Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois
Curve-In, Fairview Avenue

Sunday, May 30, 2010

1966's Deceased

Overlapping friendships, relationships, and knowledge of other classes naturally occur in four-year high schools. Such was the case between Douglas MacArthur's Class of 1965 members and the following classmates of the Class of 1966.

Therefore, in terms of information-sharing and enlightenment, I am posting their class representative Judy Sumner's "List of Deceased Classmates of the Class of '66," below. But first a word, again, about the two "gray area" guys we know about.

As mentioned before (here), two folks listed among the dead in the Class of '66 are well-known to the Class of '65.

One was Danny Bouchez (pictured), who, as far as is known, is the only person even marginally linked to the Mac Class of '65 who died in Vietnam. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

Danny was a member of our class until the end of the academic year of 1965, and continued over into the following school year to pick up some credits to graduate in 1966. Then post-graduation, Danny was a PFC - E2, Marine Corps, Regular, who began his Vietnam tour of duty on January 2, 1968, and was killed in hostile, ground action due to an explosive device on March 24, 1968, at Quang Nam, South Vietnam.

The other person who, in our mind, is a Mac '65 classmate in the list below is Phil Yocum. As noted previously, Phil decided to go overseas, to Germany, in an exchange arranged by the American Friends Service Committee. At the time, American AFS students (according to the Decatur School District) could not count their time abroad for school credit toward graduation. Thus Phil had to come back, complete his senior year, and graduate with the Class of 1966. He died on September 12, 2002, at the age of 55.

From his obituary:
"Philip Yocum was born April 14, 1947, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the son of Anthony F. and Frances M. May Yocum. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois in Champaign with a bachelor's of arts, and he received his master's from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received several awards, including the Charles E. Merrian Scholarship and the Edmund J. James Scholarship and the American Field Service International Scholarship, which allowed him to study in Germany for a year. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. His name appears on a bronze plaque for academic achievement in the library of the University of Illinois. He was formerly employed with IOICC in Springfield, JTPA in Champaign and Decatur and Up-John Drug Co. as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He also was formerly the press secretary for Congressman Lee Hamilton in Washington, D.C. He was currently employed as an actuarial support analyst for Countries Insurance and Financial Services. Philip enjoyed reading and playing the violin."

On Memorial Day, we shall remember the people who have passed away, the veterans, the non-vets, friends all, and the lives they shared with us, oh, so briefly.

List of Deceased Classmates of the Class of '66

Mary Elizabeth Alexander (Knuth)
John Robert Allison
Michael Edward Baum
Danny Phillip Bouchez
George Donn Bumgardner
James David Campbell
Michael Francis Ducy
Thomas Max Evans
Bruce Leon Freeman
Vicki Lynn Hoty (Seafler)
Paulette Sue Kater (Bird)

Kay Ellen Kirchmann (Akard) {See what Rick Livesay has to say about her, here.}
Sandra Kay Logue (Mendenall)
William R. 'Rusty' Martin, Jr.
Gary Ronald Rewerts
Gerald Lee Roth
Mary Margaret Slaughter (Kitchens)
Daniel Eugene Stephenson
Cheryl Lynn VanAlstine (Koontz)
Marabeth Wells (Young)
Clarence Ezra West
Mary Kathryn Wolken
Phillip Scott Yocum

Thanks to Judy Sumner, representing the Class of 1966, for sharing this valuable information.

1 comment:

Tim Henebry said...

Loren. It’s so good of you to keep this going and to do the background research and share what has happened with our classmates—especially those unable to speak for themselves.

I didn’t know Danny Bouchez well but I certainly remember him as one of our class. It's a shame that he and so many others died so young. But it’s also amazing really, given the number of troops sent to Vietnam, and the number of our class that likely served there (or in the military anyway), that he was the only causality (KIA). I know there were some that were truly “in harm’s way” pretty much on a daily basis. A big “Thank you for your service” should go out to every one of these guys.

Phil Yocum was actually a good friend of mine for several years. We really lost touch after he went to Germany. But I wanted to mention a few things that I knew about him that just can’t be covered in an obituary. He was a very multi-talented guy—not just academically. He began playing the violin early on and received private lessons from a music professor at Millikin U.--and I know that by age 12 or 13 he was playing with the Decatur Civic Orchestra. This was all before he was in the Mac orchestra. I believe he played the mandolin as well. Phil was also a car and motorcycle enthusiast in his youth—and knew just about every detail of every make and model of each car and truck—domestic and foreign. In fact, it was Phil who located the 1928 Model A Ford that my brother and I ended up buying—he found it out by Wyckle’s Corner off the old Route 36 West. I vividly recall that his family’s car was the classic Ford Edsel with the push-button shift—in white and pink. I believe he owned an early model Renault at that time—this was before VW and other foreign makes had become popular. I’m sure that he was delighted during his AFS exchange in Germany to be near the Porsche factory in Stuttgart. Phil was athletic too—and was a pretty good discus thrower on the track and field team as I remember. I didn’t have any contact with him as an adult—but as a young man, he was one of the most decent and thoughtful guys I knew.