We just learned of the death of Paul Weber (SY), although he died in 2016. We don’t have an obituary, but we have a tribute compiled and written by Dani Kopoulos in Sufi, Journal of […]
William Earle Matory
A quiet, strong man and sharp.
Shirley L. Daniels
What a shame. Earle was one of the nicest people at Yale…. a quality human being. We are less for losing him.
He was one of the very first people I met my freshman year. Coming from Arizona, I knew absolutely no one in the East let alone at Yale. He was approachable, without airs, intelligent. I spent little time with him much after freshman year – we might pass and say hello – but I think many of us are disproportionately grateful to those who make our initial hours easier. In my mind, he represented what made Yale a great place to be…. breadth of interests and activity.
For some reason, I have a memory, maybe faulty, that in senior year he missed a football game to take the med boards. That may be apocryphal, but it would be consistent with the person I thought he was.
Earle and I were roommates freshman year and teammates on the football team. Despite either of those situations acting as an entrée to being friends, we never got very close. Perhaps the toga party our room threw freshman year-with a whole bunch of people running around in white sheets-was too much for Earl to take.
About six weeks ago Rusty dutifully and woefully reported the passing of Jim Rogers, and now this – the loss of Earle Matory to the Class of ’72.
That’s two in a row, both teammates from the football team. Damn.
Of all the friendships we formed at Yale, these were the first and most rigorous, when we showed up as Frosh – because you find out who’s who real fast with the flesh flying on the gridiron. That’s one of the strange miracles of the Game… guys running around as fast as they can, knocking each other down, and they get up from the ground liking each other More, Forever.
I remember Earle in brief vignettes – quiet-spoken, easy-going, a most agreeable gent. One also sensed a watchful dignity in his demeanor, not uncommon among minority students in those days, as Yale opened up.
Then put him in pads and you saw something big & fearsome, 230 pounds of speed, coming atcha like an express train. He was the fullback in that old spread offense we ran.
I recall one day in practice, with the odd clarity of odd moments that stick with us always… just a routine contact drill: Backs coming on full-speed to block the corner, Linebackers taking them on to hold that ground. I was the ‘Monster’ on D, this was my meat-&-potatoes.
First Jack Ford lined up for the snap count and came tearing after me, and I pulled an old-school move – a little ‘Drop-the-shoulder Lift-Chuck’, with leverage from the knees to take the blocker’s head… and that time the Ch’i was perfect: In an instant, from hauling full-tilt boogey & grit, Jack was on his back wondering what happened. He gave me a funny look, like it was voodoo.
Then Earle Matory came up, and I figured I’d do the move again, so what, the 50 pounds he had on me. I set, looked over, the snap – and this guy got bigger & bigger at high velocity straight at me… I flexed into the impact, and something in my head said “Uh-Oh”… then it was all stars & elbows & knees like driving wheels, and getting pummeled into the tracks. Not voodoo.
I always felt a special fondness for Earle after that.
But as we all know, we didn’t know everybody. Yale was a big little world, different colleges, classes, scenes & circles & directions… a handful of close chums, bunches of genial regulars, lots of loose acquaintances around, and many folks we never bumped into, regrettably so.
Then there were a few like Jim & Earle, met so well then seen from time to time – and maybe you never hung out or heard his Momma’s name, but you went through such cogent loaded moments together, and you knew this guy’s soul.
Jim Rogers—perpetually sunny and generous. One of the sweetest people I knew in Berkeley College. When I met him at our 30th reunion he’d scarcely changed in appearance, and he was as delightful and easygoing as in the past. How shocked I was to read of his passing! Rest in peace.
Maryellen Toman Mori