Virginia Tech Magazine
Letters to the Editor
Summer 2008

Jason '04 and Jessica Peay '04 and Crissy '04 and Jason Howell '04

No such thing as coincidence?

In July 2007, my husband and I, both graduates of Virginia Tech, were on our honeymoon at the Sandals Grande in Antigua. After dinner one night, we were walking through the resort when we heard a familiar call, "Go, Hokies!" but there was no one to be seen. We chalked it up to a sports supporter who saw the Tech hat that my husband was wearing, and we thought that it was great that someone that far away recognized our school. Little did we know that the next day, we would meet a couple who not only graduated the same year we did, 2004, but also were married on the same day, July 21, 2007! To top it off, both husbands are named Jason and stand 6'4" -- what are the odds? We spent the remainder of our week together enjoying the resort, having dinner, and forming yet another deep Hokie friendship.

Cristina B. Howell '04 | Chesapeake, Va.

(L. to r.): Jason '04 and Jessica Peay '04 and Crissy '04 and Jason Howell '04

The legacy of J.S.A. Johnson

I wanted to thank you for writing the article in the Spring 2008 issue of the Virginia Tech Magazine, "J.S.A. Johnson: Foremost among the fathers of VPI." J.S.A Johnson was the father of Katherine Candler '33 and was my great-grandfather. I have recently done some genealogy research and had already discovered some of the information included in your article, but I was delighted to find some additional information that I had not known. It is great to see that 77 years after J.S.A.'s death, his legacy can continue throughout the VPI community that he and my grandmother loved so dearly, as do I. I did think you might find it interesting that I found an article noting that J.S.A. Johnson was diagnosed with an illness prior to his death and was advised to stop work for a time. Perhaps it was not that "he took on too much" but rather that he was not going to have the capacity to continue what he loved.

William Candler '00 | Stamford, Conn.

I just finished reading your [Spring 2008] article on J.S.A. Johnson, who was married to my great aunt Meta (Margaret Milligan Adger Smyth II). You probably know that [Johnson's] brother-in-law was Ellison Adger Smyth Jr. (simplified from his given name, Joseph Ellison Adger Smyth II), my grandfather and the man for whom Smyth Hall is named. My grandfather became the college's first football coach in 1892. They replaced him after two years--I guess the pressure to win was great in those days, too. Actually, he was also the head of the Department of Biology and dean of the college, so his plate was full.

Smyth Hall
Smyth Hall
Another VPI graduate was one of John and Meta's children, James Adger Smyth Johnson, better known as Adger Johnson, who retired as vice chairman and a director of Union Carbide Corporation. Adger Johnson was very active in alumni affairs at Tech. John died before I was born, but Aunt Meta lived until December 1955, and I remember her fondly. I grew up in Blacksburg and my father, Ellison Adger Smyth IV '25 was the Presbyterian minister for many years. I graduated from Virginia Tech in 1971--let's face it, the family is a bunch of Hokies!

I am in the process of compiling family histories and would like your permission to include your article in the Johnson section of the publication. It is the most succinct account I have found on my great uncle. I enjoy your publications as they keep me in touch with an important part of my life: Blacksburg and Virginia Tech.

Ellison Adger Smyth Jr. '71 | Raleigh, N.C.

Words travel ...

Doug Domenech (forestry and wildlife '78)

Now, this is what we call a dedicated reader. Doug Domenech (forestry and wildlife '78) recently traveled to the uninhabited volcanic island Pagan (pronounced "paw-gan"), part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory located in the Pacific Ocean about 3,900 miles west of Hawaii. Domenech, who is deputy chief of staff and acting deputy assistant secretary of Insular Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, was there with a delegation from the department. It's good to see that even standing in front of a volcano, Domenech had his priorities straight.

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