At Kent State University, Saturday, October 4, 3:30pm, KSU students of the May 4 Task Force and the Kent May 4 Center offered video and photo images of Robby Stamps who died in June 11, 2008, after suffering the deadly effects of Lyme Disease. One of the nine KSU students shot and wounded by bullets at KSU on May 4, 1970, Robby was a longstanding outspoken advocate seeking truth and justice at KentState.
Robby was the second of our 1970 injured casualties to pass away. Jim Russell died of a heart attack in Oregon in June of 2007. Russell's family joined us again in Kent.
Others wounded by bullets on May 4, 1970, also joined us in Kent to memorialize our fallen brother, including: Dean Kahler, John Cleary. Joe Lewis, Tom Grace, Douglas Wrentmore and Alan Canfora. Only Scott Mackenzie did not join us due to distant commitments elsewhere.
Robby Stamps to be honored at weekend service
May 4 victim died this summer
by Nicole Stempak -- DAILY KENT STATER
Issue date: 10/03/08
Former classmates and friends will gather at a memorial for Robert "Robby" Stamps, one of the nine students wounded May 4, 1970, at tomorrow in the Governance Chambers.
Stamps died of pneumonia in early June but battled with Lyme disease for several years. He is the second student wounded May 4 to pass away.
John Powers, president of the May 4 Task Force, said part of the group's mission is to educate others about what happened.
"Unfortunately, those opportunities are becoming less and less with losing Robby Stamps this year and Jim Russell last year," he said.
All but one of the surviving May 4 wounded and Jim Russell's family plan to attend.
Alan Canfora, who was also wounded and is a May 4 Task Force founding member, said although Stamps has passed, he will not be forgotten.
"We want to pause and pay our respects to our fellow brother, Robby Stamps," Canfora said, especially because Stamps was a student and professor at KentState. "He loved KentStateUniversity, and his name will be forever talked about with May 4."
Following the memorial, attendees will walk to the site where Stamps was wounded carrying candles and memory stones.
Contact student politics reporter Nicole Stempak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMEMBER ROBBY STAMPS: born June 24, 1950 – died June 11, 2008
*May 4, 1970, gunshot casualty, longstanding supporter of our May 4 Movement for truth and justice…
MEMORIAL TRIBUTE by Alan Canfora, Director, Kent May 4 Center, Kent, Ohio:
My blood-brother, Robert A. “Robby” Stamps, died in Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday evening, June 11, 2008, at . Bedridden, after suffering years of declining health due to complications of Lyme Disease, Robby died of pneumonia because his immune system was weakened so severely.
Here are details of the life and experience of Robby Stamps: On May 4, 1970, Robby was shot in his “hip” nearly 500 feet away from the Ohio National Guard shooters who were commanded to shoot 67 gunshots into our crowd of unarmed students. An M1 rifle bullet missed his spinal chord by millimeters or Robby would have been paralyzed for life exactly like Dean Kahler.
I met Robby Stamps in a small room adjacent to the Emergency Room at the old RobinsonMemorialHospital in Ravenna, Ohio, while we waited for medical treatment over an hour together alone. Face-down on a table, Robby shed tears of grief when we learned our fellow-students were killed by the massive gunfire.
Forever from that day forward, Robby joined and supported our longstanding May 4 Movement for truth and justice. Always sharply opinionated and politically-motivated, Robby often joined us in Kent and spoke out against the cover-up of a government crime he witnessed in 1970.
Born in South Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, Robby attended and graduated KentStateUniversity. On October 30, 1975, along with me and Dean Kahler, Robby was a founding member of the May 4 Task Force student organization demanding truth and justice.
***According to Robby’s sworn testimony under oath in Cleveland Federal Court on June 12, 1975, during our 13 KSU victims’ families’ civil trial, here’s Robby’s story in his own words. [Source: transcript of Robby’s US District Court testimony, pp. 2369-2464]:
Robby formerly lived on Hollywood Road, South Euclid, Ohio, where he was a 1968 graduate of BrushHigh School. A 1972 graduate of KentStateUniversity with majors in Spanish and Sociology, Robby also earned undergraduate credits at ClevelandStateUniversity and the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico.
While a KSU undergraduate student, Robby attended anti-war protests at KSU and in Washington, DC. Robby testified: “I felt the United States involvement was not in the best interests of the country. I felt the war was illegal and unconstitutional and immoral.”
A true “rolling stone” always, with many various jobs in different places, Robby taught Spanish at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and later served as an officer of the Florida Parole and Probation Commission in Miami as well as a drug counselor in Dade County, Florida. Robby also was a graduate teaching assistant in the KSU sociology department.
In May, 1970, Robby was a KSU student living in Leebrick Hall, Tri-Towers dormitory. On May 1, 1970, Robby was a spectator on the KSU Commons when graduate students symbolically buried a copy of the US Constitution to protest the US invasion of Cambodia.
On Saturday night, May 2, 1970, Robby watched the suspicious ROTC fire from a distance as he stood on the hillside of Blanket Hill. He was only a spectator again. On Sunday, May 3, via radio broadcasts, Robby heard the fiery anti-student campaign speech of Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes which Robby described as “…very inflammatory and provocative…very loud and very harsh”. On Sunday evening, Robby mainly stayed in his dorm.
