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January 2013

 

 

Jerry Gill said that his sweet, strong, and beautiful Dorothy died on Christmas day after 50_ years as a loving wife and mother. After 27 years, the breast cancer finally won. Dorothy Swann Gill, 72, of Roswell, GA passed away on Christmas Day 2012. She was born on Valentine's Day in 1940 to Adolph and Ruby Waller Swann in Roanoke, AL and grew up in Birmingham. After graduating from Auburn University in 1962, she traveled the world for 26 years as an Air Force wife then settled in Roswell. She was active in the Roswell UMC choir family for 23 years. She is survived by her devoted husband of 50 years, Col. Jerry Gill, 3 daughters and their families - Susan & Clay Saunders; Leigh Ann & Jim Kane and Beth & Andy Wren; 8 grandchildren - Hillary, Meredith, Olivia, Trevor, Max, Wesley, Drew, Sarah; and sister - Nancy & her husband, Tom Brechin.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org in her honor. Neal Westbrook, Mike Rawlins, Jimmy Poole, Johnny Caughman, and Sam Barazzone attended Dorothy’s services.

Our class is quite proud of Mark Anderson’s recognition by the AOG as a Distinguished Graduate. Congratulations from all of us, Mark. It was well deserved! Mark will receive his 2013 DGA at the Founders' Day Dinner scheduled for Friday, April 5, 2013.  It would a wonderful tribute to Mark and his family for as many of his classmates as possible to attend.  Please watch for the appropriate AOG e-mails announcing the time and place of the presentation or simply go to www.usafa.org and register yourself and a spouse/guest for this special event.

Terry Storm’s Chairman’s Journal in this issue of Checkpoints is his last, since his term on the AOG Board of Directors is ending.  He greatly appreciates all of the support of our classmates in his efforts to enhance the effectiveness and cost-efficiencies of the AOG. We all thank you for your many efforts on behalf of our AOG and Academy, Terry.

Hector Negroni reports that the Class of 1961 DC Bunch held their November Luncheon at the Springfield Country Club, Springfield, VA.   Once again, through the courtesy of Charley Dixon, they were treated royally at his Country Club.   After a beautiful prayer by their Chaplain (Twy Williams), they had a status of the DC Bunch report by Lowell Jones and a report by Bill Foster on the activities during the most recent Air Force-Army game.   Bill was not able to give them a total description of the tanks that rolled over Air Force during the game, but he said that the Air Force cadets did not know what hit them.   During the meal, they discussed the normal litany of ailments and medical problems by our class members.  While they seem to be aging gracefully, their visits to the doctors are more frequent.   Charley Dixon gave them a scalpel-by scalpel account of his recent eye surgery.   He claims that his vision is 20/20, but his hearing has not improved.   They took turns yelling into his good ear.  For a bunch of 70-year-olds, they are doing pretty well.

Mark Anderson said that Jim Ulm, Bob Wagner, and he are starting to work on a reunion of their Reese pilot training class: 63B.  They have never held a reunion and decided if they don't get moving, it will be a small group!  Tentative plans are late spring, early summer of 2014 in San Antonio.  More info will be forthcoming to those involved.

John Boesch is 3 weeks into the "hip replacement flight."  All is well so far.  John is also currently serving as "tech advisor" to Frank Kiszley, who is soon to join that flight.  John has been sworn in as 1st VP for the local MOAA Chapter, and serves on the Board with (past President) Jerry Lefton.

Stu and Marnie Boyd are struggling with an addiction and need your help.  They are addicted to Les Miz.  Six stage performances and the movies of course—and they just got the original movie made in 1934, which runs for close to five hours and is in French (subtitles, thankfully). If one of you knows of a good program, let them know. 

Because people continue to inquire, Bob Brickey provided a very short update on their granddaughter, MiaBella Brickey.  Mia is doing beautifully in every regard.  She is enjoying school, ballet lessons, and her Soo Bahk Do martial arts in which she is not allowed to do the sparring.  She must always stay away from people who are ill, due to her immunosuppressed body, which keeps her new heart healthy. They are still ever grateful to so many who have expressed concern, prayers, and aid for Mia.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley continue to enjoy their endless summer in Satellite Beach, FL. Pat’s hip joint resurfacing is healing well, and he is approaching 3 miles at 6 mph on the elliptical strider as well as enjoying dips in the Atlantic Ocean for some swim exercise. Pat and Marilyn attended an alumni group television session to watch the Air Force/Army game. They had a good time, except the score! Being an optimist, Pat organized a Space Coast Alumni session to watch the Air Force/Rice Armed Forces Bowl game at the local Beef O’Brady’s. They and the 30 grads had a good time, except for the score, again! Otherwise, they have had relaxed time at home, except for all the doctor’s appointments. Pat and Marilyn will be going to the UK, Italy, and Spain in February and March. They will be at their Spanish home on the Costa del Sol (Velez-Malaga) from 26 Feb to mid March with two empty bedrooms (maybe) if anyone is in southern Spain and wants to visit.

Doug and Dee Cairns report that they are still in Montgomery, AL, enjoying full, uncomplicated retirement. Last year they enjoyed watching their eldest grandson, Chris, graduate, take a real job, get married, and move his bride from Wetumpka, AL, to the big city of San Francisco. That those two kids seem to enjoy living in the strange land of Congresswoman Pelosi is of concern to most of the Cairns family who are retaining their Southern roots. Cathy, Chris’s mom, is a nurse who directs a crew of cardiologists in town and maintains a watchful eye on Doug and Dee. Chris’s and Jordan’s wedding was cause for the other two grandkids to come for a month’s visit from their home in Italy. Nathan and Katye are teenagers and attend the DoD Naples American High School. This then became a grand “re-Americanizing” month for the kids since they have been over there for 8+ years, and counting. Rob seems to have become the indispensible man on the staff of CINCNAVEUR, so they may never come home.  Doug enjoys monthly golf with Steve Ho, Jimmy Poole, and Ron Jones.

Michele Cowan, AOG Customer Service Supervisor, realized that Trel and Dick Coppock had lost their complete collection of AOG Christmas ornaments in the 26 June wildfire.  She sought out a benefactor willing to purchase all she could find in her limited stock of past ornaments and sent them along to the Coppocks.  She found a generous spirit who, wishing to remain anonymous, purchased some 10 ornaments, including the Class of 1961 "jewel," and asked that they be sent to Dick and Trel with a simple Merry Christmas.  They arrived just as the Coppocks were decorating their tree in the (Saint) Nick of time.   The "usual suspects" prevail, and they are so very grateful to both Michele and their very own Santa.  The true Christmas spirit was indeed evident to Dick and Trel, and they are touched by such generosity.  They wish all classmates and their families all the blessings of the New Year.

   In June 2012 Randy Cubero was selected to run another charitable foundation called Parents Challenge, a 501C3, in Colorado Springs.  This charity provides low income families with financial assistance in the form of scholarships and grants to move their children to a better performing school or to enhance their child's academic performance in their current school with supplemental materials and programs, like tutoring and purchasing a computer.  Parents Challenge is part of the National School Choice Movement, which believes strongly that parents need to be more engaged and empowered in their child's education and that they alone should make the educational choices that will give their child the best chances for success. Randy indicated that it has been a real eye-opener to understand what has happened to our K-12 public education system, especially after so many years of running the Falcon Foundation and dealing with only top tiered academically performing students trying to enter the Air Force Academy.

Dick Davis enjoyed the hospitality of Carl Granberry and his new wife, Lura, a high school chum. Carl has a well-fed herd of horses on his Winona, TX, property.  And Heather, Dick’s horse, is joining that herd as a guest. They spent the day together, and Carl showed Dick his family’s metal-bending plant where they make rings for brooms and mops. He also showed Dick the improvements he has designed into his metal-bending operation.  They are formidable accomplishments, demonstrating applications of his education in mechanical engineering and Double E. Very impressive.

Bob Dean said he is into doing a lot of exercises.  To exercise his legs, he walks back and forth from the kitchen to the computer room 30 times a day. His bending exercises include bending over 5-6 times a day picking up Golden Retriever puppy poop. To exercise his arms, at 4:30 p.m. every afternoon he lifts a heavy glass of vodka with an olive in it 30-40 times. For some reason, he can't remember what he does after 5:30 p.m.

Tom and Anne Eller spent a couple of weeks starting with Thanksgiving in the UK with son Rob Eller and family (USAFA '96), then hosted their other children and grandchildren in Colorado for Christmas. Tom and Anne plan to spend several weeks in Kauai this winter before going to Atlanta and back to the UK at the end of May to celebrate their 50th with all of their children.

Richard Fairlamb has been Flight Captain of the Order of Daedalians Flight #23/DFW since mid-year 2011.   This flight has the same number as the F-4 squadron Richard commanded at Spangdahlem AB, Germany in the late 1970s—23rd Tactical Fighter Squadron.   Flight 23 is one of the largest of the 70+ flights in the international Order of Daedalians at 209 members—holding steady over the past few years.   The flight hosted the National Convention in October 2011 and has supported two academic university-level scholarships, a CAP cadet solo program, and CFIP high school AFJROTC cadet solo program annually during recent years.   Flight 23, under Richard’s leadership, was awarded the “2012 Jimmy Doolittle Award” by Daedalian National HQ.   This is the second time Flight 23 has received the Doolittle Award, the last time being in 1997.   Just to keep out of trouble, and out of local watering holes, Richard continues to generate some revenue as a Business Continuity and Recovery consultant and teacher, and finds a little time to keep VFR and IFR current in his 1957 Cessna 182.

Paul Hinton ran a Half-Marathon at Disneyland with his oldest granddaughter. The thing started at 0500, and they had to be in place at 0430. When he got up, he thought,  "Exactly what the devil is it that made you agree to this?" Save for the hour, however, it was a delight. It was grand but what a comment on time.

Highlights from Henry and Peggy Howe are the memories they have of their five-week trip down under last fall. They spent four days aboard the Coral Princess II on the Great Barrier Reef snorkeling some of the loveliest waters they had ever seen. They explored the Daintree National Park by four-wheel tour bus and encountered the salt-water crocodiles and flightless emus. Then they went to Darwin and lived in Karnda National Park with the kangaroos, wallabies, and more crocodiles. They spent a week driving (yes - on the wrong side of the road) through the outback around Alice Springs, Ularu (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon, and Kata Tjuta. They topped off the Australian adventure with a week in Sydney seeing the local sights and the Blue Mountains. They visited only the North Island in New Zealand, where they spent another week climbing the trails around Mt Ruapehu and rafting on the Tarangi River, then lounging in the hot thermal pools. Their underground adventure took them into the glow-worm caves.

Sometimes Don McCarter feels his and Johnnie’s daily activities have become so routine that making a change is a real challenge. They have been blessed to have their kids living close by. They get to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with everyone in attendance with no long distance travel. It is also convenient for them to participate in grandchildren’s activities. Each summer they travel to Hendersonville, NC, for a reunion with Don’s brothers and sister and their families. The group size increases every year. Johnnie and Don love the North Carolina mountains. They especially enjoy the trails in the national parks where the trails are blazed to prevent them from getting lost. Don’t laugh. A lot of people take the wrong turn in those hills. Walking, tennis, and workouts at the YMCA help to keep the body upright and mobile. John and Kathy Dates and Jim and Judy Tulis visit Florida occasionally, and Don and Johnnie really enjoy the time with them. Don took a master gardening course at the Florida Extension service and has been certified as a Florida Master Gardener. He spends a lot of time coordinating the activities of the community garden sponsored by their church, and he volunteers about seventy hours a year at the Orange County plant clinic. Gardening in Florida is an eye opening and mind-boggling experience.

In January, Sam Barazzone, plus Gwen, and Charlie Neel and Dean Jones wowed the cold-weather skiers and brought Breckenridge slopes to their knees. Lynda Neel and Jo Jones remained grounded.

As is their custom, Hector and Joan Negroni will be spending the winter (Jan-May 2013) at their Bonita Springs, Florida, home.

Al and Becky Nunn said that their daughter, Ashley, was married last October. Her husband, Charlie King, is the father of two children, Sophie, age 10, and Henry, age 7. They were married at "The Quack Shack" in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Becky and Al rented the "shack" for a week for her wedding party and "30 of their closest fiends" to stay during the preliminaries to the festivities. While there, Al was treated to an unexpected and unplanned ride in the Rescue Squad van and admitted to the local hospital after experiencing a period of disassociation. Diagnosis was Transient Global Amnesia, a condition which shows symptoms similar to those of a stroke, but is temporary in nature, with no after-affects, and occurs to perhaps one in 300,000 persons. He was the one this time and was released the next day, following the diagnosis. Wedding went off without a hitch. Ashley lives with her husband and his children in Falls Church, VA, so that's close enough for frequent phone calls and occasional visits. Al’s recently resigned from the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross there.  Becky continues her activities with theater, having directed four plays for the local theater group, The Lancaster Players. She is currently in rehearsal as director for "How the Other Half Loves," opening March 8.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear had a wonderful Christmas season, starting with spending several days over Christmas with their daughter and her family in Michigan. Then, they enjoyed several days when their younger son’s family visited them in Granger, IN, along with their older son’s family, who also live in Granger. They also celebrated their sons and daughters-in-law anniversaries with a special evening at a very nice local restaurant. Wrapping it up, on New Year’s Eve, their oldest granddaughter and her boyfriend flew from Virginia to spend a couple of days with Nelson and Teri in Granger and Chicago.

Thanks for all who contributed. We hope to hear from you others next time.

 

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October 2010

July 2010

April 2010

January 2010

October 2009

July 2009

April 2009

January 2009

November 2008

October 2010

We were all saddened by the passing of our classmate Oleg Komarnitsky on August 29th. His many accomplishments are detailed in the Gone But Not Forgotten section of this issue. Jack Taylor provided: On September 11th, a beautiful Saturday in the Puget Sound area, with blue skies and 75 degrees, classmates and spouses said goodbye to Oly, along with several hundred family members and other friends gathered at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Bellevue, for a memorial service, a traditional Mass, followed by a reception where family and friends, some who worked with him at Boeing, and others who knew him from his days on the golf course, tennis court, and socially, shared their recollections of him and learned of the love his children and grandchildren had for him. All of the members of the Class of '61 and wives who reside in Washington were there (Cochrane, Hopp, Kerr, McMonigal, and Taylor). Paul Hinton joined them from Broomfield, Colorado. The family and friends were most pleased to learn of their presence. As you know, Oly will be interred at the Air Force Academy Cemetery. Displayed in the reception foyer were items from Oly's Air Force career (medals, photographs and documents), along with several items from his days as a Boeing Company flight instructor. And, they were well-reminded that Oly's life was centered on family, to represent and model the highest in character and honor to them, and to nurture and teach his children as they grew into maturity. Amusingly, they were also let in on one of his hidden agendas in life, to shoot his age in golf! He almost did that, passing just before he turned 72. Interment will be at the Air Force Academy at a later date. A memorial/remembrance website has been set up by his children at http://www.komar.org/oleg.

The Unveiling / Yartzeit Ceremony for Sylvia Marion Fairlamb – Sara Miriam bat Aaron v’ Rasca – was held on 24 August at 9:30 a.m.   Although the weather at the Air Force Academy Cemetery was rather poor, the warmth of the ceremony made up for the cold. Sylvia and Richard “Dick” Fairlamb were honored by a number of his ’61 classmates present to give tribute to her. Richard thanks the entire class, represented at the ceremony by Mike Quinlan, Terry Storm, Charlie Neel, and John May.

Ronald Muller was interred at the Arlington National Cemetery on the afternoon of 4 October at 2:30 p.m. Eight classmates represented our class at the ceremony: Bill Stackhouse, Twy Williams, Charley Dixon, Jack McDonough, Roger Woodbury, Art Kerr, Dick Fairlamb and John Kohout.

Wayne Haring and Robert Apodaca represented the Class of 1961 at the unveiling of the 1961 class plaque at the Southeast Asia Memorial pavilion. As their gift to the Academy for their 40th Reunion, the Class of 1970 funded the pavilion that has been built overlooking the Silver Golf Course northwest of Doolittle Hall and facing the Cadet Area. At the pavilion are fourteen plaques listing the KIAs from each class, 1959-1972, all of which lost classmates in that war--the first major conflict in which AFA graduates participated. Our plaque was unveiled during the dedication of the pavilion at 1000 on Friday, 1 October. For a fly-through of the pavilion, go to the AOG web site (www.usafa.org), click on Reunions, then on the '70 link.

                                       

                                                    Wayne Haring             Robert Apodaca

The Falcon Foundation is a 501c(3) support organization for the USAF Academy/Admissions Office.    The Foundation annually sends 100 pilot qualified cadet-candidates who are deserving young men and women on a scholarship to a preparatory school for one year to gain  admittance to the Academy  the following year.   The Foundation uses five prep schools in five distinct geographic areas: Valley Forge in Pennsylvania; Marion in Alabama; Wentworth in Missouri;  New Mexico Military Institute in New Mexico; and Northwestern in California.   Randy Cubero became President of the Foundation in 2000 and completed two five-year terms  on 1 October.   Foundation Trustees at their fall meeting banquet acknowledged his stewardship as he relinquished the reins and honored him with a retirement gift. Randy said that it was a wonderful job and extremely  satisfying in giving these young wards a second chance to enter the Academy and  in working  with a magnificent Board of  160 Trustees.   Also in the Foundation is Tom Eller, for the last six years the Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee, which  has the responsibility of finding highly qualified Trustees.    Marcus Anderson was recently selected as Chair of a Superintendent's Honor Advisory Group which reviewed the current honor system and presented the Group's findings to the Superintendent in a private session and to all  Foundation Trustees at their fall 2010 meeting.   Mike Quinlan has also been an active Trustee and is a member  of the Audit Committee.

Mark and Ginger Anderson report a relatively quiet summer and fall.   No big trips, a couple of short get-aways to Ruidoso, New Mexico, and to Colorado Springs (for the big win over Navy).   By the time this hits the street, they will have joined a group for the AF-Army game (hopefully another win).   They are blessed with good health, which is a bigger blessing every day!   Looking forward to 2011 and the big 50th. 

John Boesch and David Phillips (’59) joined Brice Jones for dinner recently in San Francisco.   John was on a business/pleasure trip, which included attending a San Francisco Giants/Atlanta Braves playoff game, as well as the largest Fleet Week/San Francisco celebration in 15 years (no kidding - in San Francisco!).   John will be joining classmates attending the Air Force/Army game at West Point.   Lydia is currently sidelined with a total right knee replacement and won't attend.   But, she “feels” Hector’s pain.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley are enjoying retirement travel and visiting family and friends.   In July Pat got his first prostate post-op progress report with a PSA test report of zero.   Related functions are tracking towards normal.   A good start and hoping to maintain future test results of zero.   In late July Pat and Marilyn drove from Satellite Beach to Hull, MA, and visited family and friends along the way.   Visits included Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse in their self-built mansion on a Chesapeake Bay inlet.   Pat provided coolie labor to help Bill finish his kayak-launching addition to his conventional dock.   Then all went for a paddle on the Bay.   Visited Washington, DC, and stayed with Bill and Theda Foster.   Visited Niagara Falls and stayed on the Canadian side.   Still a wonder of the world!   Visited family in Hull, Brookline ,and Martha’s Vineyard, MA.   Flew to England for 6 weeks visiting family and friends.   Including a 2 week odyssey from Brighton to Wales to the Cotswalds, York, the Imperial War Museum/American Air Force Museum in Duxford (well worth the visit- saw Charley Neel’s British Electric Lightning), Lincoln Cathedral, and Canterbury.   Then to Velez-Malaga, AndalucÌa, Spain to continue house hunting.   They found what they want and have a verbal offer and acceptance but need to see all the documentation is correct before the sale will be final.   On 20 October back to England and 30 October to Boston to be in place for Air Force to retake the Commander-in-Chief Trophy on 6 November.   Beat Army!!!

