Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kent State Student Dies

Robert Stamps, 58 (his wife said he was 57), one of the 13 students shot on the Kent State University campus by the National Guard on May 4, 1970, died Wednesday, June 11, 2008.

Stamps, who passed away in Madison just east of Tallahassee, was an observer sympathetic to the anti-war protests the day of the shootings and was shot in the buttocks while fleeing the tear gas gunfire.

Alan Canfora, another of the shot students who now runs Kent's May 4 Center, said Stamps had protested other times and always believed the Guard shooters should be tried for murder.

Stamps died of pneumonia, according to an e-mail his wife Teresa Sumrall sent to friends. Canfora said Stamps had contracted Lyme disease years ago at a May 4 event at Mohican State Park and had been bedridden with it the last few years.

He was the second of the nine students injured that day to die. James Russell, the oldest of the nine, died at his Oregon home last year at the age of 60.

After the shootings, Stamps graduated with degrees in sociology and Spanish. He lived for a while in Lakewood as an author and college teacher. Canfora said Stamps moved several times between Ohio, California and Florida, and frequently returned to the Kent campus for May 4 remembrances.

"It helps and it hurts," Stamps told The Plain Dealer at one of those events in 2000. "It heals old stuff and brings up old stuff at the same time."

Just a year ago, when students shot in the incident spoke against the current war in Iraq, Stamps told The Plain Dealer that his illness was "the only thing stopping me from actively going around to college campuses, protesting and talking to people about the war."

Killed that day were students Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder. Scheuer and Schroeder were passers-by. Canfora said Stamps rode to the hospital in the same ambulance as Krause before joining him in a waiting room, where they learned students had died.

In addition to Stamps, Canfora and Russell, the wounded students were John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Dean Kahler, Joseph Lewis, Donald MacKenzie, James Russell and Douglas Wrentmore.

A private ceremony was set for Monday. Another ceremony is set for July in San Diego, Calif.


No comments: