Elliott, Stuart A.

Died: August 01, 1992

 

Stu Elliott died tragically in 1992, when he was struck by a car.   His daughter Amy was just a teenager at the time.  Twenty-eight years later, in 2020, Amy had an encounter with the daughter of our classmate Paul Streicker.   Here is what Paul wrote to the class a few days later: 

A woman interviewing my daughter Eve yesterday asked where she went to college. When Eve said, “Williams,” the woman replied, “My father went there!”

You can guess the rest of the conversation. “So did my father…. What year?…1967.… My father, too!”

The woman was Amy Elliott, the daughter of Stu Elliott, who died when struck by a car in 1992, when she was 17. In an email to me, Amy asked if I remembered her dad.  I remembered what he looked like and that he was a football player and, like me, a poli sci major, but I didn’t have any anecdotes.

If you have any, Amy would really, really, like to know him better.  Please write her personally.

—————————

Amy Elliott was overwhelmed by the number of classmates who wrote to her about her dad.  The emails have “reminded her of the goodness in people,” she told Paul’s daughter Eve.   She said that with all the stress in the world, she “had forgotten that people could be so kind,”  and said that this reminded her of the importance of community.

Below are some of the responses, which Amy was glad to share with the class, with the writer’s consent.

Please add your own.  Amy will see them.

 
 
 
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18 Responses to Elliott, Stuart A.

  1. Wally Wilson says:

    I lived across the hall from Stu freshman year and knew him well during our 4-year time together in the Purple Hills.

    First off, Stu was a great guy – really funny and definitely someone you wanted on your side. I say that because he was one of the toughest guys I’ve ever known. Once we even came to blows when some good natured blows escalated into a genuine fisticuffs in front of Sage Hall in the freshman quad. My life was probably spared when, in an attempt to parry one of his blows, I dislocated a finger. It freaked both of us out and we then walked arm in arm over to dinner. I’m glad I never had to line up opposite from him on the football field! At 6’8″, hoops was my game.

    After Williams, Stu and I drifted apart, but we did similar things, both going into education and riding our bikes to and from school. As we both lived in Connecticut, we did see each other now and again, but I moved to Oregon a decade out of Williams and I never saw him again after the 70s. Still, it grieved me to hear of his death both because of his youth and vitality, but also because we had shared so much – not the least of which was keeping a light environmental footprint by communicating by bike.

    PS I remember Stu was a Rebel from Denver South HS. Funny how some things just stay with you!

  2. Paul Lipof says:

    I’m not sure of the date, but it was probably around 1990. I reunited with Stu when we bumped into each other at the New Haven Open Tennis Tournament at Yale in the summer. It might have been called the Yale Open at that time. I had moved to Connecticut from Florida a few years earlier and had no idea that Stu was in Middletown. I joined Stu and Niall Coughlin in Middletown to watch the Williams/Wesleyan football game that fall and then we went back to his house for dinner after the game. I think we got together on another occasion. Somehow I remember touring the high school with Stu where he was principal. I remember how much he enjoyed his role there and how much the kids loved him.

    Somehow, I got the word that Stu had suffered an attack of diverticulitis and had an operation to deal with it. I spoke with him on the phone. I think he was still in the hospital, prior to the second surgery. He was pretty anxious about the situation, understandably. I remember him saying: “Paul, my body let me down.” The second surgery, which I think is called “reattachment” was successful, and I believe he was more relaxed and confident. Then came the horrible news about the car accident. I attended the funeral. What impressed me and still does was the outpouring of love and respect from the students, former students and colleagues. The church was filled to overflowing, as was the love for Stu. He was really a terrific and special person.

    I got to meet his mom in Denver in the summer of 1967. I was doing a session in Outward Bound, Colorado that summer. Somehow, Stu found out and he insisted that I visit with her while I was there. She was terrific and I learned from whom Stu inherited his sense of humor.

    Memories from Williams: We both played football, both offensive tackles — Stu on one side of the line and me on the other. Lots of good times and hard work. I remember a certain drill where he and I would face off opposite each other and try to knock each other over. The trick was to get as low as possible to the ground and still be able to move forward. Stu’s face mask was right on the grass and mine was right there with him. Then we’d smash into each other with all our might and struggle to push each other back. Someone said we made a terrible sound. I remember it hurt a lot and I hated that drill and especially having to deal with Stu.

