February 2003 Class Column

Col. William B. DeGraf 
February 2003

We had a white Christmas in Northern VA, yet by the time you get this, Spring will be almost upon us. Still I have a large stack of Christmas letters and notes on my desk. Will put the news from as many as possible in this column.

After fifty years Jake Allen finally was awarded the CIB for his Special Forces work in the Korean War. That should mean Vic Cuneo also will be getting his CIB. Vic & Carolyn, by the way, recently acquired a great-grandson, though I do not have details.    For several years Ann Tormey, aided by Jim, has been working as a leader to get a museum built for Hampton, VA. Their recent note included a picture of the nearly finished building, which will open in the Spring.

A couple of families had the pleasure of seeing offspring promoted in the Army. Volney & Janice Warner on 2 Dec. went to Norfolk, VA for the promotion to BG of son Volney ‘76. He is assigned as Dir. Strategy and Analysis for the Joint Forces Command.

Also in Dec. Ben & Malvene Lewis where present when their daughter Debbie ‘80 pinned on her eagles. She is currently at NWC but will be District Engr. in Portland, OR when she graduates.

Now that the holidays are over, those looking for something to amuse youngsters might turn to Computowitch. As explained in a recent Alexandria Gazette article picturing Jim & Bobbie Wallace, Bobbie’s “Miss Switch” books continue to generate interest. Now she has a website: www.computowitch.com. Her Miss Switch character isn’t Harry Potter style, the article says, but the books and site do offer “silly fun.”

In November at West Point the Col. George E. Lear Award plaque was dedicated in the new Crew and Sailing Center. The award goes to the outstanding cadet sailor each year.

 A Note from Rudy Cosentino showed a return address in Banning, CA, so he has moved. He is enjoying the challenge of finding mineral opportunities though at a somewhat slower pace.

Out in Monterey, CA Drew & Kay Rutherford hosted a dinner for John & Marsha McCleary, which included Andy & Buntie McFarland. Drew reports that his grandson Kevin got his first choice of branches: Infantry (Rah!)

Now to a random selection of Christmas letters.

Tom & Jinny Loper - Spent a week in Feb. in Nassau enjoying the activities there. Next was a trip that started in RI, which included the wedding of granddaughter Ellie, then off to a week in an Elderhostel in Cape May, NJ, followed by a visit with Joy Viskochil in a “cottage” in NC. Dec. it will be Sanibel, FL for Christmas with most of the family.

Reg & Sally Lombard - After their usual San Francisco, CA book fair, they moved into their new home at Piper Shores, ME. Both Kristen and Terry are nearby with grandchildren scattered about.

Jack & Bev Mackmull - Took an extended trip to OH then to Niagara Falls, NY. From there went to several colleges, ending up with a lobster tour of ME and back to PA Amish country, DC and home to FL. Christmas will be with Jack’s mother in OH.

Joe Griffin - Celebrated his 75th with twin brother Jack in MD, then on to West Point to see son Todd. As the local West Point Society president,the bicentennial had him speaking a number of times. Nov. brought son Joe III and his wife Martha to Latta SC.

Phil & Lorel Bolte - Still enjoying SC, but did spend a week in the Dominican Republic in Jan. The annual meeting of the US Cavalry Assn. was held at Ft. Sill, OK, so off they went in their motor home. A car trip to ME rounded things out.

Bill & Bettie Curry - Were at the reunion of the 21st Fighter Wing in San Antonio, TX. Celebrated Bill’s 75th in Austin, TX with family, then on to Greenville, TX for more family.

Kelly & Betty Jane Veley - In Mar. helped celebrate West Point’s 200th at Joy Viskochil’s place in Melbourne, FL, followed the next day by golf and brunch with Andy & Doris Byers. After that is was a 100th birthday for Mom in Lake Placid, NY. Son Craig has been called to active duty as a Commander in USCG during port security duty at Guantanamo Bay. August saw the Veleys moving to FL.