Doug and Dee Cairns continue to enjoy retired life in Montgomery, Alabama. Doug and Jimmy Poole join Steve Ho and Ron (Reb) Jones for golf monthly, which is great fun since they take Mulligans, improve lies, and don’t worry much about scores. Looking ahead, they will be joining Bob and Winnie Wagner for the AF – Army football game at West Point and all the associated Class of ’61 festivities. In December they expect to be back in Italy visiting their son Rob and his family for the Christmas Holidays. Rob is a civilian on the staff of CINC NAVEUR, NAVAFRICA, and SIXTH Fleet.

Several classmates who were in Class 63-B at Williams AFB for pilot training attended a 63-B reunion in Albuquerque during the Balloon Fiesta, along with a large number of their IPs. '61ers attending were Byron and Pat Theurer, Hanson and Laraine Scott, Phil and Nancy Lane, and Tom and Anne Eller. Tom Eller's cousin from Highlands, NC, likes to play the world's best golf courses and wanted to play the Eisenhower at USAFA and the East Course at the Broadmoor. Since Tom plays golf at least once a year whether he needs to or not, Randy Cubero set the group up at Eisenhower, and Mike Quinlan hosted the play at the Broadmoor. Many thanks to Randy and Mike. At the end of May 2010 Tom Eller retired again (for the fourth time) after teaching for five semesters as a Professor of Physics as a civil servant at USAFA. Just before he left USAFA, while the A, B, and C rings of Vandenberg Hall were being gutted and rebuilt, Tom gave himself a treat and visited the rooms he had moved into 50 years earlier--the room in which he had lived during 1st BCT in the summer of 1960 and the room in which he lived starting in the fall of 1960. Tom thanked the Lord for the opportunity to still be working at USAFA 53 years after we entered.

Wayne Haring spends every morning at Stag  Tobacconist smoking cigars, drinking coffee and solving the world (mostly USA) problems with friends there.  Occasionally Randy Cubero shows up. Wayne’s wife, Erna, stays busy with Church Circle, band, tutoring, and Republican Women’s Club. They both have breakfast  or lunch with friends and attend Bible study through Community Bible Study (CBS).

Sandy and Lowell Jones are planning on a two-week Florida trip after they leave Myrtle Beach in mid-October.   Lowell is planning on  a DC-area luncheon for the second week in November.    We still need to keep the prayers going for Tom Skilling and Roger Woodbury. They've got a tough challenge with their medical problems.   Happy to say that Bill Foster, Hector, and Lowell are recovering well.

The last week of September, Dean, Jo, Mary and Wayne Jones met at a timeshare in Sedona for some golf and R&R.   While there, Dean and Wayne drove to the Grand Canyon and took the mule trip to the bottom of the canyon, with an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch.   It was a lot like flying jets: a little scary at times, sort of physical, and provided some of  the most incredible views on earth.   You quickly learn to trust the awesome agility of those mules, which have amazing strength and stamina.   The four of them are going to hook up again in late October/early November in Riverside, California, for the Distinguished Flying Cross Society National Convention, followed by a stay in Palm Desert.   (The DFC Society has its national headquarters in San Diego.) So much to do, so little time!  

Bob Kellock has been trudging along in the Boeing traces, trying to keep up with the two jobs, executive reductions (and vacancies), and volunteer work for yacht clubs and professional organizations.   He did get honored for 62 years of yachting  with an Exalted Order of the Old Salts Award by the Southern California Yachting Association of the US Sailing Association.   Samantha Carlson is still going to Santa Barbara City College  online for  her Health Information Technology (HIT) degree and  doing rather well!   She continues as trophy chair for the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs, mustering and moving trophies as they get competed for new names on them.    They're making plans to  be at the  finish line in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the 2011 Transpac sailboat race again  - this time, rather than racing across the Pacific Ocean on a Tallship at 6 - 10 knots,  Samantha will be going  to Oahu at 600 knots.   Bob is still homing in on a retirement date and a light sport aircraft (Dova Skylark?) to go back and forth to Patagonia, Arizona, and start touring the country.

John and Joan Kohout attended a reunion of Craig AB, Alabama, UPT Class 63A in Kansas City, along with Bill Sanzenbacher, Jack and Linda Taylor, and Pete and Patti Lane.   All present expressed fond memories of Vic Apodaca, who had been the fifth Gray Tag in Craig 63A.   A great time was had by all.

Hector Negroni had successful right knee replacement surgery on 24 August.   After a three day stay in the hospital, he was sent home.   His knee was really bad, and the surgeon had to drill a hole  down the  tibia,  shinbone, or  shankbone which  is the larger and stronger of the two  bones  in the  leg  below the  knee, to support the metal components.

For those interested in more details, the  surgery  involves exposure of the front of the knee, with detachment of part of the  quadriceps muscle  from the  patella. The patella is displaced to one side of the joint allowing exposure of the  femur  and  the  tibia. The ends of these bones are then accurately cut to shape using cutting guides oriented to the long axis of the bones. Metal components are then impacted onto the bone or fixed using cement. A round ended implant is used for the femur, mimicking the natural shape of the bone. On the tibia the component is flat, although it often has a stem which goes down inside the bone for further stability (Hector’s bone was so bad that his stem is about five inches long!). A flattened or slightly dished high-density  polyethylene  surface is then inserted onto the tibial component so that the weight is transferred metal to plastic not metal to metal.   After one month of home physical therapy, he was able to walk with a cane and started out-of-home physical therapy for a minimum of two months.   Hector is able to drive but spends most of his time exercising his leg.   It is a long and painful process and often elicits cries of pain and tears. Don't use up all the miles on your knees!

Jimmy and Susan Poole had a brief visit in September with John and Mary Payne in the Payne’s new hometown, Oxford, Mississippi.     Jimmy and Susan were en route to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to visit relatives when they realized they would be passing near Oxford.   Their brief stop included breakfast with the Paynes and a driving tour of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) campus.   A trip down memory lane recalled that John and Jimmy had grown up within fifty miles of each other. Also, Jimmy and Mary Thigpen Payne had graduated together at the old Murphy High School in Mobile, AL.   It’s still a small world, isn’t it?

Earl Saunders’ life over the past several months has been chaotic.   He said he can't begin to summarize what has happened.   Bottom line: he is settled (kind of) in his teeny tiny little town of  Edgewater Park, NJ.   His new wife, Sondra, and he hooked up after Lillie died a few years ago.    Sondra and Earl have been friends since grade school.      All of their relatives are from this little town, and many of the offspring still live there.   Ninety percent of his graduating class of 150 or so still live within  15 miles of the high school (which was torn down last year to make room for a new "Taj Mahal" middle school building).   New Jersey  has the highest property taxes in the country, the highest income tax, the highest insurance premiums (house, car, etc), the highest crime rate, and a corrupt government that can't be matched anywhere.  So why is he there?   He doesn't know.   "Look Homeward  Angel" -- Doolie English class.   They sold a  wonderful estate in Colorado in 2009  and traded it for  a very, very nice house in a gated community (pool, golf course, and all that  stuff) at  the edge of Eglin AFB.   But  after a few months, Sondra grew homesick and missed her  "roots" so much that Earl decided that they had to move.   So they put the house on the "soft" market -- and it  sold in two weeks!   So they got out not hurting too much.   And they moved back "home" into an historic community of colonials and Victorians in their home town.    The house is 150 years old --  it leaks and creaks (like them) -- and has a buried swimming pool somewhere and probable ghosts climbing around in the upstairs.   But they are  there and trying to get settled.   They plan on going to the Army  game in November and seeing some of their friends. 

Sarah and Charlie Stebbins just returned to West Virginia from Colorado Springs where they visited son Charlie ('87), his wife Michelle, and their four kids. They drove 3 days each way to see if they could still hack long trips like they did many years ago. (Charlie thinks they’ve convinced themselves to never do one again!) Charlie got to play golf with brother Wilhelm twice, and they saw AFA soundly defeat CSU. They tail-gated at the game and got to see brothers Storm, Hinkle, Dean Jones, Haring, and, of course Wilhelm. They all had their better halves with them, enjoying the mini-mini-reunion. Charlie finally retired last June and is thinking about writing a tell-all book about life in the slow lane. We'll see.

Carleen Storm had her second hip replacement surgery in June and then promptly got shingles in that hip and leg.   If you haven’t received the shingles shot, please do so.   Months later she still has pain in that leg and foot!   Another driver caused Terry to total Carleen’s BMW, so they bought a great Porsche to try and help.   Terry shattered the windshield with his head, but the AOG has made his head harder than ever.   They are taking a New Zealand/Australia cruise in February; they hope Carleen is well by then.   Please, please vote in the AOG election in early 2011, for Board Director candidates and to approve our updated Bylaws.

Ross Shulmister and daughter Meryl  are going to Langley AFB for a reunion of 27th FIS (Loring AFB) F-106 pilots, hosted by 27th FS F-22 pilots, 4-7 November.   One of the highlights  will be a competition of the Dart jocks in F-16 and Raptor simulators,  to  see who can still  survive a mission (including landing).   Rumor has it that a simulated search team will be looking for Ross.

The "Traveling Thomases" are off to France. Gina and Charlie are spending two weeks in France in October: one week in Paris, and one week in the Champagne Region on a 12-passenger barge. Awesome food, wine, and sightseeing in places like Reims. The occasion is their 45th anniversary. In November, they will spend a week at their timeshare in Kauai - a gorgeous location on the north shore. Finally, during the holiday season, they will  be in  Nevada, Texas, and Massachusetts to visit children and grandchildren. Charlie said the highlight of the class tailgates this football season was saying goodbye to BYU with a pounding from AFA.

Bob and Winnie Wagner visited Doug and Dee Cairns in Montgomery in June, and while there they were joined by Neal and Gwen Westbrook to celebrate the birthday of youngster Jimmy Poole. In August the Wagners traveled to Northern California and Lake Tahoe to see old high school friends and to beat the Florida humidity. There is nothing like sitting in a fishing boat on Lake Tahoe at 0600 hours, under a clear sky, temperature in the mid-50s, and waiting for the sun to come up over the Sierras. Magnificent! They are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Army game and the associated activities. Get that Commander-in-Chiefs’ Trophy back home!

Twy and Nancy Williams continue to enjoy life on the Northern Neck of Virginia. A severe drought was tough on the grass, trees, shrubs, and--more importantly--crops. The storm in late September brought enough rain (17 inches reported by some) to end a long, hot summer and to flood the basement despite the efforts of the sump pump. No real damage but the basement got a good cleaning. Before the storm, they had replaced some old water pipe from their well to the house and from the house to the garage. The presence of propane and electrical lines forced them to manually dig the ditches near the house—good exercise. The storm helped quickly settle the fill for the ditches and they hope to get the grass growing again. Twy joined a group of classmates at Ron Muller’s interment and was reminded of how much he looks forward to next year’s 50th reunion. He and Nancy are excited about another Christmas baby by son Robert and Holly, whose daughter Leah was born Christmas Eve 2008.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear enjoyed a two-week river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg with another couple, commencing the end of August. They spent a few days touring both cities and then stopped daily at sites along the way. Besides the trip being very informative, some of the sights were quite beautiful and unique. By the end of the tour, the Cyrillic alphabet and a few Russian phrases, such as “free toilet” and “black bread” were again becoming familiar. Their particular tour guide for the cruise was from St. Petersburg. She told them at the end of the tour that her grandmother had buried every member of her family, most of whom died of starvation, during the 872-day siege of Leningrad during WWII. If you like history and appreciate beautiful things, you would like this tour.

Charlie Neel has been away from home quite a bit during this period, a highlight of which was to teach a Physics class at USAFAfor poor Tom Eller (Retired x 4). Charlie was discussing a planned Road Trip with a friend, who asked him why he was going in his 20-year-old sports car. Charlie told him it needed running instead of sitting in the garage rotting its tires. His friend said, "That's like my Porsche; just sits there. Why don't you take the red Carrera 4 convertible?" Charlie said, "OK." So, his 84 year-old brother-in-law and he headed out, with the ultimate goal of attending the Historics Sports Car Races at Sonoma, without getting on ANY Interstates, and hitting as many National Parks as possible. Five weeks later, with lots of top-down time (except Death Valley and Mount Whitney) they returned to Colorado Springs, okay. Along the way, they suffered the hospitality of Brice Jones and Dave Philllips, rode in a T-6 formation two-ship aerobatics ride with Tom and Ken Dwelle, did eight National Parks, and had more than one get together with sporty Corvette drivers. (The Ferrari, Viper, and Lambo drivers shy away because of higher insurance rates.) BTW, did the Historics. The rest of the Neels' Away activities havebeen driven by the Misty FAC connection: Reunion and guests of honor (along with the Doolittle Raiders) at the Reno National Championship Air Races, induction into the CAF American Combat Aviators Hall of Fame, and a five-ship Misty canal cruise for a week in Southern France (five floating, diesel-poweredRVs, self taught, with three couples each). Lynda and Charlie also traveled via rental car around Provence, L'Occitain, the Dordogne Valley (Route of 100 chateaux), the Pyrenees, and Barcelona, flying home from there after 23 days. The Graytag get together for the West Point game is next. Brice will head up another masterpiece, as usual.

 

 

July 2010

We were all saddened by the passing of our classmate Ron Muller on May 21st. His many accomplishments are detailed in the Gone But Not Forgotten section of this issue. Nine classmates plus spouses attended his memorial service on May 27th: Pat and Marilyn Buckley, Charley Dixon, Bill and Theda Foster, Lowell and Sandy Jones, John and Joan Kohout, Hector and Joan Negroni, Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse, John and Ellen Sullivan,and Twy and Nancy Williams. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery on October 4th at 2:30 p.m.

 The Class of 1961 lost a stalwart member on May 21, 2010.

 The funeral mass and memorial service for Dr. Ronald E. Muller, was held at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, DC, Thursday, May 27, 2010.  Nine 1961 USAFA classmates plus spouses were present. Attending were: Pat and Marilyn Buckley (from Florida), Charley Dixon, Bill and Theda Foster, Lowell and Sandy Jones, John and Joan Kohout, Hector and Joan Negroni, Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse, John and Ellen Sullivan, and Twy and Nancy Williams.  Ron's wife, Cathy, and son, Victor (who gave some stirring tributes) were both brave and gracious during and after the ceremonies. Washington DC traffic (leading up to a busy Memorial Day) provided a big challenge to the attendees, and some were a little late. This included Hector who was scheduled to give the first reading--and was saved by an alert Bill Foster who stepped--in to take his place.  Pat Buckley read the prayers during the mass and was one of many who spoke on the memories of Ron after the Mass.  He was quick to mention that he was one of four of our classmates, including Ron, that stayed together in the same squadron throughout the four years--the other two being Howie Bodenhamer and Bob Heriza.  During this time, Hector ordered all classmates to the front, and they sang the Air Force "Toast", which Lowell found out later impressed many of those present--even the choir director.  After the mass and spoken memories, Cathy hosted a fabulous buffet in the church annex.  It couldn't have been a nicer send-off for a talented, gifted, and honorable classmate. He will surely be missed.  A picture of our class attendees - left to right:  Twy Williams, John Kohout, Bill Stackhouse, Pat Buckley (with Ron's picture), John Sullivan, Bill Foster, Charley Dixon, Lowell Jones, and Hector Negroni .  Ron is scheduled to be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery on October 4th at 2:30 p.m.

Richard “Dick” Fairlamb invited classmates and friends to attend Sylvia’s Yartzeit Ceremony at the Air Force Academy Cemetery on Tuesday, 24 August, at 9:00 a.m.   During the ceremony, a permanent “plate”—headstones are not allowed at the USAFA Cemetery—will be placed at Sylvia’s gravesite, and a short Jewish service conducted to celebrate Sylvia’s soul at its greatest strength and in its fullest glory

For an Anniversary treat, Robert & Christy Apodaca decided to visit San Francisco and then tour the many splendid wineries of California.  They spent several days seeing the San Francisco sights first.  After that, they drove up & down Napa Valley enjoying the wonderful views and great tastes.  While they were in the neighborhood, they were treated to a very special event, an exclusive Brice Jones tour of his Emeritus Vineyards.  Not only were they given a hands-on private class on vine growing by Brice, but then they were allowed to partake in a cask sampling of what was agreed upon as the best wine they had sampled for their entire trip.  None of the wine tastings after Brice’s even came close to how wonderful the wine tasted at Emeritus Vineyards.

Cathy and Bob Best are enjoying their new home (two years in August) overlooking Greers Ferry Lake in north central Arkansas.  Cathy still teaches the 2nd grade and Bob is working everyday with his latest venture, a leasing company providing specialized equipment to the petroleum industry.  Life is good. They have a vacation setting with LOTS of room and would love to have visitors.  Bob doesn’t believe that anyone goes to Arkansas!

Jack Bright said that it's been hot and humid there, so he and John Goodley try their hand at golf about once a week, and ALWAYS early, in the morning.  If you ever play golf with John, watch out...Jack thinks he must cheat!  Other than that Jack has been spending his time at the gym...ogling the ladies.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley are enjoying Florida retirement.  They hosted Marilyn’s son and family for two weeks in May and did all the central Florida things with children and grandchildren.  Disney parks, zoo, sailing, kayaking, motor boating, etc.  In June Pat’s daughter and grandson visiting for a long weekend of Sea World and water sports.  Pat and Marilyn flew to Cancun for 4 days of archeology visits and water fun prior to Pat’s prostate treatment (HIFU – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) there.  Pat survived and post op recuperation seems normal, but they will not know if they got all the cancer for another 6 to 12 months, and there is no recurrence in the next 10 years!  Pat did a lot of research going into this, so if anyone wants to discuss prostate cancer with him, he is ready to provide the lessons learned in his research and treatment.  Lesson 1 was that for about 85% of us, if you have not had prostate cancer yet you will get it unless you die of something else first!

Paul Dean attended a picnic and softball game for the USAFA new entrants from the DFW area. As the only representative from the first three classes, he spoke a few words of welcome to the new cadets. Paul was very impressed by our new cadets, as he listened to them give their names and schools, and their achievements. We have a good group from Texas. He was surprised to hear that nearly 10% of the cadets come from Texas! As a naturalized Texan (he has been there for 43 years) he is proud of his state!

He has 10 Texans in his family now!

Last week (week of 5 July) Anne and Tom Eller had a delightful visit as guests of John and Sheila May in their beautiful home on Bald Head Island, NC. Everyone on the island knows them since John and Sheila are the leaders in nearly every endeavor--Country Club, Golf Course, Conservancy Board, Protection of Nesting Turtles, restoration of a light house, fishing instruction, microbiology for kids in the swamps and on the beach, etc. John and Sheila exemplify the leadership and giving back to the community that we wish for all USAFA grads.  Tom and Anne’s oldest grandson is serving on the BCT cadre at USAFA 50 years after we did.  Fun to reminisce.

Bill and Theda Foster spent the 4th of July weekend with their son, veterinarian Ted Foster, in Roanoke, VA.  On Monday, they participated in an emergency C-section for a bulldog under Dr. Foster's expert care.  (Ted has the reputation of having performed the most C-sections of any vet in Virginia – after only a few years.).  Of the litter, three were born alive and healthy, due to Bill and Theda's medical assistance.  Each received a baby (the size of a mouse) in a towel, rubbed the newborn vigorously, and shook him (one)/her(two) upside down to clear the passages and bring on the wailing cries.  Mama Bulldog Molly recovered nicely but did not want to have anything to do with her crying litter – so the owner looked forward to supplementary feeding – every two hours – for the triplets.  (At this point, Bill and Theda were happy not to be the "Foster grandparents".)