  3. Ted McPherson says:

    I remember Stu as a popular member of our Williams Class of 1967, a good student, and a fine athlete. Whenever our paths crossed, he’d smile, say hello, and ask how things were going.

  4. Tom Phillips says:

    I played football at Williams with Stu for four years. We were friends but did not hang out together outside of the football season. I was always very fond of him. I have one story that tells you how much we liked him and also how perverse football players are.

    We were in the middle of our two-a-day practice sessions held in September before school started. It was hot and humid. The team ate together in a dining hall. One day at lunch, from across the room someone yelled out in pain that they had a leg cramp. The player fell off his chair on to the floor screaming and holding the leg with the cramp. Once we realized it was Stu on the floor, we all broke out laughing. Really laughing. Yes, we knew he was in pain but we all knew it would go away and we just liked him so much. It could have happened to any one of us and the fact that it happened to one of our best players, someone we liked, somehow made it very funny. I realize our reaction sounds strange and unsympathetic but I assure you it was out of affection

  5. Peter Krause says:

    I first met Stu on the football field at Williams during the first few days of Freshman year. He was the biggest player on the field and the best of those of us who played on the line. He was very friendly but also a fierce competitor. I liked him very much and we were friends throughout the next four years. He had a big laugh and was always upbeat. Unfortunately, I lost touch with him after college but would have loved to have reestablished the friendship.

  6. Rob Perlstein says:

    Stu was one of my best friends at Williams, and had an enormous influence on me. I will always remember his booming laugh!

    When I came to Williams in 9/63, I was a year or two younger than most of the guys, and was somewhat ‘developmentally behind,” having barely completed puberty & possessed of very few social interaction skills. It was also culture shock on steroids for a kid from a huge urban NYC high school to suddenly find himself at a tiny elite college in the Berkshire Mountains (surrounded by much more mature guys from the most prestigious prep schools in New England & the world).

    Stu took me under his wing & helped me assimilate at Williams & grow up. Stu, myself, and a few other guys — Pete Krause, Doug McAvay, Dick Horner, Rob Hammell, Arnie De Beaufort, Jim Ungerer — ended up living in close proximity to one another for most of our years at Williams. He was also good friends with Jay Eustis from Chicago.

  7. Art House says:

    I played football with Stu at Williams. As a young man from a blue collar background, I was often almost overwhelmed at such a prestigious college. Such being the case, I would gravitate towards classmates I felt were “real” — what I saw was what was really true. We never became great friends probably because we never lived in the same dorm or fraternity. However, Stu was a source of strength and a rock for me and I regret that I never told him how important he was to me getting through those four years.

    Stu was William’s heavyweight wrestler and he talked about my going out for the wrestling team. I had never wrestled anything but hay bales and maybe a farm animal and chose not to try. However, every once in a while I would watch wrestling practice and wrestle him to work on his speed because I was smaller at under 200 lbs and relatively fast. I could defend and remain out of his reach usually for a while but eventually he would catch me in a hold and it was like being caught by a huge bear yet it was comforting because there was no aggressiveness coming out of him, just warmth and gentleness as I would struggle to escape.

    Well, as I get older and reflect more on the blessings placed in my life at various times without my fully understanding and appreciating, Stu is one I prayerfully give thanks to and for.

  8. Mike Roizen says:

    I was a manager on the football team. Stu cared about all the people he interacted with and was gracious to all of us. He worked hard. He knew I was on the squash team and asked to learn the game so his footwork was better (on the football field). He epitomized the Williams person — hard working, smart, clever, and loyal and nice to all. I wish I had more stories. He was tough and nice and a real Mensch.

  9. Joel Rosenthal says:

    I will pass along an anecdote I’ve been telling since my freshman year in 1963.

    I entered Williams as a naive-physically, emotionally and academically-16 year old, from a large public high school in New York City. Although I had never played on an organized team that wore uniforms, I considered myself a pretty good baseball and touch football player (among other sports–basketball excluded). My first lesson in humility (or maturity-depending on your perspective) came from your father during the first week of freshman orientation. Someone had organized a pickup touch football game (blocking allowed), and I wound up on the team opposite Stu – who I was meeting for the first time. My perceived quarterbacking skills were, to my surprise, barely average compared to a number of others playing that day, but I happily volunteered to play defense, rushing the opposing quarterback. I was 6 feet tall 185 lbs and quick, and I had been successful doing that among my friends in high school. I expected to be in the opposing quarterback’s face for most of what was to be about a two-hour game. That, however, was not to be the case, as Stu was protecting the other team’s quarterback.

