In Memoriam

The following is a list of people believed to have passed on. These names were found on the UM Alumni web site, in the 1996 UM Directory, and from other classmates. I personally can only vouch for a handful of these folks. If there any mistakes, please let me know and I will make the correction at once. If there are others that you know that should be on this list, please send me an email here to let me know - Larry Carlin

Darryl Askew, Ronald Bearoff, Edward Bengson, Joe Catagnus, Philip Ceccola, Robert Cilio, Pat Collins, Sheila Collins, Robert Cook, Jim Dana, Sheree Davis, Jeff Demos, Armen Djemelian, Keven Douglass, Jeff Eagle, Doug Eichelberger, Janice Epstein, John Eustice, John Ferreri, John Gerber, Gregg Gilbert, Janet Hamaday, Marsha Hammond, Michael Hannon, Tom Heins, Glenn Hoisington, Dave Knighton, Catherine Lowman, Cynthia MacMullen, Nancy Manning, Paul Meo, Kenneth Miller, Jimmy Opie, Carol Osbahr, Ken Padach, Carolyn Roberto, Joe Romani, Barry Rudegeair, Virginia Scalella, Dianne Schmoll, Joe Sheetz, Jeff Smith, Glenn Snyder, John Taylor, Stephen Thornbury, Mark Wisniewski, Jay Wohlgemuth, Bill Wylie

My Blue Tie

In Loving Memory of Paul Meo
By Tom Schmidt
June 13, 2007

Being married now there is no shortage of opportunities to give of myself to my wife and children. Such opportunities remind me of a good friend I had in high school, who through the years, I have never forgotten. Old friends give us warm memories but few it seems tie that invisible string to our heart. The gentle tug of that string at times over the years very tenderly reminds us of the impression that friend continues to have on us. Being the product of a split home, I was not a happy person in school. On the contrary, I was quite cynical, selfish, at times depressed and bitter. Feeling all alone in my social inadequacies and all the while trying to face the uncertain world and future, thankfully, my friends were there, one of which, I will never forget.

To others, he may have been as imperfect as I was, but his example of unselfishness was to me a greater lesson on friendship than words could impart. When my car was down, he lent me his own so I could go to work, school and fix my own. He also knew how to lightheartedly rebuke me in a way that no one else could do and get away with. The day finally came for us to graduate and I received a call from my friend. It was a time when people were making last good-byes, celebrating the completion of the past and the facing of the future together for one night, all the while knowing or denying that circumstances and pathways would part them. In that bittersweet moment of great transition, I told him I wasn't going to graduation and could care less. In his way of bringing me out of myself, he somehow persuaded me to go with him and his mother to graduation and afterwards they would include me for dinner at a the Bella Villa Inn. I reluctantly accepted the invitation but alas, I had no tie to wear. All my ties were the old narrow ones from the mid sixties and by 1972 men were wearing wide ties. My friend did something I would never forget. He took me to his parent's bedroom and let me pick from any of his father's ties. I saw a beautiful blue tie which was the nicest I'd ever seen and asked him if I could wear it. Wore it I did and my friend gave it to me to keep.

What is so special about that tie? My friend's father had died that year leaving a widow and two fatherless boys. His mother had lovingly cared for her bedridden husband for as long as I had known them. Their loss and sorrow was unfathomable yet they were reaching out to me who had much to be thankful for in comparison. I went to graduation and when my name was announced, another family, the Marcys, who had also given me much encouragement, cheered as I received my diploma. I was surprised that anyone in that vast crowd of onlookers knew my name as no member of my own family was there. I took in the importance of the moment as everyone celebrated and somehow I felt a loss of something I never had. After having dinner with my friend's family we then went to a graduation party. Our classmates were drinking, joking and having fun, yet possibly my friend and I were already looking at life from a different perspective. After passing up opportunities to indulge I dropped my friends off at home and went on myself to begin the rest of my life. My friend did well the next time I saw him, having a great job, new Corvette, and a girlfriend who could have been a model etc., but years later, I learned of his untimely death. That string pulled as the tears flowed.

I can't say how often I would've liked to go back in time to have been a big brother to his fatherless little brother, or to help his mother with the house or in some other way to serve them in the way they had served me. It's taken me a long time to mature enough to even have these regrets. Unfortunately, all I can do is honor him with this short token of my appreciation. To many, Paul Meo is another picture in our yearbook, but to me, as I look at the tie I received so many years ago the string pulls and I warmly remember a true friend.





This page updated 9/9/15