Eating Lunch in Jacket and Tie

The 1941-42 school year at the Pennsylvania State College started well for Alpha-Delta, with 18 pledges—the highest number to date. But the academic year was brutally interrupted when the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor with an unprovoked bombing attack that decimated the U.S. fleet in the Pacific.

Comparisons to September 11, 2001 are appropriate only to those who didn’t live through Dec. 7, 1941, and the ensuing multi-front war.
Many fraternity houses became military barracks at Penn State and many men, who had been only six months from launching their careers, put plans on hold and enlisted to defend freedom first.

Records for the class of 1942 may not be accurate, but they show 17 Alpha-Deltas were graduated that year from The Pennsylvania State College. Today, six are unaccounted for (in chapter and Penn State records) and at least seven have gone on to Chapter Celestial.

Richard Warburton Miller ’42 not only survives, but remembers. At age 81, he has returned to Penn State only twice since 1942. The last time he received the PSU alumni association’s 50-year medallion.

“It’s not an award for any activity,” he said. “It’s a recognition in that you’re still alive.”

But Brother Miller is more than just “alive”. He’s a generous contributor to our national Kappa Sigma scholarship fund. He wears Jackson’s Men pin number 1598. (See list of Alpha-Delta Jackson’s Men in this issue.) He’s an attorney and clinical psychologist based in Highland, Calif., near San Bernadino. And he lectures on interpersonal communication.

More than 60 years ago, Warburton Miller was “splitting” tickets to dances at Penn State featuring Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw and their orchestras. He and a date would go to the dance until midnight, then hand over their tickets to a brother and his date for the post-midnight shift.

Total enrollment at the College was less than the 2002 graduating class. Sixty-five cents was a good hourly wage for hard manual labor, and Kappa Sigmas wore jackets and ties at lunch and dinner in the Alpha-Delta house.

Brother Miller remembers frequently wearing tuxedoes for fraternal and college functions, although he never wore tails. The graceful, Southern-style Alpha-Delta house in which he lived was demolished in the early 1960s.

He represented the house on the debating team along with Brothers E.V. Bishoff ’45 and Carroll P. Blackwood ’43.

His Alpha-Delta experience lasted only about 18 months, some six decades ago, but he still recalls roommates [Frank E.] Ted Baldwin ’43 and Ralph Sapp ’42. He says Lloyd Dixon ’42, Grand Master, drove a Lincoln Continental Mark I. That was impressive since few brothers even had cars.

(David M. Thompson ’42 says he used to commute from Bellefonte and never lived in the chapter house. He hasn’t been back to Penn State since graduation and lost touch with the fraternity years ago, but he remembers “happy memories of being a brother and being a part of the scene.” Brother Thompson was a newspaper man for four years starting at the local Centre Daily Times, and then served Presbyterian churches as pastor until his retirement in 1986.)

During the summers, Warburton Miller would work as a gandy dancer (adjusting railroad ties), or busting up old highways with a 16-pound sledge, or as a farm hand. The latter paid a dollar-a-day plus lunch. But that kind of work produced enough income to pay for tuition, books and board for the next year at Penn State.

Although scheduled for graduation in 1943, Brother Miller completed his degree in ’42, then went into the Navy.

His service in World War II made an even deeper impression in memory than his life at Kappa Sigma. He was stationed in the South Pacific aboard one of the first destroyers equipped with radar. Several times each month Japanese planes would attack, and he remembers his crew shot down a few, and sank a submarine.

Since most of the U.S. fleet had been crippled or destroyed at Pearl Harbor, Miller was among a relatively-small contingent in the South Pacific in the early days of the war. There he met Maj. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, leader of the famed Black Sheep Squadron, as well as Lt. Jack Kennedy. The skipper of the famous PT-109, at that time, was a well-liked young man, with an active romantic life (to put it more delicately than Brother Miller did).

While he was away at war, Miller sent home money that his mother used to buy building lots for $500 each in Boalsburg, near State College. About 20 years ago, he sold the last of those for $20,000. After service in World War II and the Korean War, Brother Miller retired as a Navy Captain. Miller and his wife have owned 17 citrus farms over the years.

Brothers who wish to contact Warburton Miller may do so at: 909-881-2786.

Jeff Phillips '90

1/3/2003

Q. Why did you join the fraternity?
A. Kappa Sigma was nonpretentious and the brothers were easy-going, down to earth. There were good people in the house and an eclectic crew - Joe Coleman '88, Duey Rumancik '90, Ike, Mack, Jon Taylor, and of course Yabo.

