‘Everybody knew him and loved him’
Naturally, I am stunned and saddened by the passing of Fr. Hesburgh. We all knew it was coming one day, but when it did it was like a tremendous loss for all of us and our school. The first time I saw Fr. Hesburgh was in the 1950s. I was working in the small ice cream parlor behind the cigarette stand, and I could hear a crowd forming behind our building. I opened the window to see what was going on and there he was, shovel in hand, getting ready for the next building. I swear to you he looked just like [the actor] Tyrone Power. Good-looking, smiling and ready to bring Notre Dame to its next level. I remember him handing me my diploma in the Stadium with a big smile and then I was off to the service. Years later, working in Hollywood, I was asked to host a Notre Dame meeting. It was Fr. Hesburgh and Frank Leahy. What a night. What a team.
I’ve been to Washington D.C. when he was there surrounded by Senators and Congressmen. Everybody knew him and loved him. At Notre Dame games, I always made it a point to see him up in one of the booths, to shake his hand and thank him for everything. Once I couldn’t resist, I gave him a kiss on the cheek. He was just that kind of man to all of us, and we will never forget him and neither will Notre Dame.
Class of 1953