Remembering Ray Bice

Dr. Raymond Bice, UVA’s beloved psychology professor, left us on Dec. 23, 2011, and his memorial was at University Chapel on Friday, Jan. 20. As a student, being related to Dr. Bice placed me in a unique position of receiving frequent requests for stories about this UVA legend.

My earliest recollections of Ray originate back to days riding on the shoulders of my father, Ray’s cousin on his mother’s side, through the streets of Manhattan, where we would attend the Christmas Spectacular of the Radio City Music Hall “Rockettes.” Ray and his bride, Zula Mae Baber, were forever doting on and spoiling me (which of course I didn’t mind).

After I enrolled at UVA, Ray was always there for me—helping me navigate University life, laundry visits, a home-cooked meal or simply lending a familial ear.Always humble and never seeking gratitude, Ray was never one to boast of his efforts on your behalf—he simply was tirelessly working on behalf of others in every aspect of his life and never expected anything in return, other than to see your happiness.

Among many talents, Ray was known for his art of storytelling and presentation of difficult theories through visual demonstrations. You may have heard stories of the performances for the “Frank and Ray” shows presented by the legendary Frank Hereford and Ray Bice. A veritable Forrest Gump of the University in terms of the dignitaries and celebrities he encountered over his life, Ray would often share stories of his reception with Queen Elizabeth II and other heads of state, or celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor.

Ray’s passion for the University was pervasive, evident and contagious. He had a passion for the University Chapel bells. This is the same chapel where he wed Zula Mae, and also the bells that toll whenever a member of the Seven Society has passed. For many years Ray was the only person who knew how to program the bells and make them chime. Due to his many years of dedication to this responsibility, when I hear the bells of the University Chapel, I will forever think of them as “Bice’s Bells”—a tribute to Dr. Bice, the famed psychology professor, secretary to the Board of Visitors, University historian, inventor, entertainer and beloved family member.

Dan Sherlock (Engr ’90)
Studio City, Calif.

An extended version of this remembrance is available here.


Rooming House Memories

I am honored to have my picture appear on the cover of Virginia Magazine talking to my dear friend and landlady, Miss Betty Booker [“The Golden Age of the Rooming House Matrons,” Winter 2011]. There is, however, one glaring omission. Miss Betty Burwell Booker: A Portrait and History by Joseph A. Howell III and A. Lynn Ivey III states, “Finally, in June of 1967, Miss Betty Booker was awarded posthumously at the Commencement Exercises a ‘7 Society’ monetary award, which was to be donated to the University of Virginia Fine Arts Calendar in her memory. This was a most fitting memorial to an unselfish and beautiful lady, a lyrical soprano and artist, and, finally, a dedicated citizen and daughter of the Charlottesville community. This award remains her highest honor.”

You will note that in the picture I was wearing a dark tie. When I entered UVA in the fall of 1944, it was tradition that all first-year men from time to time wear a black tie in mourning for Thomas Jefferson.

Finally, there were two telephones in the house, one in Miss Betty’s bedroom and the other in the ground floor alcove opposite the stairwell. When the phone rang, Miss Betty answered it and if it was for one of her boys she would shout in a strong, mellifluous voice up the stairwell “Barham Dodson” (Col ’50) or “Ken Merrill” (Col ’52) or whoever. We answered that phone in the alcove and you’d better not talk too long.

W. Delavan Baldwin (Col ’50)
Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

 

I lived in a rooming house during the 1990s. Alicia Freeman, formerly Alicia Wertenbaker, bought the home on No. 12 Elliewood Avenue in 1929. A medical student became the first boarder in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression. One of the first African-American students, a graduate student in the Curry School of Education, resided there in the late 1950s. For the next 23 years, he would visit his old rooming quarters, bringing fresh flowers to the household.

Alexandra Barre (Col ’92)
Stephens City, Va.

 

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, at least, Betty Booker’s rooming house was on the approved list for Sweet Briar College ladies to use in spending a weekend in Charlottesville. In those days, these ladies were bound by an honor code requiring a strict curfew. Miss Betty’s met this requirement. My late wife, Jean Stapleton Hellier, and Joan Davis Warren, wife of Andrew Warren (Col ’50), both 1951 Sweet Briar graduates, were just two of these fortunate individuals.

Samuel B. Hellier (Col ’51)
McLean, Va.

 

I was one of Miss Booker’s resident students in the early 1960s, occupying one of the rooms on the third floor at 1600 University Ave. Miss Booker was in her 80s at that time, but very alert and congenial. She usually left a bowl of fruit on the foyer table for her gentlemen boarders. Her African-American staff member, Granville, was a wonderful person who kept our beds made and our rooms tidy. My room (middle front dormer) was rather toasty during the early weeks of each semester. Thanks for the great article by Emma Rathbone.