Q. What is your favorite memory of the fraternity?
A. The whole time was a favorite memory. They all morphed. Frozen chin ice shots at the Luau, Friday night happy hour wings, Wednesday night parties, the bolt to WVU, but most of all, making friends for life. If I had to pin it down, I'd say the 1st and 2nd deck Rolling Rock case race would be right up there.

Q. What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation?
A. It's given us a place to coalesce when coming back to PSU. Unfortunately, the recent tough times for Alpha Detla, along with the rest of the Greek community, has caused a lot of uncertainty. We've been there for over a century, and we need to be sure that we are there a century hence.

Q. With whom are you still in contact? Who would you like to find?
A. Stay in contact with Yabo and Duey. Every once in a while I talk to Doug Byler '90 and Snake. Would like to find Gilchrist '88 and Steve Rice '89, two good pledge class bros.

Q. Tell us about your family. Are you married? Do you have children?
A. I married Jenny Elenbaas on Sept. 2, 2001. We met in law school and have a home in the D.C. area. We do not yet have children, but hope to start a family after I return from overseas.

Q. What other activities or organzations did you enjoy in school?
A. Activities? I plead the Fifth. Organizations? See activities.

Q. What is your nickname and how did you get it?
A. See above. I will say my liberal leanings caused Ike to place a vulgar nickname on me - one which I did not encourage. My country-boy childhood caused Gilchrist to utter the nickname "Gomer" at me one time, but luckily, it did not stick for more than a semester.

Q. Did you live in the house? Who were your roommates?
A. Yes. Jon Taylor and Ike and I were roommates. Later, Snake and I shared the end of the hallway on the first deck. Ike used to start the lawnmower on the 2nd deck to annoy, well, everyone. JT may recall some hi-jinks when I went downstairs to fetch a bagel (memories are coded to protect the innocent). Snake and I succesfully avoided arrest during a visit to South Halls.

Q. What do you do for a living?
A. I'm an officer and attorney for the U.S. Army Jag Corps currently serving with the U.S. 3rd Army Coalition Land Forces Component Command, U.S. Centcom, in Kuwait.

Q. What organizations are you affiliated with in your community?
A. I'm a member of the WVA bar and a eucharistic minister in the Catholic Church.

Q. What hobbies do you enjoy?
A. Playing a lot of guitar and recording music. I recently received as a gift a Martin D35 and have several other guitars (Stratocaster, Spanish hand-made classical, and a few others). Also do a lot of gardening and photography.

Q. What are your goals for the next few years?
A. Stabilize Jenny and I in the D.C. area, get a small piece of mountain property, see as many Penn State football games as possible, and get a studio-quality CD completed and distributed to small radio stations.

Thomas DeZubay '82

Q&A with Eric Thomas DeZubay '82
4/12/2002

Q: Why did you join Kappa Sigma?
A:
In order to get on the Penn State main campus, I was forced to start summer term, back in the days of trimesters. Despite graduating with honors (barely) in 1978 from Mt. Lebanon High School near Pittsburgh, I wasn’t good enough to come in with the main crowd that fall. But summertime turned out to be a great time. Sure, I was homesick, but fortunately my older brother (Alex ’78) was still there, about to graduate in the fall. Through him, I met the brothers at the Kappa Sigma chapter and really liked their laidback personalities. I discovered that at this chapter of Kappa Sigma, there were no prerequisites for joining. You didn’t have to be a certain religion, have a certain major, come from an affluent family or be a varsity athlete. Just be someone who wants to get along with others and work together to make a difference. The resulting diversity of people in this fraternity is what made it most appealing to me.

Q: Tell us about your favorite memory of the fraternity.
A:

10. Homerun Derby
9. The Steeler Superbowls and watching the Philly contingent slither away, HA HA!
8. Finding out some brothers poached a deer and hid it on the roof of the chapter.
7. Jim France ’82 lighting 5,000 firecrackers in the stairwell, holy cow!
6. Winning the campus-wide Tails Championship with Kappa Sigma Alumni as my partners.
5. Bob Wojciak ’83, Ken Berk ’82, and Pat Gordon ’83, to name a few.
4. My real brother, Al ’78, pinning my pledge pin on me.
3. Getting initiated.
2. Bottle rocket wars with the fraternity next door!
1. Forming a potent rock band with my fraternity brother and friend, Scott Ott ’83 and playing to a packed house at Kappa Sigma! The band was named after our lead singer, The Scott Ott Band, but better known as S.O.B.

Q: What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation?

A:
It taught me to clean toilets. Sounds like a joke, eh? It isn’t. Many of us grow up pampered, even spoiled. Pledging Kappa Sigma meant learning how to take care of myself and my surroundings. There is something about rolling up your sleeves and dropping to your knees that helps you find out who you are and if your heart is really into serving others. If you can scrub bathrooms for your slovenly brothers, suddenly helping the poor seems a lot easier and rather attractive. That’s the message from my fraternity: Service can take many forms; together, we can accomplish great things for the greater good.