Bennie & Pat Davis - After the annual visit to DC, they went by Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, IN for Pat’s 50th class reunion. At home in TX they have three grandchildren in nearby colleges: Southwestern U, Texas U - Austin, and Baylor.

Dick & Anne Leavitt - Sold the Palos Verdes house and moved to La Quinta, CA near Palm Springs. Anne is enjoying the house and Dick the golf courses nearby. He still makes frequent trips to LA but hopes to stop that soon. Had most of the family there for Thanksgiving.

Tom & “Sam” Strider - Another busy travel year. Celebrated their 20th with a Caribbean cruise. Had an extended trip to New Zealand and Australia, followed by time in San Antonio, TX in July and August. In Sept. enroute to Blue Ridge Village, they visited Walt & Meredith McSherry, our ardent Republican. Walt told Tom recently of Walt being one of six to greet President Bush on his visit to Columbia, SC. The Striders on their way to Williamsburg, CA also saw Paul & Ann Mueller.

Dick & Marilyn Hunt - Lots of volunteer work. Dick started a “Meals on Wheels” program that is almost full time. Did get to AR in the Spring for fishing and some shows. Also met with Morris & Faith Herbert, Bill & Trema Berry, and Bill Baxley in New Orleans for the Tulane game.

Shirley Thomas - After the HI mini with June Elliott, went to June’s condo in Monterey, CA to catch her breath. Saw Drew & Kay Rutherford while there. Then in Oct/Nov took a “dream” train trip through the South, up the West Coast, back through Canada and down the East Coast. Six trains and never late.

Bob & Lee Werner - Had a family reunion again at Seneca Falls, NY followed by a cruise to AK through the Inland Passage. Thanksgiving saw everyone in Chagrin Falls, OH.

Jim & Karin Thompson - Celebrated their 30th and Jim’s 75thwith a Caribbean cruise for all the “adult” children and found all got on well together. Also Jim has been tapped by the Boise mayor to “straighten things out in the City Hall” after a local scandal. That should keep Jim busy.

Ray & Peg Singer - Are delighted with their move from CA to The Fairfax near Ft. Belvoir, VA and its nearness to family.

Bob & Martha Morrison - Had a wonderful Rhine River boat trip to the Christmas markets and found a lot of changes. Son Jim and family will be with them for Christmas while Jack and his family with be with Bob & Gwyn Groseclose in FL.

Norris & Jane Harrell - Did get in one cruise this year to the Med. Hope to spend some time in the DC area, for their daughter Becky, an AF colonel, has been assigned to the Pentagon and her husband Tim is Assoc. Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Alex.

Al & Marilyn Romaneski - Began the year serving the Christian Hospitality House in Kaiserslautern. After a short time back home they served several more weeks in the one in Vicenza, Italy.

Briggs and Betty Jones - Big news was the reunion at Hilton Head of ALL 43 members of their family. Of the 14 grandchildren only one is a girl.

Carl & Jackie Stone - Love the Quad-Cities area Busy with the Augustana Endowment Society and the Historical Society. It’s art and music for Jackie and vets for Carl.

I’ve still got a stack of letters but no space. Will have to save them for next column.

Unfortunately there are two deaths to report. Bud Blank sent word of Jean’s death of a stroke on 9 Feb. at home. In addition to Bud, she is survived by three daughters, Carol Reynolds, Julie Hunter, and Amy Wofford, eight grandchildren and one great-grandson. Bud’s address is 4553A Village Dr., Bellingham, WA 98226.

On 29 Sept. Blair Ross after a long illness died in Alex., VA and was buried in Jackson, TN. His wife Mary Ann died in ‘97. He is survived by a son Blair, Jr, and two daughters, Elisabeth and Susan, and five grandchildren. Col. Blair Ross, Jr’s address is C/S USASETAF(ABN), CMR427, Box 2105, APO AE 09630.

We send our sympathies to both these families.

Here is wishing all of you a wonderful 2003.