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A Dartmouth Life Well Lived

Criticizing the old Dartmouth has long been fashionable in Hanover: exclusionary, élitist, unenlightened, and so on. My day was no different from now. But when you look at the lives that some of those men led, well, you are obliged to stop and wonder.

Joseph Dryer Jr. ‘44, now 91 years old, was pals with Ernest Hemingway’s son, Jack, during the latter’s short time in Hanover; Dryer fought on Iwo Jima with the Fifth Marine Division, where he was hit by a sniper, whose bullet shattered his dog tags and locker box keys, which saved his life — though it took five surgeries and nine months in hospital to get him right; he set up kenaf (a fibrous plant like jute) plantations in several Central American countries; he developed large hotels for KLM in Amerstardam, Jakarta and Barbados; and today he serves on the American Foreign Policy Council.


Dryer has lived in the same gracious Marion Syms Wyeth home in Palm Beach since 1961 with his wife Nancy, whom he married in 1956.

Addendum: In a recent newspaper profile, Dryer made an interesting comment about Ernest Hemingway, with whom he spent a great deal of time, and who was a witness at Dryer’s wedding in Cuba:

“He was very comfortable to be with, a good conversationalist, easy. Anything you were interested in, he would get interested in. If you were interested in roses, he’d talk to you all about roses until he knew what you knew.”

A good writer is always looking for material.

Addendum: An Old Green writes in:

Thanks for the wonderful post regarding Mr. Dryer. God bless him.

Two points:

1. I’m a ‘66. Criticizing the “old Dartmouth” was not fashionable in my day. We were inspired by the “old Dartmouth”;

2. “Fifth Marines” refers to the Fifth Marine Regiment. The 5th Marine Division fought at Iwo Jima. Fifth Marines fought, inter alia, at Okinawa, Peleliu and Guadalcanal but not at Iwo Jima. Fifth Marines also fought, inter alia, at Belleau Wood, Chosin Reservoir, Inchon and Hue.

I know you appreciate accurate facts and thought you ought to know.


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