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Victor Alexis Woerheide

Died: April 24, 1979

Victor Alexis Woerheide (Vic) was born February 13, 1944, son of Victor Charles and Marcella Dorliac Woerheide, His father was a prominent federal attorney involved in major international crime cases. Before Yale the younger Woerheide studied at St. Stephen’s School, Alexandria, Virginia. At Yale he was a psychology major and a member of Branford College.

While he was at Yale, Vic aimed at future study in law, but the only information that can be found of his life after college concerns his service in the Air Force as a Strategic Air Command pilot, at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia in some year around 1970. A classmate, Bruce L. Murrie, was a math teacher at the base. Vic’s wife, Carin, whom he had married in Bexar, Texas, in 1968, became piqued by an item that Bruce had sent to the Yale Alumni Magazine and sought him out after class. She was, he recalls, “a charming, rather free-spirited, somewhat left-leaning German-American woman, currently quite pregnant.” Bruce and his wife and the Woerheides socialized a couple of times. Bruce recalls, “Victor was more conservative, a dashing, but rather stressed-appearing young officer, drinking generously during these times between missions.”

A brief death notice in the Washington Post recorded Victor A. Woerheide’s death on April 24, 1979, at Malcolm Grove Hospital, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. A memorial service was held at Fort Myer Chapel the next day. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.

James Levin remembers:

I was a classmate of Vic, did not know him well, and had no contact with him after graduation. Let me throw a few things into the mix so that he is not forgotten though he is gone.

Vic and I occasionally shot pool together in the basement of Branford on the old tables with the leather pockets. His play seemed to improve with his consumption of beer. He was a larger than life character physically and in terms of energy level. One year I learned he arrived late for the start of the fall semester because he was arrested? detained? at the Check Point Charlie border crossing in Germany. Remember the Cold War? Finally, and again second hand information, he was once encouraged by the Master of Branford to dispose of a dangerous snake he was raising in his fireplace before it escaped and presumably did some irreparable harm.

James Stripling remembers:

Vic was something else. He was intelligent (his score of 735 on the LSAT shocked us all), but he could be infuriatingly irresponsible. He was extremely funny, especially during the seemingly continuous hearts games we played in Wright Hall and Branford. He introduced me to the music of Otis Redding, for which I’ll always be grateful, and we shot a lot of pool in the Branford basement. His beer drinking was prodigious, although in hindsight it’s likely that he was an alcoholic, something we didn’t realize at the time.

I remember Vic’s boa constrictor — Jimmy, the custodian, refused to enter Vic’s room to empty the trash so long as the snake was in there. Before one spring break Vic purloined a couple of rats from the psychology lab and left them in the snake’s cage so that it would have something to eat during his absence. To his surprise, when he returned the rats were just fine, but the snake had died.

We had an occasion to visit when he was in Air Force Officer Training School in San Antonio, and I attended his wedding a year or so later. His joining the military (remember, this was in the middle of the Vietnam War) and getting married were things that he would never have dreamed of during our college years, and it seemed that at long last he had matured and attained some level of stability. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out.

I don’t know anything about a child Vic may have had with his wife, but I did learn of the son he never knew, who called me up out of the blue during the 80s seeking information about his father. Without going into details, I think Vic would have been very proud of him had he lived long enough to get to know him.

I considered Vic my friend, warts and all. I only hope that he finally found the peace that seemed to elude him during his lifetime. RIP, Vic.

Bruce Murrie remembers:

I taught mathematics at Macon Junior College in Macon, GA, from 1971-73. Victor Woerheide was an Air Force SAC B-52 bomber pilot (the ones with the H-bombs!), operating out of nearby Warner Robins AFB, where I taught night classes in college algebra to base employees. In the spring of 1973, as I recall, Victor’s wife, Carin (Clamann), had seen a blurb I had sent to the Yale Alumni Magazine, and met and introduced herself to me on the Macon campus, as I was leaving the classroom after one of my lectures. She was a charming, rather free-spirited, and somewhat left-leaning German-American woman, then currently “quite” pregnant, and she invited my wife and me to visit and socialize with them a couple of times. Victor was decidedly more conservative than Carin: a dashing, but rather stressed-appearing young officer, and apparently drinking rather generously during the times between his flight missions.

I believe that Carin had their baby later that spring, and we may have visited them once afterwards, but I won’t swear to this! I’m sorry our brief friendship did not last longer, but I was already at that time planning to leave Macon Jr. College at the end of the spring trimester, and we did not follow up with the couple after next moving to the DC area ourselves.