Q: With whom do you still stay in contact? Who would you most like to find?

A:
I am in contact with the ones I have mentioned above. Of course, now that more know I clean toilets, I suspect I’ll be hearing from many of my old mates. I would actually enjoy seeing numerous other brothers I bonded with back then. Naming some would leave out others, which I don’t want to do.

Q: Tell us about your family: Have you married? Do you have children?
A:
I met my wife, Vickie, in the mid ’80s when I was working in Louisiana. We moved to Charlotte, N.C., in 1988, where we still reside today. Since arriving, we have had three children: Tyler, born in 1990; Victoria, born in 1992; and Emily, born in 1994. In 1997, we adopted our 16-year-old nephew whose family fell on hard times. He made up six years of school in three years, graduated from high school, and is now in Technical College for Computer Networking Administration. He turns 21 this year.

Q: What other activities or organizations were you involved with during your college days?
A:
Except for our fraternity-sponsored philanthropies, not enough, especially academically. I majored in meteorology with the goal of being a pilot. That was my excuse for not doing more extra-curricular activities. When I failed the flight physical and started looking for a job in meteorology, that’s when it hit me that my resume wasn’t as competitive as the others.

Q: What is your nickname, if applicable, and how did you get it?
A:
Cosmo -- Cos for short. It came from this hideously ugly silver metallic-like coat I had that made me look like I stepped off a low-budget flying saucer. My brothers were very kind. I’m sure there were numerous opportunities for far more derisive descriptions than the label they gave me.

Q: Did you live in the house? If so, who were your roommates?
A:
Yes, it was mainly Pat, Ken and Woj. Mark Seli ’82, a fellow Mt. Lebanon graduate shared a suite with me, but he and Flint-head spent more time together.

Q: Tell us about a memorable time with them.
A:
Pat, Ken, Woj and I loved having happy hour in our suite. The ritual for every party was drinks in our tall Kappa Sigma frosted glasses, and Steve Winwood tunes from the album Arc of a Diver. It was fun, but Pat always ended up getting all the women.

Q: What do you do for a living?

A:
I am a Broadcast Meteorologist -- TV Weatherman, if you prefer. I am the Senior Meteorologist for WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. Our web site is: www.wbtv.com .

Charlotte was a great market in which to put down roots; it combines the right balance of income, geography and climate. My parents never moved, and I vowed I would try and do the same for my kids since it meant so much to me. So far, so good. We have the tallest mountain in the United States (east of the Rockies) 90 minutes northwest of us, and we can hit Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head before noon. Pennsylvania is an easy day’s drive along with Disney World.

I am also the Principal Partner in a business I started called Wright-Weather, LLC. We sell numerical model data over the Internet as a subscription service to other meteorological outfits geared primarily toward operational forecasting. Our clients include The Weather Channel, Weather Services International, The PGA Group, overseas insurance companies, numerous television stations, government installations such as the Army Corp of Engineers, Department of Agriculture, Utilities, and even a whole bunch of hobbyists. If curious, the web site is: www.wright-weather.com .

Finally, I am the managing editor for the Charlotte Observer (Knight-Ridder)Weather Page in our local newspaper. This involves submitting daily forecasts covering all of North and South Carolina, along with authoring a science Q&A column that runs 365 days per year. I have been answering questions since early 1998 and now have over 1,300 columns archived. I have been thinking about syndicating it.

Q: What affiliations do you currently have and/or public service do you participate in?
A:
I am not affiliated with any one group, outside of my church. But for years I have been a speaker and/or emcee at every imaginable function to help whatever good cause they may be promoting. Currently, I am working closely with our neighboring county’s school board to help design and create online learning modules to improve their science curriculum.

Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?
A:
My time is so horribly limited, that I have virtually dropped out of the one sport I love—tennis. My biggest hobby is my kids. Their youth is so short, and I cherish every moment I have with them. We ride bikes in a park adjacent to our neighborhood. I have my audio/video toys, but I’m not as passionate as I used to be. But as a former quasi-musician, I still can’t go long without music.

Q: What are your goals for the next few years?

A:
As a guy hitting his stride in middle age, my goals are to simply maintain. In many respects, my goals have already been exceeded. I’ve been lucky, damn lucky. Oh sure, I work hard, I’m diligent, but so are most other people. My primary goal is to take care of my family, inspire my kids to be productive citizens, and do my own part to lend my talent, time and treasure to the community.

Brothers may contact Eric DeZubay at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Upcoming events

There are no up-coming events