    My memory of my first attempt to get past Stu is indelible. As soon as I was within his reach, he simply grabbed my shirt and threw me to the ground like a sack of potatoes. As i looked up from the wet September grass, I saw him grinning at me, his smile as wide as his shoulders, as he helped me to my feet when the play had ended. This was repeated, without exception, throughout the game-and I never once got past him. I was utterly overmatched, and remember retreating to my dorm room with my face muddy and my clothes grass stained, and my football ego in gross disrepair. I had never been so soundly beaten in an athletic endeavor I considered myself good at. My only consolation was that he was so good natured about it all; there was no malice nor arrogance. It is also clear to me that my football fate that day was shared by many opponents, before and after, much more skilled than I, who played with pads.

    I have told this story many many times over the years-it was my earliest of many “awakenings” I had at Williams. And, of course, the corollary lesson that I learned in class with Stu, was that despite being a “football player” he was as smart and perceptive, if not more so, than the rest of us.

    Amy, I was not one of your father’s buddies at Williams, but I did know him well enough through classes we shared and the inevitable encounters that occur in Williamstown, that I was saddened when I read of his untimely death, and of the esteem he was held in by those who knew him better than I from college and in his community and in his profession.I can barely fathom how difficult his loss must have been for you and your family and am sorry that all I can offer to help you fill out the picture of your father is this one small episode. I am sure there are hundreds of others you’ve heard over the years, of the positive influence and impact your father had on others’ lives, but i am happy to finally be able to share my story with someone to whom it matters.

  10. George Cannon says:

    I was the co-captain of the Williams Class of ’67 football team along with Stu. Even though we were co-captains together and both on the offensive unit (he was a tackle and I was quarterback), we didn’t interact very much. So, ironically, I don’t have any vivid anecdotes about him.

    Stu was a quiet and self-contained man, but exuded a quiet strength. I know the other players had a great respect for him as did I. He was a calm center that the other players gravitated to.

    ——————————–

    My post above was truncated from what transpired between Amy (Stu’s daughter) and me last Fall, so I want to elaborate so I don’t seem curt in my feelings about Stu.

    Paul Streicker’s post last October to the class listserv put me in touch with Amy, and eventually I sent her a football team photo of eleven of us who were still standing by senior year. Paul Lipof had sent it to me from the College archives some years ago.

    I pointed out some players she may have known or heard of. She said we were all so handsome (“haha” was my reply). I’m amazed that I never really saw much of Stu’s personality that so many others describe here. I guess he was just trying to not overtalk the QB in the huddle – but I see I really missed a lot.

    I always had great respect for him, and still think of him often.

  11. Allan Stern says:

    I didn’t know Stu well (was pretty much of a band geek, not a football player), but we were fellow political science majors. My main memory of him over the passage of time is nothing specific, but, well, just a sweet guy. We both became educators (I went into the Peace Corps after Williams, then ended up teaching in inner-city Chicago), and I would have liked to have touched base with him over our differing experiences.

  12. Ken Willcox says:

    I knew Stu relatively well. We had a small class, about 300. So everyone pretty much knew everyone.

    Stu was good humored. I remember him with a very winning, warm smile. One of the guys who most admired Stu was Rob Perlstein. Rob became an MD and a top specialist at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington. He always referred to Stu as “eelio,” as in “hey, Eelio” to get Stu’s attention.

    I was the game announcer for the football team and wrote the weekly game summary. I may have some old reports that include Stu. He was a standout, of course. Great guy.

  13. Rob Perlstein says:

    Amy,

    As I noted in my initial comment above, your Dad had an unmeasurably positive influence on me. He brought me into our group, guided me & helped me grow up.

    Reading through the touching & assorted entries above, a few memories flashed by which I will share:

    Every year – Our group’s annual trek to downtown Williamstown to see the Great Escape & the Magnificent 7.

    Every week day – Our group’s daily viewing of Batman. We would laugh & laugh at how stupid the plots & dialogue were – your Dad’s laugh was always the loudest. He loved life.

    Sophomore year – The day I beat him on a double move playing touch football, started running up the field and then was abruptly discontinued from running any further because he had caught up to me & grabbed my shoulders in a prodigious vice-like grip – so that my lower body was still moving forward but my upper body had stopped moving. He subsequently carried me to the infirmary where I was diagnosed with a partially torn inguinal ligament.

