Francis D. Dibble '46
Deceased June 5, 2014
We have lost our legendary Frank Dibble. I have to start with how we were so lucky to get Frank. He went to Deerfield and was accepted at Amherst. He went to the headmaster’s wife and told her he was afraid to go to Amherst (too difficult). She replied, “Frank, it is better to fail at a top college than succeed from a poor one.”
His exploits: at Springfield High voted the boy who did most for the school. Deerfield: set a school basketball scoring record, then broke it the following year when he captained the team to its first undefeated season in 40 years. Amherst: joined the varsity basketball team as a freshman and did the unbelievable by outscoring Wesleyan’s entire team with 30 points in a 42–29 victory. Williams (Navy V-12): captained the basketball team, making him the only person to captain both an Amherst and a Williams team. He was a regimental commander. He served in the Navy and was in the Pacific Theater preparing for the invasion of Japan when the war ended. He returned to Amherst, graduating in 1947. He became our first class president and through the years was our class historian. He attended every reunion and homecoming, always bringing class information.
Frank devoted his professional life to education. He served on the Amherst faculty for two years (stint as chair of the public speaking department). In secondary schools he taught history, English and public speaking, coached sports and debate teams and assumed administrative responsibilities.
His first wife, Rita, died in 1973 and his second wife, Julie, in 2009. He is survived by Frank, Ann and David (Rita) and Susan (Julie), and six grandchildren.
Woody Steinwart said, “Frank was a genuine person. Nothing phony.” We’ve lost a legend.
Our condolences to the family.
Dick Banfield ’46
Secretary Bill Gazeley has reported in recent class notes that I continue my odyssey trying to rediscover our Class. It has been a rewarding six years.
Ros Fox provided an impetus to my wanderings with his idea for a 50th year reunion of Amherst and Williams V-12ers in Williamstown. (See Stu Pomeroy's article in AMHERST- Fall 1993.)
As I write this personal update, I note that the date is August 15. Fifty years ago President Truman declared it V-J Day. Bill Feick and I were on the LST 218 in Pearl Harbor preparing for the anticipated invasion of mainland Japan. Those of us who have survived so many memorable years are, indeed, fortunate.
One of my special research projects, recently, has been the compiling of a booklet on the Amherst War Memorial whose 50th anniversary coincides with our 1996 ritual of remembrance.
I hope the Class of 1946 will come to experience our most memorable gathering.
Together we might make some historic re-discoveries.