Wednesday, May 7, 2008

First gold star at Normal is for E. D. Stanberry

This story appeared in The Daily Ypsilanti Press of Monday, May 6, 1918.

The Normal Service flag has received its first gold star, and the man for whose memory it stands is truly worthy of pure gold. Elwood D. Stanberry, of the Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) class of 1915, who entered the aviation camp for officers at Champaign, Ill., last summer and who went in September to the training camp at Oxford, England, is reported as ‘died by accident’ in Saturday’s casualty list. He was 21 years old.

Mr. Stanberry’s home was in Deerfield, but, following Supt. A. A. Riddering from Deerfield to Dundee he graduated from the Dundee high school in the same class as Merlin Kopka of this city, who is himself now on his way to France. Mr. Stanberry earned his way through the Normal College, taking three years for his course, and after graduation remained in the city as supervisor of the city playgrounds in 1915.

While in college he was prominent in oratory and debate, in athletics, more particularly in gymnasium work, and in many campus activities. He was born leader of men and a man of high character. He was a member of the Kappa Phi Alpha fraternity. On finishing here, he became director of physical education at Highland Park high school, and his family moved to Highland Park to be with him, which is why the casualty list credits him to that place.

Last October, after arriving at Oxford, he wrote home a letter showing how keenly he appreciated the opportunity of being in historic Oxford, and speaking warmly of the many colleges and churches he had been privileged to visit. He was in excellent health and looking forward eagerly to getting into active fighting. He sent many beautiful pictures of historic buildings to friends here, and only a few weeks ago sent a translation of a book by a German military officer giving the extreme militaristic view of the war from the German viewpoint to Prof. Roberts. He had annotated the book liberally, and wrote that Germany had suppressed it. He wrote that the soldiers over there did not fear death, that it was all in a day’s work; and that, although his eyes had been troubling him, he should keep on with his flying—he had gone over to France—he had gone over to France—unless forbidden to do so on account of his eyes. It is possible that this many account for the accident that caused his death.

A sad coincidence marked the death of Elwood D. Stanberry in a hospital in England. On the day he died, his elder brother, a veteran of the Spanish-American war, was buried at Jackson. The father, now childless, is a veteran of the Civil War. Elwood Stanberry was a fellow student at the aviation camp at Champaign, Ill., of Lietuts. G. O. Middleditch and C. A. Pudrith of Detroit, who were also, killed in a flying accident at Lincoln, England, last month, the same field where young Stanberry was fatally injured.

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