About the Eagle Statue
Beth Andes, Mark Anderson, Alan Bushart, Joy Ellis, Albert Rapp, and Cynthia Rudes died on Friday October 2, 1981 on their way to Buffalo. The Volkswagen Dasher they were traveling in collided with a Fisher-Price tractor-trailer at the intersection of NY State Route 78 and the US Route 20A in the Town of Wales. They had been on their way to Buffalo to pick up costumes for the Homecoming event that weekend. Beth, Joy and Cynthia were candidates for homecoming queen and Mark, Alan and Albert were their escorts.
David Caccia, a sculptor from Philadelphia, came to Houghton with his son, a prospective student, and heard about the tragic accident. After discovering that there was no sculpture in memory of the students, he took on the challenge. He created the eagle sculptures after the 1982 class verse, Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Alan (Al) R. Bushart
“Alan was both a challenge and a comfort. He set a spiritually challenging example of a strong man of God striving for excellence in all he did. But Al went beyond challenging others. He loved them. He was always ready to talk about the Lord and to encourage others. He lived his life as an open book. All who have read from that book have been immeasurably enriched.” Boulder
“One thing that sticks out about Al was his unlimited time for others. He always had a listening ear, a loving response, and lots of time.” Brian Davidson
Joy S. Ellis
“Joy was loved for her warmth, for her kindness, and for the solid spiritual maturity that carried over into everything she did. Although she was active and successful in both athletics and in her academic work, Joy always maintained the lovely, lady-like attitude of a young woman whose heart belonged to Jesus Christ.” Boulder
She wanted the song “Father’s Eyes” by Amy Grant, to be true for her and according to Chris Davidson it was.----“She had her Father’s eyes, Her Father’s eyes—Eyes that found the good in things when help could not be found. Eyes full of compassion feeling every pain, knowing what you’re going through and feeling it the same—Just like her Father’s eyes.”
Albert (Bert) L. Rapp
“Bert displayed his talent as a leader of others—talent enhanced by a certain tact and kindness that always took into account the feelings of others. Most importantly Bert had a deep-rooted faith in Jesus Christ. And he made this faith tangible. Few ever walked away from a conversation with Bert without having been touched by his openness, and without feeling the contagious enthusiasm and love for life that he shared so freely with others.” Boulder
“[He] accept[ed] what could not be changed but [tried] within the system to correct what could be corrected.” Austin Swallow
Cynthia (Cindy) R. Rudes
“Cindy was known and loved for her willingness to share of herself. Those who knew her speak of a Christ-centered joy that enabled her to take difficulties in stride. She was committed to serving, to learning and considered her achievements to be valuable insofar as they trained her to be a more effective servant of Jesus Christ.” Boulder
Cindy’s favorite Bible passage was John 17 “because Jesus was praying for us before we even were…Verse 4 appropriately closes what Cindy’s last words would have been: ‘I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.’” Betty Bowser
Mark B. Anderson
“Mark was loved at Houghton for his warmth, for his honesty, and for that particular light in his eyes that injected an air of sincere friendship into even the most acute academic discussion. Every one who worked with Mark recognized that his willingness to question and challenge was always tempered by an unquestioned faith, solidly grounded in Jesus Christ.” Boulder
“Mark’s gregariousness was balanced by a love of solitude; his quick wit by a far-reaching sensitivity; his love of argumentation by a deep concern for fairness…what made Mark an exceptional person was his candid recognition of his humanness.” Glenn D. Burlingame
Beth R. Andes
“There was something unaffected, something disarmingly genuine about Beth that touched everyone she came in contact with…Genuinely concerned for the spiritual lives of others, she was always ready to pray with others for their needs. Beth’s spiritual integrity set the tone for all her tasks…she retained her desire to use all her talents in Christ’s service.” Boulder
Mercy Zecher said: She loved the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and wanted it to be sung before her flute recital and at her wedding: “Lord make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury—pardon. Where there is doubt—faith. Where there is despair—hope. Where there is darkness—light. Where there is sadness—joy. O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. To be understood—as to understand. To be loved—as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Prayer by Mark Abbott
Former Senior Pastor at Houghton Wesleyan Church
Thank you, Father of Life, for the memories of
their beauty and strength,
their smiles and good humor,
their scholarship and spirituality,
their talents and skills.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for their witness by life and through death.
Thank you, God of Truth, for questions about their death;
Questions which cause us to reexamine,
our commitment to you and our understanding of life and death.
Thank you, God of all comfort,
for grief that is shared
for comfort experienced together,
for hope which we share as a community.
Thank you, God of Strength, for courage not to be overwhelmed by
But rather, for courage to live life to its fullest as they did,
true to their memory,
true to our covenant with You,
true to our sure hope of joining them in Your nearer presence.