Spring 2006 Class Column

Col. William B. DeGraf   
Spring 2006

The month of May will be memorable for the Class. Sunday about 40 of us will board the paddlewheeler Empress of the North for the Class Mini up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Later in the month classmates will gather at West Point to see Dick Trefry receive the AOG Distinguished Graduate Award.

This has been a good Spring for Dick . Not only did he get the AOG award, but the West Point Society of DC awarded him their prestigious Castle Award at the annual West Point Founders Day Dinner on 18 March. Those classmates and wives in attendance at the gala were John & Anne Brinkerhoff, Win Skelton, Roy & Harriet Lounsbury, Laurie & Dorothy Eek , and Jere & Evelyn Sharp.

The month of February was a great one for Joan Scandling Pimentel . On the 25 th son John was one of four given the Champions of Hope Award by the National Kidney Foundation of Northern California. John is Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of Adult Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at Stanford University. His program has achieved the best national transplant kidney survival rate for four years running.

Another bit of good news came from I.I. Steinberg . His son Andy has been nominated by President Bush to be Asst. Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Relations. Currently he is the Chief Counsel fo the FAA, so he knows the aviation side well.

Budding authors among our classmates continue to appear. The latest is Jim Tormey , who has done a lot of research on John Rolfe, who married Pocahontas. The result is a novel based on Rolfe and his history called John Rolfe of Virginia . He even gave a lecture on Rolfe at the Hampton History Museum followed by a booksigning. Robin is busy reading the book now, but I hope to get my hands on it soon.

Our other recent author Andy Byers along with Doris visited Ed & Marcy West in Boca Raton, FL during March, making “ wonderful presentation to our Culturally Speaking Group. ” Ed said that attendance was about 20% higher than usual and Andy made a big hit talking about his book The Imperfect Spy . If you want an autographed copy, contact Andy.

Yet another crowd gathered in Atlanta in late February to honor Andy and get copies of his book. Priscilla Glenn was supposed to send a photo of the group, but she was so caught up in visiting etc that she simply forgot to take a group picture. ” In addition to Andy & Doris Byers and Russ & Priscilla Tom & Shirley Barry, Bob& Carolyn Hughes, Bill & Marie Louise Ward, Joy Viskochil, Gloria McBride , and Dave Pettit joined in the fun and food.

Going back to the Wests Ed sent a draft of a real estate column he wrote for the local paper. In it he gave an interesting picture of New Orleans and his part in helping the recovery. His work in Homestead after Hurricane Andrew gave him good insight into many of the problems.

Another of our classmates reported on hurricane damage. Seems that Dean & Joyce Schnoor had their home on the bay in Milton, FL destroyed by Ivan. They have now moved into their place on their nearby farm.

Out west Bess Banister joined 39 others from her church making the five hour trip to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, where they ate huge shrimp and drank margaritas. She even planned to do some clamming. The group is called “ Young at Heart ” and is a fun group, going to plays and even up to Las Vegas.

In another exotic area Tom Strider managed to find a flight to much loved San Blas Islands off Panama, where he stayed in the Nalunega ' s Hotel for two nights, giving him a chance to see old friends and marvel at the changes that have taken place there.

In April I had an enjoyable lunch with Jim Thompson . He was in the DC area for a short family reunion. Seems that his daughter-in-law Dicky could only spare a “long weekend” here, since she has just become CEO of Drax Power, which produces 7% of the UK ' s power and is the only woman at that level in the power industry.

Frank King reports being very competently interviewed by a pair of Naval Junior ROTC members of the local high school in Solomon ' s Island, MD for a Library of Congress data base on experiences of the now-aging population of Cold War veterans. Frank now has his niche in history.

A rather unusual email came from Lawrence Butler, son of our deceased classmate Chuck Butler . He is working in Bosnia but wanted to let us know that his sister Barbara Merrill announced her Maine gubernatorial candidacy at the Charles Lewis Butler Army Reserve Center in Saco, ME in Jan.

Howard Johns says that he exchanges emails daily with his roommates Gordo Franklin and Tom Fife . He also said that the recent Founders Day Dinner in Tampa included Emmett & Rowland Lee, Dick & Ruth Newton, and Stud & Carol Heit.

Over in The Sudan Dick Steuart reports that things are beginning to settle down. He and Carol have been working in that area since 1978. Of late their work has been with Servant ' s Heart, a religious group focusing on education and life improvement.

Kevin Jones, son of Mark & Gloria Jones , was recently promoted to Colonel in the Army Reserves, where he commands a QM Petroleum Pipeline Group here in VA. At the ceremony was Army Reserve BG Michael Means ‘75, son of Chuck & Ann Means . Both Chuck and his son were in Air Defense. The picture shows the two class sons.

Got a gentle reminder from our class Archivist Joe Buccolo on the failure of a number of our classmates to give a complete listing of their biographies in the Register of Graduates. He notes that “many grads are reluctant to put in their decorations, but I tell them it is not for them, but for future generations to know the history of the class.” More than 10% of the class are lacking info. It is easy to correct that. You can mail in the form the AOG sends each year, call 1-845-446-1581, or go to Register-Update@aogusma.org. Also be sure your current email address is in their server so you get class mail. Just go to address@aogusma.org.

I am sad to report that Fred Hamlin'wife Helen died 10 Mar in Springfield, VA of complications after her stroke. She was buried in a cemetery near their home. In addition to Fred she is survived by six children: Catherine, Andrew, Robert, Carol, James, and Mary. Fred lives at 8620 Victoria Rd., Springfield, VA 22151-1226.

On 15 Mar Wilma "Tootie" Hansotte, Lou's wife died of congestive heart failure in La Mesa, CA. She was buried in Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, overlooking beautiful San Diego. In addition to Lou she is survived by three children: Beth, Jeff, and Eileen. Lou ' s address is PO Box 19324, San Diego, CA 92159.

On 11 April Lt. Cmdr. USN (R) Leslie Blair, daughter of Art & Barbara Blair, died in Pittsburgh, PA of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Lung Deficiency, which she has had for many years. The Blairs' address is 1203 Venture Pl., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464-7517.

I know you join me in sending our sympathy to these three families.

We are off for the West Coast. Keep those email and letters coming.