September 03, 2008 Almont's own Bob Shoemaker, Four Star General Robert M. Shoemaker, has gifted his mementos, plaque and medals to our Henry Stephens Library. Bob and Betty Walton hosted a group at their home when General Shoemaker's brother Jack and wife Barbara presented them. A Dedication will take place Sunday and Monday, October 5 and 6. More about that later.
General Shoemaker grew up in Almont, grad- uating in 1941, was a high school sportsman and later drummer with the Royal Rube Band. When he came home for Homecoming in 1976, he didn't want the VIP treatment the Homecoming Committee had planned, it was his wish to be plain Bob Shoemaker and march in the parade with the Rube Band. In 1995 he accepted the invitation to be one of three Parade Marshals for Homecoming. He didn't want to ride in a fancy car, only be General Shoemaker riding on a horse. Red graciously provided his horse, Shadow's Minuteman, always called "Dude.'' Red rode my horse Mack with the Posse.
Bob attended University of Grand Rapids but in 1943 was appointed to West Point Military Academy. From there he climbed the ladder of success to become a Four Star General.
On a trip west in 1977, Jack and Jean Terry, Red and I visited General Shoemaker and his wife Tuke at Fort Hood, Texas. It wasn't easy reaching him by phone but, one Sunday we were able to visit. When we arrived at the gate, we were escorted by a Military Police to their home.
While visiting before lunch, a helicopter landed in back of the house and picked up a neighboring general to be taken to a field training exercise.
Tuke is an avid horsewoman and I could hardly contain myself until she took us to Fort Hood's Pony Club and showed us her horses. We watched as she took off with her group for their activities.
Bob loaded us in his bright red four-wheeled-drive and proceeded to give an unforgettable tour of Fort Hood. I knew Bob had not changed when our tour ended with a visit to his and Tuke's own private 83 acres far from the hubbub of civilization. It was covered with cedar, ash, juniper and pecan trees.
The day ended with our being guests of the Commanding General of Fort Hood at the Officer's Branch of the Fort Hood Club System.
As we waved goodbye, we left feeling a little taller. It was an unforgettable day in the company of Almont's General Shoemaker.
Be sure and mark October 5 and 6 on your calendar.