Tom Hill’s Senior American Legion baseball team, in spite of being the youngest team in their league, handily won its Sectional Championship. They exceeded Tom’s preseason expectation, but their next goal is to win the Regional Championship and earn a chance to compete again for the Indiana State Baseball Championship.  One of their previous year's players, will enter USAFA in the Class of 2015, after completing his church mission. His younger brother is on Tom’s current team. They're good players, but they're GREAT young men.

For the past year Peter Holmes-Ray has been working with his 14-year-old granddaughter helping her learn acoustic guitar.  She has much talent and is progressing quickly. Each June, for the past 14 years, Peter’s wife, Jan, and he have attended the award-winning Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp in Maryville, TN. It is a week-long submersion into acoustic music with the best players in the world as instructors.  They all jam until about 3 a.m. each night.  The past two Kamps their granddaughter Hailey has attended with them.  She is already counting the days until Kamp 2011. It is so much fun to see the youth enjoy music and learning to play.  Just today (July 11) Hailey picked up mandolin in addition to guitar.  Other than fun with Hailey, Peter’s been enjoying retirement.

Peggy and Henry Howe are planning another trip to Hawaii, sometime in November to January, to be with their daughter, Tricia, when she pins on the Lt Col leaf. She is assigned to J-8 at Pacific Command. In June Tricia announced her engagement to Tom Bickerstaff, who is currently assigned to Special Ops Command at Hurlburt. He is awaiting the release of the next Lt Col list. No wedding plans as of yet.

Our DC contingent’s Tuesday, April 27 luncheon was at the Springfield Country Club in Virginia, with Charley Dixon as host.  They had a good group in attendance -

Charley Dixon, Bill Foster, Lowell Jones, John Kohout, Jack McDonough, Hector Negroni, and Bill Stackhouse

Picture (thanks to Hector) is shown to prove it. Hector reminded them about the Class gift for the 50th next year.  Other than the normal Air Force subjects, the main discussion item was a proposed get-together (with spouses/significant others) in the Virginia Northern Neck.  This was being planned for July or August but has been postponed to the fall (cooler weather), so a late July luncheon has been scheduled instead.

Wayne Jones said that he, Dean, and their wives went back to Everest, KS, in May to attend the 55th reunion of their high school graduating class and the Centennial of the Alumni Association.  Eight of the fifteen total classmates made it back, which was pretty good, considering four are deceased.  It was amazing meeting people they had not seen for 50+ years.  Mary and Wayne are going on a two-week driving trip to Washington state in late July to visit their son, Jeff and family, Mary's sister, and Wayne’s niece.  They expect to see some nice scenery along the way.

Bob Kellock can't seem to ditch the Boeing traces to retire!  Company transitions are bad enough without having someone jump ship with no replacement - in this case, two!  He and Samantha Carlson continue in their yacht club and sailboat race management activity.  Also, in addition to her Health Information Technology courses, Samantha has accepted another role in the annual Yacht Club Opening Day process for the Marina del Rey harbor yacht club association. Bob and Sam missed their visit to Henderson Harbor (on Lake Ontario by Watertown) this summer, but hope to make it to Patagonia, AZ, over the Labor Day weekend.  Their search for a S-LSA touring aircraft that'll carry them - and the dog - continues . . .

Sue and Jerry Lefton are doing well and trying to stay cool.  North Carolina had the hottest June in history.  In spite of the heat, Jerry’s still playing golf four times a week.  Sue has been playing bridge or mahjong several times each month.  They have a spare bedroom if anyone is passing by the Pinehurst area.

Lee and Joanie McCleskey are still alive and well in College Station, TX.  Lee had been seeking relief from an injury received when he fell off his pickup in June '09.  Finally, the right doctor operated on his back in June, and he has gotten almost total pain relief.  He says the long term prospects are excellent.  Travels have included a family reunion in Georgia, visits with their two sons and their families in northern Virginia, times with their daughter-in-law and two granddaughters in Alabama (son Matt is now back from a 360-day tour in Iraq), and several visits with their daughter and her family in Oklahoma.  As Matt completes his PCS to Randolph AFB, two of the families, including four of the grandchildren, will be within six hours driving time.  The nine other grandchildren belong to the two families in northern Virginia, where visits are less frequent.  Lee and Joanie get to visit with Lucy Aman in San Antonio fairly often, and Lee is a sometimes-joiner for lunch with the San Antonio '61 Group.

Hector Negroni’s most recent article (his 176th) appeared in the Spring 2010 edition of the Sabre Jet Classics Magazine, a publication of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association. It deals with his experiences while flying the F-86H with the Puerto Rico Air National Guard 1964-1966, including a squadron-only checkout in one month without having to attend a single training class, and while getting a Masters Degree in Hispanic Studies at the same time.  Additionally, Hector is now a full-fledged docent at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC, after completing a rigorous 100 hours training program.  He also submitted a history of the Class of 1961 from 1957-1961 for publication in the AOG’s Checkpoints Magazine.

Spike Nunn was installed as the Faithful Navigator for St. George's Assembly 2821 of the Knights of Columbus at ceremonies July 7. He is a Past Grand Knight of Council 11667, in Kilmarnock, Virginia.

Carolyn and Richard Smith are staying busy with all of the church activities they have and their family.  She still finds time for them to go on some kind of trip about every other month.  In two weeks they are taking their four granddaughters and one daughter to Branson, MO, for a week.  They have been there three other times and love the shows -- all of which favor God, country, and family.  Then in September, they are going to an AFLC "Reunion" in Williamsburg.  On the way back to San Antonio they will be stopping in Oklahoma City to see another of their daughters and her two sons, their wives and Carolyn and Richard’s two great granddaughters.  Hopefully, a brand new great grandson will be arriving at about the time of their visit.

Pat and Bob (Robert E.) Smith visited Minneapolis in May to see their daughter Elizabeth receive her Master of Public Health from the U of M. Then on to the DC area to visit son Sean and his family. Their next trip is to Oregon in September to visit daughter Lisa and her family. They also plan an August trip to Las Vegas to visit their money from prior trips.

Terry Storm said that Jim and Peggy Hinkle hosted a buffet dinner party at their home in Denver for Dick Duke to meet with our Colorado classmates.  Dick was visiting Pat and Lynne Gregory; both Dick and Pat began our journey with us at Lowry,  but departed USAFA prior to graduation.  Dick worked in corporate America in Pennsylvania until retiring a few years ago.  His wife passed away just over a year ago.  Randy and Jan Cubero, John and Kathy Dates, Dean and Jo Jones, Charlie and Lynda Neel, Mike Quinlan, Terry and Carleen Storm, and Jim and Nancy Wilhelm enjoyed the good company, great food, and abundant libations.

On May 15th, Charlie Thomas was presented with the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Award recognizing an individual in the Albuquerque community who exemplifies patriotism and commitment to our military neighbor, Kirtland AFB.

 

Also, Gina and Charlie will celebrate their 45th anniversary in Paris on October 16th and will then take a week's barge trip in the Champagne region.

Ad Thompson attended a Quiet Birdmen BBQ and Airshow in June. And who should he run into among the 1,000 or so attendees while he was there? Chuck Croll.

So here is a photo of Ad and Chuck looking very fit.

 

 Chuck says he is retired from Continental, the only work he does now is working on his golf game, and he seldom answers e-mails. BTW the beer was cold, the BBQ was excellent, the old airplanes flying over were great, and it was super to run into old friends like Chuck!

Tom said that by the time y'all read this, the Wilson clan will have gathered for their annual get-together.  Their two sons, daughter, their spouses, and 9 of 10 grandchildren travel from Dallas, Milwaukee, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.   For 3 nights and 4 days, they gather for fun and to reconnect as a family   All of them (17 total) thoroughly enjoy being together.  They will miss only one of the two cadets in their family, who just happens to be experiencing what we all knew as SERE.  REMEMBER?   Their other cadet (Haley, from Dallas ) will be on leave and is able to join them this year.  Life is still good, and Tom and Judy look forward to hopefully getting to USAFA for a football game this fall.  Stay tuned.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear have enjoyed a full summer with family already. All three of their children and their families (minus a granddaughter) gathered for a long weekend over the 4th. Lots of fireworks for the younger ones, and a couple of great cookouts with games played in the yard--one at their local son’s family home. Afterwards, their daughter’s family (minus her husband, who left on a business trip) stayed for a couple of extra weeks. While they really enjoyed the older grandchildren, their 2-year-old granddaughter captivated both Nelson and Teri. Kevin, their older son, enjoys genealogy and recently made a couple of breakthroughs regarding Nelson’s maternal grandmother. She arrived in Baltimore when she was 9, so she remembered little of the trip. Her family always claimed German ancestry, but no one had ever been able to locate the town from which they emigrated, partially because of the changing borders, and as it turned out, partially because the village’s name was spelled and pronounced differently. Long story short: some German families settled in the village that was established in 1820 a few miles east of Belgrade and is now Serbia. Hungary controlled that area at the time. Her family crossed the Atlantic in 1892, having a total of $528 in their possession, and then settled in Missouri. Misspelling of the family surname also made it difficult to locate them on any ship’s manifest, but Kevin also solved that puzzle after a LOT of searching. (Their last name had been badly misspelled.) A few more of life’s mysteries resolved.

 

April 2010

 

Sixty-one of you voted (50-yes, 4-no, 5-maybe, and 2-abstain) for the class officers and the gift committee to work toward the class gift as described then. The gift package—the statuary you saw and approved, plus construction detail—is scheduled to go before the USAFA Memorial Board on 27 April and then to HQ USAF for approval. If you have not already received a “pledge request” (either by email or hard copy from Brice) requesting financial support for our 50th Reunion gift, contact Brice Jones <Brice@GoldRidgePinot.com>, Tom Eller <EllerTJ@AOL.com>, or me. Our class goal is 100% participation. If you use e-mail but are not part of our Gray Tag Network (GTN), please contact me. That will help us obtain your thoughts, as well as keep you current on the plans for our 50th.

Mark Anderson said that the major event for him and Ginger was a 7-day River Cruise in France from 4-11 April.  They started and ended in Paris and meandered along the Seine River through the Normandy region.  They had one-day shore excursion to the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery, which was a highlight for him.

Victor Apodaca III deployed to Afghanistan for a year on 8 April. He is with the S7, Brigade Engineer, as a contractor engineer and land surveyor for the 401st Army Field Support Brigade. They are designing and performing construction management for the facilities for the influx of troops into Bagram Air Base and at all of the FOB's throughout Afghanistan. He says that it is truly interesting and rewarding work, except for being away from his wonderful bride. Through the wonders of the Internet, though, he speaks with her almost daily through Skype. They are planning for a southern European R&R this summer.

Bill Aylsworth is back to playing tennis again after a year involving rehab from two hip replacement surgeries.  Surprisingly, the return to the courts has been easy.  Bill still reserves the right to claim his operations as an excuse on any given day though. He and his daughter continue to practice law as Aylsworth & Aylsworth LLP.  They have a division of responsibility: He is the senior partner, and she does most of the work!

Stu Boyd flew his first “combat” sorties at Fort Polk in the Surrogate Predator Program this last month in an exercise called Green Flag East.  Civil Air Patrol provides the Predator training for troops and aircraft deploying to SW Asia.  They were in the “mix” with a J-Stars, four A-10s, some Army choppers, and troops on the ground.  Their Cessna even had two simulated Hellfire missiles.  Stu felt like he was back in his Vietnam days.  The program will expand to Nellis in July (Green Flag West), supporting the pre-deployment training at Fort Irwin.

Joyce Box is living in Fountain Hills, AZ, and keeping herself busy by working as an Aesthetician in a beautiful salon and spa. One of the benefits of living there has been growing her own grapefruit. She and her daughter recently harvested about 250 from her tree. Although they peeled and juiced many of them, 250 can be overwhelming. Joyce plans to attend our 50th Reunion.

Jackie and Tom Brophy spent Christmas and New Years in South Africa with their youngest son and his family.  It was a great trip.  Difficult to get in the Christmas spirit in the middle of the summer, but their grandson did not seem to notice the weather.  They took their first ride in a Hot Air Balloon.  It was early morning and an absolutely beautiful way to see Africa.  It was easy to see why it becomes an avocation for some folks.  Jackie also returned to Johannesburg in February and stayed until March for the birth of their 17th grandchild, Jordan Elizabeth Brophy.  She was somewhat relieved to be home but happy she made the trip.  They also spent a week in Colorado Springs with their son John and his family at the end of March enjoying standard Colorado weather: four inches of snow on Friday and then sunshine and 80 degrees three days later.  Tom returned to Florida with a cold!

George Buchner’s new telephone numbers are home-623 266-1395 and cell 850 524-0330. He is going to try to contact Dick Cooper.

Clair and Mary Kay Carling are busy trying to keep up a house and 2_ acres, 9 children, 31 grandchildren, and an aging mother. They also recently became group leaders in a volunteer Addiction Recovery Program.  Their main focus is to lead recovery groups in their efforts to overcome various types of addictions.  It is patterned after the AA "12 step program".  They find it very rewarding to work with those honest, struggling people who are trying to turn their lives around and find a better way.

Marilyn and Pat Buckley went on a campaign to baseline their health status in December and January.  The good news is they are in good health for their age.  The bad news is Pat was diagnosed with prostate cancer, so he started learning more about the prostate and treatment than he ever wanted to know.  In February they spent two weeks with family in England for Marilyn’s Mum’s 90th birthday celebration.  Then they flew to Denver, picked up Sam and Gwen Barrazone, and drove to Breckenridge for 5 days to join the ski party described by Charley Neel.  Then back to Satellite Beach, FL, to continue research on prostate cancer treatments, cure probabilities, and side effect probabilities.  In March they visited candidate practitioners for surgery or HIFU in Melbourne, FL, ProstRcision in Decatur, GA, Walter Reed for HIFU in Wash DC, Univ of Fl Proton Beam Therapy in Jacksonville, FL, and an HIFU practitioner in Sarasota, FL.  Along the way they had dinner in Decatur with John and Susie Caughman, Mike Rawlins, and Gerry Gill.  They overnighted in Pinehurst, NC, with John and Lydia Boesch and then in the Northern Neck of Virginia with Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse.(They have built themselves a beautiful home on the water!)  They stayed in DC with Bill and Theda Foster and had Saturday night dinner at the Ft Myers O Club with the Fosters, John and Joan Kohout, and Jack and Diane McDonough.  Re the prostate cancer, Pat has completed his research and made a comparison matrix of alternative treatments, as well as a decision document to explain the rationale for the treatment he selected.  The bottom line is there are multiple alternative treatments, lots of mushy data, and some ugly possible outcomes.  For starters if you are not getting your PSA checked annually, DO IT!  And if your PSA is over 1.0ng/ml or you have other prostate-related problems like urinary difficulties, start looking into it as early detection greatly increases your probability of satisfactory outcomes.  Conventional wisdom is that a PSA of 4.0 or less is okay.  The reality is that 25% of those with PSA less than 4.0, like Pat, have prostate cancer that needs treatment.  And if you have not developed prostate cancer yet, there is a high probability you will unless you die of something else sooner.  So for those of you who have not had to deal with it yet, Pat is more than willing to share his experience and what he thinks he has learned.  Then you will have a good start to figure out what you need to do.  Patrickbuckley1961@yahoo.com.  Tel: 321-745-0187.

Jim Cassidy said his real estate business has been an up and down ride, business wise. Things are beginning to pick up, but financing is still a problem. The only thing the lenders seem to be stimulating are their bonuses. Their son has ALS, as Jim has mentioned before, so Judy and Jim each take a day or two each week to spend with him during the day while his wife is at work and their children are in school. Since his condition is related to his military service, the VA has declared him 100% disabled and has really stepped up to the plate with benefits. For Jim’s 70th birthday last November, he bought himself his first tattoo--the Marine Corps Emblem of course. If he had a bucket list, that would have been on it, so he’s ahead of the game. Some people assume he got it while on active duty and marvel at how good it looks after all these years.

Jim and Joy Darnauer just returned from a cruise on the Queen Mary 2 from Sydney Australia to Cape Town, South Africa. They made a port call at the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, which was recognized as the home of the Dodo bird, with many souvenirs. The trip concluded with a mini-safari out of Cape Town. Their next cruise is on the maiden voyage of the new Queen Elizabeth this October. Next, Jim wants a trip to Antarctica. If anyone has experience or is interested, please contact him: jimdarnauer@hotmail.com

Tom and Anne Eller spent a couple of days in San Antonio in April to see grandchildren and celebrate birthdays. They also spent a week in Bonita Springs, FL, in March. Although they tried to get together with the Negronis and the Rogers, they were unable to work out a time.

Casey and John Goodley took a cruise last summer, flying to London, busing to Dover, and then sailing to Ireland, Scotland, Greenland, Iceland, Nova Scotia, and then to New York City before flying home.  They really enjoyed the trip, but their most interesting experience was talking with a 94-year-old gentleman (Edwin Ramsey) they met on the ship and his wife. He graduated from a military school in Oklahoma and entered the Army Cavalry when he was about 21. While in school he had learned to play polo. After graduating, he volunteered to go to an Army unit on the island of Luzon so he could play polo with one of the best teams then in the Army. He had been there only a short time when the Japanese invaded and took over Luzon. He was somehow quickly separated from his unit and all Americans so some Filipino patriots took him into the mountains to hide from the Japanese. Then he began organizing the guerilla movement on Luzon. The guerillas would gather intelligence, which he then radioed to General MacArthur, titling it "Ramsey to MacArthur". He would then receive instructions titled "MacArthur to Ramsey". By the time MacArthur returned to Luzon, Lt. Ramsey had organized and was in command of 40,000 guerillas. His book, Lt Ramsey's War, was very interesting. By the end of the war the Japanese offered a $200,000 reward for his capture. He was highly decorated, personally by General MacArthur. Edwin Ramsey was a very nice and interesting man. John has been playing some golf, but doesn’t see much improvement (which sounds about like the rest of us golfers.)

Bob and Sandi Holcomb replied from Venice, Italy, where they were enjoying a great vacation with their daughter, Shannon. They started in London where she lives, then to Tuscany, Florence, and Venice. They were enjoying great weather, good food and drink, and light crowds.

Dean and Jo Jones enjoyed a fascinating Holland America South American cruise, in January/February.  They toured Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, the west coast of South America, “Robinson Crusoe Island,” Antarctica, and Argentina.  They disembarked at Buenos Aires and flew to Rio de Janeiro for a week to check out Carnival and the many sights and sounds of Rio.  It was a great trip and they highly recommend it for the '61 Bucket List.

Lowell Jones said that he was planning to attend the C-123 Vietnam reunion taking place in Hampton, VA, 17 - 22 May.  They've had one every two years since 1992.  At their last one, at Wright-Patterson AFB in 2008, they dedicated a marble bench at the Museum and had a great talk from C-123 Medal of Honor pilot, Colonel (Ret) Joe Jackson, for his role in the Kham Duc rescue.  Lowell has contacted most of our classmates who flew C-123s in Vietnam about these reunions.  Sandy and Lowell, Bill and Theda Foster, and Twy Williams are all planning to attend this one.