On Monday morning, May 4, 1970, Robby was walking toward his Spanish class on the KSU campus when he met a fellow-KSU student who was dressed in a uniform of the Ohio National Guard. Robby shook hands with that guardsman and several other guardsmen there and: “I told him I was sorry to see him there. I told him I hoped he could return to his classes very soon, and we shook hands, and I returned to my class.”
After his Spanish class ended, Robby later walked to the KSU Commons shortly after on May 4 to attend the fateful anti-war demonstration. Robby was carrying “…textbooks, a bag of potato chips and two pretzels”.
Then “…a can of tear gas canister landed very close to me…five feet away, maybe. I got a very strong dose of it. It made it hard for me to breathe, I couldn’t catch my breath. It made it hard for me to see and my face and my eyes stung…I tried to get in some building as fast as I could…into one of those open doors in back of Prentice Hall [women’s dormitory]…I went in the men’s room and washed up my face and sat down for a few minutes…I had decided to go back to my dormitory…I exited the front of Prentice Hall and was going in the direction of my dormitory…I turned in a south, southerly direction…in the direction of the rear of the parking lot…at that point I saw the guardsmen retreating up the hill from the practice football field…I saw students pretty much scattered everywhere…[the guardsmen] were going…up a hill. I really couldn’t see them all that well [500 feet away] and the next thing I remember I heard shots and I saw smoke…in the vicinity of where I saw the guard standing. I heard a shot and then a volley of shots. I was in the rear of the parking lot. I was watching various things, talking to a friend of mine and giving her a pretzel.”
Q) At the time you heard the shots ring out, what was your distance from the guard? A) 500 feet. Q) How long did you hear the sound of shots, Robby, before you, yourself, were aware of being shot? A) Two, three, four seconds. Q) What, if anything, did you do when you heard the sound of gunfire? A) As soon as I heard the sound of gunfire, I turned around and ran…as fast as I could… Q) Where physically on your body were you shot? A) The top part of my right buttock. Q) Where was your back in relationship to the guard at the time you were shot? A) My back was directly to the National Guard. Q) …Do you recall how far you got before you were shot, in distance? A) Two, three steps.
Robby testified further in Cleveland in 1975 Federal Court under oath: “…I knew [shooting victim]…Sandy Scheuer…For a period, we lived in the Tri-Towers complex together. We took meals together. We had multiple friends, I believe. We went to a couple of movies together and we were in the same educational psychology class. She was a quiet, somewhat introverted, studious, fine, wonderful young lady.”
Now, Robby Stamps has joined Sandy once again. Robby is gone along with Jim Russell, another of our blood-brothers who died in June, 2007, in Oregon, at age 60. Soon, I’ll add a similar tribute to Jim Russell here online.
Forever, we’ll cherish our memories of Robby Stamps, Jim Russell, Allison Krause, Sandy Scheuer, Jeff Miller and Bill Schroeder here in Kent, Ohio.
KENT-RAVENNA RECORD-COURIER newspaper Friday, June 13, 2008
Victim of KSU May 4 shootings dies Robbie Stamps was hit in hip during 1970 incident
Robert "Robby" Stamps, one of nine students wounded during the May 4, 1970 shootings at KentStateUniversity, died in Tallahassee, Fla. Wednesday night, according to a fellow survivor.
Alan Canfora, also wounded that day, said Stamps, 57, was suffering from the effects of Lyme disease and had come down with pneumonia.
"I just spoke with him last month, in May," Canfora said Thursday night. "He sounded like he felt stronger than in the last year or two."
Canfora said Stamps always suspected he was bitten by a deer tick at MohicanStateForest in Ohio during a retreat for the May 4 Task Force, which he and Canfora helped found in 1975.
Taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna following the shootings, Canfora said the first time he met Stamps was when the two shared a hospital room " Canfora sitting with a gunshot wound to his wrist and Stamps laying facedown with a hip wound.
Canfora said the last time Stamps attended May 4 events was at the invitation of KSU President Emeritus Carol Cartwright in 2000. He said Stamps was "talking about coming up and visiting Ohio" as late as last month.
Stamps graduated magna cum laude from KSU in 1972, later earning master's degrees in both sociology and journalism. However, he had trouble finding a job, and told the Record-Courier it was because of the notoriety he earned because of the events of May 4.
Stamps sued CuyahogaCommunity College in February 1978, alleging the school gave him a verbal agreement for a counseling job, but later withdrew it because of his role in the shootings.
In an April 1980 interview with the Record-Courier from his new home in San Diego, he said he loved Northeastern Ohio but had to leave because he couldn't find a job. At the time, he was working as a counselor for a law firm specializing in immigrant affairs.
"Everyone thought I was going to organize the employees. There is still a lot of resentment toward me and the others (former wounded) in Ohio. Nobody knows who I am out here. It's really nice," he said at the time.
A Cleveland native, Stamps also was a published author and writer and ran a Web site called AuthorsWanted.com, which offered help to "aspiring and established authors with every aspect of the writing and publishing process." He also was a musician and wrote a song called "If Only You Were Mine."
"The first time I ever talked to Robbie, he was very concerned about the other students" who were shot, Canfora said. "He was a beautiful guy."
Stamps is survived by his wife, Teresa Sumrall, Canfora said.
Kent May 4 Center, best online Kent State 1970 information since 1998: May4.org/
All information on this site is an educational service of Kent May 4 Center in Kent, Ohio.
Teachers, students and others are free to quote any of this information for educational projects.
For further information, contact Kent May 4 Center.