Thursday, June 15, 2017

Michael A. Chary

“There is no real ending.  It’s just the place where you stop the story.” Frank Herbert, “Dune”
Terence Chua and Michael Chary
Michael Chary, just 48 years old, died suddenly – what a stunner.  I’ve known him virtually his entire life.  Son of IUN History colleague Fred Chary, he was Dave’s age and his brother David Phil’s age, and we’d get together for parties and other special events.  Outgoing and opinionated, Michael graduated from Case Western Reserve and earned several Masters degrees before graduating from IU law school and obtaining work as a deputy prosecutor.  Each year, with his wealth of knowledge, he’d anchor our Trivia Night table at Temple Israel.  Like his dad, he was a huge Philadelphia sports fan – especially the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers – and at times was so into them that he could hardly bear to watch.  Fred was out of town when he and Diane heard the news and must be devastated.  They were very close.

On the Hobart Burns Funeral Home website was this condolence message from Milagros Cruz, who worked for him at the East Chicago Deputy Prosecutor’s office:
  Mike was truly a gentle giant with a heart bigger than himself. He was a loyal friend to those that opened their hearts up to him, and he had a good sense of humor. I admired him because he was gifted with lots of knowledge in many areas and he didn't mind sharing a thing or two with me. He loved his family, friends and was devoted to his parents. He surely loved his sweets. Mike was a unique human being. 

Rob Vega posted this comment: He introduced me to Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Douglas Adams, Richard P. Feynman, and countless other authors. I can't imagine what my childhood and teen reading years would have been like without his influence. Sometimes you don't realize the impact a person had on your life until it's too late to thank them. Thank you, anyway, Mike.”  Longtime friend Robin Knauerhase added: “Michael Alan Chary was a physically large, abruptly gruff, unfailingly loyal, charmingly chivalrous, deeply caring, hilariously curmudgeonly, bravely protective, outstandingly brilliant and phenomenally eclectic human being.  Mike sometimes watched people and society as if he were an alien outsider, but of all the souls I've met, his was the most human.”
 2016 Pro-Fan Trivia panel; Michael Chary second from right

From Craig Shutt:
Mike was a big supporter of the Pro-Fan Trivia Panel that was held at the Chicago Comic-Con and Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) each year for more than 20 years. Mike was the only member of the Fan team to take part every year. He was a major contributor and enjoyed competing and comparing his knowledge with others.  I will miss our comics conversations, arguments and discussions at the show and at our Manny's meetings!  
After soliciting my help for an article about the history of IUN’s Theater program, Erica Rose included material about Garret Cope (above) that I provided.  She began:
      In September of 2008, when unrelenting rains pummeled the region, the water slowly creeped into the auditorium at Indiana University Northwest’s Tamarack Hall, submerging the orchestra pit and the first six rows.
      As the water rose, hearts sank.
      The late Garrett Cope perhaps best summed up the feeling that pervaded the campus and theatre community for years to come.  “I’m not sure we’ll ever have a theatre like that,” the prior theatre director had lamented just months before the building’s demolition.
      In 1978, Bob Foor resigned as department chair, and Garrett Cope succeeded him for the next eight years, directing and designing many of the costumes for such popular musicals as “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Hello, Dolly.” He also wrote scripts for children’s productions, which attracted students from area elementary schools.
This is how Erica ended the article:
      Tamarack Hall’s replacement building, a $45 million three-story modern marvel, now occupies a full city block on Broadway Avenue. The auditorium within the new Arts & Sciences building is one of the building’s most exciting features.
    “The state-of-the-art theatre technology within the facility is integral to providing a theater education that is second-to-none for our students,” Chairman Mark Baer said. “The department is looking at new ways to provide professional theater training that is equal to that of the most respected -- and most expensive -- programs in the region. The community may notice more challenging productions that require more intense and longer rehearsals.”
      So, to Garrett Cope’s point: No Garrett, we will never have a theatre quite like that.
      And that’s okay. Better, in fact. 

In “George Washington is Spinning in His Grave” Ray Smock wrote:
      The spectacle today of the Trump Cabinet praising and worshipping the President, one after another in a litany of lunacy, was simply too much to take. Donald Trump just turned the office of the president up-side-down. He just became the very antithesis of the American presidency.
      Our first president was so well respected and so universally admired that he had to fight against those who wanted to make him king, or be overly worshipful of him. He was a formal man of military bearing who commanded a room when he entered it. Yet he was also a small “r” republican, a believer and exemplar of the idea that the United States was a republic and that the people of the nation were the ultimate power. Government was instituted to serve and to protect the people, not to accrue power to government officials, who were there to serve the public and the United States of America, not themselves. 
      There were those who wanted to put George Washington’s image on coins, and he objected saying that a president’s image on a coin would not suit a republic and would smack of royalty. It was not until the early 20th century that George Washington’s image graced an American coin. Washington set the example of giving up great power after two terms because he was a citizen, not a ruler.
      Donald Trump is the opposite of George Washington. Trump needs constant worship, praise, and lavish expressions of loyalty. As each of his cabinet members spoke, one after the other, of how President Trump had pulled the country together and what an honor it was to serve him, they did everything but bow down to the president and kiss his ring. 
      They should all be ashamed of themselves.

Steve McShane’s Indiana History students have been interviewing duplicate bridge players.  Stephanie’s subjects, Tom and Lori Rea, introduced her to Wagner’s Ribs restaurant in Porter and then took photos for her at Chesterton YMCA and Banta Center in Valpo (where Dee Van Bebber and I finished first among 11 couples, thanks in part to Dee’s brilliant opening of 5 Hearts).  Chuck Tomes spent 90 minutes with a student at IUN’s library, and Naomi Goodman’s interview took place to the Calumet Regional Archives. 
Walter "Swede" Hellman in 1972

Charlie Halberstadt brought Naomi to IUN and told me about U.S. Steel hooker Walter “Swede” Hellman (1916-1975), who was a grandmaster in checkers, winning 5 American National tournaments and 6 world championship matches between 1948 and 1972, when he was a grand slam winner at the National Championships in Memphis, Tennessee.  U.S. Steel would pay for him to be at various venues to defend his titles.  Charlie said Hellman could do complicated multiplication problems in his head within seconds, claiming he could visualize the figures in his brain like a TV screen.

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