SEPTEMBER 2009

 

Our 50th Reunion was a wondrous thing.  It was a treat to see old friends whom we felt we had barely missed at all. We continued conversations that started many years before. And there we all were, about 500 of us including wives.

            Sunday 3 May was departure day, and most of us arrived the previous Thursday to claim our rooms at the Hilton at Woodcliff Lakes, NJ; although some arrived on Wednesday, to play golf and tennis.  Many of the cadet companies had private parties, and from what I heard (and experienced at our A-1 party) there were a lot of good times. 

 

 

Pee Wee Lambert and Fred Wilmoth asserting themselves as Mutt & Jeff of our 50th.

 

            There were bus rides to West Point that gave us opportunities to chat with classmates whom we hadnít chatted with before; a moving memorial service that Sandy Beach chaired with aplomb; a tour of the cemetery; and lunch at Ike Hall on Friday.  There was a great parade on Saturday where the band played a march commissioned by Jerry Fogel especially for our Class followed by a lunch in the cadet mess, which some of us thought the best meal of the weekend.  Mirabile dictu!  And then there was a lacrosse game and several other venues to satisfy any other comedown before the gala banquet and dance that night.  We all agreed that Jerry Fogel had been a tremendous reunion czar, and many of us insisted that he do it again five years from now.

            The details of our 50th will be found in Volume II of our 50 Years in Review book, the production of which, by Jerry Jervell and his editorial staff, I will always praise.

Next was our eighth and final Vietnam Wall ceremony. in which we have honored the 15 of our fallen in Vietnam and their families.  About 70 of us gathered at the Wall on 14 June, and John McNerney in his masterful way had arranged for the wreaths and remembrances for Buse Tully and Jim Woods on the 40th anniversary of their combat deaths.  Dick Bennett delivered a memorable eulogy for Buse, whose widow Connie was there with her husband, Don Byrne í63; the Tully daughter, Eileen and her husband, Carl Funderburk; and several other Tully relatives and friends.

 

 

 Wall Ceremony with John McNerney and Dick Bennett with Buseís daughter, Eileen, and his widow, Connie.

 

Lou Hightower gave a thoughtful eulogy for Jim Woods and he brought Thomas Woods, Jimís son, and Daniel Woods, Jimís grandson, both from California.  We walked down to the Wall to place the wreaths, and there were a few short remarks before we rode over to the Army-Navy Country Club for brunch and more reminiscences.

 

 

Wall Ceremony with Lou Hightower flanked by Jim Woodsís son and grandson.

 

Skip Tyler and his wife, Nancy, are in Hampton, VA, where Nancy is still employed as an auxiliary deputy sheriff in Portsmouth, VA, and busies herself birding and taking care of her family property in CA.  Skip is retired but takes care of his German Shepard and three cats, rides his four Harleys (heís up to almost 200,000 miles), and collects militaria.  He is interested in the Civil War and the Indian Wars and gathers their guns and equipment.  He makes twelve-inch models for military museums around the country.  Sounds busy to me.  And they see a lot of our classmates in the greater Williamsburg area.

Jim & Pat Walters moved from Alexandria, VA, to Patís former home in Charleston, SC, in 2005 when Jim retired from Booz Allen.  They are just across the river from Charleston in Mount Pleasant, and they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last February.  In August 2008, they went back to Alexandria to help Jimís father, Class of 1933, celebrate his 100th birthday.  Jim & Pat also spend a lot of time with their children and grandkids, who also live in the Alexandria area. 

 

 

Pat & Jim Walters

 

Since Charleston has such a glamorous Civil War history (Fort Sumter and all), Jim has become a Civil War buff and does a pretty good job, he says, as a tour guide of the Charleston forts.  He has a large collection of toy soldiers that he started as a young boy, and he is a member of the South Carolina Military Miniature Society which includes a number of USMA graduates as members.  Jim says asthma and the April pollen count kept him from the 50th, but we were in his thoughts.  

Jerry & Marilyn Weisenseel  are in Palm City, FL, where Jerry enjoys fishing (especially fly fishing), hunting (they own a small piece of property in Northern FL), and scuba diving for lobster.  He is an investment advisor with Berthel Fisher Co., and serves as an adjunct professor in doctoral-level finance, and is a dissertation mentor at the U of Phoenix.

Tom & Ann Russell sent the photo of their son LTC Samuel L. Russell at his change of command ceremony at Ft. Polk on April 3.  Good looking group! Then they sent a photo of an L-2 (plus add ons) lunch on 23 June in Fredericksburg, VA, hosted by Pat & Regina Passarella.  Identifiable around the table are Art & Joyce Griffin, Tom & Marty Roberts, Pat & Regina, Irv & Phyllis Broocke, Ann & Tom, and Audrey & Steve Hurley.  Another fine looking assemblage.

 

 

Tom & Ann Russell with son, LTC Samuel L. Russell

 

Bob & Elaine Weekley are settled in at the home they built on deep water near the Chesapeake Bay on Virginiaís Northern Neck.  They are both heavily involved in community affairs and are on various boards.  They enjoy travel and in the last two years have bicycled the beautiful islands of Croatia and later, the ancient lands of Jordan and Egypt.  Add this to their taking care of a sailboat and a cruiser, and their days seem to be booked.

 

 

Bob Weekley with members of the cadet cycling club who met him at Camp Buckner and escorted him to our reunion.

 

Bob challenged himself by riding his bicycle on a solo ride to reunion from home the 618 miles through the hills of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York; but he modestly acknowledges that the distance was only a fraction of that accomplished by Dick & Susan Rogers in their marathon peddling from California.  Still, it took Bob eleven days and gave him a new perspective on the stoicism that West Point taught us.

Bob & Elaine hosted a í59 gathering for the Army-Navy game in December and they welcome all classmates who happen to pass their way into what Bob calls one of the most beautiful parts of the Mid-Atlantic region.  Carl & Chris Groth live in Fredericksburg, up the peninsula from them, so they spent some time at each others homes and enjoyed some of the historic sites of the area.

 

 

L-2 lunch in Fredericksburg, VA

 

Our thoughts and prayers remain with those of our progeny who are in harmís way.