Farewell Big Al
By Jeff Borck
(Reprinted from The Brown and White, September 2004, with permission from Jeff Borck, H1132)
We lost a great friend this summer. A great advisor, mentor, companion and fatherly figure. We simply lost a great, humble man in Al Pedrick, ’43. He passed away on his way to the Theta Xi National Convention, a passion he re-discovered late in his life, for a place and family he loved.
to all as “Big Al”, his
nickname described both his physique and the size of his heart.
Although Al was
As an undergraduate, Al led the Marching 97 as a drum major and student director, while acting as Theta Xi treasurer at the same time. His involvement with Lehigh included: membership on the Lehigh University Alumni Association Board of Directors, a member of the Greek Alumni Council Executive Committee, Theta Xi Fraternity Alumni Board member, Class Correspondent for the great class of 1943, Reunion Volunteer, Alumni Memorial Building information desk volunteer, Athletic Department volunteer, and a strong financial contributor to Lehigh as a member of the Asa Packer Society.
“Al was an incredible person and a legendary contribution to Lehigh,” past IFC President Mike Dick, ’05, said. “Though I was not a member of Al’s fraternity, he had a profound effect on my life, and I am ever-so-grateful.”
In recognition of his hard work and countless hours devoted to Lehigh, the LUAA awarded Al the 1998 Alumni award; the 2000 Senior Alumni Council Meritorious Service Award and the 2001 George Stutz Reunion Award. In addition, he became the first recipient of the Alfred W. Pedrick Alumni Advisor Award this past fall, presented by The Interfraternity Council, Penhellenic Council, and Office of Greek Affairs.
“I am quite pleased that the GAC saw it fitting and proper to recognize exemplary alumni advising to fraternities and sororities by creating the Al Pedrick Award, which the GAC bestowed upon Al last fall,” David Polakoff said.
What got Al by in life was his remarkable sense of humor, which he claims came from his father. His never-ending one-liners and quick jokes always provided some comic relief in tense moments. One of his most famous comments was “He reminds me of the South end of a horse headed north.” Although he wasn’t an academic scholar, Al’s street smarts and witty comments got him by just fine.
He once told Andrew Olesnycky and Taylor Shapiro, ’04, that his mother invented the submarine sandwich. He went on for an hour and didn’t back down once. We should remember Al for the comedy he provided, the sense of relief he brought about at IFC and house meetings, and the wise-cracks he was always destined to make. Al’s best quality was that he had the ability to always tell it like it was.
Whether you saw Al at a house meeting, board meeting, IFC meeting, football game, behind the Alumni or Athletics desk, or just driving his 16th Cadillac around campus, you would know that the man gave his life for Lehigh.
“Al was a truly great man and a model fraternity brother,” Greek Life Coordinator Ryan Lovell said. “In my years working with fraternities, I have never met an alumnus who was more dedicated to the success of his chapter than Al was.”
Lehigh and Theta Xi were Al’s closest family. He spent almost all of his time doing things for his fraternity and university. Whether it was coming by the house for lunch or meetings, trying to keep us off of probation, or volunteering countless hours around campus, Al was constantly looking out for other people. Big Al represents what it means to be a role model, mentor, and friend.
“You knew a man who loved the students, the alumni, and (usually) the faculty and staff,” Chris Marshall said. “You knew a man who loved life. You quite literally, knew the best.”
Those close to Al knew that his passion for Theta Xi was something we should all admire and learn from, as it was one of the most admirable qualities he had.
“His contributions to the house were absolutely infinite and he will be almost impossible to replace,” past Theta Xi president Mike Peskin said. “We have to look at this in a positive light and learn from what he did and realize how lucky we were to have him for as many years as we did.”
One of his closest friends, Theta Xi cook Linda Brocious, would always wait for a call from Big Al, precisely at in the morning. When I would answer the phone in the kitchen, he would say hi, ask how I was doing, and in his raspy voice say ‘Is Linda there?’ Linda and Al were really a one-of-a-kind match, and the perfect addition to the Theta Xi family.
“During the school year, I could set my clock by him,” she said. “Everyday he would call at . Not a day went by without hearing from Big Al and it’s not going to be the same up here without him around.”
Theta Xi President Andrew Seiken feels fortunate to have met such a great man with such a strong passion for helping others in his fraternity
“Al’s dedication to the house and his love for the brothers is something that will surely be missed,” Seiken said. “Rarely did a day go by without seeing or hearing from Big Al. His voice will certainly be missed by those lucky enough to come in contact with him.”
Al always had an interesting piece of gossip to share with people walking past his desk. Be it a Theta Xi brother, or a girl from a sorority he barely knew, Al treated everyone as an equal.
“Nothing involving a girl and any one of the brothers in the house was too secret to prevent Al from discovering,” George Hopkins, ’05, said. “He had a profound ability to relate to everyone in the house despite the large age gap between the brothers and himself. As much as he asked from us, he gave back ten-fold to Theta Xi, and the University for that matter.”
Lehigh lost a remarkable person, and we could only be so lucky to find another Alfred Winslow Pedrick in this lifetime. I can only hope that his spirit will live on forever.
“Al was simply a great member of the Lehigh family, whose contributions to Lehigh’s Greek Life will not soon be surpassed,” GAC President Joe King said. “He volunteered vigorously for Lehigh chores ranging from Class Correspondent to Information Desk to his strenuous efforts to make his Theta Xi chapter and the Lehigh Greek Systems among the best in the country.”
Al was always there not only for Theta Xi brothers, but also for the administration members that he cared so much about, including Roseann [Corsi] and Betty [Fisher].
“He was almost like a mentor not only to me but also to his fraternity brothers, especially the undergrads,” Fisher said. “He is and will surely be missed.”
following Al’s wishes, there
will be no funeral services. Instead, a memorial service will take
Saturday, September 17, at the Packer Chapel at In addition, those
wishing to honor Al’s memory are invited to