Lockerbie’s Sad Reminders
“Lessons of Lockerbie” in the November–December 2013 issue was a saddening reminder of classmates’ lives and potential cut short by “macrocosmic” events. Mark Zaid ’89 is admirable for his refusal to let Class of ’90 graduates Eric Coker and Katharine Hollister be forgotten.
The Class of ’73, of which I was a member, suffered a very similar loss only 10 years after graduation, when Stuart Steckler and Irene Bigotte Steckler died in the August 31, 1983, downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 by the then Soviet Union over Sakhalin Island. It is believed that the plane mistakenly strayed from its flight path over restricted Soviet territory and was shot from the sky with all its innocent passengers and crew.
Stuart and Irene were returning to their jobs as English instructors near Osaka, Japan. At the time—30 years ago now—People magazine wrote: “The Stecklers were traveling through India ten years ago when they happened to stop at a Vipassana meditation center. Fascinated, they stayed three months. ‘The first time they came back from India, there was a mosquito in the room,’ remembers Irene’s mother, Eve Bigotte. ‘I tried to get rid of it, and Irene said, “Mother, must you kill it?” ’ ”
In this age of social media, one of the most poignant manifestations of Stuart’s and Irene’s stolen lives is the lack of “hits” in a search on their names. But those who knew them need not search far for their memory. They were beautiful souls and the world is coarser for their absence.
Marian Kester Coombs ’73
More for Art
I really enjoyed the public involvement in the selection process for the new sculpture to be installed in the courtyard in front of Sage Art Center (“Campus Gateway Sculpture Proposals Sought,” September–October 2013). Working in the art field, I am always appreciative of public works and installation.
At the same time, I would like to see the money for a commission like this spent first on renovating the Sage studio spaces. Many new buildings are going up around campus, but we don’t want to forget about maintaining the existing ones.
Better, up-to-date spaces for art students would mean more course offerings as well. The art and art history faculty were extremely knowledgeable when I was a student, but they can only do so much with limited resources.
Emily Wroczynski ’10
The writer is a Questers International Graduate Fellow in Art Conservation at the University of Delaware, a joint program with Winterthur, the estate of horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont that’s now a prominent museum of decorative arts in Wilmington, Del.
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