Bob Kellock and Samantha Carlson have been busy with his search for a light sport aircraft and her on-line schooling to become a HIT woman: Health Information Technology.  The Boeing traces are wearing thin, and may break any time now.  Much of the planning is done, and most of the requirements await only an execution decision!  A Blind Bat III reunion is all set for Port St. Lucie, Florida, for 11-17 May, at the Holiday Inn.  (Blind Bat was the call sign of the C-130A Flare/FAC/ABCCC night mission aircraft from Danang and Ubon, 1965 to about 1970.  They were all on TDY from five squadrons at Naha AB, Okinawa, and Tachikawa AB, Japan, so it's more of a team reunion than a unit event.)  Bob and Samantha continue to have great fun.

While enjoying a jazz night under the stars in Tucson, Jerry & Jo Mason, PB & Marlyn O'Connor, Jim & Nancy Wilhelm, and Kathy (Mize) & Dave Beck all felt guilty about not having submitted anything for this newsletter, so they had another round of margaritas, and felt a lot better. (This was a farewell get-together for the O'Connor and Wilhelm snowbirds, who are leaving Tucson in a few weeks.)

 

PB said that apologies were actually profuse when the Wilhelms, Masons, and Kathy (Mize) Beck convened at The Old Pueblo Grill--so they promised to launch some pictorial results of the February '61ers gathering at the O'Connors' casa in Tucson.  Buckner, Conley, Fullerton, Hopp, Lefton, Mason, Mize(Kathy), O'Connor, and Wilhelm attended and swapped old lies, watched a Sonoran sunset, and departed in close-to-navigating capability.

 

 

 

Charlie Neel said that during the '61er mini-reunion last year at Annapolis for the Navy game, Jimmy asked "Who wants to go skiing?" Thus was a tiny-mini-reunion initiated. Result: six '61ers with brides in a big log hootch (palace) for a week at Breckenridge. Jimmy and Susan Poole, Neal and Gwen Westbrook, Charlie and Lynda Neel, Sam and Gwen Barazzone, Mark and Ginger Anderson, and Pat and Marilyn Buckley skied and/or hot-tubbed in DEEP snow. Non-skiers were assigned kitchen and wine-bottle opening duties. Nobody was hurt. They intend to do it again next year, with multiple hootches, if there is sufficient interest. Let Charlie know. "You don't quit skiing because you get old; you get old because you quit skiing."

 

Hector and Joan Negroni spent two months wintering in Naples, Florida.  While there they met with Jimmy and Linda Rogers and Tom and Mimi Skilling.  They also hosted visits by their sons and their families.  Naples is a very vibrant community, particularly during the winter and has an ample array of artistic and cultural events.  They saw the musical "In the  Heights" and the upcoming Broadway play, "The Beast of Broadway."

 

John Payne said that Mary retired at the end of February, and they have made what they hope is their last move--to Oxford, MS.  Oxford is the home of The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and the national football championship teams, '08 and '09.  They chose Oxford because both of their children attended Ole Miss and the daughter and granddaughters still live in that area.  They are also glad to leave the hurricane area of South Alabama since the hurricane surcharge on property insurance was becoming unbearable. John has been busy making minor repairs and getting a lawn started at their new home, and Mary is adjustng to retirement. Now that John is retired, retired, they are looking forward to attending some of the university events, both cultural and sports.  They live in a quiet neighborhood with woods around them.  He has discovered a trail nearby where he can walk or jog.  A local coffeehouse makes the best raspberry scone that he has ever tasted.  What more could a person want? Their new address is: 116 Oxmoor Rdg., Oxford, MS 38655. Their new e-mail address and telephone number are: PayneJG@att.net and 601-947-5762. John, Jr., Major, USMC, is now stationed at an old Army cavalry post, Ft. Huachuca, AZ.  Talk about a confused Marine!  Actually, he is there on a joint assignment having to do with communications, his specialty.  He made the lieutenant colonels' list last year, but the rate of monthly selections has slowed tremendously.  It may have something to do with the uncertain economy.

Dennis Ray is into his 4th year at Royal Roads University (RRU) in Victoria, BC. RRU is the former site of the Canadian Naval Academy. He revised the University’s MBA programs in China and has developed an innovative new Master’s of Global Management degree which will be launched in Victoria and China in 2011. His wife, Iva, taught four courses at RRU and one at the University of Victoria. Daughter Galina, an undergraduate in microbiology at the U. of Minnesota, co-published her first peer-reviewed scientific article, on breast cancer treatment, before her 21st birthday. Mishka, age 5, played soccer, swims lengths, performed his first piano recital, and recently entered a grade K-1 Montessori class. Older half brother Kevin is now CFO of a billion $ subsidiary of a tech company and enjoying life in Lexington, MA. Daughters Connie and Debbie struggled with job loss.

Jim Rogers says that he and Linda are doing well in Florida, but they miss their classmates and other friends from up north.  They had terrible weather this winter, with weeks were it didn't get above 70 degrees for days in a row.  They did get together a couple of times with Hector and Joan, and Tom and Mimi.  They have seen Tom and Mimi quite a bit. Jim and Tom played in Jim’s member guest tournament.  Linda and Mimi have played in a couple of tournaments together.

Terry Storm says that the AOG activities are going well with contributions through the Endowment andAOG efforts up considerably.

Byron Theurer has become a member of the Ivins Economic Development Committee, which intends to promote business and industrial activity in Ivins, Utah. Specifically, Pops is the USDA go-to guy, with the objective of receiving an economic analysis and planning grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It ain't glamorous, but it keeps him off the streets at night.

Winnie and Bob Wagner returned last month from a two-week trip to Israel. The primary event was a reunion with the survivors among the five Israel Air Force crews who came to George AFB in 1969 to train in the F-4. (Bob was one of the IPs among the USAF cadre.)  Bob remembers their intensity back in '69 and that they were driven to bringing the F-4 into their inventory as quickly as possible.Of the ten IAF individuals who were at George, three were killed and four were prisoners of the Egyptians, all victims of SAMs during the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. During the reunion their hosts took them all over the country, and it was very special to see everything from their eyes. Incredible stories of their combat experiences filled the conversations: MIG kills, SAM breaks, ejections, captivity; you name it.  Bob will always remember one "student," who later became commander of the IAF, making a point while they were on the top of Masada: With a very emphatic, gesture, he stated, "This will never happen again!" After spending time with their hosts, Winnie and Bob used a rental car and a GPS to re-visit some of the areas, filling in some of the blanks at a more leisurely pace in Jerusalem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Haifa and the home of his "Student GIB" and family. It was a wonderful, memorable, experience.

Judy and Tom Wilson recently returned from their annual 4 weeks in Sarasota.  Sometimes they wonder if it's worth it since there is so much to catch up on when they return -- NOT!  Natives there seemed to be freezing as it was cooler than normal.

Nothing really new in their lives: their grandkids are doing well at USAFA, so all seems to be okay.  Looking forward to the next class get-together whenever it occurs.

Mary Sue and Roger Woodbury are enjoying their second grandchild (1st grandson) Ethan Scott Hill.  He is six months old, and a real moose.  Sandi, his mom, says he will attend “Linebacker U” in that capacity.  His sister, Emma, loves him dearly--as do they all.  Mary Sue and Roger get to sit for both of them on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but now they have to go 2 on 2.  Two 3-and-unders are too much for two seniors.  Golf will take a back seat for a while.  They got away for a week to visit good friends in Florida (The Villages).  Roger says they have more golf courses there than he has ever seen in so small an area.  Their youngest, Michele, has bought a 1960’s condo in Philadelphia, so they have become slave laborers removing, painting, plastering, and replacing.  With luck, she will move in in May, and they can get to work on their own home for a while.  They are well and happy and hope all associated with our class are equally blessed

Nelson and Teri O’Rear said that their son Brian’s (’87) small business is showing good signs sooner than he had anticipated. He developed an aggressive business plan after retiring from the Air Force last summer, thinking it would take two years to get established. After much hard work, including marketing, in April he is already approaching the goals his business plan forecast achieving at the end of this summer. One of his reasons for taking this plunge was simply to prove to himself that he could succeed in the small business arena--as well as to be his own boss.

Thanks to all contributors. You others should make a vow that you will share with us next time. We want to know what you have been doing.

 

January 2010

We were all distressed by Susan Quinlan’s death on Christmas Day; our thoughts and prayers are with Mike and their family.  Mike sends his thanks to the many, many classmates who sent cards and phone calls after the loss of Susan.

Brice Jones reports that our class is rising to the challenge of raising $300,000 for the class gift on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of our graduation. By the third week of January, 50 pledges had been received from our 177 living graduates, plus a number of relatives of deceased classmates, as well as a few other men and women who feel a special affinity with our class. Brice is very optimistic of achieving the goal of 100% class participation, an achievement that is unlikely to be matched by any other class. If you haven’t yet corresponded with Brice on this matter, please—he asks—be considerate of the mission we are all trying to accomplish (100%), and save him the time and difficulty of tracking down the hard–to–find holdouts, and email him at brice@emeritusvineyards.com , or call him at (707) 688-4466. He asked me to pass on his profuse thanks to all who are making this fantastic gift possible—every one of us.

The Andersons will be traveling to France in early April for a river cruise that includes a day at Normandy, a place they have always wanted to visit. The trip begins and ends in Paris, so they can do the sights one more time.  Mark also plans to double his skiing days this winter (from 4 to 8), assuming no mishaps!

Life remains full and fun for Stu and Marnie Boyd. Besides being involved with their acreage, grandchildren, horses, and other church activities, they are now conducting pre-marital counseling with the husband-to-be deployed in Iraq. Technology is wonderful. In February and every couple of months thereafter, Stu is flying out of Nellis AFB as aircrew for a surrogate Predator program where CAP aircraft and aircrews help train Army and Marine units at Fort Irwin to deploy to Southwest Asia.  As this program advances, they will eventually be doing some controller work with the fighters, as well as learning to coordinate SAR efforts.  The technical capabilities of the system will allow them to work natural disasters as well.  The government discussed taking the only bird they have now (#2 comes out in March) to Haiti, but it would have been at the expense of the Afghan training for the deploying troops. 

Dave Carlstrom said that the greatest event in his adult life was to vote for Scott Brown--Senator elect: now his friends and Zoomie associates will hopefully get off his back about the Kennedy clan.

Jim and Joy Darnauers’ older son Joel, who finally got married in 2008 before he turned 40, presented them with a new grandson, Tycho, in 2009 with a hint of more to come. Joy and Jim continued enjoying some grand cruising on board the Queen Victoria into several fjords en route to the northern tip of Norway and then another 600 miles north toward the North Pole to an island settlement at 79 degrees north latitude for more than a 100-hour-long day at the end of June. In July, BAE Systems announced a RIF and invited volunteers. The offer was something Jim couldn't refuse, so as of 27 November 2009, he is no longer employed. So far, he thinks retirement may be here to stay. Joy and Jim have scheduled two more cruises in 2010 on two other Queens. They both continue to be blessed with reasonably good health.

Gene Davis said that Judy has settled in at the rehab center and is doing well.  She is up to 70 degrees on the CPM (a gadget that bends your leg for you -- even when you are sleeping) and needs to get to 110 degrees.  Jan, Judy's mother, celebrated her 94th birthday with "Dinner at the Rehab."  The food was terrible, but the company was good.  The staff sang happy birthday to Jan.  The physical therapy program is pretty intense, leaving Judy tired but satisfied with her progress.  Judy has already formed a "lunch group" with three other knee patients.  They have regular meetings but haven't started dues yet.  Gene deliver your cards and best wishes on a daily basis.  The mailman has threatened to send the union thugs because he is carrying so much mail without a union card.  Judy was to get out the first part of the week of January 25th and spend a couple of days at home before going back for the operation on her right knee.  Gene saw their former congressman, Dave Weldon, on the 20th.  He is doctoring at the rehab facility.  Now if we could just get all of the congressmen out of Washington doing something else! All of your attention is greatly appreciated.  The cat and Gene are surviving.

Bob Dean says that he goes to WalMart twice a week for groceries.  Sometimes he goes to Krogers.  Otherwise, he walks 15 or 20 times from the kitchen to the office to trade the stock market.  Sometimes he sits on the easy chair in the den to read, but that usually turns out to be a read-nap. Three times a day his Golden Retriever forces him to go jogging for 20 minutes.  At night he watches Fox News. Retirement life is tough.

Anne and Tom Eller, along with daughter Julie, visited their other daughter Elizabeth and her husband in Atlanta at Christmas. Anne and Tom visited their son Robert and his wife and two young children in San Antonio on a mid-January weekend. Their USAFA Cadet 2C grandson, as president of the USAFA Model United Nations Club, is representing USAFA at McGill U niversity in Montreal in January.

Roberta and Haven Hill went to Eastern Europe for three weeks last summer.  They flew to Bucharest, Romania, for two days, visited their joint Military Academy and Ceausescu's Palace of Parliament, then bused to Varna, Bulgaria, for a day's stay on the Black Sea at the posh ex-communist dacha.   Next they rode a river boat up the Danube, with stops at Vadin and the Iron Gates, to Belgrade, Serbia, for an extensive tour with several lectures on former Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito, and the Serb-Croatia War.  The most interesting thing they saw was the U.S.-bombed-out military and communications buildings which are left as a blackened memorial to the war.   Back on the river boat and up into Croatia, they visited and lunched with some local residents of Vukovar and Osijek for first-hand viewing of the severe bomb damage and their accounts of two years of living in basements while Serbia bombed away.  Several stops farther up the Danube took them to Budapest, Hungary, for three days of R&R.  But they learned that Budapest also had war damage from it's own revolutionary war in parting with the USSR.  The many beautiful memorials were sadly very touching.  Ironically the Soviets had built a statue somewhat like our Statue of Liberty to commemorate their "liberating" Hungary and now, with a little touching up, it is called Lady Liberty and celebrates their freedom from the USSR.  With visits in Szentendre, Hungary: Bratislava, Slovakia; Nosalov, the Czech Republic, they arrived in Prague, Czech Republic, for the last four days of their trip.  Prague was spared the wartime damage and was the most beautiful city in the world with hundreds of spires and thousands of lights at night.  Roberta and Haven have now cruised the Danube and Rhine from the Black Sea to the North Sea and enjoyed every kilometer of it.

Tom Hill was in rehab following complications after his heart bypass surgery. He is steadily improving and hoped to be home by the end of January. Tom has enjoyed your encouraging cards and telephone calls. It is a long process, so he would still appreciate hearing from you. His telephone number is 574-226-2284, and his address is 55969 Jayne Drive, Elkhart, IN 46514.

Lowell Jones said that they had a DC Luncheon scheduled for January 26.  Also, in the process of contacting classmates who flew C-123s in Vietnam for an upcoming reunion, he recently talked to Ron and Susie Weeden (Dover, NH).  Ron had a major stroke 8 years ago and is still on the slow road of recovery.  Susie says he is improving slowly and walking with a cane.  Lowell chatted with him for a while, and Ron has some difficulty talking.  Lowell admires him for his determination and Susie for her loving support.  They surely have been through a lot together.  Dave Carlstrom gets there to see them now and then, which is good.  Of course, they can't travel to the reunion next year.  Anyone who wants to get in touch with them, please give Lowell or Dave a call or email.

Wayne Jones said that he is surely enjoying his part-time golf marshalling job at nearby Mount Woodson Country Club.  He is still working on shooting his age.  He and Haven Hill get together for a round once in awhile; the problem is deciding which of the 100 golf courses in San Diego County they want to try next.  Mary and Wayne are now docents at their local Ramona Museum.  Their area has 150 years of interesting history!

Bob Kellock and Samantha practiced retirement again, this time for ten days over Thanksgiving, and 16 days more over the Christmas/New Year holidays.  Patagonia (AZ) is wonderful, even the day they were up to their toenails in snow (about half an inch, lasting until noon).  On Christmas Saturday, they took a twilight tour of the town to see all the lights and decorations, in a white Amish surrey with a fringe on the top, drawn by a single Percheron!  The Boeing traces are wearing thin, and a light sport aircraft is looking better all the time.

Sue and Jerry Lefton arrived in Tucson on 30 December and will stay there until the end of February. Then they will go to Las Vegas, Oceanside, CA, and Palm Springs, CA, in March. They should be back in Pinehurst, NC, by the end of March.

Jerry Mason said that they enjoyed their Caribbean cruise, January 16 through 24.

Joan and Hector Negroni are growing tired of the snow and cold and winter.  As a result, they will  be spending two months in the Naples FL area from 20 February to 18 April.  He would love to move to that area permanently, but Joan balks at the idea.  Therefore, they are going to try it for a couple of months. Hector became a full fledged docent at the National Air and Space Museum (Mall Building) after 88 hours of training and a couple of supervised tours.

Albert "Spike" Nunn has been appointed by His Excellency Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, as Advocate and Procurator for the Catholic Tribunal. In this capacity, he will be assisting Catholics who are divorced and wish to remarry, in preparing and presenting their case for the Church annulment or dissolution of a person’s previous marriage.

Ross Shulmister is organizing a reunion of Delta Dart pilots and officers from the 27th FIS (Loring AFB, ME).  Around two dozen have signed on, and they are looking for others. If you know of one, put them in touch with Ross.  They'll be picking a venue (it won't be northern Maine) and a date in February or March.

Rhoda and Bill Stackhouse usually send a Christmas card and letter before the holiday itself. This year they got jammed up, so, if you normally get one, expect it on Charlie Stebbins’ schedule--anytime before the 4th of July. Bill mentions this because their tardiness has generated a couple of inquiries to see if they were still looking down on the grass. They are. Their energies were sucked up. Rhoda, still doing Speech Therapy in the local primary school, now has to do Medicaid forms so the school system can collect reimbursements for services rendered. She never thought she would be used as a profit center. It has doubled her workload, which was already onerous. As for Bill, he was involved in bringing their Denver contingent East. He drove a big diesel truck with their stuff in it back from Denver. It took two days to reach the Chesapeake. They’re temporarily in residence, having occupied the upper floor. That’s their daughter, hubby, and four boys, ages seven and down. Their other daughter is 7 minutes away with two more grandchildren. They frequently seat all for dinner. Christmas was a ball with all the kids running around and Bill’s Lab trying to keep up. It’s the only time Bill ever saw her go into her kennel voluntarily. The gorgeous wood floors? Well, they can be refinished someday. The too-big house turned out to be right-sized for the time being. Bill must’ve had an angel on his shoulder while he designed it. Also, his stint as president of the local barbershop society chapter has ended. Hooray. Despite all the bodies in the house, they still have two empty guest bedrooms downstairs. So, if any are intrepid enough to join them for a visit, please come. Bill’s getting really good at pancakes and waffles.

Charlie Stebbins has officially announced that he will retire in May from his nearly 5 years as Provost/Dean of Faculty at the University of Charleston.  He will miss the huge challenge, but welcomes the return to golf and yard work! He recently had to serve (again) as manservant to Sarah, who underwent reconstructive foot surgery in October, spent 6 weeks in a cast (and wheelchair), 6 weeks in an uncomfortable walking boot, and has now progressed to sneakers for all occasions… she just bought some gold ones! All kids and grandkids were home for Thanksgiving and, with lots of help, they enjoyed hosting dinner for 32 family members.

Terry Storm said that Jo and Dean Jones hosted the Class Christmas party at their log home near the side of Pikes Peak.  Susan and Tom Conley, Lynda and Charlie Neel, Joan and Worth McCue, Erna and Wayne Haring, Anne and Tom Eller, and Carleen and Terry Storm enjoyed good food and libation, plus the longtime camaraderie we have shared over the years.  Terry’s 13-year old grandson Braydan flew with him to the Armed Forces Bowl, painting his face and hair blue and silver for our big win.

 

v Terry greatly appreciates the support from everyone as the AOG’s agreement with the USAFA Endowment matures.

