Summer 2006 Class Column

Col. William B. DeGraf   
Summer 2006

Hope you looked at the heading, for it is the new address for Robin and me. It appeared in the last column, but then I did not have the chance to point it out. We will be at The Fairfax, the Army retirement community near Ft. Belvoir. We join Ray & Peggy Singer and Marie Kaseman there, but we hope to see lots more of you around before too long.

The Melbourne gang gathered on 4 July to celebrate and to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery launch. Dick Steuart sent this picture of the happy group. On the left is Patti Barnes, the Barrys' daughter. Next to her are her parents Tom & Shirley Barry. Then Bob Hughes, Doris Byers, Carol Steuart, Andy Byers, Margaret Steuart with Pete & Carolyn Todsen in the background.

Another set of celebrants were Tom & Ginny Loper , first event: the arrival on 27 March of a great-grandchild. Rebecca's daughter Eleanor had a boy Mathew David Paczhcowski. Second event was the promotion of their son Tom ‘ 83 to colonel. He will be assigned to Ft. Belvoir as Cmdr. Software Engr. Center. The Lopers son Scott and his wife Debbie joined in the celebration. Their seven year old Erica pinned the eagles on Tom's black beret.

Down in Latta, SC Joe Griffin was given a surprise party at the Rotary Club for his 79 th birthday. His big gift was, thanks to his son Todd, an encased American flag that had flown over the Academy on Reception Day 2006. Todd has worked for the Academy for over 20 years.

That same R-day weekend was the AOG Annual Leaders'Conference. Win Skelton was there to represent the West Point Society of DC, John DiGrazia to represent the Society of Northern Nevada, Bill Ward as Director Emeritus and I represented our class.

Bess Banister gathered most of her family in Santa Barbara, CA for the marriage of her youngest son John to Rhonda Smith in the old El Presidio Chapel. Both work in the Santa Barbara school system. John flies out to Sierra Vista, AZ about four times each year to do Bess' yard work. Bess also said that Al & Bettie Crawford came down to join her for her 80 th birthday party.

Down in HOT San Diego Al & Nari Scholl had a nice lunch withChuck & Diane Friendlander in a restaurant near the Friendlandres' home. Nari is on the left beside Chuck in the picture.

Before they fled to CA to avoid the heat and humidity of FL (only to find CA HOT also), John & Ann Streit had a family reunion. All their children and grandchildren made it along with one spouse, a total of eleven in all. In the picture Gracie is on Ann's left and Nathan on John's right. Standing are son "Jep", daughter Laurie, grandson Josh, grandson Will, grandson Zach, daughter Kim and son-in-law Dan Wild.

While they were in CA the Streits had lunch with Dunc & Patty Joy . Patty walks two miles on the beach each day, while Dunc swims, fishes and plays golf.That should keep them in good shape.

Another classmate in good shape is Dave Hughes . Dave will be speaking and teaching at the Air-Jaldi Wireless World Summit in Dharmsala, India. That is where the Dalai Lama now lives. At the summit will be Buddhists from Tibet and Nepal, Hindus from India, Muslims from Pakistan, Sikhs from Amristar and a few Christians. Anyone interested try

In Naples Italy Bob & Rita White have had a number of visitors, understandable for such a lovely place: Bob & Janet Gard, Bill & Marilyn Gearan, Phil Harper, Dick & Franci Wyrough , and Dick Hoffman'son Rick. They also attended the retirement of Blair Ross'son Col. Blair Ross, Jr. Bob, by the way, still is working part time for Central Texas College while working on his golf game. Rita is still busy with charity work, the USO and the Navy League.

Bill & Mary Ann Read had a tough time during the heavy rains this June. They were evacuated by the Mt. Holly Springs Fire Dept.from their place near Carlisle, PA. When they finally returned home, the cottage was OK but the yard was a swimming pool, so it was back to Morganton, NC until PA dried out.

I mentioned in the last column that Barbara Merrill, Chuck Butler'daughter, was running for governor of ME. A letter from Philo Hutcheson said that he and Mitch had been collecting signatures and $5 checks to help her qualify for public funds, which she did. By happenstance Barbara knocked on the Hutchesons' door and quickly established the link connecting them.

A new email for Jim & Patti Kelly: Jim reports son Tom and his battalion have returned from Iraq and daughter Kate's husband is back from Djibouti.

Unfortunately we lost two wives recently:

On 11 July Carolyn Hughes, Bob'wife, died in Melbourne, FL after a long illness. In addition to Bob, she is survived by daughters Robin and Kitty and by son Andy. Bob lives at 1452 Goldrush Ave. Melbourne, FL 32940-6501.

On 21 July Lou Dixon'wife Elaine died suddenly of cardiac arrest also in Melbourne, FL. In addition to Lou, she is survived by son Jeff and daughter Pam. Lou's address is 1391 Cypress Trace Dr., Melbourne, FL 32940-1623.

Our sympathies go out to both these families.

Hope the summer and fall went well for you all. Send along your news when you can.