Marvin Leslie (Col ’64)
Marion, Va.

 

I lived in Booker House during the 1985-86 school year, and the need for repairs was [well-documented]. During numerous Pep Band parties, when many people were dancing, noticeable gaps would appear between the floors and the walls. Many different denominations were represented within the house, and we took turns leading weekly worship, each in our own style. I feel blessed to have been a resident of the Booker House Community [an outreach of St. Paul’s Memorial Church] during its final year, in no small part because that is where I met my wife, Elizabeth Loomis (Col ’89). We were married next door at St. Paul’s Memorial Church, where our two sons were baptized, as well.

Mark Martin (Col ’87, Educ ’02)
Stanardsville, Va.

 

I lived on Elliewood Avenue for four semesters in the early 1960s, three in a semi-basement apartment that had become a nice restaurant by the last time I was in Charlottesville and one in a rooming house. I was fascinated to learn that the avenue was named after the niece of Eliza Mason Page.

J.D. Hunley (Col ’63, Grad ’73)
Rialto, Calif.

 

I was fortunate to spend the first semester of my second year (1951-52) in the home of Miss Betty Booker, where, I learned some years later, my father-in-law, Bryan Black Jr. from New Orleans, had also roomed in 1927.

Just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday in 1951, several of us were enjoying a cup of coffee in the Commons after an 8 o’clock class when a friend hurried in, reporting a fire on Chancellor Street. We decided to forgo our coffee and our class to go inspect the fire.

When we walked out of the Lawn past the Rotunda, we were surprised to see that the fire was not as reported but was at Miss Betty’s. Flames were pouring out of my bedroom window. Granville, Miss Betty’s longtime house attendant, assured us that while our personal items were destroyed, Miss Betty was safe. At almost that moment, Miss Betty stepped off the bus having returned from an early appointment downtown.

After a quick explanation from Granville, she asked if he had removed her “great-grandaddy’s portrait from over the mantel.” Granville replied that the firemen had forbidden his entrance, at which point Miss Betty made it clear, first to Granville and then to the firemen, that the building could burn but in no uncertain terms she wanted that portrait. Granville dashed in and returned through the front door coughing and choking, holding the portrait high and miraculously undamaged.

The burned-out occupants returned to our families early for Thanksgiving and, while home, had our wardrobes replaced with brand-new garments; and Miss Betty’s was subsequently beautifully restored.

The following semesters’ residence in my fraternity house was not quite the same experience.

Garland P. Moore Jr. (Col ’54)
Palm City, Fla.

 

My grandfather, Dr. Hugh H. Young, a graduate of the UVA Medical School in the 1890s, knew Miss Betty Cocke and arranged for me to have a room at her house. My room was on the second floor on the southeast front corner. I have many pleasant memories of my stay there. I left Miss Cocke’s house in March 1944 when I joined the Navy V-12 pre-med program and moved to a dormitory on Grounds. I should add that during my stay at Miss Cocke’s house I took meals at Miss Palmer’s on Chancellor Street. I will never forget the wonderful meals she served.

William F. Rienhoff III (Col ’47)
Warton, Md.

 

In the early 1900s, our grandmother and great-grandmother, Cora Webb Pilkington, owned and operated a student boarding house on Rugby Road, across from the Kappa Sigma house, on a lot adjacent to Madison Bowl. In addition to providing for the University students, she raised her two daughters there. Her oldest daughter, Mary Webb Pilkington, met and married Davis Jarvis and moved to Seattle, Wash. Her younger daughter, Dorothy Leigh Pilkington, became friends with a UVA student, Thomas Munford Boyd (Col ’20, Law ’23). Blind since age 3 from scarlet fever, “Munny” was required by his mother, Emma Tayloe Munford Boyd, to do everything a sighted child would do, and then some. He learned Braille and became a successful student, musician and, at UVA, a member of various student organizations, including the UVA wrestling team and Phi Psi fraternity. He took his meals at Mrs. Pilkington’s boarding house. Dorothy, our mother and grandmother, a student at St. Anne’s School, would read the newspaper to him. After graduating from UVA, Munny began his law practice in Charlottesville. He became the judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Court, later resigning and returning to practice when he and Dorothy married in 1929. He became a UVA Law School professor in 1947, and Dot became involved in University community activities. For years they lived on Dawson’s Row, close to Clark Hall, the old law school, so that Munny could walk over to teach his classes.

