1956 War Whoop states, “[Jack Dempsey] has participated actively in nearly every organization he was eligible to enter, but we will remember him best for his skill on the snowy slopes.”
A two-time captain of the ski team, Jack participated in varsity track, intramural football, basketball, track, and softball. He was a member of Skull and Swords, Sigma Phi Epsilon, the I.F.C., Honor Tank Platoon, Honor Committee, the Guidon and War Whoop staffs, and various other clubs.
A lifelong resident of North Adams, Mass., Jack will long be remembered as the consummate servant leader. In retirement he served on the Board of Fellows. The following article, by Susan Bush, is excerpted by permission of the Berkshire Eagle.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Norwich Fund, Norwich University Development Office, 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663.
Roll of Honor
The following list reflects notifications of deceased Norwich family members received by the university from April 19, 2016, through July 15, 2016. Full obituaries, when available, can be viewed online at alumni.norwich.edu/Obituaries. To inform the university of the passing of a member of the Norwich family, please contact the Alumni Office at 802-485-2100, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1944 Rudolph J. Benedetti, 96, of Pittsfield, Mass., 6/18/2016
1948 (VC) Ruth M. Titemore, 87, of St. Albans, Vt., 6/10/2016
1950 Albert K. Chiancone Sr., 91, of Cincinnati, Ohio, 6/17/2016
1951 John G. Oliver II, 86, of Rocky River, Ohio, 6/25/2016
1951 (VC) Bernice B. Caletzky, of Lynn, Mass., 12/23/2012
1952 Hadwen C. Perry Jr., 87, of South Dartmouth, Mass., 6/3/2016
1953 David H. Miller, 85, of Nashville, Tenn., 6/24/2016
1954 (VC) Gale (Wolynec) Whittemore, 81, of Stratford, Conn., 6/21/2016
1960 (VC) Marcia M. McGlynn, 76, of Woodbury, Vt., 5/29/2016
1962 (VC) Gail McAllister, 71, of Windham, Maine, 12/31/2013
1963 Allan S. Udler, 74, of Potomac, Md., 6/14/2016
1963 Bernard “Bud” F. Wilkes Jr., 74, of Lake Sunapee, N.H., 6/22/2016
1963 John J. Luzzi, 75, of West Hartford, Conn., 7/7/2016
1967 Shaun F. Barrett, 71, of Jacksonville, Fla., 5/1/2016
1968 Richard “Dick” W. Holmes II, of Springfield, Va., 4/1/2016
1979 (VC) Roger D. Blood, 69, of Woodstock, Vt., 7/6/2016
1987 (VC) Jeannine E. Gardner, 83, of Whitefield, N.H., 6/29/2016
1990 (VC) Edward J. Weyhing, 79, of Middletown, R.I., 6/29/2016
1992 (VC) Norma R. Stukenberg, 93, of Leaf River, Ill., 6/29/2016
1998 (VC) William J. Varga, 71, of Smithfield, N.C., 6/22/2016
Helen P. Rookey, 90, of Suffield, Mass., 6/25/2016 – Mother of Rockwell T. Rookey ’75
Marilyn S. Covey, 84, of Wethersfield, Conn., 10/8/2014 – Widow of Harry E. Covey ’52
Marion M. Munsell, 84, of Williston, Vt., 7/4/2016 – Wife of Richard E. Munsell ’54 and Mother of Pete Munsell ’80
Terri R. Liberman, of Northfield, Vt., 7/9/2016 – Professor of English, 1976–2012
Sandra M. Demasi-Kingsley, 80, of Roxbury, Vt., 7/9/2016 – Former Staff