Tim's December 2020 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68!! Consider the following: Covid-19 pandemic; wild fires in California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado; floods in Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida; a record number of hurricanes or tropical storms hitting the U.S.; riots, arson, looting, and mayhem in many U.S. cities; raucous political debates; racial strife; a Presidential election; and so on. Is it any wonder why so many of us are ready for 2020 to be over and done?! Come on you senior citizens! We need to lift our flagging spirits! My suggestion is that we fervently celebrate our incredible victory on the fields of friendly strife over Navy and hold one of our infamous "spontaneous" pep rallies on the terrazzo! Time to jump into your "Vettes," mini-vans, or golf carts! Let's roll!!

"Time for Breakfast!" L-R: Gary Hoe (USAFA '69), Felix Morgan, Darrell Knudson, and Kit Busching (USAFA '69)

I received a very short note and photo from Felix Morgan in July telling me of a gathering for breakfast in an Albuquerque park with Darrell Knudson and a couple underclassmen from the Class of 1969-Gary Hoe and Kit Busching. A good time was had by all.

When last year's Christmas card bounced back from Dick Ewers, I sent him an email and received some current info on one of NASA's finest former test pilots. Dick writes: "When I turned 70, NASA told me I could no longer fly so I retired. My wife, Sharon, and I scoured the country to find the 'perfect' retirement location for over a year and finally settled on the Palm Springs area. In late October 2017, we made a low bid on a house in a Del Webb, over 55, community. They accepted, we sold our house in two days, and had to do some real scrambling to move out of our house of 20 years in just 45 days. Our backyard looks right over the 2nd hole of the golf course. I am happy with the community of geezers and all the activities we can participate in." Dick relocated his Cessna 210 to the airport in Thermal and said that he flies it a lot on trips to western New York and to see family in Telluride and San Diego. Here's wishing Dick and Sharon blue skies and happy landings for many retirement years to come!

On August 2nd, I received an email from Vic Bonfiglio, who said that he was marking and celebrating his 20th year in Hawaii. Vic writes: "I arrived on 1 August 2000 as a geographic bachelor to work for the PACAF DO while Mary held down the roost in Ann Arbor helping both kids graduate from the University of Michigan. After a few months, she joined me and we started looking for house where many classmates have joined us over the years. What makes Hawaii cool is not just the mountains, the beaches, and the enjoyable weather, it's the flying and the athletic opportunities. . . . Just to give you a sense of what's going on, I soloed student #46 (an 18-year old high school student) on 31 July. . . . Over the course of 20 years, both Mary and I have taught school and received a few awards. I've been fortunate to fly all these years with much appreciated recognition from the FAA as the Hawaii Flight Instructor of the Year for 2016 and 2017. Right now, I am launching on a new adventure as the Chief Instructor at Lani Lea Flight School." Best wishes to Vic and Mary for continued blessings in the Rainbow State. Aloha!

"The Grapes of Calamity Hill." L-R: John & Judy Chapman and Marion & Tom Vail."

WEST COAST '68ERS GET TOGETHER: I received a nice letter from John Chapman with some information about his comings and goings. John writes: "I seldom send anything in to you, but met with two other '68 grads and thought it might be worth noting. Judy and I went to a wine tasting at Tom and Marion Vail's Calamity Hill Vineyard in Amity, Oregon, in November 2019. This may have been their final public wine tasking, as they put their vineyard and house up for sale. They opted in favor of more travel and less travail. If you are interested in reading more about their 15-year adventure, check it out on the calamityhill.com website."

John said that Judy and he shared the Thanksgiving 2019 holiday with Rob and Carol Wilson, who live in a beautiful golf resort community in Cle Elum, Washington. The Wilson's were visiting the Chapman's abode in Vancouver, Washington because their son, Ryan, (USAFA '98) and the Chapman's youngest daughter are a couple. They all pitched in for a great day of food, fun, and, of course, wine!

"Thanksgiving at the Chapman's." L-R: John & Judy Chapman and Carol & Rob Wilson"

THE CASE OF THE MISSING CLASS RING: In July, I received an interesting note from Charles LaHaye, Jr., (USMMA '88), who was trying to locate one of our classmates to return a class ring that he recently found. Charles writes: " I'm not sure how it ended up where it did, but here's the story. My mother-in-law's friend, who recently passed away, owned a jewelry store in Southeastern Oklahoma. As we were cleaning out her garage, we found a box of old rings, necklaces, and scrap gold. When I looked down, I immediately recognized the ring as being a class ring from a Federal academy, as I am a 1988 grad of the US Merchant Marine Academy. I would like very much to return it to the owner and maybe solve the mystery of how it ended up at a jewelry store in a small town in Oklahoma. The name inscribed on the ring is William M. Guth." The ring is now in the possession of the AOG. If any of you in Checkpoints Land can get in contact with Mike, please let him know that his ring resides in an AOG safe in Doolittle Hall.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: We were saddened by the death of our classmate, William A. Turchick, Major, USAF (Ret) on 12 September 2020 in Loundonville, New York. Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Ann, at 5 Vatrano Lane, Loudonville, NY 12211-2025.

Please remember loved ones, friends, and colleagues who are dealing with the struggles mentioned in my opening paragraph of this class column. Prayers are always appreciated by those who need them.

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. Remember to include Pat and me in your holiday correspondence (with photos, if possible). Ciao for now. Tim

Return to Scribe's Page