Charlie and Gina Thomas crossed the equator, southbound, at 9 pm on January 17th, our time. Of course, they are a day ahead - being west of the dateline. Next stops:  Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora. Charlie said that they were having too much fun.

The Chicago Tribune reports that on January 1st Wayne Whalen stepped aside as head of the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In 1984, Wayne was one of six partners at his previous law firm to leave and establish the Chicago office of the New York firm. Wayne helped this Chicago office become the busiest of Skadden’s, including its New York headquarters, in the late 1980s. Although he has turned over the reins of the Chicago firm to someone he recruited in 1986, Wayne plans to maintain his office in the firm and continue practicing law.

Twy and Nancy Williams enjoyed having their son Robert, wife Holly, and granddaughter Leah visit to celebrate Leah’s first birthday on Christmas Eve and her second Christmas. Meanwhile, Twy’s son Mark (Cdr, USN) returned from Oman to celebrate with his family in Euless, TX, before heading to their next assignment in London. Daughter Mary made her near-weekly trip from Boston to San Diego to be with her family in Santee, CA.

Tom Wilson’s comments were succinct: “Go, Vikings!”

Nelson and Teri O’Rear are enjoying their winter weather. While he likes blowing the snow around, twice a day for about a week was a bit much. Son Brian (’87) and his family are enjoying their new home in Louisville, KY. After retiring from the Air Force, he has started his own business and is really motivated by the challenges of being his own boss and developing his business. Nelson and Teri are pleased to now have all three of their children within about 5 hours driving time and are enjoying the visits. To celebrate Teri’s birthday this year, they will be taking a 13-day river cruise in Russia (several days in Moscow, then visiting villages along the way, and ending up with several days in St. Petersburg) in August with friends.

Bob and Winnie Wagner spent Christmas with their daughter Valerie and her family in Charlottesville, Virginia. After a two-foot snowfall the sledding with the two grandsons, ages seven and four, was spectacular. The first use of a snow shovel in years was not. They are excited about an upcoming trip to Israel in early March. The primary occasion is a reunion of the IPs and the initial IAF crews that went through F-4 training at George in '69. They will then spend an additional week touring.

Periodically, some ask how many living 1961 graduates we currently have. Briefly, 217 graduated in our Class, and 40 of them have passed on since then, for a total now of 177. Some confusion occasionally arises when Sid Abbott’s and Bill Gibbons’ deaths before graduation are included in the totals, which would bring the total who have gone before us while at USAFA or after graduating to 42. The total number of surviving graduates, however, now remains 177.

Thanks to all who contributed, especially those from whom we have not heard in a while. We truly do enjoy knowing what is going on in your lives, so those of you who have not contributed should join in. Even if it is only a few sentences, your sharing helps us stay in touch.

 

 

October 2009

For those of you who may not have heard, Richard "Dick" Fairlamb’s wife, Sylvia Gehl Fairlamb, passed from this life on October 2nd. Dick and Sylvia married in 1970 and had two daughters. She was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and was both an Australian and a US citizen. Burial was at the US Air Force Academy cemetery on October 5th. A Memorial Ceremony to celebrate Sylvia’s life will be on Tuesday, November 3rd in Colleyville, TX. Our condolences and best wishes are with Dick and his family.

Randy Cubero and Charlie Neel are the Co-Chairmen for our 50th reunion, which is set for the AF/Army football game the first weekend in November 2011, while Brice Jones is heading up the fundraising for our class gift. He will be contacting everyone for contributions, emphasizing that we want 100 percent participation (regardless of how much each can contribute) making it a gift truly from our entire class. This will require good communications with everyone, especially between now and then, so each graduate should ensure that both Nelson enoandtjo@gmail.com (email) AND the AOG have his current contact information <https://www.usafa.org/NetCommunity/SSLPage.aspx?pid=254> (email and regular mail addresses).

Special thanks go to all of our classmates and their spouses in the DC area for hosting a Class of 1961 DC Mini-Reunion in Washington, DC, 1-4 October. A total of 85 attended, including 44 classmates, spouses, significant others, and family members. Theda Foster developed the spreadsheet that tracked attendance changes and money transactions, which greatly helped Treasurer, Charley Dixon, ensure they stayed "within budget".  Most participants arrived Thursday, 1 October. After check-in, they met in the Fairview Park Marriott's Hospitality Suite, arranged by Bill Foster, to socialize and "plan" for the upcoming activities.  To help their overtaxed memories, Twy Williams supplied professional name tags and organized the registration table, while stocking the bar with the required "refreshments."  His wife, Nancy, was recovering from a recent surgery and could not attend.  So, thanks to both of them for taking the time to help out, despite the inconvenience. During the day Friday, tourist activities competed with Bill Sanzenbacher’s golf outing, in which 12 played.  Eighty two attended Friday evening’s gala dinner in a spacious hall, very well organized and graciously hosted by Hector and Joan Negroni.  Thanks to our own grape farmer, Brice Jones, for providing the wine.  Everyone joined in singing the Air Force Song, and some danced to Hector's iPod "music of the past."  Lowell Jones formally thanked all event organizers and introduced Charlie Neel and Brice Jones, who presented updates on our upcoming 50th, discussing the 50th Reunion book and the Class gift.  Saturday started early as 57 boarded a passenger bus, contracted by John Kohout, and descended on the fashionable Annapolis residence—1487 Tenbury Common, Annapolis, MD 21401—of Ms. Becky Loire (a friend of Brice Jones) who hosted and provided a succulent luncheon.  After the unforgettable "tailgate," the bus riders re-boarded, with more Kohout-provided refreshments, for the Naval Academy Stadium to witness the annual Air Force/Navy contest. After Navy won in overtime, the bus riders downheartedly re-boarded for the trip back to Virginia and the hotel to quickly "freshen-up." More than 75 descended on Bill and Theda Foster's home for the planned "victory" party about 9:00 pm (which unfortunately for the Fosters led to many early morning departures).  They provided many hors d'oeuvres, delicious fajitas with all the trimmings, drinks, and live music.  On a spectacular night, their home easily accommodated the large group – with service and dining in all quarters including the yard and the garage, nicely decorated with Air Force blue and Bill's Air Force shirts and athletic blanket. Lowell Jones expressed his gratitude to all for the honor of his unanimous election as "Executive Director" and promised that next time, he will attend the meeting during which the Executive Director is selected. You can view and download any picture you want from Theda’s photo album: Us, and Hector's pictures of this mini-reunion and order copies (4x6) for 15 cents each (postage paid) at http://beta.kodakgallery.com/gallery/creativeapps/slideShow/Main.jsp?token=332244103309%3A326823188.

Mark and Ginger Anderson’s highlights this fall were a 12-day trip to Argentina in early September (visited Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Iguazu Falls), and the mini-reunion in D.C. in early October for the Air Force/Navy football game.  Otherwise, it was ops-normal on the homefront.  Their ‘61 lunch group continues to meet monthly. They welcomed back Jim Ulm in September, following his summer sojourn to Gunnison, CO.

George Buchner put Tallahassee, FL, in the rear view mirror of his not so supersonic Piper Cherokee in early July. He flew to AL, MI, WI, MT, ID, UT, and AZ. Along the way he "did" Oshkosh with Doug McConnell and freeloaded from Doug and Dee Cairns in Montgomery and from Bob and Jan Brickey in Salt Lake City. George put Tallahassee in the rear view mirror of his pickup in late September and now lives in Anthem, AZ, on a golf course. He says, "Come visit. I have a huge guest bedroom."

Pat Buckley retired from Lockheed Martin on 31 March, and his second grandchild was born in April.  Marilyn is expecting her second grandchild in November.  Pat and Marilyn bought and moved into their new home in Satellite Beach, FL, in March through July.  Gene and Judy Davis, who live about 5 miles south, will now have some needed adult supervision!  Gene and Judy have been helping Pat and Marilyn join the local community.  Pat and Marilyn have had their sailing course and power boat course and are learning to use the Banana River and Atlantic Ocean for recreation.  On 29 July, they left for Boston, MA, to visit family and friends.  On 12 August to Brighton, UK, to visit family and friends and enjoy summer in Old Blighty.  On 9 September to Albania to visit old friends and celebrate Pat’s 70th  with about 40 Albanian and ExPat friends with food, drink, music, and dancing!  (Yes, he is younger than most of you old F%^ts!)  Then on 19 September a short visit to Bari, Italy.  On 21 September to Malaga, Spain.  Pat and Marilyn have been in El Morche, about 40 miles East of Malaga, and will be there until 31 October to find and buy their European home.  Best weather in Europe, minutes to the beach and a little more than an hour to the Sierra Nevada ski area open from November through April.  They will be back in Satellite Beach, FL, from mid November to early February to host visitors who need a winter break in the Florida sun.  

Doug and Dee Cairns, and Bob and Winnie Wagner traveled together in France to see Paris and the Normandy beaches.  They flew military air Space-A from BWI to Ramstein AB, returning a couple of weeks later from Germany. They traveled to/from Ramstein on the rotator out of BWI. They had to wait one day going over to get to a favorable position on the list, and the aircraft was delayed for maintenance a day on return. The actual flights were at least as good as a standard commercial one, unless you are in business/first class. The rotator is a contract aircraft, so you do not face a problem of "no pax" that you would on a military aircraft. They stayed at the Cannon House at Ramstein for two nights and then drove a rental to Paris and Normandy. They toured the Verdun memorials and fort and drank champagne at a cafe in the shadow of the Reims cathedral. They also spent three nights at the French Officer's Club (Cercle National de Armees) in Paris. They have a reciprocal agreement with the Marine Memorial Club in San Francisco. It is a wonderful location. In Normandy, they stayed at Hotel de la Marine in Arromanches, right on Gold Beach and an excellent headquarters from which to view the Normandy area. Doug's GPS, with European software, was a blessing, as was a cell phone with international capability. Everything worked. October seems to be a good travel time. Europe is pricey! Send them an e-mail if you want more fill-in details.

Jim Cassidy said that they are all gearing up for The Philadelphia walk to D'Feet ALS, scheduled for 7 November. His son has been afflicted with this horrible disease for 10 years. He was a Green Beret in the Army during the 1980s. The VA has finally come through with some benefits which have helped. He just got a super duper state of the art motorized wheel chair and thinks he is Evil Knievel. Since he has little or no use of his hands and arms, he controls this thing with his feet and knees. He is also very prolific with the computer, using his toes to work the mouse which he puts on the floor. This is the 5th year their team has participated in the ALS walk. Jim’s daughter started the team, "Walking for Jimmy,"  and they've raised quite a bit of money over the past years. They hope the weather is better than they've had in the past.

Dave Carlstrom said that after the mini-reunion, he and Lilly stayed in Arlington for several days to work on their house. They helped the tenants upgrade the boundary fences to hopefully contain two "Labs".  He is skeptical about the outcome.

Dick Davis "discovered" a regional park near the North Gate of the Academy. It is called Fox Run, probably because of the foxes there. It is above Monument, CO, which is at 7,000 feet, so bring your oxygen bottles. Some grads might like going there. It has a small lake and is rather pretty with packed sand trails, which makes for a nice hike. He has ridden the trails there twice.

Tom and Anne Eller are quite proud of their son’s achievement. From the "Medical Corps Examiner", a newsletter for the USAF Medical Corps, Volume 5, Issue 3, Fall 2009, "Maj (Dr.) Rob Eller: A member of the Wilford Hall Medical Center’s teaching staff, Dr. Eller‘s paper titled ―Flexible Laryngoscopy: A Comparison of Fiber Optic and Distal Chip Technologies, Part I: Vocal Fold Masses, was recognized by the Journal of Voice as the recipient of their 2008 Best Paper Award (Clinical Medicine Category)!"

Bill and Linda Griffis were observed on a recent visit to Colorado making friends with Moose and checking out the mountain views.  They spent the weekend with Terry and Carleen Storm.

Sam and Vivian Hardage just returned from an east coast college trip for their youngest daughter, Samantha.  She was looking at several schools which were interested in having her attend and play volleyball.  Samantha is his last one at home.  Adam, who graduated from USAFA in ’97, is with the Special Operations Command and just returned from a tour in Iraq.  Sam’s youngest son, Chase, is a sophomore at SMU and will be home for a few days of mid-term vacation.  Sam’s oldest daughter, Kate lives in Chicago with her husband, Murray, and Sam’s only grandson, Ben.  Sam is still running his business of 16 hotels in 11 states, but it’s not any fun in this weird economy. If he could exit, he would do so in a heartbeat.  He doesn’t know how long this is going to last, but it feels very long to him, and that’s not good for anyone.

Henry and Peggy Howe had a great visit with their daughter in Honolulu in early September. They helped her get settled into a new house (for her) that looked like it may have been witness to the air raid of December 7. While they were vacationing on Kauai, they learned she had made the below the zone selection for O-5. Henry gets to return to Honolulu the end of October to escort her dog to her. What some Dad's won't do for their daughters!

Wayne and Mary Jones just returned from a wonderful three-week trip to the eastern Mediterranean.  They spent three days in Rome, went on an 11-day Celebrity cruise to Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Ephesus, Istanbul, and Naples, and then enjoyed four days in Florence.  Visiting 3,000 year old cities with good friends, delicious food, great guides, and perfect weather made for a super trip! 

While on vacation in Santa Fe, Jerry and Jo Mason ran into Tom and Susan Conley, and Dave & Kathy Mize Beck. Upon learning that Jim and Nancy Wilhelm were planning a Graytag housewarming party a few days later, Jo and Jerry wangled invitations and added Colorado Springs to their itinerary.   The party turned out to be a rousing success, with 10 classmates and 11 wives helping the Wilhelms to celebrate their beautiful new home. (Terry Storm was unavailable, but Carleen represented him admirably.) (Picture(s) will appear at Class Web site.)

 

John and Sheila May visited their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren in June at Ramstein AFB, Germany.  Their oldest grandchild, Craig, was the valedictorian of Ramstein High's graduating class.  He's now a freshman at Harvard.

  PB and Mer O’Connor have built a web site for the "business" which has suffered this year's economic downturn to the extent that the hundred or so retailers along the east coast that were ordering previously have been painfully silent due to non visitations from their representatives.  Soooo, look for them at http://meetmeritart.com/ (Mer supplied Tee shirts with some of her art work at the Redneck Riviera Teri and I attended, and it was great.) They are seeking a buyer for their home which many graytags have visited in the past.  They've loved it but find it too large (three levels), too far away from children (the closest is Lafayette, CO, and the furthest is Haines, AK,) and way too far from so many of their much missed brothers and spouses in arms--pro nobis astra!! With no realistic offers to date they will nonetheless, join the Tucson crowd in early December (Wilhelms, Conleys, Becks[Kathy Mize], Leftons, Masons, and Fullertons).  There may also be an opportunity to get together with the other half of the "Graytag Geezer" barbershop quartet (Wayne and Dean) to begin rehearsing the 50th entertainment--preferably scheduled post-copious consumption of adult libations.

Jim Rogers retired from the FAA just before the reunion on September 30.  Linda and he are staying with a friend in Gainsville, VA, as they prepare to move permanently to Naples, FL.  It now looks like they will be driving down this Saturday and arriving on Monday the 19th

On September 30, Byron Theurer relinquished chairmanship of the SCORE Chapter in St. George, UT. Byron is hanging himself out to dry, as this marks the first time in five years that he is not leading a chapter of SCORE. Meanwhile, Byron’s evil twin, Chicken Teriyaki, TWOKP, celebrated his coming of age at a week-long celebration at a party-hooch in Flagstaff, AZ. CT, accompanied by 20 relatives and close friends, assured that his eighth decade got off to a crackling start.

Charlie and Gina Thomas leave San Diego on January 3rd for a 33-day cruise: Holland America line to all Hawaiian Islands, Christmas Island, Tahitii, Bora Bora, and all the island with long names. Long term friends from New York will accompany them.

Ad Thompson finally received the approval of his building plans to rebuild his house, which was destroyed in the November '08 fire. Fortunately, they got the "expedited" approval eight months to the day after the fire. Since then, their builder has been really humping. They now have the foundation, framing, rough plumbing, electrical, windows, and doors all in and signed off. They’re working toward completion by the end of the year. They took some time off from watching the activity and spent a couple of weeks in Italy during September. While in a deli on Capri, Ad found out that Hector had been there before him as there was prominently displayed on the counter a wooden box of salamis boldly marked with his name.

Tom and Judy Wilson -- along with everyone else in Minnesota -- just experienced the first measurable snowfall of the year: about 3-3 1/2 inches.   WAY TOO EARLY!!!  Can hardly wait for the Vikes to go to the Super Bowl.  Both grandchildren earned more than a 3.0 in their first GPA period at USAFA.  Can't wait to see them in November when they attend the Army game.  Judy threw Tom a surprise 70th birthday party.  They normally go to a friend's house for an annual Christmas party but had to reschedule it for Labor Day weekend due to some conflicts.  Anyway, when it came time for the cake, etc, they all started singing the Happy Birthday song, and Tom was singing louder than usual, all the time trying to figure out who's birthday it was since Judy didn't give him a "heads-up" like she normally does.  He was looking around like crazy until he saw the big "70" candles and realized it was for him!!!  Everyone, including Tom, had a BIG laugh at his expense.  You can just "picture" how it all went down.

Jack and Musa Wolcott are justifiably proud of their eldest granddaughter, a senior at the Academy who will graduate next summer.  She is well over six feet tall, the star captain of the Academy's female volleyball team, DO of the Third Group, and a consistent member of the Superintendent's List.  Besides that, she is a beautiful person, inside and out, and they love her very much!  She is a great addition to the Academy and the Air Force. 

After the mini-reunion, Nelson and Teri O’Rear remained in Virginia for several days to visit with some of their other friends in the area. Among others, it was good to catch up with events in Mary Francis Koerner’s busy life. She is a docent at the Smithsonian, travels a lot, and is working towards an art certificate from the Smithsonian. Her son and daughter and their families are doing well. She is seriously considering attending our 50th to reconnect with many AF friends.

 

July 2009

 

First, some sad news: Charlene Granberry passed away on 7 April. Born and raised in Sidney, IA, she moved to Denver after college to work in an advertising agency and was on a morning television show. Charlene and Carl married in 1961 and had four children. We all extend our condolences and best wishes to Carl and his family.

Very soon Tom Eller plans to appoint our 50th Reunion planning committee from among the most strongly interested of those who volunteer to serve. If you want to volunteer, please let him know ASAP.

Nine attended the DC luncheon at Westwood Country Club in Vienna on July 1.  Attendees were Charley Dixon, Bill Foster, Lowell Jones, John Kohout, Jack McDonough, Hector Negroni, Jim Rogers, Bill Sanzenbacher, and Twy Williams.  They had a very good session on all aspects of the October Mini-Reunion.  Bill Foster handed out copies of the professional spreadsheet that he and Theda put together, covering the current status of attendees’ selection of events and payments.  They will soon be sending a confirmation email to all current attendees. Charley Dixon gave the Treasurer's report and discussed some Registration Form discrepancies.  John Kohout reported on the bus commitment, which he confirmed will be adequate and flexible for our changing requirements.  The major change is that we will now have the Saturday party at the hotel instead of the Parish Center to save time, since the game starts at 3:30 PM.  They also will have bus time changes, since they will be going to a tail-gate party in Annapolis prior to the game.  Brice Jones' friend, Becky Loire, has graciously offered her home for this event.  There will be no additional payment required from the attendees.  Later in July, Lowell will be sending a message to all attendees covering these changes with times and places for all events.  Jim Rogers advised them that Tom Skilling will be having surgery on July 28 for an open repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm at the Cleveland Clinic.  He will be 7 days or so in the hospital and 6-12 weeks recovery.  The clinic has an automatic notification system, so between Jim, Lowell, and Nelson O'Rear, we will keep all classmates up to date.  And, as usual, we had top-notch service from the Westwood staff for the luncheon.

Mark Anderson says that his golf game has improved a bit (but he knows it won't last), it has been over 100 degrees most of the past three weeks (thank goodness for air conditioning!), and little relief is in sight.  Their '61 lunches continue on the 4th Thursday of the month, he’s still flying the Cessna 210, mostly around the flagpole, and they (Ginger and he) will be visiting Argentina in August for about 12 days. They hope to see many folks at the mini-reunion in October. 

Stu Boyd’s teaching at the university is slowing down as the contract for the Hill
AFB training is about over.  To "fill the gap" he is teaching at the Regional Civil Air Patrol Staff College as well as doing training for their Utah Wing. He also flies as an air crew member.  He is a volunteer providing one-on-one support for individuals in their depot maintenance wing.  Stu’s official title is a member of the "Wellness" team.  On the home-front, their 25 acres of property keeps them busy. Part of their property is in hay that they both sell and use to feed the animals.  They have limited their Foxtrotter "herd" to three horses, and Marnie and he are both working them using the Parelli training system.  They don't have far to go to get them up into the mountains—just across the road.  Stu continues to serve on the staff of their local church and function as a Chaplain for the Utah Civil Air Patrol.

Jack Bright just got back from a short trip to his home town, Cedar Rapids, IA, and the country side was GREEN with this year's new corn crop.  He had a great time visiting relatives—even the ones he’s never seen before. 

Following retirement from Lockheed Martin and 11 years in England and Albania, Pat and Marilyn Buckley are settling into their new home in Satellite Beach, FL and getting tips from Hector on how to retire. They are 5 miles north of Gene and Judy Davis and 1 mile south of the Patrick AFB South Gate. All four met with Charlie and Linda Neel during their visit to Florida two months ago. Gene and Judy are getting Pat and Marilyn introduced to the local community. Pat and Marilyn moved to Florida to enjoy the water and have been getting local checkouts on sailing, motor boating and kayaking on the Banana River and the Atlantic Ocean. They are now trying to finish settling in before leaving for New England, England, Albania, Italy, and Spain in August through November.

Anne and Tom Eller just returned from a Baltic cruise including Warnemunde, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Kiel, and Copenhagen. They visited another Eller in Tallinn—if they are actually related, the branch was at least 300 years ago. Terry and Carleen Storm were on a different ship right behind them, but they were never in the same port at the same time. Tom will be teaching Physics at USAFA again starting in August. This summer they have attended Anne’s mother’s side reunion in Arkansas, Tom’s mother’s side reunion near Atlanta, and the international Eller Family Association meeting in Nashville.

Congratulations are in order to Bruce Hinds’ son, Bruce J. Hinds III. A July 9th White House press release naming him began, "President Obama today named 100 beginning researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.  The recipient scientists and engineers will receive their awards in the Fall at a White House ceremony." You can read it all at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Honors-Outstanding-Early-Career-Scientists/. His son is a professor at the University of Kentucky doing work with Carbon Nanotubes (CNT).

Jim Hourin said that his nephew John Hourin (Jack), son of his brother Tom, entered the Class of '13.  If any of our local classmates would like to be a Cadet Sponsor to him, please contact Jim for more information about Jack.

Someone once said beware the Ides of March.  A lot happened to Bob Kellock and Samantha Carlson in March. First, Samantha went to a web site to get them tickets for a day sail on the Lynx, a replica of the 1812 American privateer.  On the web site, she saw that they were selling berths for the 100th anniversary running of the Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, which was first won by a topsail schooner quite like the Lynx (which is a square topsail schooner).  Never one to be reticent, she applied, and to their mutual surprise, was accepted!  There followed much plotting and planning, her sailing needs, Bob's airline ticket and their condo, and their return tickets. In the meantime, the system safety lead for Bob's division took a hurried retirement to go work for another company (at a much higher salary), and they asked Bob to take over on an interim basis beginning in April.  He said he would, for 6 or 8, maybe 10 or 12 months, but not permanently.  Both events are continuing. Samantha left for Hawaii on June 29th, Bob leaves July 9th, and they come back on July 19th.  Bob's having a ball resurrecting a robust interest in system safety, practiced like it ought to be.  The C-17 program office is having fun putting up with him, too.  Just like any old pilot, he calls 'em like he sees 'em.  That doesn't always meet with the expectations of the government or division management. They took a few days off at the end of April to go on the Newport to Ensenada Race with a friend on his Hunter Legend 35.5.  It was a good race, with wind all night.  They turned it into a two-day vacation in Ensenada.  Had a ball!  Bob came home by bus, and Samantha helped bring the boat home - good practice for the Transpac!

Their next trip to Patagonia, AZ, is planned for Labor Day.  They haven't been there since February.  They still expect to retire and get an airplane.  Some more events to go away first!

Jerry Mason said that he and Jo recently had a bobcat visitor who hung around the pool for about an hour. [Photo will be on our Class Web Site with the Final Draft]. This is one reason why they can't have a cat or small dog. (PB, when you go over to visit, better leave your little guys at home.) In other news, their granddaughter Katherine, who's about to turn 14, just became Florida state softball champion (probably with a little help from her teammates). In the eight game tournament, she batted .500 and made an unassisted double play. It's on to the ISA World Series in a few weeks. Kat has set a high standard for her younger sisters, who are heavily into softball too. Having canceled reservations for a big European cruise, Jo and Jerry are now planning a more modest vacation to Albuquerque/Taos/Santa Fe in August. They hope to share an adult beverage with any Graytaggers who are in the area.

Joanie and Lee McCleskey spent a great week tent camping on the Buffalo National River in NW Arkansas in early June.  It has been a while since they camped by tent, and it worked out rather well.  Joanie can produce great meals under most any conditions.  Oh, besides it being a cool, peaceful place on the river, they had a mission.  Back in February 09 a terrific ice storm crossed northern Arkansas.  Many trees had the tops broken out, and many more were totally uprooted.  Unfortunately, lots of these trees fell across the fire trails throughout their property.  Working with a local friend with a BIG tractor for part of the time, the three of them cut, trimmed, pushed, and whatever, to clear the trails.  Needless to say, they were tired puppies at the end of each day.  After returning to Aggieland, they taught Vacation Bible School for another week of June, then turned around and taught it again to kids at a church in Galveston, TX, where they had suffered much from Hurricane Ike.  They were also able to do a good bit of work on the Galveston church building while they were there.  That was a blessing for all the members of their Mission Team.  Just as they were about to depart the church after the last event, Lee managed to fall off the back of their truck.  That was almost the last week of June and in mid-July he’s still limping and popping pain pills.  However, no bones were broken and no casts were required, so they are very thankful for that. For the last half of July, they plan to attend a family reunion in Georgia and to visit nine of their grandchildren in the Northern Virginia area.  Rolling with the travel trailer for that distance ought to provide an economic stimulus, at least for the oil companies.  Two more grandkids are staying in Alabama while their dad, Lee and Joanie’s oldest son, is in Iraq for a year.  The final two grandchildren were at Lee and Joanie’s for the 4th of July and are now in Oklahoma watching their dad search for a new job in the IT world.  I guess you could say that they're pretty close to "Fast-Neat-Average-Friendly-Good-Good!" 

Hector Negroni continues to refine his ability to "do nothing."  He passed along eight tips on how to master that skill. If you are interested, please contact him.

Like many of the "61ers" Smokey Stover turned the "BIG 70" recently. He would like to say he ran a marathon, made a hole in one, had excessive profits on all his retirement accounts or something equally improbable, but those things just didn't happen. He did have a great Birthday Party with family and friends, however. There was a fine "I love me" slide show, set to '50s and ‘60s music and a special book full of letters and pictures from the recent and long ago past. Charlie Thomas, his first roomie (at Lowry), was a surprise guest. Who would have thought a guy from Queens, NY and Miami, AZ would make great roommates and friends. You just never know, do you? This is a picture of all the Stover family. Note the "70" on the front of the shirts and the stilted demeanor of all. Smokey was glad they could get them all calmed down for the picture. Daughter Laura chose the following writing on the shirt back: "Y.G.B.S.M! Smokey Stover's 70!" Great family and great friends. Nothing else really counts! [Picture will appear with Final Draft on our Class Web Site.]

Jimmy and Susan Poole celebrated his 70th birthday on July 1st in Beaver Creek, CO with two of his children and their families. The Colorado cool nights were a welcome change to the 100 degree days in Alabama. Highlights included a climb to the top of the "climbing wall" at Beaver Creek and a 10 mile bike ride with the grandchildren. [Pictures will appear with Final Draft on our Class Web Site.]

Debbie and Les Schneider are busy, as usual, with four of their six children still at home. Their oldest, Andre' just started a new job with State Street in Kansas City as a Financial Fund Manager. Paul, soon to be 21, just surfaced from a 2-month cruise on a Trident sub as a Missile Technician. Yes, he went Navy enlisted! Oh, well! Their other four, Ellie (17), Heidi (15), Leslie Anne (11), and Troy (8) are all enjoying the summer with lots of swimming and sports. Everyone but Les will be going on a float trip in mid-July. (He has to work.) In August, they will all go on a family road trip to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Paul will be home on leave. Their 8-year-old, Troy, is playing baseball on two teams (one school, one select) spring, summer, and fall. Practices and games keep them going, as he’s sure many of us can remember. Les continues to work for Flight Safety Int'l as a Training Center Examiner (Check Airman) on the Embraer 170/190. As with so many businesses these days, it is slow, and they have laid off many but look forward to some new contracts and increased activity this fall. Debbie and Les just celebrated 15 years together on 7/7 and look forward to at least another 15. By the way, his health is excellent, leading to some optimism about those next 15!

Carleen and Terry Storm had a wonderful Baltic cruise over the 4th of July.  Terry got to see Helsinki and Stockholm and Carleen, Berlin; those countries are their ancestors'.  He appreciates everyone who voted for him for the AOG Board of Directors; he will probably be the Chairman by the time this is printed. Please send him your thoughts and comments.

Charlie and Gina Thomas had a family gathering (three children and four grandchildren) in the Florida Keys in June. On July 9th, they flew to London to begin a 12 day cruise including England, Scotland, Shetland Islands, Norway fjords, and Ireland. They are looking forward to seeing classmates during the next football season.

Twy Williams reports a busy over-scheduled spring with almost no sailing. He and Nancy are enjoying an occasional opportunity to baby sit their sixth and youngest granddaughter, Leah, when they can catch up with parents Robert and Holly who live about 4 hours away in Roanoke. They recently returned from a quick 4-day trip to Santee, CA, to enjoy the wedding of Twy’s oldest grandson, Christopher Bojorquez, to Robin Knowles. Five sets of grandparents were present to claim them for their own. This is an international family in the making. They are about to take a breather and travel to Maine where they will visit with Nancy’s sister and husband in a fine old cabin on Green Lake near Ellsworth. They have missed visiting them the past two years and are looking forward to reading on their porch overlooking the lake, fishing, cold water swimming, and of course sampling the local seafood, especially the "lobstah". Nancy and her sister will scour the local shops for NE goods. Twy also reports that despite a growing list of aches and pains, he and Nancy are both reasonably healthy and life is good.

Tom and Judy Wilson find themselves getting on the computer daily to follow the BCT schedule and trying to visualize what their grandchildren are doing at any given time.  Tom says the AOG website has a link to the "Webguy," who provides the daily schedule of the Basics and a variety of pictures.  It is quite an advance from our Basic days. It really brings back some special memories and reminds him of the life-long ties and friendships of the whole class of ‘61 that developed from those early "trying" days.  Like many of us, he wouldn't trade those experiences for anything -- wouldn't necessarily want to repeat them -- but is so glad we all went through it together.  God Bless us all.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear enjoyed their trip to Greece, especially Crete. He’s still trying to figure out where all the dolphins are that they kept referring to. In Crete, after taking pictures by a sculpture of three dolphins, he asked a guide and was told that dolphins are in the Mediterranean—just not near there. They are having a great summer, having attended two family reunions in Missouri, and enjoyed fireworks and cookouts for two days on July 4th and 5th with the families of their son Kevin and daughter, Maura. (A local grandson was in soccer camp and missed the celebration on the 4th.) Brian (’85) decided to retire from the Air Force, so he and his family have just bought house in Louisville, KY, and are awaiting closing to move in. His parents are looking forward to having them only about 5 hours away by car.

  Thanks to all contributors for sharing with the rest of us. We remain interested and would like to hear what you others are doing, too.

 

April 2009

DC Mini-Reunion, October 1-4 (AF/Navy game). Lowell Jones advises that their committee, will soon need attendance information.  A registration package will be sent to all on the GTN in the May/June timeframe.  Those not on the GTN (or on the GTN and not receiving an email by the end of June) should call Lowell at (540) 898-9387 or send him a card or letter addressed to 10007 Four Iron Ct., Fredericksburg, VA 22408, and he'll send you the package.  They are receiving quite a few attendance inquiries already and are expecting a good turn-out.

Mark Anderson said that the San Antonio '61ers had another lunch gathering on March 26th at a local restaurant. In addition to the "regulars" they were joined by Lee McCleskey, who drove down from College Station.  They will be gathering again on the 4th Thursday in April (and beyond).  If anyone in "shouting range" would like to join, please call or email any of them (Mark Anderson, Jack Bright, Larry Freeman, John Goodley, Richard Smith, Jim Ulm, and Jim Wild). One other note, the local Alamo Chapter of the AOG had its annual Founders Day Dinner on April 4th, attended by five ‘61ers.  Guest speaker was Steve Lorenz, former Commandant and now Commander of AETC. 

Pat and Marilyn Buckley left Albania on 22 January 2009 and visited family and friends in southern England, Ron Muller in Washington DC, family in Boston, MA, Brice Jones in Telluride for skiing and rejoicing, Salt Lake City for skiing and party making arranged by Bob Brickey. (Participants included Brickeys, Barazzones, Boyds, Hinds, McNultys, Pooles, and Westbrooks) in synch with some from ’59, ’60 and ’62 and then to Baker City, OR, to visit Bob Heriza and Judy Brookhart for a day of skiing on great powder and several days of visiting and local sightseeing. Pat harassed Bob about his promised book and told him all his classmates were getting impatient waiting. On 10 March, about 6 weeks after their Albania departure, Pat and Marilyn arrived in Florida to close on their new home. They have now moved in and are catching up on unpacking, buying appliances, furniture, and all the other stuff, as well as catching up on mail trailing them since December ‘08. The weather and company are good. Charlie and Lynda Neel, and Gene and Judy Davis (who live 5 miles down the road) had lunch with them on the beach on April 4th. Pat thinks his 31 March retirement from Lockheed Martin is working as the email and telephone call volume is near zero. Their new address is 723 Ventura Drive, Satellite Beach, Florida 32937. Pat’s telephone is 321-745-0187. Let him know if you will be visiting the Cape Canaveral area.

Jan and Randy Cubero and Carleen and Terry Storm attended the annual Founders Day Dinner on April 3rd at the USAFA Falcon Club (formerly the Officers Club).  General Regni ('73), our AOG CEO, "T" Thompson ('73), and Emcee Gary Howe ('67), T's deputy, as well as this year's Distinguished Graduates Don Shepperd ('62) and John Martinson ('70) and their presenters were each very eloquent. They are all outstanding representatives of our graduates, the AOG, and USAFA.  We should all be very proud of our CEO "T", who has greatly enhanced the image of our AOG. Terry thanks all of you who have voted and the many who continue to ask for input on the candidates. If you haven't voted, please do so by the end of April.  Terry and Carleen will take a Baltic Cruise in late June, visiting their ancestral origins for the first time: Germany for Carleen, and Finland and Sweden for Terry. With the end of USAFA Spring football practice, the C Springs 61’ers now anxiously await the fall season, which affords them a much better opportunity to interact with our classmates and their spouses than does the rest of the year.  Linda and Bill Griffis, on a Colorado vacation from Florida, will join the Storms for the first game, and the Storms also look forward to the '61 mini-reunion at the Navy game in D.C. in October.

Dick Davis is recovering from a total knee replacement.  He guesses he is at the age where parts wear out. He had a good knee for fifty years after it was fixed at Fitzsimons Army Hospital following a soccer accident.  In November 2008 he was pleasantly doing both riding and swimming and all of a sudden he had a bum knee, darn that frog kick!  Three surgeons recommended total knee replacement. After trying physical therapy at the pool for two and a half months, he decided to have a surgeon in Colorado Springs do the operation.  There was a hitch and he had to go back to have high powered beads of medicine implanted in his knee to cure an infection. That worked.  He has started physical therapy, probably too aggressively, and recently acquired a blood clot below the knee that is now being treated with Coumadin. As far as he can tell, it is now under control, but Dick said that prayers on his behalf would be appreciated. 

Wayne and Erna Haring keep busy ministering in church and other outside activities, such as breakfasts, lunches, and bible study. Erna also is a member of Republican Women, takes flute lessons, and plays in a band. Wayne visits the local cigar shop every morning, where he smokes cigars and drinks coffee while they solve the world’s problems in their discussions. Occasionally, Randy Cubero joins him. The end of April, they are traveling to Battle Creek, MI, to attend his granddaughters' communion services.

Bob Heriza and Judy Brookhart were visited by Pat and Marilyn Buckley in early March.  The weather was a bit wintry, but they got in one good day of skiing.  Pat and Marilyn explored a lot. Marilyn was a bit awed by the vast, unpopulated high desert in eastern Oregon and western Idaho.  Bob is writing an average of 2 hours a day on "Man's Flight Through Life."  It will be ready by our 50th.

Tom and Liz Hill wintered at their Florida home. Tom returned in time to continue coaching high school baseball and will follow that with the American Legion baseball team, which has been very successful at the state level in recent years.

Peggy and Henry Howe had an opportunity to visit Israel in January as part of a peace/fact finding tour to connect/engage Israelis and Palestinians for peace. They met with Israeli settlers, toured Palestinian refugee camps, talked with Israeli activists, and met two men who had shared family losses at the hands of the others’ race but who now are able to call each other brother and seek to end the cycle of revenge and violence. Henry had the experience of learning what it felt like to be a refugee living only with what he had on his back and in his carry-on bag. Air France (bless the French) managed to lose his luggage for the entire trip. What remained of the bag and contents arrived at his home two days after he returned to Texas. Both Peggy and Henry are well and busy. They did not get out Christmas greetings this year and most likely will not get out the Easter greetings either since he is in Loveland, CO, trying to care for Peggy's father as he celebrates his 92nd birthday.

Attendees for the Tuesday, March 3rd DC luncheon (Westwood Country Club, Vienna,VA) were:  Charley Dixon, Bill Foster, Lowell Jones, John Kohout, Jack McDonough, Ron Muller, Tom Pattie, Jim Rogers, and Bill Sanzenbacher.  Three from the Northern Neck, VA (Nunn, Stackhouse, and Williams) wisely decided not to challenge the icy, narrow roads to get to Vienna.  On Monday, the DC area and east received 6 to 10 inches of snow, so it was good that nine were able to make it.  It was good to have Tom Pattie make the trek from the western Virginia mountains.  Again, the Westwood staff and management gave them preferential treatment and great food - thanks to the influence of Jim Rogers.  Jim said he and Linda will probably be making the move to Naples, FL, somewhere in the June/July period.  They will be missed, for sure.  Their group already has lost the Buckleys to Florida.  After ordering their meals, they discussed more aspects of the October Mini-reunion.  They decided that May will be the time-frame for asking for attendance commitments and getting another article in the next Checkpoints.  They also discussed the upcoming April Peachtree get-together near Atlanta, sponsored by Mike Rawlins and Doug Cairns.  After eating, Doctor-Professor Ron Muller gave them his perspective on the current economic crisis.  He really knows his stuff (to include the global aspect). That's most likely why he's still teaching.  They had a great amount of discussion and give-and-take with everyone attending.  We have many astute classmates in the financial/economic arena.  Lowell said he can't even remember taking economics at USAFA.  Thanks again to Ron. 

