Shipmate Column
March 2017

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:
Web site:

For any classmate you can go to the Classmates Page and enter his name to read his current biography if available.

        As the December holidays approached, I was saddened to learn of the death of George M. Singer on 3 December 2016. His widow, Penny, can be contacted at 8 Lakeview Court, Novato, CA 94947.

        Our classmate Mike Pero, who died on 4 October, was a member of Navy's crew team which had great success during our years at the Academy. Plans are underway for a new USNA racing shell to be named for him. Already, 39 persons have made donations toward the $30,000 needed to purchase the shell. Leslie Pero, Mike's widow, has notified us that contributions should be sent to the Naval Academy Foundation, 291 West Road, Beach Hall, Annapolis, MD 21402. Make sure that your check is annotated "In memory of Michael Pero for a new racing shell. "

        Mike Krause reported that the New York City area Class of 1963 held their annual Christmas Luncheon at Mastro's on 53rd Street on December 6th. They had a good turnout and the luncheon lasted until 1500 as attendees relived events of Midshipmen days at Navy. The attendees pictured standing are (l-r) David Campbell (Bobby's son), Mike Krause, Scott Wilson, Mike Bonsignore, Ron Terwilliger, Robbie Newton, and Chris Munger. Seated are Rob Black, Jack Colyer, Bill Palafox, and Erwin "Fred" Storz. Ken Metviner was unable to attend.
Lunch group in New York City

        Our Shipmate column last month reported that the 2nd, 6th, and 24th Companies each held a reunion in the fall of 2016. Shortly after that news went to press, Dave Bingemann contacted me with this account of the reunion held by the 8th Company:
     As I have done the last several years, I am submitting news of our latest Terrible Tenth (8th Company) Reunion held this Fall. As you know, since 1994, we have been holding Company mini-reunions almost annually somewhere in CONUS in between the five year homecomings in Annapolis. We try to split our get-together's equally between the two coasts, and usually have roughly 50 percent of us attending each event.
     This year, 15 of us out of 32 gathered from 31 October to 4 November in Hudson, FL, north of Tampa on the Gulf Coast, hosted in relaxed style by Dick Kell and Sandy Blagini, and Cathy and Bernie Patterson. We thoroughly enjoyed three full days of tours. The first day was spent in Homosassa at the Ellie Schiller Wildlife Park followed by a pontoon or air boat ride of that area, and then on to watching a gorgeous sunset in Hudson. The second day was spent in St. Petersburg walking and riding a trolley around that beautiful city and touring the Museum of Fine Arts, and other local art museums. The third day most went to tour Tarpon Springs, "the sponge diving capital of the world", while seven brave souls kayaked five miles down the Weeki Wachee River, complete with manatees and a nuisance raccoon. Most all dining was at small local restaurants where the seafood was superb. We had a wonderful time, but most importantly during our get-together, we all enjoyed good fellowship and the hospitality of Kell and the Pattersons at their retirement homes in Florida. The weather was ideal, and the Hudson area, with its wonderful outdoor amenities, was just a real pleasure to visit.
     Those attending were of course Kell and the Pattersons, plus the Augurs, Bingemanns, Boleys, Breens, Bucks, Calvanos, Dickersons, Lillian Karson, Kleinfeldts, Leepers, Oatways, Schall, Smalls, and Spears. With spouses and friends, we numbered 30 strong. We all had a terrific time. In 2017 we'll go to the Midwest and plan to reconvene again in Dayton, OH, with hosts Rick and Lynne Kleinfeldt doing the honors.
8th Company Mini-Reunion

Kayakers Mary Bingemann, Mike Dickerson, Dave Bingemann, Bernie and Cathy Patterson, Matt Small, and Mike Spear

        Here's the latest sports news from Lew Blackwell:
     The great Class of 1963 West Coast golf team of Max Ricketts, Jim Thornton, Mike Rubel, and myself competed once again in the annual Army/ Navy Invitational Golf Tournament played at the Admiral Baker Golf course in San Diego. After winning three straight years, I regret to report that we finished second to a Class of 1970 team. Nevertheless, good sportsmanship was displayed.
Golfers Ricketts, Blackwell, Thornton, and Rubel

        Our tireless west coast correspondent, Phillip Marsden, filed this report about the latest annual southern California Army-Navy game party.
     Our super SoCal hosts, June and Chuck Stone, worked their magic and provided a warm, welcoming holiday setting for our game festivities this year. While Navy stumbled to a disappointing loss, we enjoyed each other's company and tried to keep the holiday spirit. We had an excellent turnout. Besides our hosts and me, the attendees included Max and Edith Ricketts, Grant Telfer, Donna Kaup, Bill and Dottie Hughes, Jim and Pat Fontana, Karl and Marirose Kozak, Jerry Harken, Jim and Sandi Thornton, Steve and Karen Hoy, John Ryan, Tim and Valerie Cook, Vern Von Sydow, Maureen Hogan, Win and Sally Orgera, Dave and Patti Meyers, Janet Gushue, Dick and Susan Andrews, John and Betty Middleton, Bill and Donna Gentile, and Jay Roberts. Can you identify everyone in this group picture?
Southern California Army game couples

Nineteen '63 Classmates

Vern Von Sydow presents the Stones with a gift to underscore everyone's appreciation for their unfailing hospitality.

     We are blessed to have so many of our classmates in our area and it is a pleasure to see them at these special occasions.

        In our previous column, I invited readers who spend time in healthy physical pursuits to share information about their activities as an inspiration to us all. Ken Sanger responded immediately, and Steve Coester followed soon afterward. Let's start with Ken's submission.
     In the fall, when I am not golfing in SoCal, I am hunting in Idaho: duck, goose, and pheasant. My constant companion is my red standard poodle (the oldest retrieving breed in existence; the poodle, not me). In this photo, she is wearing a lycra suit that keeps the burrs and briars off her.
Ken Sanger hunts in Idaho

     Back in SoCal near San Diego, she gets to be the coot retriever. The golf club I belong to has a depredation permit to shoot coots for pest control on the one day a week the course is closed. The birds end up in the lakes and people complained that there were dead birds floating around the day after the shooting. I offered to let my dog retrieve during the shooting and she is now the official coot dog and the lakes are again scenic the day after. I don't shoot; I just work her on retrieves and running down wounded birds. And yes, I do eat coot!
        A word of warning before you read about Steve's daily routine. You may feel intimidated by his level of activity. I certainly am.
     You asked for classmates to relate their active lifestyles. I'm not sure Yvonne and I qualify since we've pretty much stopped traveling, camping, and hiking. However, like the U.S. Army we do more before 9am than most do all day. At 0600 we do a one mile walk, then I jump on my bike for another couple of miles. If it isn't a tennis day I usually head for sunrise at the Viera Wetlands where I take wildlife photos for a couple of hours. Five days a week I play tennis at 0900 or 1100. I play in two old man leagues and this Fall season did pretty well with 15 wins and two losses all at the number 1 line. On Saturdays I either play "fun" tennis with the ladies or with a group of big hitting youngsters. Their game of power and topspin bears no resemblance to my old school game but I still generally end up on the winning teams with my steadiness and wiles. Facing 100 mph serves and powerful shots keeps my game from deteriorating too much. When I'm on the tennis court I forget that I'm 75 years old and twenty-five to forty years older than the others. I remember when I get home and sleep away the afternoon.

        That wraps it up for this month. I hope your New Year 2017 is off to a great start. Enjoy every day!

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