Shipmate Column
December 2002

Pres:  Stephen M. Duncan
Sec'y: Michael H. Shelley
25 Sweetwater Lane, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
h: 828-862-4245  e:
Web site:

Remember that you can click on any underlined Classmate's name to view his Current Biography.

        Jim Turner passed along the sad news that our classmate Peter White had died on 31 August 2002 at his home in Norwalk, Ohio, of an apparent heart attack. Survived by his son Michael and one sister, he was buried with full military honors at Woodlawn Cemetery in Norwalk.
        As Classmates, we extend our sympathies to Judy and George Fister, who lost their beloved daughter Ashley to cancer on 8 October.
        The members of our 40th Reunion committee have already devoted many hours of their time to preparing a memorable weekend for us all. Reunion chairman Bill Earner has supplied some details to help you plan your return visit to Annapolis. The reunion will begin on Thursday, 18 September 2003, and conclude on Sunday the 21st. Registration will begin on Thursday morning, followed by a class picnic that afternoon. An all-class meeting will be held Friday from 1000 to 1200. A memorial service in the chapel will begin at 1400, followed by a P-rade on Worden Field at 1530. The class dinner will be Friday evening at the Annapolis Marriott. Saturday's activities will include a tailgate party before the football game against Boston College, the game, and a possible "nostalgia fest" in Mahan Hall. Saturday evening will be unstructured, providing an opportunity for Companies or other small groups to have their own activities.

        Blocks of rooms have been reserved for our use at three hotels. Free bus transportation will be provided between these hotels and major events. It's a good idea to make your reservations soon, especially if you want to stay near your companymates or other good friends. Here's what you need to know: Country Inns and Suites, near Annapolis Mall. Room rate $115-$179. Phone 410-571-6700. Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel, downtown Annapolis. Room rate not yet available. Phone 410-268-7555. Raddison Hotel, Parole/Riva Road area, Annapolis. Room rate $159. Phone 800-266- 7631. The Annapolis Accommodations booking service provides reservations for all hotels and Bed and Breakfast accommodations in Annapolis. Phone 410- 280-0900 or toll free (800) 715-1000.

        Hearty congratulations go to Austin Seay for two major events in his life this year: retirement and marriage! Here's his account of the wedding day this summer:
    The Sixth Company clan gathered at USNA on 12 August to attend and celebrate the wedding of Austin and Geri Seay. The beautiful bride is a dual citizen of the USA and Australia. The ceremony and reception were both held at the Officers and Faculty Club's spacious facility. Following the fire-place wedding ceremony, an open bar and a disc-jockey entertained the guests throughout a hot buffet diner and dance.

Austin's best man was his son, also Austin, and Geri's matron of honor was Marion Maclin, wife of Chuck Maclin, who is Austin's first cousin and former USNA roommate. Geri's family reside in Western Australia and were unable to attend. However she was immediately adopted by the Sixth Company family. Both the bride and groom were recently retired - Austin from a 32-year international business career and Geri from an Australian college administrator's position. Now that they own homes on both continents, they will return to Western Australia in November to live on the beach of the Indian Ocean for six months. In May 2003 they will travel back to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, LA, to live for six months. Besides traveling between their two base destinations, their new careers will consist of writing and painting. Their mailing addresses are 19 Spanish Moss Court, Mandeville, LA 70471 and 212 Ocean Drive, Quinns Rocks, Western Australia 6030. Meandering classmates are cordially invited to contact them when passing through either home area.

Geri and Austin Seay

Sixth Companymates at the reception

Sixth Company ladies surround the groom

Austin submitted three photos taken on the wedding day. The first shows the newlyweds in front of the USNA chapel. The second shows Austin surrounded by 14 of his Sixth Companymates. Kneeling are Dirck Praeger, Lionel Banda, Dick Williams, and Al Hellawell. Standing are Frank Gregory, Bill Hughes, Pat Johnson, Chuck Maclin, Austin, Pete Browne, Jimmy Carter, Mike Lents, Lew Lewis, Dick Arvedlund, and Ted DelGaizo. Surrounding Austin in the third photo are the Sixth Company's ladies: Sue Lewis, Julie Arvedlund, Sandee Banda, Diann Hightower, Ginny Johnson, M.L. Gregory, Dottie Hughes, Geri Seay, Jennifer Seay Davis, Marion Maclin, Marion Williams, Grace Lents, Ellen Hellawell, and Kathy Carter.

