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Rho Lambda & Oklahoma Dekes Newsletter

September 2023

2023 Reunion

reunion.

Don’t miss the 2023 Reunion/Saturday Morning Tailgate for October 20-21! Contact Brother Fred Streb to arrange lodging and Brother Burns for any details. Go here for their Deke contact info.

TERRY MILLER

The latest DKE Quarterly includes a news story about Terry being awarded the Navy Meritorious Public Service Award. Go here to see more: DKE Quarterly.

The password we emailed to you opens any file. If you don’t have it, contact us. 

FROM THE DKE RL Board:

Fall is upon us and the Sooner football broke records with a 73-0 win!  The board met last week and we are planning for another Roundup on October 20-21. Join us at the Interurban on Friday evening and our tailgate party on Saturday. You’ll hear more about bringing Rho Lambda back to campus in 2025 too!

We are 60% to our goal of $25,000 by 2025 for the Randy Morrison Scholarship Fund managed by the OU Foundation. To those who have donated, THANKS! We will be reaching out  to the brotherhood  over the next year to help us meet or exceed our goal. 

Kerothen, Bob

ΡΛ Brother of the Month – Bob “RJ” Pickup

“I was spoiled rotten when I was a kid,” said RJ. “My dad had graduated from OU with a degree in accountancy and was a CPA. We played golf at the country club, and he bought me a new car when I was a freshman. Then another one when I was a senior. By the time I got to the Deke house, I had a long way to go to find any maturity.

“My brother, Ronnie, went to Penn State. Joe Paterno came to our house to recruit him. Paterno was an assistant coach at Penn State then. Ronnie put on 60 pounds and played tight end there for three years. As a sophomore, he played in the Gator Bowl and played with All-American Dave Robinson for all three years. Unfortunately, a concussion ended Ronnie’s football career. He became a CPA, too.

“Me and Fred (Streb) were best friends in high school. My dad eventually talked a lot of us into going to OU: me, Fred, Phil McEnroe, Howie Smith…”

“When it came time to enroll, Mom, Dad, and I drove out, met Fred at the OKC airport, and they drove us to Norman and the Adams Center dorm. Fred and I soon discovered that OU required an ACT test, and Wellsville High had only given us the SAT, so we had to take the ACT before we could register. But first, we had to find the Business Admin building, so for two guys from out of state, we had to wander around the campus and ask for directions for a while.

“I went through rush, too, visited the Sigma Chi house long enough to know it wasn’t for me, and pledged Deke with Fred. Dana Bousum was my big brother. Here’s Al Sherer and I in the basement by the chapter room.

Burnsie was a great basketball center, and Clowers, a great quarterback. Fred and I were good athletes, and so were others. We had some terrific intermural games. I was eventually President and remember waking up to the news that Steve Owens had won the Heisman.

“But the worst was when the OU administration and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) decided they had to stop drug use. They told all the fraternities on campus that they had to announce to their members that pot smoking would no longer be tolerated in the house. There were big arguments. Eventually, there was an exodus, and seven or eight guys moved out. It had a big brotherhood impact on us, plus we lost their monthly rent from the revenue we needed to run the house.

“I graduated in ’73, majoring in Finance and Accounting. I married a Tulsa girl, and we had three daughters and a son. We spent the next 16 years in Tulsa, me as a brand manager with a Medical Supply firm. Then, I opened a Denver branch of a Physician’s Sales and Services firm, and we lived there for seven years. We moved to Buffalo, N.Y., where I was offered a job as an Operations Manager for Safetec of America, a medical supply manufacturer.

“My wife and I had divorced by then, and in 2004, I proposed to Linda during choir practice, and we were married in Orchard Park, NY. During the Depression of 2008, Safetec let me go. Linda and I talked it over and decided since we had a condo in Florida, we’d move to Gulfport to live in the sun. I worked as a Production Manager at Honeywell Aerospace in their Guidance Systems department for airplanes and missiles. In 2014, I retired, and now I spend lots of time by the pool.

In 2013, out of the blue, George Otey called me. It had been 20 years, and we talked about how great it was to reconnect and what a shame it was that it hadn’t been easier to know where all the brothers were so we could all stay in touch. I said, ‘We need to get everybody together. We should have a reunion.’ George called Burnsie and Clowers, I called Fred, and it wasn’t long before we held the first Reunion in Norman in October 2013. (Go here to see more photos from our Reunions).

And here to make a donation to the 2023 Reunion costs.

“I brought my kids, of course. Here’s a treasured photo of us and the grandkids at the 2014 Reunion.

“That’s me top right, and right to left, my middle daughter Katy; son-in-law Todd, married to oldest daughter Barbara; and son Rob. Front row, right to left, Rob’s wife Rhonda, holding their daughter Raelynn; Katy’s oldest, Ava; Katy’s youngest, Addy; and my youngest, Julie.

“Barb is the Chief Operating Officer of a geologic firm, Fracture ID, and lives near Denver. Katy and her husband Kurt, who’s 6’8”, live in Scottsdale. Their daughter, Ava, is now 6’ 3” and plays volleyball for UW at Laramie. Addy is 5’ 10” and plays a terrific game of golf. My youngest, Julie, is a nurse administrator and is married to Matt. They live near Seattle. Rob is a brand manager for a trucking logistics firm.

“Yes, we live all over the map, and it’s a challenge to get everybody together, but I treasure my family.

“Here’s Fred and me at the Deke Formal, or what passes for that at Maddie’s, the #1 spot in Gulfport, Florida. I’m wearing my red Hawaiian tuxedo. To Fred’s left is his wife Anita, my Linda, Fred’s sister Carol, and Carol’s husband, Roger.

“Fred and I’ve been friends since high school. We were both presidents of the chapter. That job opened my eyes to responsibility. I learned to work with people, get along with different people, and keep a positive attitude. That’s helped me immensely throughout my working career.

“My primary retired hobby was golf until I developed kidney disease. I was on dialysis for four years, but I’m off that now. I developed lymphoma cancer, but that’s now in remission, too, so I’m seeing the sun way more these days.

“I had a great time at our first Reunion, seeing lots of the brothers and their families. I told some guys at the first Reunion that we can’t cut people out of our lives. That we should stay in touch with those who are a part of us. We were initiated the same way; we learned a lot about life in the same house and the same chapter room. The rituals, the grip, that bond of brotherhood. We learned that there’s something bigger than ourselves.”

Bob and I laughed about how we’d stumbled upon any wisdom or awareness we might have. No matter; we started maturing at the same place, 700 Elm, and it’s paid off throughout our lives. When I was younger, it wasn’t obvious, but now, with age, it becomes more so. It was interesting to hear RJ’s perspective on the different paths we brothers have taken to climb to the top of the same mountain.

Just for the hell of it, here’s a picture of Linda and RJ’s tortoise shell. Family is important, no matter the species.

 

 

Leave a comment if you wish, or contact us. Keep an eye out for September’s newsletter!

If you’d like information about making a tax-deductible donation to Randy’s Scholarship fund, here are some FAQs to help you.

Please get in touch with Rich Burns if you know of any Brothers who’ve passed away or aren’t receiving our Newsletter.

RIP, Randy

Kerothen, The ΡΛ Commo Crew