2017 Winner of Cornell University’s Outstanding Chapter and Outstanding Service to the Community Awards

Dolly’s Initiation, 2011

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Steve “Monge” Mongeau ’78 Shares a Few Kind Words about Dolly Hailstork and Dolly’s Initiation Weekend

I was honored when D’O called me and asked me to say a few words this evening to honor and remember our Dolly. We were all blessed to have known him and to be able to share the special bond that he wove into our lives with each other. It was Doll that shared the stories from class to class to class, and Doll is who the alumni came back to see, which allowed the current classes a chance to meet the older brothers.

It is through his big heart, easy smile and lending hand that the large net of brotherhood flourished for all of us. I can say that I truly loved Dolly. I also admired him, I respected him and I am thankful for the lessons that I learned from him. I’m not sure I appreciated how accepting Doll was of all of us and our extended friends and family when I was a student here.

It was really amazing when you think about how he went out of his way, in his simple and direct manner to make people feel welcome and comfortable in this big white house. As a scrawny little self-conscious pledge, I missed most dinners at the house, coming in late after crew practice, crossing paths with Bernie and Bill Forman. Doll would talk with me and fill me in on what was going on, and when I was worried about whether or not I fit-in, he made me feel like I belonged. He stepped up as a true “Brother” the moment you met him—we just didn’t realize it at the time.

From the Greek word “frater,” “a member of the same clan” to a Webster’s view on “brother” as “one related to another by common ties or interests ”Dolly was the common tie to Sigma Pi for his 32 years of service and 50 years of active affiliation and brotherhood! It is long overdue, yet so wonderful that we are inducting the beloved man this evening! After all, it was Dolly who made the Pi House a home away from home for us!

As we all passed through the house, we all put a mark on our rooms, but no one ever matched the beauty of the “sweeties” that adorned the Doll’s walls! He also had some interesting guests and day time visitors from time to time, opening our eyes to other worlds. A ride in his truck and listening to his tales of fishing or bowling were cherished moments. A visit to his Dad’s laundromat helped you remember that there was a world outside of the campus that was humming along while we were on the hill. I asked several people today, to share with me the top three words that come to mind when they think of Doll. Aside from a few things that I won’t repeat, some of what I heard was:

“Up your giggy!”
“Funny ... hysterical, in fact.”
“Down to earth.”
“Real and genuine.”
“Trusting”

That is something, isn’t it? And, I have to add that he listened to us and cared about us as an adult looking out for his “younger brothers.” During my senior year, when my dad had a heart attack, it was Doll that asked me every day thereafter about how he was doing. He even asked me some 10 years later, when I was on campus doing some recruiting and visited with him. He cared and he remembered so much about all of us. And he was the only brother that seemed to get more attention from Jan than I did. It was like I wasn’t in the room anymore when he walked in—she’d brighten up and give him a big hug. He was able to make her feel welcomed whether I was around or not. I also remember standing downstairs by the window on a winter morning—must have been after we did the menu for the week—and we saw Jan heading to the house from across the street. The words from Doll were: “Hey, Monge, here comes your snow bunny, I bet it will be nice to warm up with her today?!” It was and still is.

How many of our girlfriends did he establish a bond with and how many women would head downstairs to greet him before looking for anyone else in the house? As Jan has said, if anyone else said some of the things he said, she’d have been insulted or horrified, but coming from Dolly, it just made you feel good! He was an honored guest at so many of our weddings and all my children have heard about the Doll. Yes, he flirted with both of my daughters, too, and my youngest Rosey, was thrown for a loop when she visited his home with me during her college trip four years ago. But each of my children, other members of my family, and many of my friends outside of the Pi House, envy the lasting connection that all of us have been able to share, which if not entirely because of the Doll, was at minimum greatly enriched by him and his magical reach across the years to provide such a special and lasting bond in our lives. Forever broadened by RAZ with NameThatPiMan!

From the outside, many people may have just seen a short, stocky guy with a “corporation” as he liked to refer to his belly, and a stogie hanging out of his mouth, but he was a generous and open power of example on how we all should treat one another and to let one another know, that we’ll be there for each other if we are needed ... what a gift he gave to us! He created a life-long connection for those who came before us and those who followed in the rooms of the Pi House.

Well, Doll, thanks for being there to bail me out of a few pinches, from covering my speeding tickets in Dryden, to lending me some cash for a bus ticket, and for all the times you leant a willing ear to listen to me express my feelings. I hope you have run of the kitchen up there and that BCPs are served for desert every evening. We all look forward to breaking bread with you when our time comes ...

Now, just take a minute, latch on to an image of Doll that has lingered in your mind, close your eyes for a moment if you want to, and you’ll find that you just can’t help but smile when thoughts of the Doll enter your consciousness. Life feels better, things slow down, he still can deliver a soothing sensation even after he has left us. When you do this, you’ll find yourself breaking into a chuckle over a particular memory of a “Dolly moment.” A lasting gift!

We can only wish that we can touch so many lives in such a positive way.

Thanks, Doll, for sharing so much of yourself with so many of us, and for weaving our lives together over the years. We are all feeling tremendously honored to be able to call you our brother! YEVO!


 

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