        A lively group of '63ers came to Annapolis for the Homecoming weekend in late September. After socializing at the stadium, many of our classmates and their ladies enjoyed a cookout hosted by Carla and Jeff Miles at their beautiful home in West Annapolis. This was, I believe, the third consecutive year they have opened their home and extended such wonderful hospitality to us all. Always alert to the facts, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Metcalfe compiled a list of attendees and supplied some news about the Miles family. Here's his report:
    Among those we saw that day were Arlene and Forrest Siburt, Larissa and Bruce Webb with daughter Elana, Spence Johnson and brother-in- law Barry Pflum, a Notre Dame grad (Andrea and sister having a reunion at their home), Stephanie and Mike Nadolski, Jan and Pete Quinton, Steve Leisge and friend Carol, Sherry and Don Freese, Nancy and Nick Sim, Lynn Tobin (Paul had a commitment elsewhere), Gene and Dave Robinson, Fran and Tom Reemelin, Ron Klemick and his son Matt, Steve Duncan and daughter Kelly White (USNA'90), Al Sherman, Bob Harper, Bernie Grabowski, Lou and Mike Shelley, and me.

David Smith (USNA'87), Carla and Jeff's son-in-law, is on the PATWING staff in Hawaii. He has recently been promoted to CDR. Their daughter Erica (USNA'87) is also a CDR. They are living at Kaneohe with their children Julie (8) and Jacob (10). Erica is active in the Reserves.

Fran Reemelin pointed out that Tom is not in charge of the MWR at Ft. Belvoir, as I previously reported. He is a facilities manager with the Defense Logistics Agency. I made an honest mistake based on what Tom talked about (golf, racquetball, etc.). As all who know Tom will attest, he has an irrepressible zest for life. After one of his lively discussions, one of our classmates asked whether Tom has ever had a bad day. In the 47 years I have known him, I have never seen him downed by adversity.

        A few days earlier, Jim had filed this reminiscence about Curley Fontaine:
    I was saddened to read about Curly's death. The thought of him brought a chuckle as I remembered our plebe year advanced French course. Curly was a Canuck or close to it, as I remember. He spoke French in a rapid-fire staccato that must have resembled French the way Brooklynese resembles English. I used to dread being called upon to stand up in class and conduct a conversation with Curly. I had enough trouble with spoken French anyway, and adding Curly's fast delivery was too much. The only saving grace was that the professor had as much trouble understanding Curly as the rest of us did. Of course the prof couldn't admit it, so he must have given me a passing grade for effort.

I also remembered that my roommate Teb Bowman had been in Paris and ran into Curly there. After submarines, Teb had gone to Wharton Business School. He then worked for GE or Westinghouse on nuclear power generation. Then he became a Presidential Executive, working at the Treasury and later in Paris. The Class of 1963 had a strong presence in Paris around 1980. Teb did his Reserve drills at the embassy, where he ran into Joel Gardner who was then Assistant Naval Attache. Curly was in Paris as the Army's Roland missile man, I believe. George Tracy was in Paris working for Ross Perot's EDS. He and his wife Kim and the Bowmans met through their children being at the American School together. George had made it out of Iran just ahead of the ayatollahs. Bruce Webb was also in Paris then.

When I called to talk to Teb about Curly, he brought me up to speed on his family. He and Linn live in Roswell, GA, just outside Atlanta. Teb provides engineering and management advice as a consultant to a wide array of companies. He is presently consulting for a nuclear power plant in Maine and will be off to South Africa for consulting this fall. Linn is teaching art in a middle and upper school. Their son Eric is married. He has been a very successful male model in Manhattan (I think he has model for Calvin Klein and the Ford agency). He is a music writer and an instructor in an Outward Bound school -- mountain climbing, I think. Their younger son Scott is a professional actor in Manhattan and is currently on a sabbatical to do repertory theater in Sarasota, FL. Both sons were first class athletes in high school and college.

