Pres: CAPT W. Spencer Johnson IV, USN (Ret.)
Sec'y: Michael H. Shelley
164 Sweetwater Lane, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
h: 828-862-4245 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: http://www.usna63.org.
I was very pleased with the number of you who volunteered to run for Class Foundation Trustee this year. Many very qualified Classmates were willing to commit the time and resources required. As we have a terrific Class this does not really surprise me. I was also pleased with the ballot response this year as approximately 33 percent of you voted. That is more than double the highest response we have received while I have been in office.
The two new Trustees are Mario Fiori and Mike Rubel. Congratulations go out to them but also to all those who ran and to those who voted!
Thanks for the donations and the notes that some of you sent me and, most importantly, for the ongoing support you have given to the Class Foundation and its efforts to memorialize the best USNA class ever!
This has been a great year for us. Our first grandchild, Sophia Grace Brown, was born in January in Nashville. We were there and have burned up the road between St. Louis and Nashville since, turning into the quintessential grandparents who have worn out one camera and visited baby related shops from Victoria, BC, to York, England. The proton radiation treatment I received for prostate cancer over a year ago is working as promised to date. Minimal side effects, decreasing PSA, and feeling very good, thank you.
I am finishing up a six year term, the last two as president, on the board of Neighborhood Houses, a not-for-profit providing services such as after school programming and daycare plus many others to inner-city children and families through three neighborhood centers and a public school. In addition, both of us volunteer for duties at our church and I regularly teach adult Sunday school. We also fit in an occasional really bad (speaking for myself) game of golf along the way.
In addition to our travels to visit Sophie, we spent the month of October driving through Britain to see some of the rest of the country after visiting London several times. We rented a car and stayed in B&B's and crisscrossed the country from south to north including visits to northern Wales and southern Scotland. A highlight was Margarette and I celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary at the New Bell Restaurant in Edinburgh. Something I would strongly recommend to those doing independent travel in Great Britain, including London and Northern Ireland, is purchasing a Great British Heritage Pass, www.visitbritain.com/heritagepass. In addition to admission to almost 600 heritage sites, including most of the well known, the accompanying materials helped us set priorities and see very interesting sites we might have missed otherwise.
Margarette and John Boley aboard HMS VICTORY
Kathi and Chuck Calvano
Just before leaving we visited with Kathi and Chuck Calvano in London. They are in the midst of a hardship tour we should all be so lucky to endure. He arranged for a boat trip up the Thames to the Kew Gardens and dinner that night. It was great to see old friends and retell those sea stories. We got back to St. Louis in time for baseball playoffs and were lucky enough to be at Busch Stadium for the final game of the World Series.
I flew down from Washington on Friday, enjoyed walking around downtown Charlotte in the afternoon, and attended the Navy pep rally. The tailgate on Saturday was as good as the other two Navy bowl game events I have attended in recent years - the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco and the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. The Navy team played hard and well and the game was superb, except for the last two minutes.
At the Tailgate I saw Chuck Maclin and his wife, Dick Jones and his son, Leslie and Jim Spruance and their son Jake, Nick Nerangis, and Frank Gregory (who recently moved to Pinehurst, NC). I heard that Eli Dabich and Roger Tetrault were there, along with Walt Breede and his wife, and Keith Reynolds and his son.
Meineke Bowl tailgaters
Post-game dining in Charlotte
The Class of '63 dinner Saturday evening at the Mimosa Grill (recommended by Jim Ring's niece) was excellent. The attendees included Margarette and John Boley; Ollie and Duffy Doherty; Don Palen with wife, son, and daughter-in-law; Bernie Patterson and his lady friend; Polly and Wilson Harris; Judy and Hoot Gibson; Sue and Ben Cole; Sandy and Ollie Donelan; Mary Jo and Pat Curtis; and myself.