    Junior year – One of the many nights our Hopkins House crew foolishly got drunk drinking beer while playing cards, & I then proceeded to walk through a glass window thinking it was a door. Stu then drove my car & me to the North Adams hospital while I was profusely bleeding from a deep cut under my right scapula. When I told my mother about this, I told her — to get out of trouble — that it was your Dad’s fault. She never forgot. Your Dad would laugh & laugh & laugh when we recollected this in later years.

    ~1990 or so – The day I came to visit your Dad in Silver Spring, MD when you & your Mom & Dad had driven down from CT to visit your Mom’s sister or brother. I brought my little girls (then about 6 and 3) with me. You were an adorable teenager. You played with them while your Dad & I went off to play our ~100th game of 1-on-1 hoops. When we were at Williams, I think my record vs your Dad was roughly 0-99. I was about 5’11” 175 lbs and could shoot very well, but your Dad was cat-like quick for a massively strong offensive tackle & had some basketball skills also. Many of these games were very close – but I would always lose at the end because he would just post me up & overpower me and/or I would choke. On that rainy, cold day in Silver Spring on a cement court, I beat him multiple times.

    Looking back, I am very happy that I got to visit with your Dad that day, have him meet my kids, & see you & your Mom. Approximately 2 years later, he was tragically gone way way way too soon.

    He was the big brother I never had. I will never ever forget him.

    PS Ken, I only called him ‘Elio’ when he called me ‘Perl’ – a nickname I abhorred. :0)

  14. Bob Bahr says:

    Stu was a friend from freshman year on. We were in the same freshman entry, Sage F, in Lehman Hall Sophomore year and then in Mark Hopkins House. Many on campus saw him as captain of the football team and a formidable athlete. He was also one of the kindest people I have known, always looking out for his friends and ready with a humorous comment. We lost touch after graduation. I only saw him once after we graduated, when Stu his wife were at Yale-New Haven Hospital (where I was a doctor at the time) for an appointment and we happened to bump into each other in a hallway and reconnected. It was a very special, but all to brief meeting.

  15. Malcolm Getz says:

    One afternoon, a few of us from Hopkins House went to the lawn below Greylock Quad for some pick-up football. Stu was quarterback on the side where my role might be called extra. I am short but slow with small hands. No passes or handoffs came my way. But near the end of the game, Stu said to me in the huddle: “Run to the goal line, I will throw you the ball. No one will follow you.”

    As I went far down the field, completely alone, my teammates were yelling “Turn around!” When I did, I caught a perfectly placed pass.

    Pure Stu.

  16. Ron Bodinson says:

    I played freshman football as a wing back (135 lbs) receiving passes from QB George Cannon. Not much interaction with the offensive linemen like Stu and Paul Lipof. Their job was to knock heads with opposing defensive linemen and protect George so he could throw me photogenic touchdown passes.

    At some point during the season in the locker room I found myself face to face with Stu at which point I blurted out “Stewball”! For those who forget or are unfamiliar with Peter Paul & Mary, their songs in the fall of ‘63 were quite popular. The Beatles did not invade until January’64. So the allusion to Stewball was their song:
    Old Stewball was a racehorse
    I wish he were mine
    He never drank water
    He only drank wine

    Well, Stu’s reaction to the moniker was brusk. His look was stern and pissed.

    As I was about to mutter an apology, he burst out with an infectious, knowing smile and released me from Purgatory or worse. Let’s just say that for the next four years I addressed him as Mr. Elliott.

  17. chuck glassmire says:

    While Stu and I traveled different roads at Williams, mine in bio and squash, we had friends in common, and I will always remember him as an infectiously happy and upbeat guy. We did share a career in education and a love of people. Taken too early from us, the world lost an intelligently happy and caring person.

  18. Arne de Beaufort says:

    I remember a great spring break road trip to Florida. Stu invented the “vacation sandwich” which is running into a grocery store and grabbing some meat and quickly eating it on the spot without any bread or condiments. We watched a famous race at Sebring, toured a Budweiser plant in Tampa, and attended a political science class at the University of South Florida. The co-ed students were a pleasing treat. We arranged some dates, and proceeded to buy some beer for the occasion. Apparently word traveled fast, and the cashier sternly informed us that one of the girls was her daughter. Chastened by her lecture, we behaved ourselves during the date.

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