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Alumni Necrology

Howard Stephen Benedikt '33

Howard Stephen Benedikt '33, who owned and operated his own clothing design firm for many years, was born on May 24, 1913, to Hardwick S. and Lillie Hexter Benedikt, in New Rochelle, NY. He came to Hamilton from New Rochelle High School at age 16 in 1929. After only a few months, however, he transferred to Columbia University, where he pursued a business course of study and obtained his B.S. degree in 1933.

While residing in the New York City suburbs, Howard Benedikt made his career in the clothing industry in Manhattan. He became the founder and president of Fashions by Benedikt, Inc., long located on Fifth Avenue.

Howard S. Benedikt died on April 1, 2009, in his 96th year. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, the former Grace Meier. Also surviving are a son and a daughter, Bill and Pat Benedikt, and four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
 

Roy Duane Wilcox '37

Roy Duane Wilcox '37, a retired lawyer and former judge, grew up in Old Forge, NY, where he was born on December 15, 1914. His father was Charles E. Wilcox, part-time Adirondack guide and partner in Marks & Wilcox, a grocery store that also distributed fuel oil. His mother was the former Maida Bodenstein. As a boy, Roy Wilcox helped his father deliver oil and kerosene by horse-drawn wagon, or by horse-drawn sleigh in the winter. Later, when home from college and law school, he captained his father's 32-foot, steam-driven "Pickle Boat," delivering groceries, including barrels of pickles, on a daily basis to camps throughout the Fulton Chain of Lakes. The boat is now at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.

Roy Wilcox, who was graduated in 1932 from the Town of Webb High School, entered Hamilton the following year. He joined Delta Upsilon and played varsity baseball and hockey, as well as interclass basketball. "The strong stalwart man from the wilds of the north woods," in the words of The Hamiltonian, he received his B.S. degree in 1937. He promptly went on to Albany Law School of Union University, where he acquired his LL.B. in 1940.

Not long thereafter, Roy Wilcox was drafted as a private into the U.S. Army. Commissioned as an officer, he served in the Coast Artillery Corps throughout World War II and was assigned to coastal defense installations ranging from Southern ports to Boston Harbor and Newfoundland. Married on May 13, 1942, to Anabel T. "Holly" Halloran in Albany, he was released from the Army as a captain in 1945.

Roy Wilcox began his law practice in a partnership in Glen Falls, NY, but moved on in 1951 to solo practice in Lake George. There he served as village attorney and for several terms as village judge. In 1964, he was appointed by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller to the New York State Workmen's Compensation Board, and served as a judge and referee on it until his retirement in 1972. Thereafter he joined his two sons in law practice as senior partner and later of counsel in their firm in Troy. He was known for his great integrity as a lawyer, and for his impartiality in decision-making as a judge.

An enthusiastic hunter and fisherman, Roy Wilcox was also devoted to the game of golf. He continued to take to the links ­regularly until shortly before his death, and even won a league championship in 1999, at the age of 85.

Roy D. Wilcox, who had long battled cancer, died on June 21, 2009, while hospitalized in Glens Falls, in his 95th year. Predeceased by his wife Holly in 1977, and by his second wife, the former Mary Ann Parrott, in 1993, he is survived by a daughter and two sons from his first marriage, Sue Ellen Jones and Charles J. and Robert D. Wilcox, as well as four grandchildren.
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Montgomery Gerrans ­Pooley '38

Montgomery Gerrans ­Pooley '38, an attorney who practiced in his hometown of ­Buffalo, NY, for more than 40 years, and a racket sports champion, was born there on August 21, 1916. A son of Charles W., also an attorney, and Gertrude Gerrans Pooley, a Latin teacher, he enrolled at Hamilton in 1934 from Lafayette High School in Buffalo. "Monty" Pooley joined Sigma Phi and went out for hockey and tennis. As a forward on the varsity hockey team, he became known as "the mighty mite." Fiercely competitive on the ice as well as the tennis court, he was also credited by The Hamiltonian with being "a bull-sessionist extraordinary" who claimed to have never lost an argument, and who was in addition "an all-around good guy." Elected to D.T., he was awarded his diploma in 1938.

Monty Pooley returned to his hometown, where he entered law school at the University of Buffalo. A member of the school's first Law Review, he was graduated with an LL.B degree cum laude in 1941 and admitted to the Bar that year. However, rather than practicing law, he enlisted instead in the U.S. Navy and went on active duty in 1942. Commissioned as an ensign, he skippered two ships during World War II: a submarine-chaser on patrol duty in the Atlantic, and an amphibious repair ship in the Pacific. Released after four years in 1946, following the war's end, he would remain in the Naval Reserve for 30 years and attain the rank of commander.

