A Final Toast

When Dad Vail volunteers commit themselves to the Annual Dad Vail Regatta. They have chosen to give their precious and limited time to support the sport of rowing and the memory of Dad Vail. The gold jacket Dad Vail volunteers have made the largest of all national crew races possible since 1934. Their commitment and support are greatly appreciated. As one of our ranks crosses his own personal finish line, we take a moment to celebrate and thank these quiet heroes.

And so we salute our fallen comrades and offer this final toast.

Lou McCormick

Dad Vail Regatta Official

Lou McCormick’s rowing career started by watching his hero and cousin Rich O’Brien rowing at the Dad Vail Regatta.  He always called it a “gentleman’s sport”.  In May of 1984 he took his son to see the Dad Vail Regatta for the first time, and it changed their lives forever.

His son went on to row at LaSalle High School, and Lou started volunteering for numerous regattas.  Lou’s brother Dave was also heavily involved, and eventually became a USRA Official.  Before the computer generation, everything at the finish line was done with a watchful eye and a stopwatch.  Lou was thrilled to be asked to help with that “behind the scenes” task, since it gave him an opportunity to witness the thrill of his son crossing the finish line.

For 28 years, Lou was the smiling face that everyone loved to see at the Finish Line Tower covering lane two.  Vail’s weekend was something he looked forward to every year.  He was always the first to arrive at the Tower, to make sure no one stole his coveted seat.  Some of the happiest moments of his life were sitting in that Tower with his son in front of him, and his granddaughters beside him, watching the sport he loved so much.  Your Dad Vail Family misses you.


Toby Wallace

The tragic passing of Toby Wallace has resulted in the loss of a great inspiration to the many DVROC Board members and volunteers who serve at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. On Tuesday, July 2, 2013, Toby, an employee of Aberdeen Asset Management, in company with Andrew McMenigall, was killed in a collision with a truck near the start of a United Kingdom charity bicycle race established to raise money to honor Kirsten Scott, a colleague who died from cancer in 2011.Toby was omnipresent right from the beginning of the Aberdeen sponsorship of the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, and his quiet, sincere demeanor, in company with his physical stature, impressed everyone he met. He was dedicated to his family and to charity, a most welcome part of every gathering, and a committed athlete who personally coached the Aberdeen crew competing at the annual Regatta.

Shortly after the Aberdeen sponsorship became a reality, Toby especially distinguished himself by participating in a 3,000 mile unsupported crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.  He recounted this experience to all who visited the Festival Area during the year 2012 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, along with his colleagues who staffed the display of the vessel used during his ocean crossing. Toby is pictured being recognized for this achievement by Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of the city of Philadelphia.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Toby’s wife, his family, and every one of our colleagues at Aberdeen Asset Management.


Henry A. "Hank" Backe

Henry A. "Hank", on May 6, 2013 of Gulph Mills. Long time member of Penn A.C. Rowing Association, 1948 Graduate of St. Joseph's Prep and 1952 Graduate of LaSalle University.

Survived by his wife of 57 years Mary Frances (Bunny), (nee Heaney), his children Michael (Julie), Henry Jr. M.D. (Tara), Joseph (Lorraine), Louis, Kevin (Kathryn), Maureen Backe, Lizanne Barone (Donald) and Karen O'Brien (Patrick), his 14 grandchildren and his sister-in-law Jeanne Backe.

Predeceased by his brother Louis Jr.

Relatives and friends are invited to his Viewing Tues. Evening 6-9 P.M. at the D'ANJOLELL MEMORIAL HOME OF BROOMALL, 2811 West Chester Pike Broomall, PA 19008 and also Wed. Morning 9-10:45 A.M. at Our Mother of Divine Providence Church, 333 Allendale Road King of Prussia, PA 19406. Funeral Mass 11 A.M. Interment Private.

Contributions in his memory to The St. Joseph's Prep Crew Fund c/o Al Zimmerman 1733 Girard Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19130 and/or LaSalle University Crew 1900 W. Olney Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19144 would be appreciated.

Funeral arrangements...

"Henry Backe is one of the great champions of rowing and sport in Philadelphia. He was the driving force behind the St. Joseph’s University and St. Joe’s Prep boathouse; but, what I really enjoyed about working with him on that project was the passion and commitment, that he displayed on behalf of young people and the sport of rowing. He will be sorely missed. He was a good man and a good friend."

Mayor Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia