Deceased January 29, 2017

View alumni profile (log in required)
Read obituary


In Memory

To my knowledge, Charles Head was always known as “Poppy” at Amherst. His daughter Jennifer told me her dad inherited the nickname from his dad, who was also a Poppy.

When I first saw Poppy at Amherst in 1946, he looked like he had just left military school and was ready to play linebacker for Amherst. Then 1950 came, and like so many others, Poppy joined the Army; he became an M.P. in Japan. After the war his life took a turn, and he became a farmer in down state Illinois, near the small town of Berwick. He and his three brothers built a log cabin, where three of his five children were born. From the halls of Lord Jeff to the cabin of Abe Lincoln!

On his 500-acre farm, Poppy grew soybeans and corn and raised cattle, including 50 “beefers.” Farming makes one a giver, and Poppy was one. He was very active in Rotary and 4-H Club, and was a Sunday school teacher and a church elder. Community-minded, he participated in whatever his small Illinois town offered.

One day in the early 1960s, my family drove from Deerfield, Ill., to Poppy’s farm. When we arrived, there he was in his overalls, straight as a stick. I might have been the last Amherst man to see him or his farm.

On his 80th birthday, Poppy decided a ponytail might look good. His ponytail was there until his death in January 2017. Poppy was also something of a “foodie.” One of his farming buddies claimed there was not a menu he disliked, as long as it ended in pie.

Poppy’s wife Joan; five children; and 17 grandchildren survived him.

Dick Leland ’50

Log in to post comments