Monty Pooley began his law practice with Dudley, Stowe & Sawyer, one of the oldest and best known firms in Buffalo. In 1963, after 14 years with the firm, where he excelled in legal research and was a partner, he went into corporate law with Marine Midland Bank. He remained with the bank for 13 years, becoming vice president in charge of the corporate trust and employee benefits departments. In 1976, he joined Rich Products Corp., also in Buffalo, and, as corporate counsel, established its internal team of lawyers. He retired in 1985, but nonetheless continued on a semi-active basis with the company until age 75.

Monty Pooley, whose competitive spirit "thrived not only in court but on the court," continued throughout his adult life to exhibit his athletic drive and prowess with tennis and squash rackets. He was long affiliated with the Buffalo Tennis & Squash Club, which he had served as president. With his longtime racket partner, Phil Harty, he captured nine ­Buffalo doubles championships as well as the Canadian Open Doubles Squash Championships in 1951, 1952, and 1954. He was inducted into the Buffalo Squash Rackets Association Hall of Fame in 2000. His summers were spent at the family's beach house on Thunder Bay in Ontario, where he continued to play tennis "with reduced vigor" until late in life. He had, as his son recently recalled, "a quick and agile body matched only by his wit."

In addition to his professional and athletic endeavors, Monty Pooley was involved in his beloved Buffalo community. Among his volunteer activities were the Fresh Air Mission and the Crippled Children's Camps, both of which he served as president. Also a devoted Hamiltonian and ever-generous supporter of the College, he assisted it with its fund-raising and served on the Alumni Council. Present on campus for the 70th reunion of his class just last year, he led the reunion parade.

Montgomery G. Pooley, known to family, colleagues, and friends as a man of great modesty combined with high principle, and one who also loved "a good party," joined with his entire family, including all of his grandchildren, for a week-long gathering in the Caribbean just a month before his death. It was a happy occasion for the 92-year-old, whose life ended in Buffalo, on January 28, 2009, with his wife of 54 years by his side. In addition to his wife, the former Georgia Johnson, to whom he was wed on September 17, 1954, in Buffalo, he is survived by two daughters, Georgia Helliwell and Leslie Hefferman; a son, Montgomery G. Pooley, Jr. '84; seven grandchildren; and a brother, John A. Pooley, and a sister, Barbara Miller, widow of George Miller, for many years college physician at Hamilton.
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Alfred Louis DeSanctis '39

Alfred Louis DeSanctis '39, a physician and surgeon who practiced in Massillon, OH, for more than 40 years, was born on September 12, 1917, in Utica, NY. His father, Ernest DeSanctis, came to Utica from Italy at the age of 18 and found success as a painting and decorating contractor. Young Al's mother, Rose Donaruma DeSanctis, died when he was just a year old, a victim of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Following his graduation from Utica Free Academy in 1935, he attended Hartwick College for a year on a music scholarship. Thereafter he transferred to Hamilton. A violinist, he continued occasionally to play with the Utica Symphony Orchestra and a string quartet, as well as give solo recitals while pursuing studies on the Hill.

Al DeSanctis, a member of the Squires Club, concentrated his studies on science and languages, in which he excelled. He was graduated in 1939. In 1942, after two years as a federal bond underwriter with the U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Co. in New York City, he left for the U.S. Army. He served in military intelligence through the end of World War II, and the Army capitalized on his linguistic skills by sending him to Stanford University to study the Dutch and Malay languages.

Discharged as a sergeant, Al DeSanctis returned to College Hill in 1946 to take additional science courses in preparation for medical school. His roommate was another returnee intent upon a career in medicine, his classmate, the late G. Roger Weeden. After a year of "boning up," Al DeSanctis entered the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. degree in 1951. In 1956, following his surgical internship at University Hospital in Cleveland, OH, he joined the ­general surgery staff of Massillon Community Hospital, where he would practice until his retirement in 1997.

Dr. DeSanctis, a former chief of staff at the Massillon hospital, was affectionately known to its staff members as "Dr. D." Exceedingly genial, and with a friendly word and a bit of humor for all, he was also professionally dedicated, generously devoting time to his patients during his long 15-hour workdays. He remained physically fit by playing tennis almost every day and by jogging. He retained his interest in music, both classical and jazz, and continued to play violin with a small chamber music group. A highly cultured man, he was also an art collector, especially of lithographs, and traveled extensively abroad during summer vacations, augmenting his study of art as well as languages. He was still working on his Spanish at the time of his death.

Ever appreciative of his Hamilton education and highly supportive of the College, Dr. DeSanctis contributed substantial funds that have enabled students to attend Hamilton on DeSanctis Family Scholarships. That support is continuing in perpetuity through his estate plans.

Alfred L. DeSanctis, a lifelong bachelor, had continued to reside in Massillon. He died in nearby Canton on January 26, 2009, in his 92nd year. He is survived by a brother, Edward L. DeSanctis, and a sister, Eleanor Barth, as well as nieces and nephews.
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