Dave Luedtke died of a massive heart attack on 20 Apr as he was leaving the fourth green at the Ft. Benning golf course. Bill Luther represented the class at the funeral and burial at Ft. Benning, where he extended our heartfelt condolences to Dave’s wife, Irmgard, and to the rest of his family and friends.
John Panko died at his home in Palatine, IL, on 1 May. He had suffered through two operations for colon cancer. Denny Morrissey served as a pallbearer and offered our sincere condolences to John’s wife, Joann, and his three sons, John III, Michael, and Mark, and to the rest of his family and friends.
We have enjoyed Larry Struble’s internet postings, ably passed on by Jim Walsh (TheColJim@aol.com), that detail the adventures of PWS, our inveterate bicyclers who left San Diego on 2 Apr for a cross country trip of 3,276 miles to our 40th Reunion, where they hoped to arrive on 22 May. They are Larry Palmer, Will Weber, and Dusty Samouce, (thus the PWS appellation, but the alternate is “Pedalers With Style”). At this writing they are somewhere between Mena, AR, and Little Rock, having cycled over 60 miles most days, and having experienced extremes of temperature (snow in California and merciless heat in Texas), all manner of roadkill, and near collision misses in a driving rain. All were still stalwart at what must have been the halfway mark. They were fed and housed by Jerry Jervell near Phoenix, by Hank Larsen (joined by Gerry Stadler and Tony Pokorny) in Lawton, and anticipated a hosting by Larry Struble in Warren, OH. Tom Russell, in Cornwall, is listed as the final mail stop.
Dusty Samouce was our classmate plebe year, but his spelling did him in. He went on to NC State where he got a degree in nuclear engineering, then went into the marines, then to NASA, and then to retirement at 55. Having just lost his wife to a heart attack he decided that what he needed was a cross-country bicycle trip. He went from Williamsburg, VA, to Portland, OR, and while enroute sold his house in Houston and bought a cabin in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. He has lived there since. He flies an autogyro that he built and cracked up twice, maps sun spots, and serves on the local rescue squad and fire department. He has three grown children, one who flies choppers in the Army. Dusty is the brother of Tom Russell’s wife, Ann.
John Harkins notes that his job as keeper of the I-2 bottle of brandy is very taxing, as he spends time every five years preparing for it to travel to reunions. At the time of this writing he was looking for it, having last seen it at the 35th. He thought there was still some left in it. He and Kathy are off to Australia and New Zealand right before the 40th, so his companymates are hoping to get one more taste.
The Harkinses live in Harrisburg, PA, and are grooming their grandson, Jake Ramsey, for quarterback, Class of ’05. All of their children are married, employed, and have two children each.
Charlie Tennant is the new president of the West Point Society of Los Angeles. When he received his roster of society presidents (like when a general officer receives his exclusive new belt), he noticed that he is the 5th of the ’59 incumbents. The others are Lou Schroeder in Denver, Don Reinhard in Atlanta, Al Devereaux in Tallahassee, and Al Dorris in Minnesota. Charlie thinks we must be the only class that can boast of five. Jerry Fogel’s term in Kansas City must be up.
Charlie has two sons in the Army, both Corps of Engineers. Son Steve is a LTC and has JTF5, which is charged with support of the drug interdiction effort on the Mexican border. Son Bill is a CPT commanding an engineer company in the 101st. Daughter Cathy’s husband is in the USAF and is stationed at Langley AFB. Daughter Susie is married and living in Seattle. From the four of them, Charlie has seven grandsons and one granddaughter. He thinks eight is a class record. He may have missed a posting by TheColJim.
Guy Heath, a tanker until his retirement in 1989, is now a cowboy in the Texas Hill Country. He and Donna live in New Braunfels, where my parents were born and raised, and he is the VP of the Heath-Ray Circle Bar Ranch, Inc., a family-owned corporation that manages the ranch (west of Comfort, TX) as its general partner. He says that he spends more time meeting with accountants and lawyers than he does riding fence or roping cows. But he has won a few trophy belt buckles with his horse, Chili, who is now 18 years old, an age that has forced their retirement from competition. They still enjoy riding with one another at the ranch. Guy & Donna have one daughter, Lawryn, who is married and lives in Memphis with her husband, Ed Kasper, who is a computer engineer with FedEx. Lawryn is a biologist in the genetics department at St. Jude’s Hospital.
When Guy learned that my father is at a retirement home in New Braunfels, he e-mailed me that his mother had died at the same home last year at age 95. Then, on a visit to the home to discuss a place for his in-laws, he made the nice gesture of dropping in and introducing himself to my father, who was suitably impressed with the coincidence of it all. As am I.
Charlie & Nancy Hayes live in Bethesda, MD, from where Charlie, my trusty A-1 roommate, drives the few short miles to Silver Spring for his job as National Program Manager for Silicon Graphics. He likes his job and says he probably couldn’t stand retirement. Nancy is much better now, having withstood five eye surgeries related to her Graves Disease. We wish her the best.
Of the Hayes children, Matt (’91) was still a Blackhawk company commander in Korea at this writing, having been extended involuntarily for seven months while the Clinton-reduced army tried to find a qualified CPT to replace him. Daughter Breckie is back at her lawyer’s job in Concord, NH, after presenting Charlie with his first grandchild, Sarah Breckinridge Snow in early January. Daughter Sarah is pursuing her acting career in NYC and working part time for her psychologist aunt. And the youngest Hayes, Lucas, is finishing his freshman year at Montgomery College in MD. He hopes to transfer for his junior year to NYU to attend its film school.
Bill Pollock publishes the magical A-2 newsletter on a schedule that is classified “eyes only,” but its content, once published, is open for inspection. He sent one to me some months ago with news of three companymates, and he warned that it might be somewhat out of date. But anyway, and considering that inertia is a greater force than it was 40 years ago, here is news of Ingram, Cummings, and Neal.
Don Ingram, who is now retired, resides with his wife, Ingrid, in the Villages, a retirement community in Lady Lakes, FL. Ingrid is involved in community activities and writes a monthly column for the local newspaper. Don has developed a keen interest in genealogy, and he has identified two ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower. They have a married daughter, Sabine, who lives with her husband in Albany, NY.
Sean Cummings lives in Hingham, MA, just outside of Boston, and continues his work at a diversified real estate company where he is involved in construction, acquisition, management and disposition of multifamily, income producing properties all over the United States. He has been doing this for about 30 years now. Sean & Suzanne, who have two daughters, Lisa and Caroline, spend most of their leisure time at Sean’s old family homestead in Barnstable, on Cape Cod.
Jack & Nancy Neal, having taken early retirement from the corporate world, live in Flower Mound, TX, a few miles north of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Their two sons, Chuck and Johnny, are married and live nearby, and there are four grandchildren. They have done a lot of traveling, and Jack has built an exercise and weightlifting room in their home to help with our common battle of the waistline. He also works on his golf game and reads rather seriously about the Civil War. He hopes to write about it someday.
In other news, Lou Hightower, my Sully’s roommate, writes that he and Carolyn are in Chapel Hill, NC, where he is semi-retired but consulting for Computer Sciences Corp. I think semi-retired means you do more work for free, but you remain fully occupied. Lou says that all his children are grown and that he has three grandchildren.
The effort to have a school in Alexandria named for Rocky Versace (and perhaps the award of a posthumous – and long overdue – Medal of Honor) continues. Joining the attempts on Rocky’s behalf has been Roger Donlon, Vietnam’s first and currently our only MOH winner, whose autobiographical book, Beyond Nam Dong, is now available at bookstores.