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126th Column. 29 Oct 01. I am at Pax River for meetings with NAVAIR tomorrow. This is due today. And on Thurs we fly to Santa Fe. Moral equivalent of between a rock and a hard place.
Bad news first provided by Harry Hubbard. Mike Ramsden, son of Jim & Rae died on 5 Oct. Those wired via email know that Mikes memorial service was on 10 Oct. Quoting from Harrys email, Mike, who was 39, apparently had several health issues. It isn't supposed to work this way - parents shouldn't have to say goodbye to their kids. You may remember my reporting a few years ago that Rae donated a kidney to son Mike. More from Bob Shellenberger, John Galen and I and our wives attended Mike Ramsden's funeral service yesterday in St Augustine. It was a beautiful service. Rae and her remaining children demonstrated their usual strong faith under adverse circumstances. Rae, Jimmy, and Linda all made very touching remarks. We had a chance to chat after the service. I think Rae is still planning to attend the reunion. We're certainly pushing for her to do that, and the kids think it would be good for her too. Scribes PS. Please say a prayer for Rae, Jim (died 13 Aug 98) and Mike. We all hope to see Rae in Santa Fe later this week.
Obviously, I cannot say much about Santa Fe yet other than express our thanks to the Seis Amigos for all their work on our behalf: Tom Claffey K2, Neil Mathis K2, Bob McCann D2, Gerry Schurtz E2, Mark Sigurski C1 and John Sutherland K2. Those on email have heard from John, CINC PR. He has provided information about the Reunion Different in the City Different ranging from early Nov weather to places to eat to things to do to myriad roll calls of those signed up to attend. I especially enjoyed Johns math expose of classmates who cannot add two plus two to get four. Reminded me of Garry Roosmas secretary at the time of our 30th. The myriad mistakes on our sign-up forms for the total sum of registration fee and various activities destroyed her faith in our West Point education.
Good news. Tony Forster married Anne Kirby on 18 August at Ranch House Chapel, Rancho Santa Margarita Y Las Flores, Camp Pendleton, CA. Karl Oelke sent the promised service bulletin (forwarded on to AOG for Tonys file). However, if the photos promised by Dick Schonberger arrived, I have lost them. Dick, please try again. Talk about courage, the newlyweds will be in Santa Fe with over 300 of their closest friends!
25th Aviation Reunion attracted such veterans of their first assignment as Chuck Densford, Norm Gustitis and Tom Sands. Meeting in Hawaii, scene of their early exploits as Army Aviators, had nothing to do with their desire to relive their misspent youth. Nat Crow, Mel Santos and Dave Swanson joined them for a class lunch. Dave sent digital photos and then followed up with hard copies. More misplace photos. Sorry. Next time along with Rosters wedding!
Photos not lost. Great letter from Paul Ruud about his & Pattys trip to Egypt in Oct. No terrorist threat would deter them from the Nile, pyramids, etc. The photo was taken in Cairo at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also the location of President Sadats grave. Sadat is buried across the street from the reviewing stand where he as assassinated in 1981.
Four more photos courtesy of Jerry Lewis. These are of our 12 classmates who participated the Plebe Marchback promoted so effectively by Ed Weckel. Ed will talk or walk anywhere, anytime to drum up support for our 1958 Class Perpetual Endowment Fund. Kidding aside, your Exec Cmte recently made the commitment to use the Perpetual Endowment Fund as our vehicle for class donations between now and our 50th in 2008. The goals set by the EC are 100% participation and $500K in the fund by June 2007. We have a ways to go, therefore, stop reading this, grab your checkbooks and pens and get started. Think of numbers ending in eight or including 58 such as $19.58 (perhaps per month for a year of so) or $580 or, for those with deeper pockets, $1,958.
The idea for our 50th is to ensure the First Class Club is in first class shape and beef up the Class Perpetual Endowment Fund. The Class Memorial Funds at AOG should be sufficient for whatever capital improvements the FCC might need circa 2008. In fact, the EC is working with Cadet Activities Officer, Post Engineer and others to install air conditioning in the club ASAP. Again, we should have enough in the Class Memorial account at AOG to handle this. Therefore, additional giving in connection with our 50th Reunion is solicited for the Class Perpetual Endowment Fund. This fund will permit our Endowment Fund Board to make a major donation to USMA on the occasion of our 100th in 2058. This is a twofer: helps our Alma Mater and memorializes 58. Your attendance at this affair will be the seating section reserved for the Ghostly Assemblage.
For the record as of 27 Sep, our class giving recorded at AOG includes $344,665 for the Class Memorial project and $797,275 other giving to AOG/AAA for USMA. The total, not including our Class Perpetual Endowment Fund (not held by AOG) is $1,141,040. Not bad, but not great either. A class from early 50s has donated $1,972,379 for its class project plus another $912,903 for a total of $2,885,282. And a class about ten years behind us in the 60s has donated $838,425 for its class project and another $3,024,129 for AOG/USMA for a total of $3,862,554. The real points for 58 are the quality of the First Class Club, our gift to the Corps of Cadets, and the plan for a major donation at our 100th.
Another legacy directly related to the FCC is early giving by classes 94 through 01. You may remember that 94 was the first class to use the renovated FCC after the turnover at our 35th in 1993. 94 challenged its members to pledge $10 per month for the first five years of service via allotment. Subsequent classes have followed suit. The lieutenants from 01 have 47% participation for the class pledge of $292,856 (pg 21, Sep/Oct Assembly). Think of what that will be worth come time for their 30th or 50th! The FCC and the annual turnover ceremony orchestrated by Bob Pointer are the impetus for this early giving begun by 94.
Phone call from Alex DeLucia, a wayward son of 58 who resigned the first semester Plebe Year. He sold his data processing company a couple of years ago. Sold equals retirement here. He & Pat have six children and 11 grandchildren. Three of their kids live within three miles of them in Portland area. Their youngest, AFA 88, is a major stationed at Langley AFB. He remembers fondly his Beast roommates Bob Rhodes and Dan Charlton. Bill Graf recently visited Alex. My contacting former classmates on our snail mail roster prompted his call. Now I need to hear from a few others!
My similar letter to John Andrusko was returned to sender. I have passed it along to our finder of lost classmates, George Lawton. Out of time and space. Next time a longer account of Jack Mays pedal-to-the-metal dash from Manhattan, NY to Redondo Beach, CA in the Cannonball Run. In 1975 Jack and his partner Rick Cline covered 2,951 miles in 35 hours and 53 minutes. Their record still stands. Jack says they should have done it in 29 hours and might have saving that for another column. After Santa Fe you have 2002 activities including Pensacola, Adriatic Cruise, skiing in Whistler, company micros, etc. You have no excuse for staying home.
Photos (mailed on 29 October):
1. L-R: Paul Ruud & Fred Pirkey 55
2. Buchly, Kubiak, Collett & Weckel at rest stop
4. B1 Hikers: Wayne Nicoll 57, Jerry Lewis & Bob Hull 56
5. Will Collett & Bill Buchly all downhill from here