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In Memoriam

  Alumni News  

Walter Stromer

Professor emeritus of speech Walter Stromer, who was blinded in World War II and built a distinguished three-decade career as an instructor beloved by his students and colleagues, died May 12, 2005, in Mount Vernon. He was 84.

While serving with the 87th Infantry Division near Bastogne, Belgium, in January 1945, he was blinded when enemy artillery hit a tree and sent wood splinters in all directions.

He earned master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Denver and joined Cornell in 1953 to teach speech and related courses. Among his students was Harry Kalas, Hall of Fame announcer for baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, who credits Walt with steering him toward a career in broadcasting. Walt retired in 1985.

He was a faithful correspondent with alumni, an avid participant in Cornell’s Chautauqua program and other lectures, and a prolific writer of poetry as well as newspaper guest columns and letters to the editor that addressed everything from adoption and racism to war and blindness.

He is survived by his wife, Vivian, a son, and three grandchildren. A daughter preceded him in death.


Mary Natalie
Hogle Sweet '29

Mary Natalie Hogle Sweet ’29
, an Army wife who taught dancing, bridge, and horseback riding to troops seeking R&R in Hawaii, died May 14, 2005, in Kenwood, Ohio.

Two days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she was asked to start up and run the U.S. Army Service Clubs. The program provided recreation and entertainment for military personnel passing through Hawaii, her home since 1936 when she and her husband, Sgt. John Sweet, moved to Oahu. She retired from her Army hostess position in 1970 and returned to the mainland, first to California and then to Cincinnati to be near family. Her service work continued late into her life. Despite macular degeneration that took her sight, she knitted 200 sweaters for charity by memorizing the patterns.

“There are a lot of mistakes in them,” she said in a 1996 Cincinnati Enquirer interview. “They don’t bother me a bit because I can’t see them.”

She is survived by a niece and several great-nieces and great-nephews. Cornellians in her family were her parents, Mount Vernon physicians George Hogle, Class of 1889, and Kate Mason Hogle, Class of 1882; a brother, Berton Hogle ’21, and his wife, Rose Tallman Hogle ’22, both deceased; and a nephew, Glen Hogle ’47, deceased, and his wife, Ruthanne Dreyer Hogle Soper ’46.


Howard Bennett '41






Life trustee Howard Bennett ’41, who grew up the youngest son of a Mount Vernon pharmacist and went on to become an anesthesiologist, died May 7, 2005, in Tulsa, Okla. He was 86.

He received a medical degree from the University of Iowa and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II. He chaired the department of anesthesiology at the medical school of the University of Oklahoma and was attending anesthesiologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oklahoma City (1948–55) before entering private practice in Tulsa and Bartlesville. He retired in 1989.

He was president of the Cornell Alumni Association (1976–78) and served on the Cornell Board of Trustees (1978–87) before he was elected a life trustee.

“He liked his work, his golf, and Cornell, although he was an OU football fan,” said his son, Howard Bennett Jr. ’66.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, Margaret, two daughters, and a granddaughter. Other Cornellians in his family were his parents, Joseph Bennett, Cornell Academy Class of 1897, and Belle Turner Bennett ’11, and a brother, Robert Bennett ’38, all deceased.

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