CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN NETWORK
Continuing the work of Jesus : Peacefully ~ Simply ~ Together
"HE WANTED TO SHARE THE GRIEF"
by Michael Seiler
Journal Herald Staff Writer
A conscientious objector, who tried "to share some of the grief" of the Vietnamese, died yesterday during a Viet Cong attack in the Central Highlands. Ted Alan Studebaker, 25-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Studebaker of Montgomery-Miami County Line Road, Union, was killed by the Viet Cong in the village of Di Linh, where he was ending two years of service as an agricultural adviser for Church World Services (CWS) a church-supported volunteer organization.
Studebaker had married fellow (CWS) worker, Lee Ven Pak, April 14. He had not been home in two years, and had just agreed to a year-long extension of his service in Vietnam. One of the final memories the family has is a tape recorded interview with Studebaker done by a national office of the Church of the Brethren. In it, the interviewer praised Studebaker for his rapport with the Montagnard refugees with whom he worked. Studebaker replied: "Rapport is something you developed with people by being here, by living with them, by speaking their language, and understanding some of their problems...
The CIVILIAN population is, of course, in the middle of the war, and they are the ones who are losing the war..."So many times in this war, mistakes are made and it seems like the whole war is run on a bunch of mistakes..." The mistakes, by both sides kill civilians, he said, and for an outsider to truly share their grief is difficult "because this is their country and their families and their bloodshed, not mine."
Lowell Studebaker, Ted's brother, said he died when the Viet Cong "attacked the CWS house in Di Linh...Everyone made it with the exception of Ted."
Studebaker was a graduate of West Milton-Union High School and Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind. He received a master's degree in social work at Florida State University.
He is also survived by three other brothers, Ronald..., Gary..., and Douglas...; three sisters, Mary Ann..., Nancy..., and Linda... Funeral services are pending.