Yale '62 - Obituaries - Clyde Edwin Edgar

Clyde Edwin Edgar

Born: November 20, 1940
Died: August 4, 1965

Clyde was a native of Rumford, Rhode Island and graduated from St. George's School in Newport before attending Yale. He was a Mechanical Engineering major and a resident of Silliman College where he was co-chairman of the Activities Committee, co-captain of football and on the swimming team. He was also a member of United Student Fellowship, in the Freshman Chorus and a star on the Freshman and Varsity Wrestling teams. There is a fine, half-page picture of him as captain of the Cheerleading Squad on page 173 of the 1962 Class Book.

He was a member of NROTC as an undergraduate and, upon graduation, joined the Navy and became a pilot. After a posting in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and a tour of sea duty, he continued his flight training, begun while at Yale, at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida and then, just before shipping out to Vietnam, at NAS Fallon, Nevada.

Clyde was serving as a Naval Aviator, with the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade, at the time of his death August 4, 1965, at the age of 24. He was on a training flight in a Navy Skyhawk jet which did not recover from a dive. His name is inscribed on the memorial walls in Woolsey Hall with the names of other Yale men who died while in the service of our country during the Vietnam Era.

His friend Heather Ross, the wife of our classmate Ed Strohbehn, contributed the following moving remembrance of Clyde, thirty-seven years after his untimely death:

Clyde was the first child and only son of William Edmond and Mary Edgar, each of whom came to the United States alone as a teenager from Ireland. They met and married in this country, settling in Rhode Island, where William worked in the textile industry. As a boy, Clyde learned that the Hayden Planetarium was offering young people the opportunity to sign up to be a future astronaut, and he got his father to drive him to New York to write his name on the list.

He had two sisters, Rosemary "Romey" Ethel and Iris Emily. Romey was close to him in age, and startlingly like him in appearance and temperament. Enthusiastic and adventuresome, she too died at a young age. Only Iris, whom Clyde marveled at as coming from another part of the gene pool - long-limbed, unfreckled, and already planning for marriage, home and family while still in high school - survives.

Clyde's death was an unfathomable loss to his family - beyond calibration and beyond comprehension. They received his remains in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where they had moved with the textile mills. There followed a mournful, all-night train ride north with his casket through dark countryside to Washington, DC, for a memorial service in the Fort Myer Chapel and interment in Arlington National Cemetery. Clyde is buried in Section 37, Grave 3228, between the Kennedy gravesites and the Tomb of the Unknowns. If you go there on Memorial Day, you can hear the military bands and the commemorative prayers and speeches from the national service of remembrance nearby. You will also notice the constant flow of National Airport-bound jets flying low overhead, as they have these many years.

"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air
William Shakespeare, The Tempest"