While there are many stories about Munny’s great ability to walk around the University and the Charlottesville community by himself, we are sure that the steps leading him to Mrs. Pilkington’s boarding house were his most beloved.

Thomas Munford Boyd Jr. (Col ’62)
Charlottesville, Va.

Deborah Boyd Krulak (Col ’92)
Baltimore, Md.
Mary Catherine Boyd (Col ’95, Educ ’95)
Charlottesville, Va.


On Guard

The article in the Winter 2011 [“On Guard, Post 9/11”] was accurate with the exception of the inference that the FBI National Academy was created in 1972. J. Edgar Hoover created the National Academy on July 29, 1935, in response to a 1930 study by the Wickersham Commission. The commission recommended the standardization and professionalization of law enforcement across the U.S. through centralized training. The National Academy has evolved, with the enhancement of the University’s accreditation and coordination, into the premier national and international law enforcement training/educational program. In 1972, this program moved into the new FBI Academy training facility at Quantico, Va., which allowed the enhancement of its programs and a large increase in students.

Gerald W. Orndorff (Educ ’93)
Spotsylvania, Va.

 

In “On Guard, Post 9/11,” Philip Zelikow speaks of “terrorism,” whatever that means, in a sense so abstract and consuming that it seems clueless about the severe nuances of the term and the forces underlying it. That ignorance already landed our country in one useless war, wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and killing many of our young citizens, not to mention the decimation of an entire country. If anything, Mr. Zelikow should start with an examination of U.S. foreign policy and how it can be viewed by others over the last 65 years as a policy of terror. It likely is true that the U.S. has engaged in more armed combat than any other country in the world during that time. And, most interestingly, how many people have been killed by U.S. armaments?

Marc Murr (Col ’78)
Austin, Texas


La Fayette’s Age

I enjoyed the Winter 2011 edition, especially the article by Susan Brown Craig (Educ ’61) [“A Funeral Procession for the Marquis”]. However, I am sure that you would like to know about an error in the article. The sixth paragraph of the article begins with, “In August 1824, when he was 57 years old.” Since La Fayette was born on Sept. 6, 1757, he would have been 66 years old, not 57 years old, about a month or so shy of his 67th birthday, in August 1824.

Bill Campbell (Engr ’60, ’66)
Williamsburg, Va.


Wrong County

You have the Blandy Experimental Farm in the wrong Virginia county [“Following the Flow,” Winter 2011]. It’s actually in Clarke County. Incidentally, we have a UVA Club at Blandy Farm and do a back-to-school social for new students each August.

Brawner Cates (Col ’67)
Siesta Key, Fla.


Singing Along

I saw the article “For a Song” [Winter 2011]. Sam Riegel (Col ’99) and Rob Blatt (Col ’96) are good friends of mine. Back in 1993, Rob and I were among the co-founders of the a cappella group Academical Village People. Sam’s brother-in-law Peter Habib (Col ’98, another former AVP member) is currently my pop writing/production partner in a team called Mr. Fantastic.

Adam Nierow (Col ’96)
Brooklyn, N.Y.


Not Jefferson’s Stacks

The University Digest item about the Ivy Stacks [Winter 2011] reminded me of something I recently read in Dumas Malone’s Jefferson the Virginian. Apparently, we have come full circle in book storage since Mr. Jefferson’s time—he preferred to organize his books by subject matter rather than primarily by size, as most people of the time did. Now that we have computer indexing, storage by size is more efficient.

Ed Palazzo (Col ’71)
Rochester Hills, Mich.


Class Noted

In looking over the Winter 2011 edition of Virginia Magazine, I see that the Class Notes section commences with the 1960s. Is it your assumption that those of us who received degrees in the ’50s or earlier either have all died or otherwise have no interest in the University? Or for some reason which escapes me, are we no longer considered of significance to the University? If there is any group whose favor should be curried by UVA, it is the older graduates.

Edwin G. Torrance (Law ’58)
Vero Beach, Fla.

The magazine welcomes class notes from all alumni, regardless of when they graduated. The content of that section is determined by the submissions we receive for each issue, and it just so happened that we had no submissions earlier than the 1960s for Winter 2011.—Ed.


Not Preppy

I am surprised that you would describe in your Winter 2011 issue [Student Life, “Look Book”] the great tradition of wearing a coat and tie to class as “preppy,” which is both erroneous and offensive. My own feeling was that it was exactly consistent with the greatness of the University founded by Thomas Jefferson.

Your identification of it with the 1960s further shows the disappointing superficiality of your understanding. I came to the University in 1957, when this winning tradition had long been established.

Larry Good (Col ’61)
Crewe, Va.