Shipmate Column
September-October 2016

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.

        We have several interesting news items this month, thanks to the good folks who submitted them to be shared with you. We begin, however, by noting the loss of two of our classmates in July.

Our classmate Francis Wayne Butler passed away on 15 July. Frank's widow, Maggie, can be contacted at P.O. Box 639, Bentonville, AR 72712-0639.

We learned of the death of Bruce L. Wing, a classmate who left USNA at the beginning of our second class year, on 3 July. Larry roomed with Bob Wildman and Phillip Marsden during third class year, when this picture was made.

Larry Wing

        Planning for our 55th Reunion in San Diego in October of 2018 is moving ahead smartly. The reunion planning committee, comprised of Southern California classmates and ladies, has made good progress in setting the schedule of events, securing event venues, reserving blocks of rooms at two hotels, and preparing other elements of the reunion. To date, more than 200 of our classmates have indicated their intent to attend the reunion, and many others are listed as possible but still uncertain. Here's a photo taken at the planning meeting on 11 July. Most of the committee members are pictured. From left to right are Vern Von Sydow, Lew Blackwell, Bob Forster (visiting from Virginia), John Ryan, Alan McAnally, Terry McAnally, Jim Fontana, Sue Cargill, Bill Hughes, Ted Krohne, Marirose Kozak, Lee Cargill, Jerry Harken, Chuck Stone, Donna Kaup, Dave Meyers, Grant Telfer, and Phillip Marsden.
55th Reunion Planners

        Following last month's plea for more news from our Shipmate readers, David Stephan responded quickly with this overview of his activities. Thanks, sir!
     Having just turned 75 in February, I decided to update a self-published book I embarked on when my first grandson was born in 1993. This image is a picture of the cover, and let me tell you, the persistence of this old salt has been a God-send over the years! The book is now published as a hardcover, in time for our oldest son's 30th wedding anniversary in July and our oldest grandson's wedding this December.

David Stephan's blue and gold 75th birthday cake

     We have been so humbled, blessed, and grateful for so many things over the years. In the book are chronicled a variety of life experiences, dating back to my family's history in coming to the U.S. in 1835, my years of growing up as a "small town boy" in Minnesota (the title of the first edition was "Memories of a Small Town Boy"), my years at USNA (graduating in 1963, a number which repeatedly appears in numerous aspects of my life!), the raising of my family and later years -- discovering art and oil painting in 2004 (photos of a number of my paintings are in the final pages), and re-discovering music (I play accordion and keyboard for our small community church and other events).
     Appropriately, the back cover features a variety of boats and ships -- recreational boats my wife, Mary, and I have had over the years, ships from my Navy career, the houseboat we lived on in Washington, DC, and sailboats, river cruise ships, and ocean liners on which we've sailed, covering more parts of this watery world than we could ever have imagined we would be able to do. The book is filled with pictures and stories, including our trip to Annapolis in October 2013, to attend the 50th Class Reunion of USNA '63. That was a milestone to be remembered, and we look forward to the 55th Reunion in San Diego in 2018!

        Writing from his home in Sandpoint, ID, Ken Sanger sent this note about a recent meeting there.
     Grant Plummer, '60, was my firstie and has maintained contact ever since. I think he was always embarrassed by his plebe and has hoped I would make something of myself! He, his wife , and friends rented a huge home near Sandpoint on Lake Pend Oreille, and he contacted me. Dawn and I boated over to their digs and had a pleasant mid afternoon with Grant and his lovely wife, Karen. I don't know how I got so short - maybe he grew.
Grant Plummer '60 and Ken Sanger '63

        Our '63 Shipmate column for the May/June issue included a photo of Miller Detrick and Chaplain Charles Greenwood '50. That prompted Tom Heslop to file this report.
     My wife, Rella, and I were married in the Main Chapel on June 5, 1963, by Chaplain Greenwood. We celebrated our 53rd anniversary this year! This photo shows, left to right, my father Howard Heslop, me, Chaplain Greenwood, Best Man Rick Wakefield, and Jacob Strein, the father of the Maid of Honor.
At Tom Heslop's wedding

     After serving five years as a Supply Officer, attending Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, being ordained a United Methodist, following Chuck's inspiration and example, I was commissioned a Navy Chaplain.
     I remember a plaque hanging in every office having the Navy Chaplain's Corps Crest & Motto: CO-OPERATION WITHOUT COMPROMISE. That is a great lesson today for those watching the news who assume people of different religions, cultures, and backgrounds can't love and nurture each other. We remember the wonderful experiences and relationships our family had serving and living by that motto with fellow Chaplains and their families (Catholic priests the obvious exception regarding spouses, but who often had a dependent mother or sister)!
        Nice then-and-now photos of Tom and Rella are in the Weddings section of our web site. I'm sure you will enjoy looking through the many sets of pictures that our classmates have submitted. See the images by clicking Here, then submit your own to our Webmaster, Steve Coester, at
        As Phillip Marsden tells us in this note, the 55th reunion planners did take some time out to relax and socialize.
     Some San Diego classmates took a break from 55th Reunion planning to enjoy the sun and music on a beautiful summer day in Coronado. Our Class of 1963 banner drew many interested bystanders including parents of 2013 graduates and several 2013 graduates themselves. Attendees included Bill and Dottie Hughes, Dave and Lana Moore, Dave and Pattie Meyers, Vern and Gail Von Sydow, Joe and Teresa Morra, Ron and Dee Wills, Grant Telfer, Donna Kaup, and my wife Martha. Here are three photos from that afternoon. The big group photo shows some of the spirited attendees acknowledging an unexpected shout-out from the band!
Bill and Dottie Hughes, Teresa and Joe Morra

Morra, Moore, Hughes, Marsden

In the park on a typically beautiful day in Coronado

        That's all for now, folks. I hope every day ahead will be a good day for you.

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