April 2002 Class Column

Col. William B. DeGraf 
April 2002

It is only April here, but a Spring thunderstorm is booming outside. A nice time to visit with all of you.

The Class was well represented at various Founder’s Day Bicentennial celebrations all across the country, but particularly at West Point. My spies spotted at least 19 classmates, most with wives, plus Mary Ellen ShepherdGeorge Lear’s widow. While most were from the East Coast, the Bests and the Leavitts came in from CA. Everyone I spoke with had a great time. By the way I very successfully watched some of the proceedings several days later on www.virtualwestpoint.orgDave Hughes has been one of the prime movers in setting that up.

The celebration at Ft. Leavenworth, KS had Dick Trefry as the guest speaker (and Bill Buckner ‘48 as the oldest grad). Frank Duggins reported that we had several there to represent the Class: D.B. & Eleanor King, Hersch & Evelyn Chapman, Waxy & Charlene Manion, and Jordy & Judy SeitzMark Hanna could not make it, but Frank had a chance to visit with him. By the way Frank says the accommodations are great and price is right.

The gang at the Melbourne, FL celebration failed to get a group picture, but Otto Kuckhahn got a few people out of the 30 or so he thinks were there. That is he & Trudy with the FD coat. The other shows Hooper & Helen Adams and Barbara & Bruce Petree. Otto also says that his son Karl, Jr just was promoted to LtC in the Chaplains Corps, after 18 years service. Promotions still slow.

 Al Griebling was all alone as the only Class rep at the Founders Day ceremonies in Denver and Colorado Springs, CO.

For coming events at West Point the 27th “Wolfhound” Infantry Regiment, 25th ID, is planning a 50th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony on 9 August. One of the principal honorees will be our classmate John Weaver, who was killed in the battle for Sandbag Castle on 6 Sept. 1950. Anyone interested can attend the service at 1000 in the Old Cadet Chapel. For more info contactJLKenefick@aol.com.

All these references to the internet remind me to mention our web page at www.usma1950.com. We post a lot of interesting things there and Win and I hope to have corrections to the rosters we recently sent out on the page. It is amazing how you people keep changing addresses, phones, and e-mails.

Down in Hampton, VA the local Elks lodge recently recognizedJim & Ann Tormey as 2002 Hampton Outstanding Citizens of the Year, for their nine years of effort on creating a city museum for Hampton. Both, of course, have long been active in the community with Jim a past president of the Red Cross Chapter there and Ann founder of the Hampton History Museum Assn. Interestingly the local high school football stadium is named for the Tormey family.

In Latta, SC Joe Griffin, as president of the local West Point Society, has been working hard on telling the bicentennial story. He was able to get Dr. Steve Grove, the West Point historian, to address the Rotary Club on the history of the Academy. At the same time he was remembered by his church for all he has done there by naming the vicarage “Griffin House” in his honor.

Earlier this month Robin and I joined Win Skelton and Paul & Ruth Gorman in Austin, TX for another Bolduc wedding. Blackie & Mary’s son Michael married Deirdre Nelson on 6 April (his parents 51st anniversary) with all his siblings, their spouses, and their children present. It was quite a crowd and great fun.

At Christmas time Al Fern came to DC to see his daughter Charlene (Charlie to many of you), who took him to a reception at the White House, where she works as speechwriter for Laura Bush. Al, looking like a very proud papa, managed to get into the picture with the two Bushes. On the same trip Al had a good visit with his A-2 companymate Dick Rein and his wife Treva, so Al and Charlie get double coverage this column.

 Also at that time Bob & Martha Morrison were up in AK with their son Jack and his wife Nancy (nee Groseclose) and their girls. Bob enjoyed the chance to ski and skate with all the young ones, while Martha took in the Winter Wonderland. Then it was back to Winter Park, CO for the Morrisons for more skiing and a hot air balloon ride.

Jake & Ann Jacobson recently took a 10 day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but first they had a good visit with Mort & Alyce Ray in their new home. The picture shows the two couples in front of Mort’s factory for electric outboards.

 Enroute to HI by way of San Diego, CA, Jim & Karin Thompson stopped by to see Chuck & Diane Friedlander. Jim reports that Diane is sweet as ever and Chuck is doing very well. Jim also says that the Hale Koa in Honolulu was very impressive, so all those going to the HI mini take note.

 Had a very interesting letter from Grayson Tate, telling of the funeral of Bob Douglass, who died 4 Mar of cancer. The service was held in Huntsville, AL and, in addition to the Tates, Chuck & Anne Means and Bob & Alma Hoisington attended. Bob planned his own service with West Point music and even cadet uniforms displayed. His wife Ginny and their two children, son Robert IV and daughter Susan, plus spouses and children were there. Ginny lives at 916 Rivlin Rd SE, Huntsville, AL 35801-2235.

Al Griebling passed along the word of the death of Jim Boylanon 8 Mar in Aurora, CO. Jim had been ill for several years. He is survived by his wife Mary Lou and two sons: James Jr. and Paul. Mary’s address is 13991 E.Marina Dr. #609, Aurora, CO 80014-3789.

Chuck Graham sent word on the memorial service for Sam Nicholson, who died 18 Mar. The service was held in Austin, TX and present were Chuck & Alice Graham, Don & Ann Smith, Bill & Trema Berry, John Vanston, Bennie Davis and Dick Weight. Sam is survived by his wife Priscilla and seven children: Charles, Mary, Betty, Bob, Marjorie, Amy, and Ted. Priscilla lives at 4903 Canyonwood Dr., Austin, TX 78735-6640.

On 14 Apl Jehanne Henry sent word that Bob had died that day in AZ. Jordan Seitz, who visited him shortly before his death, said he had been ill with cancer for some time. Jehanne’s address is Box 2391, Camp Verde, AZ 86322.

One other bit of sad news was the death on 21 Mar of Linda Ann Plewes, daughter of Nels & Margaret Thompson of a heart attack in her home in Alex., VA. The Thompsons’ address is 8347 Wagon Wheel Rd., Alex., VA 22309-2153.

Our heartfelt sympathies go to all these families.

The sun is beginning to come out. Enjoy these lovely days.