The Golden Chair

This page is dedicated to the fraters that have passed on.  We will be sharing stories and memories of these individuals… they will never be forgotten.

Major Richard Lytle

Written by Alumni David Schoeck…

Major Richard Lytle was my instructor and later Commandant of Cadets at Kent State AFROTC from 1966 to 1969. Prior to his ROTC posting, Major Lytle had been  an F-102 fighter pilot and was great role model. I am not sure why Dick took a ROTC assignment as his passion was flying fighter planes, which he always talked about. The first time he introduced himself, he said, “I’m the World’s Greatest Fighter Pilot.” But after 10 years of constant deployments, including a Vietnam tour the assignment provided more time with his family, an opportunity to earn an MBA degree and mentoring future officers like me. He had also been in my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon when he was a student and later became our chapter advisor. He was of great help to us and I also recall his sense of humor.

About a week before commissioning, our Teke fraternity gave an award (engraved lighter) to Major Lytle. He had been reassigned as an A-1E close air support pilot in Vietnam. Right before graduation and commissioning he took me and few other guys aside over a beer and described life in the RAF (real air force). According to Chris Hobson’s book “Vietnam Air Losses” Maj. Lytle was with the 602nd SOS “Fireflies/Sandys” out of Nakhon Phanom, flying A-1E, 52 132455 on a RESCAP mission in Laos when the aircraft went down due to engine problems. It was his second mission on 11/1/69 with a veteran A1E pilot. The veteran survived but Dick’s parachute did not deploy. They found the engraved Teke lighter in his flight suit and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His loss was a shock and had he lived, most of us who knew him agree that he would have risen to a senior leadership position.

Bob Hess

Written by Alumni David Schoeck

I have several memories of Bob and as we were roommates in the Teke house for several quarters, thought that I’d pass them on.

I first met Bob at the chapter smoker during my freshman year.  As you know, Bob was a big, confident guy with an outgoing personality.  I was alone and observing the chapter’s awards and charter on the wall.  Bob came right over and introduced himself and made me feel very comfortable and welcome.  He immediately went into “sell mode” and stressed that although you had to “fit in” and participate as a team player, Tekes came from various backgrounds and everyone had different interests, i.e., diversity was strength.  This advice was instrumental in convincing me to pledge and also proved to be true.

Bob had a great sense of humor and like everyone, enjoyed good times.  But he also had a strong moral compass.  For example, after a pledge prank, he lined up our entire class, lectured us on what was expected of an active Teke and then deposited ten demerits in each of our books with one word, “stupidity”.  None of us forgot that lesson – never cross the line and do anything that could possibly dishonor our fraters, the chapter or the fraternity.

I also remember Bob’s insights and remarks during chapter meetings.  Again, he was always the voice of integrity and reason during many debates.  You always did not agree with Bob, but you always respected him and knew where he stood.

The last time we met was at the LaGuardia Airport departure lounge in the late 1970s.  It was a chance meeting as we were both catching flights to different places.  Again, just like at the smoker years before, Bob spotted me first and came over with a big smile.  We reminisced for a while, and then both departed.  Although we had not seen each other for years, I always enjoyed his recent emails and the use of terms I only recall from my fraternity days like, “Bite me!”

I’m sure that Bob is catching up with Tim Kominic, Jeff Coole, Jim Dunlap and the other guys who have passed away too soon.  Feel free to pass this on as I’m sure that many others have fond memories to share and perhaps send to his family.

Jim Dunlap

Written by Alumni David Schoeck

Jim Dunlap was a hard working former chapter president in our formative years and like so many others, a great friend.  Jim and I were roommates at the old 517 East Main St house for several quarters.  He graduated a year before me and settled in Fort Lauderdale.  Along with Karl Shallenbeger who also moved to Florida after graduation, we remained close friends.  Every time, any of us would visit, Jim and his wife, Eileen and Karl and Marge would always open their house and we always had a great time.  For example, on Spring break in 1970, I was in Fort Lauderdale with Tim Kominic (we will get to him later).  Tim was always as a ladies man and met a vacationing “school teacher” on the beach and asked her for a date that night.  In the wee hours of the next morning, Tim returned to Jim Dunlap’s apartment and woke us up with the following statement, “Do you know what that girl really was?  She was a nun!”  We were very sleepy, but Jim roared over that one and Tim never lived it down.  Jim Dunlap was a pilot and disappeared in an airplane crash in the early 1980s off Florida.

Jeff Coole

Written by Alumni David Schoeck

Jeff Coole was our unofficial social director for years.  I remember the day I graduated as it was also Bob Beckley’s wedding.  Just as I left the reception, Jeff summed up the Iota Pi experience in three words, “It was fun!”  I kept up with Jeff over the years either in Kent or later in Atlanta, where he finally settled down.  In the early 1980’s I was in Atlanta and called Jeff.  He and his wife immediately invited me over to their house and we had a nice chat over a few beers.  A few years later, I ran into him by chance at the Orlando airport.  As usual, I was running late for a business meeting, but stopped anyway for what turned out to be my last talk with Jeff.  I heard he passed away from cancer a few years later.

Tim Kominic

Written by Alumni David Schoeck

Tim Kominic was a former chapter president and guiding light for the re-establishment of Iota Pi in the 1970s and the 1994 reunion.  During the 1960s, Tim was older than most of us having served in the Navy and was also one of our wildest party animals.  He was a big guy with a stature that reminded me of John Wayne – almost bigger than life.  His antics at parties also resembled the John Beluchi character in Animal House.  Tim also had a heart of gold and when the chips were down either with the chapter or on a personal basis, he was always there.  For example, when my Dad passed away, Tim was one of the first guys to call and even wanted to jump in his pickup truck to “help out”.  That was how Tim was – always ready to “help out”.  There are too many “Timmy Teke” stories to mention here, but when many of us learned of his death from a heart attack, it was like we had lost a brother.  That in of itself is probably the greatest tribute many of us could pay to him.

Jim Russell

Written by Alumni David Schoeck

I was very sad to hear this news about Jim.  We started out as freshmen in Clark Hall and pledged in the same class.  Jim did no go active right away and recall Bob Hess saying to him, “Russ, you’ve got to focus on your grades because we need you as an active.”  And his grades did improve and Jim became a solid Iota Pi citizen.  He was also a handsome guy who was always in the company of pretty women.  Many fraters would lobby Jim to get them a date.  And he was a gifted artist.  I remember the last time seeing him – I had already graduated and returned for a brief visit in Feb. 1970.  Jim came down the stairs with that big grin.  I heard he was wounded in the infamous shooting a few months later and lost track of him, but those memories still stand.  Agree with Denny about the bond being broken – Dick Lytle, Jim Dunlap, Tim Koninic, Jeff Coole, Bob Hess and now Jim Russell – all strong personalities in different ways and great fraters and friends.