by Vito Vitkauskas, ‘73

The Arthur Silhan memorial celebration at Faith Lutheran Church in Homewood, Illinois on August 21, 2004 overflowed.  Drivers had to find parking on the streets, outside the full church parking lot.  The sliding stain glass windows in the back of the chapel had to be raised to clear the view of visitors seated in extra rows of folding chairs in the walkway outside the rear of the room.  Still, a sufficient number of programs were printed in anticipation.

Having donated his body to science, Mr. Silhan’s physical presence came from his attending offspring and his musical progeny, including Musichorale leading the hymns fromt he balcony.

The halting beginning of the sermon came from Reverend Dr. Timothy Knauff’s explanation that he hesitated in deciding what to wear before the mass. He showed the assemblage what he was considering (in place of his traditional vestment), when he pulled out, from behind the lectern, a floral Hawaiian-designed shirt.  Laughter erupted. The pastor acknowledged this recognition of Mr. Silhan’s sartorial style.  While formal dress predominated in the pews, there was also a smattering of bright-colored shirts worn in homage, including Tom Horton’s (Class of ‘73).

After the sermon hymn, Reverend Mary Graves read extracts of reminiscences about Mr. Silhan’s life from family, friends and former students. The mentioned classroom wall of quote citations about self-control, smoking and tattoos seemed like they were straight from Cyndi (nee Wessel) Stark’s posting on Discussion Board Topic (Memories) because the Reverend also made a similar crack about the current vogue for body piercing.

In addition to Tom Horton, alumni attending included Tom Joyce (Class of ‘71) who first posted the news of Mr. Silhan’s death on Discussion Board Topic (Art Silhan's Passing) , John Vieraitis (Class of ‘71), Marianne (nee Hartl) Yurko (Class of ‘72), Vit Stravinskas and Vito Vitkauskas (Class of ‘73).  With such a big group and no name tags, it was difficult to get accurate information about who else attended, but various alumni report seeing former teachers Ms. Marianne Otlewis, Miss Shore, Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Wick, and Mrs. Heffernan.

Two long lines slowly advanced along the hallway toward the guest books between the church and the reception in the gymnasium. Along with refreshments and fellowship, there were music and family pictures covering at least 45 years of Mr. Silhan’s life, along the walls.

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