Hector Negroni said that "For the last few months I have been working to finish what I started after I completely retired from all jobs seven years ago.   What have I been doing?  NOTHING!  I really feel sorry for all those who must be doing something.  Hey relax…we are not getting out of this life…alive.  Take advantage of your free time and do nothing.  Sure, we all think that we know how to do nothing. We all know how to lie around and waste time. But many of us are too busy to do it much, and when we do it, our minds are often on other things. We cannot relax and enjoy the nothingness.  Doing nothing can be a waste of time, or it can be an art form. Doing nothing is healthy and it can improve your life, melt away the stress and make yourself more productive when you actually do work.   The Art of Doing Nothing cannot be mastered overnight. It will take hours and hours of practice, of hard work (doing nothing isn’t easy!).  But you will enjoy every minute of it!  Try it today.  I am so busy with doing nothing that I can take time to read Jimmy Poole’s Air Force song lyrics.  But of course, I never forgot them since I had to learn them as a Doolie!"

John Payne said that he recently had his ring repaired by Balfour center in Texas. There are still people in freight receiving who do not know about the agreement between Herff Jones and Balfour.  The first time that he sent his ring in for repair, they sent it back because it was not made by Balfour.   It is best to call Janie Trevino first, tell her what you want done to the ring, and let her know it is on the way.  Go to www.balfour.com, customer service for the address.  Telephone 512 444 0571.  Send it ATTN: Janie Trevino.   (Note that her name is Janie, not Jamie, as we had earlier thought.) They did a great job on his ring: resized, replacing his old chipped stone, and completely polishing it. It looked like a new ring when it returned. The Paynes and the Pooles met recently in Pensacola, FL, for a short visit.  Jimmy, Susan, John, and Mary attended a concert by a relatively new group called Celtic Woman. The group consists of five lovely Irish ladies. Four of the ladies are vocalists, and one is an unbelievable violinist. They perform traditional and modern Irish tunes.  Since their first tour in 2004 and their specials on PBS, they have won national and international acclaim. Jimmy and Susan were taking some time at their condo on the Alabama Gulf Coast.  John and Mary still reside in Daphne on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.  Jimmy looked great; he said that he is still running to stay in shape.  The group mutually agreed to catch Doug and Dee Cairns, along with Neal and Gwen Westbrook in Montgomery, AL, for their next get together.

Charlie Thomas flew to Phoenix in April to visit his brother - - AND to celebrate the 70th birthday of his first Zoomie roommate, Smokey Stover.

Winnie and Bob Wagner have their grandkids there for spring break, having just returned from a trip to Alaska. Their first objective in Alaska was to see the Aurora, so they spent three days at a lodge in Bettles, north of the Arctic Circle. The venue for the Aurora display was the snow-covered ramp at the small uncontrolled airport serving the town of twenty-six inhabitants. At 0400 hours and a temperature of -20ºF, Win and he sat on chairs in their lodge-provided arctic parkas and bunny boots and watched the display. It was a beautiful, quiet peace in a grand cathedral. During daylight they had a snowmobile trip through beautiful country and stopped in the middle of the wide, frozen Koyukuk River. They also went on an awesome dog-team trip, and during that short time gained a great respect for the Iditerod competitors. Immediately after the trip, and while attempting to avoid the yapping, excited dogs, Bob stepped off the narrow trail and went into waist-deep snow. While he tried to extricate himself—and with Win waiting patiently nearby—one of the dogs calmly lifted its leg on Win's new snow pants. Up there, they take great steps to ensure the Arctic experience is authentic! They were in the state for two weeks, also seeing Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer, and Seward. The train from Fairbanks to Anchorage was a real treat. It was wonderful to see all of the beauty in the less-crowded wintertime and talk to a number of the "sourdoughs."

Judy and Tom Wilson are about to return to Minnesota after a terrific month in the Sarasota area.  What a nice break from their harsh winter. It is now official: both of their oldest grandchildren DID ACCEPT their respective appointments to USAFA Class of 2013 and will report at the appropriate time this summer.  You all can imagine their pride in each one.  They plan to see you in Colorado this fall!

Gayle Zompa is spending most of her time in Galveston now since her condo in Colorado was sold.  Their little island community was hit hard by Ike and has not had the benefits of media and celebrity that Katrina victims were given, but it is a resilient community that is pulling things together.  The best news is that the University of Texas Medical Branch that was badly damaged will be returning to its full strength – eventually – although some greedy people wanted it moved.   Son Ted’s West Isle Urgent Care Clinic is doing very well, as is his family down there.  Gayle goes to Boulder frequently to see Kristin, Craig, and the grandkids there. Kristin is still working as Vice-President of the Gartner Group, traveling worldwide. Gayle travels as much as she can, with the goal of spending the kids’ inheritance.  She’s working on her bucket list and discovered she could visit four places much cheaper by taking a round-the-world-cruise than by seeing them individually.  Wouldn’t Ed be proud of her for figuring that out.  She misses him and does wish he were there to join her.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear enjoyed a March visit in Indiana from their daughter and her family. Their AF son, Brian (’85), and his family are headed to Bahrain this fall, where he will be the Defense Attache. Nelson and Teri are visiting some of the Greek Islands (Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete), as well as Athens, in May. They hope that some of the unrest there settles down, at least during their visit. Bahrain will most likely be on their schedule next year.

 

 

January 2009

The annual "Hospices of Sonoma" charity Pinot Noir auction and related festivities will not occur in 2009.  The Foundation that has produced the event in the past has passed the baton to new management, who have increased the scope of the event, amped up the funding, changed the venue to San Francisco, and re-named it "Pinot Society." Classmates will still be invited to participate in the traditional parties, field trips, and other events surrounding the actual event itself, but will have to wait until 2010 because similar recent fundraising efforts have had limited success.  The delay will also give the Society additional time to craft an unforgettable experience that is unparalleled in the Pinot Noir world.

Attendees at the January 14 61ers' DC area luncheon were Charley Dixon,
Lowell Jones, John Kohout, Hector Negroni, Ron Muller, Jim Rogers, and Roger Woodbury. Three of their regulars had to bail out the day before due to sickness and jury duty (good excuses).  They met at the Westwood Country Club, Vienna, VA with Jim Rogers as host. They received the royal treatment from the Club staff, along with the usual great food.  Most of the time was spent discussing the details for the October 2009 Class of 1961 DC-area mini-reunion (see below).  Other items of note:  (1) Thanks to Hector for facilitating another astonishing picture of the attendees; 

(2) Appreciation to Roger for another 3-hour one-way trip from NJ just for the luncheon;  (3) Interesting to note that so many Gray Tags are moving to FL - Jim and Linda are making another visit to Naples to check on the home-building progress. He said they will golf with the Tom and Mimi Skilling, who are now in FL. And we all know that Pat and Marilyn Buckley will soon be at their home closing in Satellite Beach, FL.  What's so good about FL?  (4) Last, but surely not least, they asked Ron Muller (the medical marvel) to give them a summary on his battle to restore is health.  Since April 30 last year, he has had a serious blood clotting condition, two hip replacements (in which he has excelled in recovery), and stage four prostate cancer.  With hormone therapy, his PSA is now less than one, and several other areas (where the cancer has spread) are now in remission.  What a story, including the adventure with the medical insurance!  He gives his thanks to many of our classmates who have helped in his difficult situation. (P.S. At the same time, adding to his challenge was the catastrophic weather event that hit in late April during the construction of the environmentally-controlled Dutch Greenhouses, a core of his sustainable, organic produce enterprise.  What a shame, since the latter was named the 2007 number one U.S. venture capital investment by Investors Circle, and only now is it finalizing a partial insurance settlement.) 

  2009 DC Area Mini-Reunion: current plans, and not an attendance request. That will come in the spring and summer, as well as in the next Checkpoints.  Because of the weak economy (hopefully coming back by October), we want classmates to have a rough idea of costs.  It still would be a good idea to get your hotel reservations when you know you're attending for sure.
      Schedule of Events:  Thursday, Oct 1: Late afternoon social at the hotel.  Friday, Oct 2: Sight-seeing, golfing, shopping.  Evening catered-party at Hector and Joan Negronis or a social/banquet hall (depends on size of group).  Saturday, Oct 3: AF Navy football game, sightseeing, golfing, shopping.  Evening catered-party at Bill and Theda Fosters or social/banquet hall.  Sunday, Oct 4: On your own for breakfast.  Depart.
      Hotel: You can now make reservations at the Fairview Park Marriott
Hotel, 1 Oct 2009 through 4 Oct 2009, call Marriott reservations at 800-228-9290 or 703-849-9400.  The name of the event is "US Air Force Academy Class of 1961 Reunion Room Block,"    Reference # 1-SB6EY8.  The rate is $122 a night.   Reservations must be made by 10 Sep 2009.  There may be a minimal cost for snacks at the hotel Thursday evening, and it would be a cash bar.
      Navy Game Football Tickets: They will be requesting football ticket reservations this spring, estimate $45 each.  A Tail-Gate party at the game sponsored by the AOG will cost about $20 to $25.  
       Bus Transportation (to and from game): $40 each. They expect to car-pool or use the hotel shuttle to get to and from the Friday and Saturday evening activities.

      Catering (Friday and Saturday night get-togethers):  $40 per person per activity, including wine and beer.

       Administrative Costs:  There may be a small cost per person for miscellaneous items and for those who attend the Thursday social. 

Remember that Terry Storm is up for election to our Board of Directors. Randy Cubero reminded me, along with the fact that he, Mark Anderson, and Tom Eller all support his bid. Let’s all get behind Terry. See page 5 of our December 2008 Checkpoints for details.

Mark Anderson said that the San Antonio Graytags have gathered for two luncheons of late and have a third planned for January.  Attendees: Mark Anderson, Jack Bright, Larry Freeman, John Goodley, Richard Smith, Jim Wild, and Jim Ulm.  They welcome anyone else who is within traveling distance or passing through. Jim Wild sent this picture of their last luncheon.

Marty and Richard "Doc" Arnold drove to Port Aransas, TX, to bring in the New Year with Jim and Maureen Hannam and other Air Force friends.  Marty and Maureen were roommates at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, in the 1965-67 era, while Jim (USAFA '63) and Doc defended the free world from Communist aggression by sitting on Victor Alert.  Jim and Doc were later stationed together as Yankee Air Pirates at Korat AB and again at McConnell AFB where they were instructors in the F-105.  Weather at Port Aransas this year was mild, and the golfing was memorable.  Marty and Doc were once again reminded just how BIG Texas is, especially driving from the Panhandle to Corpus Christi.  They all had a great time.

John and Lydia Boesch are in their fourth year leading their community's fight against forced annexation, which would primarily bring them lower quality services and (much) higher property taxes.  The delay is rewarding, but it surely is time consuming.  In the midst of this, for reasons known only to a higher authority, they purchased a dog grooming business -- "A Dog's Life".  Interesting, but not recommended at this time.  They are feeling blessed by the fact that the recent "Stage Coach Road" fire, north of Boulder, encircled but did not damage their daughter's home.

Bob and Jan Brickey met Pete and Patty Lane in Desert Springs, California, January 3-10, for a week of visiting, golfing, eating, walking, and drinking wine: a reunion for Pete and Patty with a high school classmate and a renewal of good memories that covered some 50 years! They talked about a reunion of "Gray Tags" with an invitation to include our children and our grandchildren. How would that appeal to the Class of ‘61 Officers, or the Class members?--Do we need, or want such an event? "Oh yeah, dear friends Jimmy Poole and Doug Cairns: What is a 'Crimson Tide'? [Doug responded: An Auburn War Eagle is a Tiger that flies. I have no idea what a crimson tide is. Ask Westbrook.]

Jack Bright remained in San Antonio for the holidays.  John and Casey Goodley made sure he was well taken care of with a wonderful Christmas dinner at their home in Helotes, TX.  Jack gave up counting all the Christmas trees that Casey put up and decorated in their house when he ran out of fingers to count on.  Kidding aside, the decorations inside and outside their home were BEAUTIFUL!  (Wonder if John helped?)  Jack had an unexpected visitor last month, which turned out to be a fantastic visit.  The navigator he flew with out of Nakhon Phanom RTAB, Art Fisher (USAFA Class of 1967), stopped by in his motor home on his way to Florida.  It was great to see him again.

In December, Doug and Dee Cairns visited his mother in Virginia and then flew to Italy to visit their son and his family in Naples over Christmas and the New Year. They enjoyed having the grandkids as translators; they have been there 4½ years with "total immersion" this year. The weather was rough and the vacation villa in Tuscany rustic, but the lines at the Vatican were short. Rob retired from the Army last summer and is now in the Navy as a civilian planner on the CINCNAVEUR staff. They seem to like Italy and have gone native.

Dave and Lilly Carlstrom spent a holiday vacation with their son's family in California. Dennis Dillon lived close by so Dave took a chance and rang his doorbell.  After waiting for a bit, while he finished a meeting with remodeling contractors, they had a great visit.  Dennis and Cynthia are moving out during reconstruction, so Dave was lucky that he caught them. They had a good time comparing careers.

Carroll "CG" and Janell Carson are still enjoying life in Iowa. He devotes a lot of his time to his seven Percheron horses and their care and feeding, which includes cutting, baling, and putting up hay in the summer for them in the winter. (Maybe he and Stu Boyd should compare notes.) CG said that he likes using his horses to demonstrate horse-powered farming at local events. Of note to those pushing wind farms, CG noted that they became the center of a wind farm in 2008, and that it has not been entirely pleasant. While they may be more "environmentally friendly" than some other means of producing electricity, the whirling blades and noisy generators now disrupt the quiet they formerly enjoyed in the country.

Randy Cubero is still involved for half days with the Falcon Foundation until his term expires in 2010.  Thereafter, he will continue as a Falcon Foundation Trustee and will be able to play more golf than he is playing now (although Jan thinks that's impossible).  Jan retired in March 2008 from being VP of consumer loans from the Peoples National Bank in Monument, CO, and now spends her weekdays being the Au Pair to their three young grandchildren in Colorado Springs.  This past year they very much enjoyed the 50th anniversary of the 1958 Cotton Bowl Team which had its reunion in Colorado Springs during the CSU Rams vs USAFA Falcons football game.  Randy will always remember with great fondness the team being introduced after the first quarter of play to all the spectators, and the entire stadium standing up and waving in their honor.  It was a very special moment for all of those older football dudes.   The other big news has been the birth of their first GREAT grandson, Aiden "Moose" Cubero on September 3, 2008.  Randy started calling him "Moose" much to the chagrin of the rest of the family.  He then asked his grandson, Christopher (Moose's father) whether he thought Aiden would mind his calling him "Moose."  Christopher thought for a moment and replied "Nah, I don't think ‘Porkchop’ would mind!"  So much for nicknames in the Cubero clan!

Dick Davis journeyed to south Texas for the holidays and visited his eight grandchildren.  He found one to be exceptionally musically inclined.

Tom and Anne Eller enjoyed a rare occasion: all their children and grandchildren were with them for Christmas in Woodland Park. That included lots of USAFA affiliation: USAFA61 grad, USAFA96 grad, USAFA11 cadet, plus two future possibles and a male Eller grandchild due in April. They had a wonderful time with family.

Richard "Dick" Fairlamb said that 2008 was his 15th year providing Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning services and training to all kinds of companies. He and Sylvia would like to take a cruise across the Atlantic, from New York to Southampton, and then perhaps take a road trip around Scotland and Ireland; however, they will remain a bit cautious until the doctors give Sylvia the okay to travel again.

Bill Foster is now the elected Vice-President of the INOVA Fairfax Hospital Auxiliary, overseeing 1200 volunteers.  The Auxiliary raises over $4 million a year for the hospital.  Bill is primarily involved in raising the funds and determining how they spend them at the hospital, but he also interfaces with the hospital’s management, and helps recruit more volunteers. He asks that we don't call him "Joe Biden."

John and Casey Goodley left San Antonio on 30 Dec and drove out to Nevada (S of Carson City ) to visit #2 daughter. Spent several days there and then drove down to San Diego to visit #1 daughter and grandkids. It was a nice trip. They were able to avoid all snow falls. Left San Diego and headed home to San Antonio. They stopped for a couple of hours in Tucson to visit with Jimmy Wilhelm and PB O'Connor and their wives. They have a nice place to "Snow Bird" during the winter. It was a good visit. Jimmy gave them the grand tour of the area, and it was impressive.

Tom and Liz Hill decided to abandon the cold in Indiana and have gone to spend the winter in their Florida house. Tom said that they will return when it is time for baseball. He really enjoys coaching some of the high school kids in Elkhart.

At last report in July ‘08, Bob Kellock and Samantha Carlson were searching for a replacement for her Venice nest which was being reclaimed by her landlady.  After failing to find an ideal spot, they decided to move in together in the Long Beach townhouse.  It was perhaps one of the best decisions they’ve ever made.  Within a month, both of their blood pressures were under 120, and the fears they had for combining their pets were unfounded.  Four cats and a dog (all rescued) managed to settle in quite quickly, with a minimum of fussing and no damage.  They were able to enjoy the FAC Reunion and Memorial Dedication, with local departure and arrival from Long Beach.  They visited their digs in Patagonia, AZ, over the Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, and the holiday break. During the latter trip, sort of a practice retirement period, they began to look for a little airplane to ease the transition between California and Arizona.  They plan to split their time between the two places for a few years and would also like to do some touring by air.  Unfortunately, about the time they met in 2003, Bob’s heart went all aflutter on its own, not due to Samantha.  That may leave them in the light sport aircraft category or require that Samantha get a private license (or maybe just a partner landing and FAC VR certificate).  Right now, theye’re looking at all sorts of aircraft.  The retirement plans are firming up for about May of this year, but they haven’t decided for sure, nor has Bob formally notified Boeing yet.  Adventures abound, with a dog walk in the middle of a javelina herd (12-15 head), some more sailboat race committee work, and a surprise trophy for their long-term volunteer work in sailing.  Samantha is the trophy master for the Harbor sailing association, which awarded its major trophies at its Installation Dinner on Jan 16th.  She has refurbished one, and all are up-to-date, thanks to her extensive attention to detail!  Life is good!

Mary Francis Koerner continues to travel a lot, including trips to California to visit her son’s family. When in Virginia, she spends time at the Smithsonian museums, as well as enjoys time with her daughter’s family—especially her two local granddaughters and their annual Christmas Tea.

Bill Lane and Ruth hosted Ross Shulmister in the Lanes’ hillside home outside Nashville.  Bill proudly showed off some of the suburbs' affluent neighborhoods, and the two partook of Nashville's finest ribs and other culinary delights.  Dessert was high quality musical entertainment in front row balcony seats at the Grand Ole Opry, in the historic Ryman Auditorium.  Ross returned to South Florida in a single hop, in a Cessna 172 at FL 190.  "Couldn't get any higher."  Hmm.  Wonder how they meant that?

