During the 1960s, we had numerous visits from an alumnus who just could not get enough of Cornell University and SAE Hillcrest. He was Andrew J. MacElroy, class of 1898 and badge number 540, and he was our oldest living alumnus at the time.
We never knew exactly when he might show up, but we did know it was always on party weekends.
He became quite a fixture (all positive) so we arranged to replace his badge that he had lost somewhere between here and there, and presented a new exact replica badge with number to him at our March Founder’s Day Banquet the same night that Fairbairn Gilkeson ’14 was honored for 50 years of service to Hillcrest. In Andy’s moving acceptance speech that followed he left one message for the brothers!
“A horse cannot pull while kicking. This fact I merely mention. And he can’t kick while pulling, which is my chief contention.” AJM (1961)
He was about 84 when he started coming back for football weekends and other special events. He and his driver would come up from Long Island and stay at the Statler on campus. They would show up in time for cocktails on Friday and then disappear early Sunday morning for the long ride home. Reports from the campus police were that they failed to negotiate a few turns on campus and drove over more than one curb near the Statler.
Chapter Adviser Gilkeson knew Andy from earlier days, and I think he was pleased that an old geezer brother was coming to Hillcrest who was more than 10 years older than “Gilk” was.
Andy was in the Army and attached to RFA Flying Corp in WWI, flying those biplanes like the Red Baron flew. Imagine that! He was very proud of that experience, as indicated by the picture above. He was decorated in World War I by King George V for his service.
Brother MacElroy ran a printing business (Acorn Publishing Company) in Rockville Center, Long Island, New York, and lived there but never forgot his roots in Ithaca at Cornell.
After my graduation in 1962, which he attended, I visited Andy once on Long Island about the time I was shipping out to Germany in the Army. We corresponded for a while, and then suddenly no letters came. In one of his last letters to me, he said: “A man is not old when his hair is gray. A man is not old when his teeth decay. But a man is old, and it makes him weep, when his mind makes a date his body can’t keep.” AJM (1963)
Hal D. Sieling ’62
PS: Andy’s pocket flask was always handy at the cold football games!!!