COL Henry M. Dermody, Jr.

Cullum: 25837

Class: 1965

Cadet Company: K2

Date of Birth: February 13, 1939

Date of Death: November 24, 2012

Died in Centreville, MD

Interred: Cremated. Inurned Bourne National Cemetery, Bourne, MA - View or Post a Eulogy


Henry M. Dermody, Jr. Colonel Henry Martin 'Harry' Dermody Jr. was born Feb 13, 1939, in Pinehurst, NC, the son of Evelyn K. (Remis) Dermody and Henry M. Dermody Sr. He was raised in Manchester-by-the-Sea with a ski pole in one hand, a golf club in the other, and a wee dram of Irish Whiskey nearby. In 1958, after high school, Harry decided to forego an opportunity to study architecture, and with West Point in his sights, enlisted as a private in the Army. Subsequent to a brief career of KP and polishing boots, Harry moved on to the USMA Prep School at Fort Belvoir. Although his enlisted time was brief, Harry acquired an admiration and respect for the American soldier that continued for all of his life.

 Harry received a primary appointment to West Point and entered the Academy in the summer of 1960 with the class of 1964. At the end of plebe year, Harry was "turned back" in mathematics and given an opportunity for a second plebe year. Unhappy at the time, Harry still deeply wanted to continue with West Point and a military career, so he joined the Class of 1965. In his words, "I was grateful for the second chance. Good class, good classmates, and West Point was where I wanted to be."

 The oldest man in the class, Harry was affectionately known either as "The Old Man" or "Uncle Harry." However, age was never a constraint for this "shaker and mover." He was exceptionally energetic as noted by his participation in 150 lb. football, golf, lacrosse, the Spanish Club, the ski team (as a member, instructor, and patrol leader) and as a "Rabble Rouser" for the football team. After the "great mess hall riot," during which the words, "Let's rally" got out of hand-with tables stacked and food flying-Harry was seriously concerned that his leadership role might find him "out the door." Fortunately, Army beat Penn State the following Saturday, and he and his fellow Rabble Rousers were granted a reprieve. His leadership ability was later rewarded as he was assigned to be one of six corps of cadet battalion commanders.

Harry's involvement with his class and West Point continued throughout his life: He was a class officer, class trustee, chairman of the class fundraising committee, General Advisor to the Military Academy, member of the Association of Graduates fundraising committee, and an active leader for class reunions and activities. His viewpoints were expressed with determination and a great sense of conviction, but all those who knew him personally saw a sense of humor, mischievousness, and goodwill that were second to none.

When reminiscing about his 30-year career as an officer, Harry was most proud of his command assignments, from platoon through brigade, and as the Deputy Commander of 3D Corps Support Command during the Persian Gulf War. During all of these years of service Harry never lost his admiration for the American soldier. He wrote the following story about his service in Vietnam:

"During Operations in the Que Son and Hiep Duc Districts... things got tight, but all attacks were repulsed and we were able to get a re-supply of ammo and food on the ninth day.... I had two radio operators. One was a little guy who was tough as nails and as good a soldier as I had ever seen. He was one of the last to eat as he had to stay with me. Unfortunately, as he got to the last can that had one steak left, he tripped just as he took the last steak and his mess kit went into the mud. The young soldier dug through the mud, picked up as much as he could, washed it off with water from his canteen, sat down next to me, and ate every mouthful without saying a word. To me this is the American Soldier. It was a little thing, but he never complained, did what he had to do, and made the best of a bad situation. This incident is something I think of when people ask me why I stayed in the Army. After 35 years as an enlisted man, at West Point, and as an officer, the answer is, American Soldiers. Tough, resourceful, flexible-they think and adjust. They're the best in the world."

Upon retirement Harry and his wife Kay built a home in Centreville, MD, on the east bank of the Corsica River. In addition to his many West Point activities, Harry served as Chairman, Our Mother of Sorrows/Saint Peter's Finance Council; Chairman, Our Mother of Sorrows/Saint Peter's Increased Offertory Campaign; Board member, Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc.; Member, Board of Trustees and Treasurer, Adkins Arboretum; Board Member and Vice President, Queen Anne's County Taxpayers Association; and member of the Service Academy Selection Board for Congressman Wayne Gilchrest.

 Harry was very active with the aforementioned political, fraternal, social, alumni, church, and community groups; but still found time for boating with family and friends; golf as a member of the United States Naval Academy Golf Association; winter ski trips with a large group of family and extended family; and an active social life with neighbors, classmates, and friends.

Harry loved his wife Kay and his daughters Laura and Joanna and their families, loved the Army, loved West Point, loved golf and skiing, loved to "give back" to church, charities and West Point, loved a spirited discussion of the issues of the day, and loved an occasional touch of "Irish" with family and friends.

His was a life well lived.