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May 18, 2009


Former National President Dave DeVol sends the following report from the memorial services for Howard Alter.


It was a signal honor to represent the Gamma Theta Alumni Association and San Diego alumni at services this past weekend for Howard R. Alter, Jr., Past National President and former Executive Director of Theta Chi Fraternity.

Brother Alter (11/1/18-5/9/09) was the most significant member of Theta Chi during the past fifty years, and arguably  the most important since the Founders.  He was twice elected National President, and served for sixteen years as Executive Director of the Fraternity.  He was a member of Theta Chi for seventy years.

I have been a member of Theta Chi for fifty-four years, and knew Howard for fifty-three.  To suggest that he was an institution in our Fraternity would be an understatement.  He succumbed to cancer at age ninety.

An open casket visitation was held at Stockland Farm, the 132-year-old ancestral home of the Alter Family in Plum Borough, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, on Thursday and Friday last.  A beautiful spray of red carnations was presented on behalf of the Gamma Theta Alumni Association.

A private ceremony was held at the home on Saturday morning for Fraternity Brothers and family members, followed by a public service of thanksgiving at the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek, The Reverend Dr. John J. "Jack" Lolla, Beta Omicron Chapter, University of Cincinnati '72, officiating.

Brother Alter was interred in the family plot at the Plum Creek Cemetery, with a Military Honor Guard and a Twenty-One Gun Salute.  Past National Vice President Dick Elder and your humble servant were Pall Bearers, along with five former Field Representatives who served under Howard.  Al Bulliner eloquently represented the International Fraternity.

Former Grand Chapter Member Don Fine and former San Diegan Warren Hoffman, President of The Foundation Chapter, Inc., were also in attendance.

A reception followed at the world-famous Oakmont Country Club, scene of eight United States Opens and numerous other important golf events.

In attendance during the weekend were eight Past National Presidents of Theta Chi, numerous Fraternity Brothers, inter-fraternity executives, members of the Booth-Alter Family, and countless community leaders, neighbors and friends.  The entire weekend was a stunning tribute to Howard and the legacy he leaves behind.

Brother Alter was honored with every award in Theta Chi, including the Distinguished Service Award, the Fraternity's highest honor, and the North-American Interfraternity Conference Gold Metal, the highest honor in the fraternity world, for his interfraternal service.

I was deeply moved to have been a participant in this historic occasion, and thank you for the opportunity.

Your grateful Brother,

David E. DeVol
Gamma Theta '59

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