Tim's June 2020 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68!! In reviewing the opening comments from my last column, perhaps the timing of my advice suggesting that you enjoy life by taking a cruise was not so good! Some observations about our "new normal:" I used to spin the toilet paper like I was on the Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I'm cracking a safe. Home schooling is going well. Two students suspended for fighting and one teacher fired for drinking on the job! I'm so excited! It's time to take out the garbage. What to wear? What to wear?

"Life is a Beach" Photo of Bob Petersen from his Balcony at Virginia Beach in December 2019

Bob Petersen sent me a quick email and wrote, "After a 30-year legal career as a JAG Officer and corporate attorney, I am coming to the end of my sixth-year teaching school in Yorktown, Virginia. It keeps me busy and it is very rewarding. During the past six months, I have dined twice with Tom McDaniel, who lives close by in Williamsburg, Virginia and has become quite an accomplished author. I have read two of his books and found them to be extremely well-written." (Scribe Note: Tom was in some of my Poli Sci and Humanities classes at the Zoo and his acclaimed literary talents were evident back in the day, too.)

: I received a bounty of well wishes and greetings over the holidays from many of you and am sharing some of the news from hither and yon.

The first letter is from Doug and Dee Wilson, who wrote, "We continue to live in Castle Rock, Colorado. NO "8-5 jobs" for us. We worked 89 years to get to a "retired, do other things, or do nothing" status. We enjoy fly fishing; gardening; volley ball administration for Doug; golfing; bridge; book club for Dee; walking the dog; working around the house and yard; and visits." In conjunction with Doug's volleyball referee duties that took him to Egypt and Italy, Dee and he were able to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Salerno, Florence, Rome, and Naples as they traveled on Italian bullet trains and with crazy cab drivers. It was a momentous 2019 for both of them.

The next greeting came from Pat and Rusty McBride. With a beautiful photo of the two of them on the front of the card, they wrote: "All is well in St. George, Utah as we continue to enjoy the northern reaches of the Mojave Desert. Traveling to cooler climes during the warm summer months of July and August is a must, but we love it here during the remainder of the year."

Another card with happy family photos came from Pat and Nancy Hurley, who wrote, "50 incredible years of adventures with family and friends. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in September 2019 after a summer full of fun-travel with grandkids to Washington, San Francisco, and Greer, Montana. Capped off the summer and early fall with an extraordinary trip to Vietnam with dear friends for nearly a month. We count our blessings every day-grateful for our health, loving family, and dear friends."

The last holiday letter for this column comes from our very own Class Webmaster and his bride, Pat and Nita Russell. They wrote, "This past June and July (2019), we took a super 25-day, 4,800-mile road trip in the Vette through 11 states." Their stops included visits with cousins in Taylor, Nebraska; former neighbors in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; aunts and cousins in Fort Madison, Iowa; Garry and Tina Dudley in Colorado Springs; and Evanston, Wyoming over the 4th of July. Pat noted, "Just can't beat a Corvette for a road trip-got over 27MPG!" Their letter ended with the following comment, "Pat has seen the new mid-engine Corvette and put a deposit down for a 2021 model-maybe the convertible with the retractable hardtop!" To Pat and Nita, Best wishes for "Happy Trails!"

"First Grade Classmates Reunite. L-R: Marty Cole and Steve Mish”

CLASSMATES FOR LIFE: Many thanks to Steve Mish for sending me the photo, shown above, and information about the long history of his relationship with our classmate, Marty Cole. In a February 2020 email, Steve wrote, "Jayne and I were in Scottsdale last week and had dinner with Marty and Claudia Cole. Marty and I have known each other since we were six! His mother was my first-grade teacher on Okinawa. Apparently, Marty was in the "other" first grade class because we were too rambunctious when we were together! Can't imagine."

As a faithful correspondent, Steve wrote to me, again, in March and told me about the interview he had just completed that provides an oral history of his experience with the Thunderbirds. I went online and searched under the title "Steve Mish: Thunderbird Pilot 1974-1976." The interview was conducted by Ryan Nothhaft and is an incredible testament to Steve's life as a member of the team. I highly recommend that classmates and friends take a few minutes to watch this video. It will make you proud to be an American! It is well worth your time!!

INVITATION TO USAFA '68: A POW and MIA/KIA museum is being constructed in the restored 1899 Officers Quarters located at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. If you are interested in attending the dedication ceremony on 18 September 2020, please contact Russell McKnight (USAFA'70) at rem1946us@yahoo.com.

"Bob and Lilly Marks at 45th Reunion"

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: Bruce "Bob" Stanley Marks passed away on 21 March 2020 in Greenwood Village, Colorado of pancreatic cancer and a series of small strokes. Bob flew AC-130 gunships in combat and was a gifted skier, scuba diver, and bicyclist. He is survived by his wife Lilly, two daughters, and three grandchildren. Condolences may be sent in care of his wife Lilly at 5548 Hillside Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111-3736.

James Michael Cupello passed away on 20 January 2020 in Sandy, Utah. Following his cadet years, he earned a Master's degree in Environmental Science and Health Physics from Rutgers University in 1969 and then a Ph.D. in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas in 1974. An avid learner, he went on to earn an Executive MBA from the School of Management and Strategic Studies in La Jolla, California and an MBA in Marketing with Honors from the University of California Riverside. He is survived by his six children, 13 grandchildren, and two sisters, Diane (Harvey) Bushre and Carole (Lynn) Murray. He was interred at the USAFA Cemetery on 27 January 2020.

In addition to the loss of our two classmates, please pray for classmates and family members who are suffering from disease or the loss of loved ones. We also need to pray for all who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. May God bless us all!

THAT'S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep 'em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat Russell and me. Ciao for now. Tim

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