January 2002 Class Column

Col. William B. DeGraf 
January 2002

It is a beautiful, sunny post-Christmas Day here in No. VA. I have a stack of Christmas cards with lots of news, but first there are a few other things of interest. I will keep pictures to a few in order to save space. I’ll send the Christmas photos to Sandy Sanderson to post on the web page.

Unfortunately between my submission and the proof of the column in August, the names of the Quarsteins’ two daughters were omitted from those surviving Mary’s death. They are Pamela Gumpert and Marianne Riding. My apologies to all the Quarsteins.

Thanks to Ken Moll and his persistence, the Class has started the distribution of a set of four books about the Class: Joe Buccolo’s Memories of West Point, our 50/50 Reunion Book, Combat Advice for New Infantry Lts., and Phil Bardos’ book Cold WarWarriors. By the way for any of you who might want the last, it is still available through Xlibris at 808-795-4274. Profits go to the Class Memorial Fund. We have sent the sets to a number of Army, Air Force, and Navy museums and historical offices.

We still have a Classmate in a war zone. In Oct. Disk & Carol Steuart and three others landed at a remote dirt airstrip in Sudan ass a Anglican ministry team to developing countries to make a presentation to about 300 church leaders who traveled through the war zone to attend the conference. Dick & Carol, in addition to their heavy involvement in the Sudan, see family and friends along the East Coast of the US. In Dec they celebrated their “fifty wonderful years together.”

Another intrepid traveler was Dick Drury, shown in this picture with his son Bill at the summit of Mt. Whitney, highest in the lower 48 at 14,496 feet. Dick is on the left without bare legs.

In a lot more pleasant setting Morris & Faith Herbert and Will & Bets Henn took advantage of the AOG cruise to Italy in Oct. Herb, by the way, sent along a picture of the USMA stamp to be published on 16 March for the Bi(ret)centennial. All you philatelists be alert.  

In late June, Dunc & Patty Joy attended the wedding of their son David to Negar Mahdavian in Toronto. The couple honeymooned in the Maritime Provinces before settling down in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

This last picture is of Ed & Marcy West and their kids and grandkids, taken at daughter Steffie’s home in Vienna, VA at Thanksgiving. Ed tells me they still play football before dinner, on the street yet. Must be a tough gang.

Got a nice note from John Shelley, who lives in HI. He very kindly sent along a newpaper article on the Norwegian Star, the ship on which we will have our mini next Sept. It is a new ship and was on its maiden voyage to HI. It will be the first foreign vessel based there and has room for some 2200 passengers. Hope lots of you will be joining us there for the fun and games.

In Sept. Roy Easley, while visiting the first summer White House on the Rapidan in VA, met a Filipino Commodore Santos. He was at the USMMA Kings Point graduating in ‘50 and had gone to elementary school with Eddie Ramos.

Now to quick items from Christmas cards.

Bob & Alma Hoisington - Lots of long walks and daily church followed by breakfast at Burger King with Chuck & Ann Means.(By the way it was Bob’s son-in-law BG John Brown to whom we gave the set of books for the Army Historical Center.)

Bob & Gwyn Groseclose - In May it was an extended trip to AL and MO to see family and go to graduations. In Sept they were in AZ with Gwyn’s sister, a trip that got extended also due to the attacks on NYC and DC. Oct saw a great 50th anniversary party followed in Nov. by a cruise in the Western Caribbean.

Shirley Thomas - Several trips to Ft. Bragg, NC to see daughter Temple and her family. May/June was a time for a cruise with another due in Dec. Oct went on an Episcopal retreat in NC, where she could enjoy the changing colors again.

Wendy & Joy Phillips - Back in FL for the winter along withKen & Marilyn Moll. The two Phillipses joined Jack & Sara Hurst at the Naples West Point Society party for the A/N game.

Dick & Marilyn Hunt - Had dinner with Jack & Bev Mackmullin May, and joined old roommate Bill Berry and his wife Tremafor the Army/TCU game in Oct.

Gloria McBride - Waved goodbye to Grosse Point, MI, selling the house and moving to CT near two of the girls. She is enjoying seeing Classmates in FL, especially Otto & Trudy Kuckhahnduring the winter months.

Ed & Lee Pierce - Both are enjoying golf in FL with Ed semi-retired. Did get several of the children and grandchildren to join them in HI at their time share during the summer.

Carm & Barb Milia - Went to Disneyland in FL to see granddaughter Nadia acting as Mickey Mouse there and really enjoying it. A couple of weeks at the St. Lawrence cottage brought all the family to cruise the Thousand Islands in Carm’s new boat.

Jack & Bev Mackmull - In the Spring visited OH Amish country and KY Shaker village enroute to a 55th high school reunion. In the Fall they followed the old Route 66 to the southwestern US, seeing the old towns such as Santa Fe and Taos. Thanksgiving was with Kim and family in DC.

Tom & Sam Strider - Big news was the buying of a new home in Bonita Springs, FL, done while they were in Mexico. In Sept they were onboard the Marco Polo with a USAA cruise. The itinerary was changed to drop the Islamic ports, such as Casablanca.

Joe Griffin - Had several short trips around SC, but the big trip was up to West Point for the Society Presidents meeting on the Bi-centennial. It seems he was talked into taking the presidency of the WP Society of Grand Strand. Bill Baxley is helping him out.

Norris & Jane Harrell - They also were caught in Europe by the tower bombings, ending up in Rome to fly home. Earlier they had visited Becky and her family in Dayton, OH and went to Jane’s family reunion in IN.

Bob & Martha Morrison - Last winter they were skiing in Breckenridge, CO with Bob’s brother Bill and wife Helen. This year Christmas will be near Anchorage, AK where son Jack and wife Nancy (Groseclose)are living after his transfer from Quantico.

I still have a huge stack of letters before me, but no room left for them. Will try to get them into the next column.

Unfortunately, even at this time of year, there are lost ones to remember:

On 10 Nov Walt Vannoy’s wife Virginia succumbed to lung cancer after 50 years of marriage. She was buried in Lynchburg and is survived by Walt, a son Walt III, a daughter Jenna, and two grandchildren. Walt’s address is 4709 John Scott Dr., Lynchburg, VA 24503.

On 17 Nov Marge DuncanClark’s wife died suddenly of a blood clot. She leaves a son Bryan, two daughters, Sandra and Leslie, and 4 grandchildren. Clark lives at 7303 Zircon Dr SW, Lakewood, WA 98498-6445.

On 28 Nov Hal Gottesman died, also of lung cancer and was buried at West Point. He is survived by two daughters, Ellen Garber and Robin Levine, and a son Andrew plus several grandchildren. Ellen is his next of kin and lives at 10 Adams Ave., Short Hills, NJ 07078.

On 4 Dec Dick & GeeGee Slay’s son Michael died of unknown causes in Holmes Beach, FL. The Slays’ address is 1380 Mayflower Ave. SE, Melbourne, FL 32940.

We all send our sympathies to these families.

Now we look forward to 2002, starting in a year of war but with great hopes for peace. Best Wishes to you all.