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Alfred Roelker


Centurion, 1921–1953

Full Name Alfred Roe Roelker

Born 7 April 1875 in New York (Staten Island), New York

Died 17 February 1953 in Bedford, New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Eustace Conway and Charles C. Nadal

Elected 3 December 1921 at age forty-six

Archivist’s Note: Son of Alfred Roelker

Century Memorial

Alfred Roelker was born on Staten Island. He graduated from Amherst in 1895, in the same class with Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Morrow, and from the Columbia Law School in 1898. All his life he was a practicing lawyer in the City.

When he came back from Amherst, he enlisted in Squadron A, and he became exceedingly interested in soldiering. He was one of the consecrated men who organized the Officers’ Training Camps at Plattsburgh, and he assisted General [Leonard] Wood in getting them going properly; and when we entered the First World War in 1917, he gave up his law practice and went to France with the Seventy-seventh Division as a Captain of a Machine Gun Company.

After the war he was one of the founders of the Military Training Camps Association, and from 1927 to 1933 he was president of the Seventy-seventh Division Association. He saw clearly that the fair and democratic way to have an army was by universal military training, and to that end he worked continually and tirelessly.

It is almost incredible that he was seventy-seven years old when he died. He seemed about sixty, and he had a vigor and enthusiasm ordinarily associated with men much younger even than that. He was full of yarns and gossip about the Pentagon and the doings of the Army brass, and he knew as much about the militia of the various states, its quality and state of preparedness, as anybody in the country. He was very wise about the political difficulties involved in universal military training, and he thoroughly understood the limitations of army officers in dealing with civilians.

Alfred was an extremely valuable citizen. He worked with all his might for the good of his country, and his reward was the confidence and affectionate friendship of men much like himself. Most of the old Plattsburgh group are gathered to their fathers now; but their contributions to the armies that defeated the Germans in two great wars fittingly rank with the selfless devotion of Cincinnatus.

George W. Martin
1954 Century Association Yearbook