May 2000

Pat Campbell, Frank’s dear wife, died on 4 February after a long bout with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Her funeral and burial were at Arlington on 11 Feb, a beautiful sunny day.  The class was well represented at the funeral and at the viewing the preceding evening.  The heartfelt condolence of all of us is extended to Frank, to their surviving son, Lynn, and to all of Pat’s family and friends.  Donations in Pat’s memory can be made to First Baptist Church, 7300 Gary Street, Springfield, VA 22150; or to Hospice of Northern Virginia, 6400 Arlington Blvd, Suite 1000, Falls Church, VA 22040.

The annual class luncheon was held at the Tivoli Restaurant in Rosslyn, VA, on 16 February.  There were about 30 of us there to enjoy manicotti, fellowship, and catching up on friends’ activities.  As usual, the event was superbly planned and flawlessly executed under Tom Boyle’s experienced eye.  Pete Dawkins talked a bit, Jim Walsh covered some old agenda items, and Bob Riordan gave an update on the fight for adequate medical care for retirees and their families along with the final word on Social Security benefits associated with cadet time.


Class Luncheon: Gurr and Dawkins with Steve Versace

We were enrapt by John Gurr’s tale of the efforts to have Rocky Versace awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and there was a complete hush when he showed a video with the late Nick Rowe ‘60 pressing the case in the late 60s when the result was a Silver Star.   The March issue of Washingtonian magazine has a good recount on the efforts of John and the “Friends of Rocky Versace.”   We were happy to have Rocky’s brother, Steve, as our guest at the luncheon; and he thanked us for our efforts on Rocky’s behalf as well as for our support of his mother before her death last year.  Classmates who traveled the farthest to be there were Tom Russell, Bill Rowe, Ray Fisher and Jim Walsh.

Don Kissinger still gets together regularly with his old roomie and brother-in-law, Al Morefield, who lives in New Bern, NC.  Don & wife Margaret Allen live in Philadelphia, where Don retired after 37 years in engineering, sales and marketing for RCA/GE/EG&G.  He specialized in lasers and detectors for military systems, giving him the mission to support many active weapons and training programs from smart munitions to “MILES.”  He personally negotiated the laser order for all the training systems at Ft. Irwin, for example.  And he is still consulting.  The Kissingers have 4 grown children and 8 grandchildren, the latter range from 4 to 21 years old.

Class Luncheon: Robinson, Boyle, Rothblum, Russell

Chris & Linda Lawrence are in Olathe, KS, where Chris has been with the Kansas U. Medical Center since he retired from the Army in 1981. He helps some 25 scientists administer their grants in biomedical research.  He plans to retire for the second time next March and go to his “ranch” in Olathe and cool it.  He has a lot of landscaping to do, he says, and a lot of models to build (he’s into ships and old wagons).

It has been a great year for the Lawrence children.  Chris had the pleasure of swearing in his daughter Lisa’s husband, Scott Gilliam, as a 2LT at Ft. Hood.  Scott had just completed the physician’s assistant program.  He had come up through the ranks and was a SSG when he was selected for the program.  He and Lisa are now in Kitzingen with their two boys for three years.  And the Lawrences’ younger daughter Kristen’s husband, Bruce Swanson, has finished the nurse anesthesiologist program at the KU Med Ctr and is now doing well at the Olathe Hospital.  So Chris & Linda get to see the three Swanson boys grow up.

40th Reunion: Statler and Gabel

Chris had a mild cancer scare when they found a malignant tumor on his right ankle that had to come out.  A lot of skin grafting and radiation treatments later, he seems to be all right.  He can’t believe he’s about to go on Medicare (can any of us?).  He and Linda will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in August, and all of us wish them the very best!

Hank & Brenda Larsen have recently closed their restaurant business in Lawton, OK, and Hank has also retired from a very successful post-Army career with ITT.  They sold their house and moved to Norman, OK, where they built their current house.  They discovered that taking on that new challenge as a retired couple was exciting and rewarding, and Norman was a logical place because Brenda and their two sons all graduated from the University of Oklahoma there.  They enjoy the university town very much, and it is close enough to Lawton-Fort Sill for frequent visits with friends.

The younger Larsen son, Rick, and his family live in Moore, which is between Norman and Oklahoma City.  Their older son, Skip, and his family live in Miami.  Skip is at SOUTHCOM, but he is scheduled to take command of a battalion at Fort Lewis in July.

Army-Navy Game with the Weekleys

The lamented 1999 A-N Game is commemorated by the accompanying photo taken at Bob & Elaine Weekley’s new home on the Northern Neck of Virginia on the water near Chesapeake Bay.  In the front row are Margie McNerney, and Bob & Elaine, who is wearing the apron passed from hostess to hostess each year.  In the second row are John & Mary Gurr, Elaine Besson, Joanne Hutton, and Bobbie Fitzgerald; and in the rear are Bill Turpin, John McNerney, Frank Besson,  Powell Hutton and Bill Fitzgerald.

This year’s A-N Game will be played on Saturday, 2 December, at PSINet (Ravens) Stadium in Baltimore.  At this writing there is some interest in the class to have an associated class function, such as a tailgate party, because so many of us are clustered in the D.C./Northern Virginia Area.  More on this as things develop.  There is also a plan to have a mailing re the mini-reunion in Carlisle scheduled for 18-21 May.  I hope that by now you have received it, or perhaps, have even attended the event.

40th Reunion: Paquette and Breen

And on 23 May there will be a parade and luncheon at which Fred Franks will be among those honored at West Point as a Distinguished Graduate of the Military Academy for the year 2000.  Pete Dawkins passed along to Fred our sincere congratulations and told him how proud we all are of him.  This is a wonderful, richly deserved and entirely appropriate recognition, Pete said, of all that Fred has done, and continues to do, on behalf of the values of West Point and the interests of our country.