Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rene F. Elisar, Toni Spano, and Dr. and Mrs. Sedgewick

Rene in the Army in Korea(?)
This is Rene F. Elisar in 1953.  Clearly, he's in the Army, maybe Korea, but where I'm not certain.  That's the usual grin. 

I know that he was a forester.  That he attended Syracuse University and the Ranger School at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and that he was in the Army.  I think that he had been posted to a district in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania before he ended up as a District Ranger in Athens, Ohio. He co-authored Portable Cone Storage Racks . He died when he was only 51.

I believe it was Rene who was in a hospital tent in Korea and awoke to find a Chinese soldier killing patients at the other end of the tent, drew his pistol and shot the enemy.  I don't know if Rene was wounded or "merely" sick.  

We visited he and his family, he was collecting old bottles at the time, in Pennsylvania. It seems that he had a daughter about 1 year younger than me and a younger son. I am now certain of the number of sons. They visited us in Bridgewater about 1969 and camped at Todd Lake. I think we all had a good time and even went in the water although it was pretty cool for that time of year (early summer I think). 

(l to r) Mom, Rene, Toni Spano at Dr. Sedgewick's
It bothers me more than a little bit that I can't find anything about him.  He always seemed to be a good person and I'd hate for him to be completely forgotten.  I'm hoping that posting this these photos will find his family.
Rene at Dr. Sedgewick's

In fact I have since heard from his daughter and I was able to put her in touch with Toni Spano. It certainly is nice to have been able to do that. Again, Rene was a nice and interesting man. He should be well remembered.

Interestingly, his daughter informs me that he had competed in shooting competitions in high school.  I believe I remembered that being mentioned but was certain enough to mention it here.  She also told me that although he was an avid hunter for many years, he ultimately gave away his firearms (and I would presume any archery equipment he might have had) and that he was not ever a member of the NRA.  That isn't uncommon for shooters now and NRA membership was actually less common among shooters then so that is unsurprising.  My own father didn't join the NRA until about 1981 even though I had first joined in 1972.

Toni, was Mom's best friend and maid-of-honor at my parent's wedding.  They were good friends and Toni visited my parents just a year or so before my father died in 1999.  Every story from Mom's college days had to include either Toni or Rene or the Sedgewicks.

Dr. Sedgewick and his wife were interesting people as well.  Although he was an academician, both he and his wife were "leg" shooters with Mrs. Sedgewick completing her leg, shot with a 1903 Springfield, first.  I only met them once, sitting outside their camper someplace, perhaps at Lake George, and I remember Mrs. Sedgewick as being a rather slight woman.  But, I also remember their obvious love of life despite the good Dr. being then suffering from Parkinson's disease.  Mom boarded with them for at least a couple of years including the months immediately prior to my birth so I guess you could say that I stayed with them as well.  In fact, Mom took a bus from their house to the hospital to give birth to me.  They were pretty close and Mom was also friends with their daughter and Dad was great friends with her husband.  In fact, we received a first hand account and photos of the 1964 Anchorage earthquake from them soon after the event.  I might still have those photos. 

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