Memorial services for Harold R. “Jeff” Metcalf, a retired University of Chicago administrator and former bar owner, are being planned. Mr. Metcalf, 71, died Saturday [May 14, 1994] in his Hyde Park home.
He worked for the university for about 26 years. He was director of athletics from 1976 until he retired in 1980. Before that, he was dean of students at the Graduate School of Business.
For a number of years, Mr. Metcalf co-owned the Eagle bar and restaurant at 5311 S. Blackstone. The bar, opened in 1965, was popular with university faculty members and graduate students.
Mr. Metcalf was born in Waco, Texas, the son of a charter member of the Anti-Saloon League. He joined the Marines after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion. As a member of Carlson’s Raiders, headed by Col. Evans Fordyce Carlson, Mr. Metcalf was sent to defend Midway Island.
Serving later on Guadalcanal, he was told to his astonishment that an appointment to Annapolis had been secured for him by a Missouri senator named Harry Truman. All Mr. Metcalf had to do was arrange transportation.
“So I stole a rubber boat and outboard,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview. He putted out to deep water and managed to hail a passing ship.
“Unfortunately, the ship broke down, and we made 4 knots all the way to San Francisco. By the time we arrived, it was too late to report to the academy,” he said.
Instead, Mr. Metcalf wound up in a Navy V-12 program at the University of California, only to be expelled. At the time, he was in charge of leading his group in formation to an assembly hall to hear a university official speak.
“The speech turned out to be a vitriolic diatribe against the Democratic candidate for president, who also happened to be my commander in chief,” he said. “So I jumped up in the middle of the speech and yelled `Dismissed’ to my troops. Then I walked out. It was a little embarrassing due to the fact that nobody followed me.”
In 1946, he enrolled in Stanford University but left shortly after to work at Macy’s department store in New York. Mr. Metcalf earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago in 1953. He then joined the school as assistant to the dean and assistant director of the Graduate School of Business.
Mr. Metcalf also was chairman of the Graduate Management Admission Council and the Graduate and Professional Schools Financial Aid Council. He was on the Board of Governors of International House, a residential and program center for foreign students at the university.
He is survived by his wife, Karlyn.