Bright and early on October 28, a group of 63ers boarded the bus at Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington to head up to see Navy try to break the string of Notre Dame wins. Kate and Jim Ring joined Arlene and Forrest Siburt, Al Sherman with his son Jeff, Jim Metcalfe and his sister-in-law Boots Hickman, and Wes Jordan with Jill Nelson. Everyone brought their own food and libation and when we got up to Baltimore, the bus driver parked right next to the stadium and we had our tailgate on the bus. Classmates seen at the game included Andrea and Spencer Johnson, Carla and Jeff Miles, Sandy and Ron Klemick, Kathy and Erwin Storz, and Ben Redd. Many others were at the game, but the Class is not seated together, so it is hard to see them. Unfortunately the game turned out as it has for years. All bus riders agreed that that was the way to travel to the game: no driving or parking stress, plus plenty of room to socialize. We vowed that we would do it again.
Six weeks later, I put Jim Metcalfe and his date, Phil Rooney, onto a bus and saw them off from Army-Navy Country Club for the trip to Philadelphia. They were a lovely couple. Jim reported that other than having to ride with Phil, the bus was great! Later in the day, classmates and spouses assembled at Army-Navy CC to watch the game. With Jim and Phil off to the game, their spouses, Lisa and Jan, joined us with Lisa's sister, Boots Hickman. The '63 crowd included my spouse, Kate, Betty and Kent Maxfield, Arlene and Forrest Siburt, Jodee and Frank Edrington, Cici and John Kelly, and Jackie and Mike Cronin with their daughter, Colleen. Also joining us were CAPT Darrell Hill, USMC '01, a former Navy linebacker, and Mike Lipari '75, a retired CDR now teaching and coaching at Gonzaga, my high school. Some of my long-time friends joined us. They were CAPT John Erickson, USN (JAGC) (ret.) and his date, Grace Endres, LCol. Ed Myers USAF (ret.), and Dave Cornelissen, a former Naval Officer. We used to go to the A-N game regularly in the 70s.
Wow! Some of you missed one of the greatest parties ever. Sheila and Mike Bonsignore opened their home to us and set a new standard for hospitality -- catered dining including a four course dinner, a gourmet brunch, and a country BBQ. Mike arranged golf, drinks around the clock, valet parking, optimum television viewing, and incredible service. All of us had a wonderful time.
Southern California Army-Navy game party
There were about 60 people, including wives. This photo of the guys by the pool shows Len Eaton and Niles Iannone holding the Navy Goat banner. On the stairs from the left to right are Jim Lasswell, Richard Pace, Dick Anderson, Mike Krause, John Middleton, Pete Optekar, Tim Cook, Jim McClure, Bill Hughes, and Jim Fontana. Up front, from the left, are Grant Telfer, Mike Rubel, Jim Thornton, Wayne Clark, Niles Iannone, Win Orgera, Len Eaton, Vern Von Sydow, Zimm Zimmerman, Frank Meyers, Dick Ortwein, Chuck Stone, Lew Blackwell, Benny Cole and myself. Kneeling from left to right are Jim Oakes, Mike Bonsignore, and Charlie Helsper.
Also, here is a group photo of those from the original 23rd Company who were there. Included are Farrington, Bonsignore, Thornton, Von Sydow, Ortwein, Krause, Iannone, Clark, Cole, Rubel, Eaton, Hoy, and Zimmerman. I am sure you can match the faces with the names.
The plan and hope for next year is that we will all meet in Baltimore for the Army-Navy game. Work has been initiated attempting to arrange for group tickets. Start thinking about it now. Vern promises to make this a special event. It would be great fun to see everyone at that game.
|Jim DeFrancia (left) honored by the Urban Land Institute|
I haven't touched base for over a year, since we moved back to Iowa, but wanted to let you know that we have more than settled and do not miss the heat and humidity of Florida in the summer. Of course the wind chill is supposed to be minus 25 tomorrow morning so there are a few drawbacks but we have the clothes to handle that. My main activities now consist of hunting up firewood (We go through about 3-plus cords in a winter.), keeping the lawn up in summer, and fishing. I got a small jon boat with electric motor and fish finder to use in the many quarries around us, and I hit the trout streams all summer and fall. It is interesting that being well removed from any military bases, things still go along smoothly.
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17 January 2007