College award honors WW II sacrifice
Mrs. Yvonne Sylvia of Edgartown traveled with members of her family to John Hancock Hall in Boston on May 14. She was there at the invitation of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to present the school's World War II Memorial Scholarship, which honors the graduates of the school who lost their lives in the war.
The story of her invitation began in 2006 at the school's annual Hooding and Awards Ceremony, which recognizes sixth-year students for outstanding academic achievement.
Sitting in the audience that day, Dennis G. Lyons, vice president for alumni and professional affairs, decided that the names of those World War II casualties who are memorialized by the scholarship should be known. In the 60 years since the war ended, records had been lost.
After some diligent research, however, Mr. Lyons learned the identities of three: William J. Carroll (class of 1943), Francis G. Harris ('39) and Edmund Berube ('44) of Edgartown.
In the course of his research, Mr. Lyons met Mrs. Sylvia and saw the scrapbook she had made in her brother Edmund's memory. That scrapbook provided the material for a story about Mr. Berube, "An Alumnus to Honor," published in the recent winter edition of the college publication, The Bulletin.
Mr. Berube grew up in Edgartown, co-captained Edgartown High School's championship basketball team and was president of his senior class. He worked at the Colonial Drug Store, owned by Len Henrickson.
"Mr. Berube was popular with customers and became well known in town," wrote Mr. Lyons. "Mr. Henrickson was so impressed with him that he offered to help pay his college tuition to attend pharmacy school."
Just as in high school, Mr. Berube was very popular with his classmates and was elected president of his senior class. He expected to finish college and to return to Edgartown to work at the Colonial Drug Store.
As the fighting on all the war's fronts grew in intensity, there was a dire need for men with the type of medical training provided by the College of Pharmacy. In 1943, Mr. Berube and the 72 other members of the class of 1944 learned that there would be no break, but that they would attend classes and graduate on October 27 as what would be known as the "second class of 1943" as part of an accelerated war-time program.