March 2008 Class Column

Col. William B. DeGraf 
March 2008

Another year in which to excel! Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and that you have a great 2008.

We can start off with a bang. Dick & Ruth Newton's son Dick was nominated in Dec to be a three star and to be DCS Manpower and Personnel for the Air Force. Those of you who were at the 55th Reunion will remember the fine briefing he gave the Class.

The picture shows them at a dining out for AFROTC at U/FL.

Another senior selection was Volney & Janice Warner's son Jimmy '76 as President of the new Army Civilian University, part of TRADOC. This is a new institution designed to create an educational system for Army civilians comparable to that provided officers. Should be a great challenge with a lot of impact.

Another great picture shows Phil & B.J. Pennington with their daughter Katie at her graduation from Kincaid HS. She is now a freshman at Texas A&M, where her sister is a junior.

Speaking of pictures the Portland Press Herald ran one of Wally Nutting in full uniform raising the flad on the new Veterans' Memorial Flagpole in Biddeford, ME, where he is just finishing his term as the mayor.

The (shudder) Army/Navy game had a bright spot when John DiGrazia went to San Diego, CA for an A-2 reunion with Chuck & Diane Friendlander, their daughter Lauren, and Al Fern. Those smiles in the picture must be from the call they got from Dick Rein, who was at the game with two of his sons. Dick said he enjoyed the spectacle despite the score.

Chuck tells me that the fire related repairs are nearly complete on their home. All the damage was to the landscaping unlike the house on the corner that burned to the ground. The stress of the fire and the evacuation was very high.

My mention of the '50 group at The Fairfax brought a note from Bob Wilson reminding me that down at Patriots' Colony near Williamsburg, VA, in addition to Bob & Peg, are Al & Bobbie Paulger, Lou & Muriel Wegner, Bill & Bettie Curry, and Walt & Shirley Adams. Also Mark & Gloria Jones live nearby.

Grayson & Ann Tate and John & Eileen Jones have taken up residence at Redstone Village in Huntsville, AL. John reports no "withdrawal pangs" from his home and yard care jobs. Most of the family were with them at Thanksgiving. Son Jeff, however, was at Bagram AB, in Afganistan and his wife Maggie serving in the hospital at Landstuhl, Germany.

Yet another set of neighbors in a retirement community are Art & Barbara Blair and Stan & Sally Reinhart at Fleet Landing in FL. They expect John & Sara Hurst in early 2008 with Howie Parks in the near future. Stan says they are very much enjoying the life there and only wonder why they waited so long.

Yet another recent classmate to enter a retirement community is Hank Singleton, who is now at Lanier Village near Atlanta, GA. He reports that everyone there is "friendly, helpful and cheerful," so he feels part of a large family there.

Chuck Graham sent word that Bennie Davis recently married Yvonne, a widow living in Sun City, and that they have been doing a lot of traveling. In addition to the Davises and the Grahams, Deck & Maxine Weight and Jack & Nancy Roehm also live in Sun City.

Paul & Ruth Gorman are enjoying their vineyard with the whole family now involved. The big news was their 2006 Viognier wine took a Gold at the Virginia Governor's Cup Competition this year.

I reported on Ben & Malvene Lewis' daughter Debbie '80 returning from Irag, but Ben sent a picture of the greeting she got at Dulles Airport. Ben & Malvene are on your left, Debbie is in uniform with her husband Doug '80 behind her. Her brother Alan USNA '80 is on her left. The others are Alan's family.

To celebrate Jim Thompson's 80th he and Karin assembled the family in Portafino, Italy with friends and family coming and going for quite some time, including grandchildren and even great grandchildren. The picture shows Karin with a young Italian girl photographer who just jumped in next to her, then come Chris, Conny, Celia, Jim, and Dicky.

For you bridge lovers, like myself, here is a goal. Joan Nickerson is now a Silver Life Master with over 1000 points. Fred is close behind, but he has been busy directing while she played. Joan says that Fred is her favorite partner.

Each year at this time Robin and I get a stack of Christmas cards, for which we thank all of you. Many have notes and letters of doings during the year, and I like to summarize them but this column has so much news that I have run out of space. Will try to do better in the next column.

This has been a sad time for the Class. On 7 Nov. Ed Crockett's wife Marcia died of respiratory failure after a long illness. In addition to Ed she is survived by two daughters, Kathyrn and Julia, and two sons, Brian and Ronald. Ed's address is 2888 Glenora Ln., Rockville, MD 20850-3053.

Also on 7 Nov. Don Dunbar died in Sewickley, PA. He is survived by his widow of 57 years Sally and two children, Rob and Laura. Sally's address is 922 Beaver St., Sewickley, PA 15143-1748.

On 14 Nov.Phil Samsey died of a heart attack. He is survived by his widow Anna, one daughter Kathleen, and two sons, Robbie and Toby. Anna lives at 468 Miracle Rider Rd., Prescott, AZ 86301-5799. His ashes were scattered in his backyard.

On 21 Nov. John Best died of respiratory failure in Riverside, CA. Bill Waddell gave a lovely eulogy at his funeral. John is survived by his widow Nancy, stepsons Victor and Chris anddaughter Lisa. Nancy lives at 6340 Merlin Dr., Riverside, CA 92506.

On 23 Nov. Jack Hanson died in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He was buried in the West Point Cemetery. He had no known family.

On 24 Nov. Ray Bonanno died after a long illness. He was a long time deacon in the Catholic Church. He is survived by his wife Audrey and sons Rick, Jay, and Mark. Audrey lives at 587 L'Ombre Ct., Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32547.

On 1 Dec. Peter Farrell died near Richmond, VA. He is survived by his wife Joan, whom he married at graduation, his daughter Sharon, and two sons, Thomas and Timothy. Joan lives at 1943 Huguenot Hundred Dr., Midlothian, VA 23113.

On 24 Dec. DS Wilson died in the VA hospital in Lawton, OK after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Cynthia, three sons by his first wife Jane: Walter, Brad, and Lawrence; and two step-children: Melissa and Todd. Cynthia lives at 2321 NE Village Dr., Lawton, OK 73507-2346.

We all are saddened by these deaths and send our sympathies to the families.

Now enjoy the last of winter and look forward to the promise of Spring.