        David Robinson shared with me an exchange of e-mails between himself and Sam Locklear '77 this August, from which I excerpt the following with the permission of both men. Congratulating Sam on his orders to command Cruiser- Destroyer Group 5, David noted that "Your group includes a DDG named after my classmate, Bill Fitzgerald. The class has followed this ship closely and she has been blessed with a string of great skippers. Fitz would have been proud." Responding, Locklear said, "When I was Commandant at USNA I had the commissioning oil painting of the Fitz hanging in the entry foyer of our quarters. I used it to remind all the Mids who visited what the backbone of our Navy truly is. I was told the painting was done by another one of your classmates, Dick Whalen. We will take good care of Fitz."
I recently received an 18 August newspaper article datelined Elk Bend, Idaho, profiling well-known local citizen Sherwood "Zimm" Zimmerman, who is also known as Dugout Dick. It notes that for most of his years he has lived life alone and on his own terms. He rode freight trains with railroad tramps, herded sheep, and dug for precious metals. Could this be our classmate? Well, no, despite the identical name. Our own Sherwood "Zimm" Zimmerman is also an Idaho resident but a bit younger than the 86-year-old recluse in question. (Thanks to Zimm for submitting this article just for fun. Apparently, there is no family connection.)
Pete Deutermann tells us about the impending publication of his latest book, due to appear in early December.
    It's called Darkside, and it's set at our favorite boat school. The book's about what happens when a psychopath gets past the admissions process and operates undiscovered for almost four years until he kills a plebe. The academy, ever sensitive to a whiff of scandal, tries to force the outcome of the ensuing investigation into a more favorable light, but the investigators resist. A second death and a series of malicious incidents down in the old tunnels beneath the Yard force the issue into a confrontation which calls the institution's whole ethics and morality program into question. When the investigators bypass their bosses and go to the Brigade for help, they and the academy get more than they bargained for.

        Another author among our classmates is Mike Corgan, who is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of International Relations at Boston University. (Whew! What a title!) Here is Mike's response to news in a recent Shipmate:
    Reading about the books from Pete Deutermann and Harlan Ullman in the October Shipmate prompted me to pass on to you that I just had my own book published by the Mellen Press: "Iceland and Its Alliances: Security for a Small State." It's a rather academic look at Iceland and NATO in the 70s, 80s, and 90s with a fair amount of earlier history thrown in to provide background.

Since my tour in Keflavik in 1981 and 82 I've become a confirmed Icelandophile. I go back several times each year, several times at the invitation of the State Department to give lectures, and last year I was a Fulbright professor at the University of Iceland. That stint in turn led to my courses at Boston U. in Nordic Europe and European and North Atlantic Security. Just got back from DC where I was part of the briefing team assembled by State, me and five Icelanders, for the new US ambassador-designate. Next month I go back to Reykjavik for the establishment of the University's Centre for Small State Studies of which group I am a founding Partner. All this from one tour of duty. Also saw Joe Strasser the other day in Newport and he's getting good reviews as President of the Naval War College Foundation.

        It's always good to hear from Tom O'Brien, who filed this report from his recent travels:
    Ann and I just returned from a trip up to New England, primarily to see my Dad (age 89) and siblings in Massachusetts. Managed to hit a few antique and silver shops along the way and stoke up the local economies a bit. We're still in the antiques business and having great fun with it. We were slowed down a bit this summer, as Ann had a total left knee joint replacement (degenerative arthritis), but she's "up and running" now and going great.

One of the highlights of our week's trip was a brief visit with Zoe and Bob LaGassa, who departed the Annapolis scene in 1998 (following his USN retirement from the Pentagon in 1991). They have settled into their beautiful, custom- built, Timberpeg home overlooking the 3rd tee of the golf course in the Eastman Community of Grantham, NH, about 43 miles NW of Concord. They most graciously hosted us for an overnight and provided us with a wonderful tour of the community built around Lake Eastman, as well. Here's a lakeside photo of Ann (on the left), Zoe, and Bob. Also, the photo of Bob was taken in the pergola at their house.

Ann O'Brien visits Zoe and Bob LaGassa

Bob LaGassa at home in New Hampshire

Bob has been the community's volunteer Water Commissioner for the last three years (hard to keep a good ex-nuke under wraps), as well as a member of the community's choral group. Zoe also does volunteer work at the local Grantham library. Their retirement lifestyle obviously suits them well. Bob has continued to refine his gourmet cooking expertise and treated us to an exquisite eggplant terrine appetizer and grilled salmon dinner that night. Bob's green thumb was in abundant display in his three raised beds, where he was still prolifically producing tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans and squash at the beginning of October. Their Timberpeg home is a delight to the eye, is very comfortable, and is obviously a very sturdy design that "winters-over" very well. We had a delightful visit!

        Have a happy holiday season, folks! Sometime between now and the end of the year, take a minute to contact a 1963 classmate you haven't seen for a while. You will both be glad you did.

  QUALITY - '63

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   December 2002 
posted on:
 16 November 2002
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