Archie Chisholm Salyards


Died June 11, 1980

College: Timothy Dwight

Archie Salyards was an intense and serious man.

He graduated from The Taft School, where he was Head Monitor, a position that required him to administer the entire honor code and discipline. Archie did the job with his characteristic kindness and firmness. Yale freed him of this burden and responsibility and gave him the opportunity to pursue his own interests.

He loved the precise analysis that his major in Philosophy required that included some of the more profound thinkers, like Kierkegaard, and above all Dostoevsky and his novel, The Brothers Karamazov, with its analysis of suffering’s place in religion. His characteristic intensity and soul searching lead to his conversion to Catholicism.

As in all endeavors, Archie was passionate about Crew, rowing through the pain until he would stagger back to his room, his hands bleeding. He received his Yale numerals in Freshman crew and participated in Varsity crew. Giving up because of pain or because he did not get his letter was not in Archie’s nature—he rowed not for glory but for the inner satisfaction, something he revealed only to a few.

The Philosophy major taught the skills of analysis, how to write, how to argue; to use those skills it was inevitable that he pursue a career in journalism. He became a journalist for the Duluth Tribune, where he became its editor in February of 1980, at the early age of forty-one. Being editor, his colleagues said, “was more than an assignment, it was a calling.”

But there was a side of Archie that few knew of, a “cancerous darkness,” Lance Odden, [former Headmaster at Taft], called it. On June 10, 1980, Archie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His colleagues at the Duluth Tribune wrote a memorial tribute that all who knew him would embrace, as being a modern day Alyosha: “. . . he was, at heart, a romantic and an idealist. And because of his sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others, his door was always open to fellow workers, friends, and even strangers who sought him out in times of difficulty”

—by Bob Olmstead and Raul Matos