Jerry and Sue Lefton spent Christmas with their son in Tucson after having spent a week in beautiful Sedona, AZ.  They are now in Palm Springs for a week and enjoying golf at Mission Hills CC and Indian Wells CC.  From there they go to Las Vegas for a week and more golf for Jerry and more casinos for Sue.  Then back to Tucson until mid-February.  They plan to return home via San Antonio and Bay St. Louis, MS.  They also plan to go to Augusta in April for the Masters.

Jerry Mason and Jo Sucherman are enjoying their Tucson midwinter weather, having sent a picture of them sitting outside while enjoying a margarita. Another picture showed Jerry actually dancing. No explanation whether this was the result of the margarita(s), or whether Jo convinced him to do it cold sober.

Charlie Moores retired from Applied Dynamics Int'l in Ann Arbor, MI, in September 2004.  Maureen and Chelsea moved to Austin, TX, in June of 2005.  He followed a year later after failing to sell their house in Howell, MI: a failure they are still acutely aware of every month. They bought a building (and eventually a home) in Marble Falls, TX, and Maureen ran the major commercial renovation project beginning April 06 through their opening of Marble Falls Floral Design in Dec 2006.  The business was progressing nicely until the gas prices soared and the economy dived. In June of 2007 Charlie finally saw a doctor to confirm that he has contracted Parkinson's, which medication is minimizing.  Knee surgery (that dang clip in the 1958 Wyoming game!) was accomplished January 9th, and he will finish January with a prostatectomy.  They've closed their store for January and February, so Charlie should  have some time to catch up on e-mails and phone calls.  Chelsea is a senior at Marble Falls High School and busy with the college applications and scheduling auditions for vocal performance. Maureen and Charlie are truly blessed by having her in their lives.

Earl and Sondra Saunders and Worth and Joan McCue hosted a festive Christmas Party on a cold and snowy night in Monument, CO.  Attendees included Susan and Tom Conley, Jan and Randy Cubero, Anne and Tom Eller, Jo and Dean Jones, Lynda and Charlie Neel, Carleen and Terry Storm, Clarice and Frank Willis, and the newest local, Dick Davis.   White elephant gifts such as Earl’s previously won bowling ball (which Worth "won") were exchanged, and exchanged, and…. Good times were had by all. 

Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse are enjoying the fruits of their labor in their home on the Northern Neck of Virginia, including striped bass that Bill catches. Bill sings in a choral group, and Rhoda continues her career in speech/language pathology with children. Bill said that he passed the mirror test and was elected president of the ‘Bay Tones’, the 30-member choral group in which he sings. Their annual show is always sold out.

Terry and Carleen Storm said that they went to the Falcons’ Armed Forces Bowl game in Fort Worth. While there, they ran into Randy and Jan Cubero at a downtown restaurant by happenstance. Their separate groups of friends gorged on $12.95 lobster tails.

Gina and Charlie Thomas have the travel bug. In February, Charlie has a Defense Communities meeting in San Antonio. In April, they hope to join Brice and classmates for the Hospices of Sonoma event. In June, the Thomas Clan - three children and four grandchildren - will join Gina and Charlie in the Florida Keys for a week. A "swim with the dolphins" is part of the vacation. Finally, Gina and Charlie fly to London in July. From there, they cruise to Scotland, the Shetland Islands, Norway fjords, Ireland, and back to the UK. Their house in Albuquerque is NOT for rent.

Ad Thompson expressed many thanks to everyone for the kind words and thoughts regarding the loss of their house and all of their belongings in the recent Santa Barbara fire. To quote their California Governor's movie character, "I'll be back..."   (although it will probably be over a year before their house is rebuilt).

Jim Wilhelm said that a lot of '61ers end up in sunny Tucson during the winter.  They started the new year off with a house warming for PB and Marilyn O'Connor, attended by Jerry and Sue Lefton, Jim and Nancy Wilhelm, Jerry and Jo Mason and Dave and Kathy Beck.  (Kathy was married to Ted Mize.) John and Casey Goodley stopped in Tucson on their return from visiting their daughters in California and Nevada, so that was another reason to party.  Plans are in the works for a blowout Super Bowl party, which will include all of the above, plus Tom and Susan Conley from Colorado Springs, who will be visiting Dave and Kathy.  See all the fun you're missing by not being a Snow Bird!

Twy and Nancy Williams traveled to Roanoke, VA, to greet their new granddaughter who arrived on the morning of Christmas Eve. All is well, and they are proudly distributing photos. Meanwhile their boat is on the land awaiting spring.

Tom and Judy Wilson are so looking forward to late February when they depart for sunny (and warm) Sarasota. They are hardy "old" folks, but this winter is one of the coldest in their memory.  Many of you are laughing at Tom, in particular.  You may remember, and Judy reminds him this time each year, that HE WAS THE ONE WHO CHOSE TO LIVE IN MINNESOTA! Guilty, but he/they still enjoy a short winter.

They do have some wonderful news to share, however.  Both of their oldest grandchildren -- Mick Powell (Tam's) and Haley Wilson (Tommy's) have received senatorial APPOINTMENTS to USAFA, CLASS of 2013! Tom and Judy are as proud and ecstatic as you can imagine, BUT they have no real idea if either or both will accept.  They are trying very hard to keep their advice to a minimum.  Stay tuned! Otherwise life is good, and they hope to see more of those classmates in the Colorado Springs area more often in the next few years.  Brace yourselves!

Roger and Mary Sue Woodbury thoroughly enjoy their granddaughter Emma.  Mary Sue baby-sits every Wednesday, Roger’s day is Thursday, and they get to have her some weekends.  Kids are too smart these days. They are experiencing a renewed learning curve, having to deal with the working mind of an almost two-year-old.  If she keeps moving at this pace, Roger thinks he has a chance of becoming computer literate.

Teri and Nelson O’Rear are headed to Las Vegas to visit their AF son, who is stationed at Nellis AFB, and his family. Then, they plan to swing by California to visit Teri’s sister and her husband. As it turns out, their plans are timely since the temperatures in Indiana are expected to get below zero during their 12-day sojourn in a warmer climate. (They are hoping that their flights are not delayed/canceled by their local weather.) They enjoyed a very nice Christmas with their Virginia granddaughter and their local son and his family. A weeklong visit by their two Iowa grandsons afterwards topped it off very nicely.

Thanks to all who shared. It is always nice to catch up.

Super Bowl party in Arizona

 

 

November 2008

Bob Best said that after over two years in construction, Cathy and he are finally in their "last" new home.  They had to move before Cathy's school year started, so they are still doing the finishing touches around them, as well as completing the landscaping.  Bob thinks they have the most beautiful view in Arkansas!  The welcome mat is out.  He suggests going to visit them soon, before the economy forces them to convert to a Bed and Breakfast. Pictures below.

John and Lydia Boesch watched more golf than they have played this year.  Following long-time friend and touring pro, Paul Casey, they visited Torrey Pines, CA (US Open), Akron, OH (World Golf Championship at Firestone CC), Greensboro, NC (Wyndham Championship), and Louisville, KY (Ryder Cup at Valhalla CC).  They recently "popped in" for a birthday celebration with John's daughter and her family, in Boulder.  John and Brice Jones shared a mini-reunion during Fleet Week in San Francisco, in October.  John is eagerly looking forward to the end of his second (last?) term on the Property Owners’ Association in his community.

George Buchner and Doug McConnell rendezvoused for a trip to Oshkosh, WI for the annual July/August Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) fly-in. Doug lives on Wonder Lake, 30 miles northwest of O'Hare, with Carol and his 105 year old mother-in-law, Nellie. He is a former President of the International Aerobatic Club, which is a division of the EAA. These two former test pilots spent four days viewing and commiserating about props and the jets. There were wall to wall forums on "rich of peak" and "lean of peak", "AV gas Vs. Mo Gas", how to shoot down an ME-109 by Bud Anderson, how to roll your IRA into a hangar and many other esoteric topics unknown to most mortals. The trip was capped off with Chardonnay and steak on Doug's deck overlooking the lake. Why the B-25 photo? George flew from Wurtsmith AFB to Lowry AFB on a B-25 on July 3, 1957.

George and Doug

Jim Darnauer observed a 50th anniversary for the Class of ‘61 when he attended the wedding of his son Joel on Mount Tamalpias on June 08. As he recalls, most of us visited the Nike site there in the summer of ‘58. It was a nice site for a wedding and a happy occasion. Now they are expecting a new grandson early next year. While he is still working full time as an engineer on Bradley vehicles for BAE systems, Joy and he have been doing quite a bit of traveling. In the last ten years, they have made 8 trips overseas: 1999 - Italy; 2001 – Scandinavia and St Petersburg, Russia; 2003 – London and cruise back to NY on the QE2; 2004 – China; 2005 – Greece and the Greek Isles; 2007 – Wine tour around Barcelona, Spain; March of 2008 – Israel and the Nile; and November of this year they are going around the world including the final voyage of the QE2 from England to Dubai where it will be permanently berthed as a hotel and  restaurants. Their return will have brief stops in Bombay and Shanghai. Jim doesn’t any plans to retire yet, but he thinks about it. He is not sure what will push him to make the change.

Paul Dean had the privilege of singing with the fathers and sons of choir  students at Trinity High School, of Euless, Texas on October 20th. He doesn't have a son at Trinity, but since his son, Mike Dean, is the choir director, he was invited to sing. Singing with a choir of 200 men reminded him of singing with the Academy choir. Trinity High School is noted for its diversity of the student population and has one of the top ranked high school football teams in the nation. Watching the Tongan students leading the football team in a Maori pregame war chant (The Haka) is the highlight of the games. Trinity was the Division V state champion in football last year and is the top ranked team in Texas at the present. Paul just completed his 300th round of golf with the Twin Wells senior golf association in Irving and plans to stick around for several hundred more!

In September, Lou and Kate Hablas traveled to Rapid City, SD, to attend the 40th reunion of the 28th Wing Association.  While there, they toured Ellsworth AFB, climbed into a B-1 bomber, and listened to a comprehensive briefing by the present wing commander.  Five of the six member B-52 crew Lou first flew with as a young copilot were in attendance, due to the yeoman work of their former aircraft commander, Colonel Bennie Jew.  It was a trip full of positive memories.

Pat and Bruce Hinds spent September and October in Europe.  It was a good time to visit, with the improvement of the dollar and the lack of tourists making the service great.  Most of the time was spent in Eastern Europe since they had never been there before, mainly because of the restrictions on Bruce from his previous occupations.  They also spent time in Bavaria and the Alps.  One of the highlights was a visit to the old family brewery in Lichtenau that has been in continuous operation since 1489.  They returned to Evergreen, CO, for a little elk hunting, fishing and getting ready for the ski season.

Henry and Peggy Howe just returned from a five-day cruise in the Gulf out of Houston. He had spent almost a week in Houston after Hurricane Ike running the CAP communications station while air crews completed the largest civilian photo mapping exercise ever for the State of Texas. The ground teams were busy shutting off the Emergency Locator Transmitters and the equivalent transmitters for boats in the area.

Dean and Jo Jones, and Charlie and Lynda Neel traveled to Wales and England for three weeks in September. Checked out all the canals, locks, tunnels, bridges, and aqueducts on a "Narrow Boat" (6.5' x 65') for a week, with frequent stops at nearby pubs. They were self-crewed but managed to get back with the same number of pieces. The scenery was spectacular. If you haven't done this, GO! They didn't have to face death more than three or four times.  They then went to Lincolnshire to visit Charlie's old RAF station and buddies at Binbrook, near Lincoln. The base is closed, there is only one Lightning aircraft left there (privately owned), and the long-abandoned Officers Mess is a MESS. And the buddies are getting OLD. They closed out the trip with a stay in the Cotswolds, in a tavern/B&B that dates back to the mid-1600's. They visited most of the villages, pubs and antique shops. This is the land of Shakespeare, Oxford, the pagan stonehenges, Roman ruins, and Jane Austen. It was just like living in a Thomas Kincaid calendar scene. Huge fun. 

Lowell and Sandy Jones left Myrtle Beach, SC (after six weeks there) to head home, as they usually do, via the NC and VA Blue Ridge Mountains, to enjoy the great foliage.  Earlier, when they were at the Peachtree Mini-Reunion at Lake Lanier, GA, in April of this year, they found out from Frank and Patsy Kiszely that they have a "log cabin" in Blowing Rock, NC - only a few miles from where Lowell & Sandy would be camping.  And the Kiszely's were going to be there when the Joneses arrive on October 13th.  So, plans were made, and they spent nearly two full days eating-out, shopping, and having a gourmet meal at the Kiszely's.  Lowell & Sandy were pleasantly surprised to meet George and Betty Knebel when they got to the "log cabin".  George was a pilot training classmate of Frank at Webb AFB (63B), and since that class had many ‘61er's and George flew C-130s (like Lowell), there was a lot to talk about.  By the way, the "little log cabin" is not little.  It is a beautiful palace with an absolutely stunning view of the mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Frank and Patsy were perfect hosts, and the Joneses now know why they spend a good part of every year there.   

Jerry & Jo (Sucherman) Mason send along news of Jo's son Todd, who is featured on the cover of both major drum magazines, Classic Drummer and Modern Drummer. Todd is the drummer for the rock band Styx and for Brian Wilson, and has just released an instructional DVD that is garnering rave reviews.

Hector Negroni said that in 2009, our government will begin deporting all the weird old people, and he started crying when he thought of all of his USAFA classmates.

PB O’Connor said that the news is sparse, it being so psychologically draining this campaign season.  He could go on a rant about how some close friends we thought we knew have refused to even listen to the reasons not to elect BO! Nonetheless, he is proud of his little Town of Caswell Beach "Best Little Beach Town in America" as they host the riders of the Wounded Warrior Project finishing up their NC "ride" there on their beach at a Bar-B-Q sponsored by their community on October 25th. Mer and PB had the privilege of retiring their son Kevin and his wife Cathie from the USAF in August after 23 years of dedicated service.  Can't begin to praise them enough for not only their allegiance to our country and its ideals, but also accomplishing the last 17 years of the effort with a totally dependent and still severely handicapped daughter--not to mention two fine healthy sons.  Some people fashion their halos well before meeting St Pete.

Mary and John Payne are still living a quiet life on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay at Daphne, AL. Mary is still working and John stays busy running errands, doing chores, working on the lawn, etc.  They managed to dodge two more hurricanes this summer.  However, due to Katrina in 2005, the home insurance rates have gone up considerably.  Some people a little farther south of them even have a problem getting any insurance.  For this and other reasons they are looking at moving a little farther north. 

John’s son, John, Jr, Major, USMC, is on a short tour in Iraq and hopes to be back in January.  This is his fourth time in the area since 2003.  Our military is definitely getting stretched. Their thoughts are with all our classmates who are having health problems.  This will be a continuing battle for all of us. 

Jimmy Poole spent four days hiking the Appalachian Trail in Late October. After seeing "The Bucket List," he has begun to check off some of the things he intends to do before "old age" dashes up.

Dennis Ray has just started to oversee Royal Roads University's programs at five sites in China. They produce more full-time equivalent students (FTE) than Royal Roads’ programs in Victoria.  He is also about to launch a family business certificate program with a colleague in alliance with their university.   One of the most exciting activities is working on their MBA revision to create what they hope is one of the most innovative MBA programs anywhere.  His family is doing well, and he has taken up an exercise regimen once again to help maintain his physical fitness.

After his recent appointment and participation, Terry Storm has been asked by many graduates and others to run for a full term on the AOG Board of Directors.  After his key role in hiring T. Thompson, the new AOG CEO, he is certain he is needed to help T fully implement the Carver model of modern Policy Governance that Terry introduced to the AOG, which definitely needs it.  Please review the candidate information as you receive it and vote in the election after the first of the year; he requests you please vote for him and advise your graduate friends to do so.  He asks that anyone who wants to discuss the Board and/or the candidates to please call (719-476-8111) or email him at tstorm@ppar.org.  He also requests that you please contribute to the AOG’s Saber Society and Annual Fund; the AOG is in financial stress; the AOG and USAFA need your support.

Jack Taylor reports that the Evergreen "Escadrille", i.e., Det. 1, USAFA61, in Washington, gathered at Jack Taylor's house in October for some "Pro Nobis" before everyone scattered and became occupied with the upcoming holiday and winter season. 

 The Hopps will go to Arizona for the winter in early December, while the rest of them rust and grow moss.  So they thought they'd have a nice dinner to send them off.  Normally, if they maxed attendance  for a detachment event "everyone" would number 11, including wives; however, they could muster only eight since Oly and Betsy Komarnitsky were in Utah, and Holly Kerr was checking on the daughter now residing and working in NYC.   Attending were Art Kerr, Gene and Annette Hopp, Corky and Pat Cochrane, Dick McMonigal, and Jack and Linda Taylor.  They enjoyed a delicious dinner, swapped updates on the families, and watched a DVD of Gene and Annette's recent Viking Cruise/Volga/Russia river cruise produced by a Russian tour leader on their summer trip to the Gulag.  The movie was most enjoyable and of great quality.  Obviously, the guy had had some training in photographic surveillance techniques prior to his river gig (and, if questioned, would be able to produce our dossiers).  Gene and Annette even performed a Volga River version of "Dancing with the Stars" for their fellow cruisers.  Jack gave them a six.  By the way, Annette will retire as a flight attendant from Delta the end of October.  She'll have more flying time than Gene.  So when you see them, ask about their trip to the Kremlin and the Hermitage. They also talked about the idea of joining everyone next year at the mini reunion in the other Washington.  They hope to do that. Everyone else is fine and keeping busy.  Unfortunately, as we age, it seems that we're reduced these days to discussing the best stool softeners, cholesterol pills and, yes, how silly those ads are for "E.D."  None of us can imagine anything lasting four hours.  What's the problem with that, anyhow?  Oh well...So for proof that they are all still able to stand without support, they offer the photo taken on October 18, 2008, at approximately 1600L, from left to right:  Gene Hopp, Art Kerr, Dick McMonigal, Corky Cochrane, and Jack Taylor.  Vote!

Bob and Winnie Wagner had a sixteen-day river cruise in July-August from St Petersburg to Moscow. Four days each in St Petersburg and Moscow and a nice time down the Volga waterway. Great sights, and one highlight was standing in Red Square facing the Lenin tomb, with a brightly painted St Basil's to their left and the Gum store (now with religious icons on the facade) to their rear. It was chilling to reflect on the newsreels and photos they had seen showing Papa Joe and his crowd reviewing the troops from the tomb during the May Day parades. Their tour guides stated that eighty percent of the country's wealth is concentrated in Moscow and ten percent in St Petersburg. Those numbers, their walking by the ship's map of this huge country, and their hearing the guides' stories of the Gorbachev/Yeltsin/Putin transition, gave them plenty of material for more reflection. Overlay that with the Russian invasion of Georgia and their reaction to today's economic mess! This month they joined friends in San Francisco for birthday celebrations, and spent two days on the floor of Yosemite Valley and three at Lake Tahoe. They were blessed with beautiful weather on both trips.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear really enjoyed their Rhine River cruise in August/September. The 16-day cruise originated in Switzerland and ended up in Belgium, also visiting cities in France, Germany, and The Netherlands along the way. Visiting Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam and hearing stories of how the Nazis decimated the Jewish population in that town from 125,000 before the war to about 4,000 afterwards refreshed their memories of the brutality of WWII. They also saw the area where Audie Murphy won his Medal of Honor during a winter—not summer, as the movie depicted—battle, as well as Arnhem of A Bridge Too Far fame. Two fellow passengers had lived in Holland during the war. One day, two German soldiers went to the home of the uncle of one and shot him to death for being part of the underground then. Although Nelson and Teri took the cruise to enjoy the scenery and see many historic sights, they had not anticipated the history lessons that came with it.

Thanks to all who shared. It is always nice to catch up.