February 2007

CAPT W.E. Smith
19 Coachman Pike, Ledyard, CT 06339
Ph: 860.464.8425; Fax: 860.464.8425
E-mail: jdsbridge@aol.com
Website: www.cga53.org

     Some of the memorable highlights for the Class of '53 in 2006 were: classmates celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversaries; grandchildren of classmates graduating from high school or college, getting married, or having grandchildren and great grandchildren; our class sponsoring the Second Annual CAPT Ernie Rowland Cadet Art Contest ; sponsoring ADM Paul Yost '51 as the Academy's Class of '53 Fellow for 2006; adding the names of another graduating class to the Hall of Graduates Plaques in Hamilton Hall which our class sponsors;  holding successful Class of '53 mini-reunions in Munich, Germany and Gettysburg, PA; and thanks to Kirk Greiner with help and advice from Gerry Lipsett and Bill Bruinsma, our Class of '53's website (CGA53.org) is up and running, and it gets better every day!  Check it out!
     The "not-so-happy" events included: the death of our classmate Jimmy Hiteshew and some serious health issues for Joan Cope, Frank Frauenfelder, Juanita Madson, Bill Russell, Nat Spadafora, and Gene Trainor. 
As we look ahead to 2007, our class will be sponsoring and completing two new projects in Chase Hall:  the Presidential Passageway between the "A" (1932) and "D" (1972) Annex on the second deck and a memorial display of CGA alumni who have been POWs/MIAs.  The Presidential Passageway will have a plaque to honor each U.S. President's official visit to the Academy.  President Harry Truman, who was the first President to visit the Academy, did it during our first class year.  The memorial display for POWs/MIAs will honor our late classmate, Jimmy Hiteshew, who spent six years as a POW in Vietnam, and all other Academy alumni who were POWs/MIAs.  In 2007 our class will again sponsor the CAPT Ernie Rowland Cadet Art Contest  and the return of a distinguished Academy alum as a Class of '53 Fellow. We will also hold a Class of '53 Mini-Reunion in Tennessee, probably during the week of 24 September, with Roger Madson as the coordinator.  Details to follow.
     Misc. Bits, Pieces, and Trivia about classmates (listed in alphabetical order):
     About two years ago Dan Briganti started dabbling with colored pencil art (mostly landscapes and seascapes) mainly as an "expensive hobby" getting cards printed.  In October, Wendy Winters, a free lance writer got wind of it and wrote a really nice article in the October 15 issue of Annapolis (Md.) Capital newspaper, (www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2006/10_15-30/CAN).  The article was entitled "A pirate in name only - Septuagenarian engineer gets second wind as an artist".  That gave a boost to the interest level locally which prompted a call from a local TV station to do an interview of Dan for the "Retirement Living" channel.   It was scheduled to have been aired in early January.  
     In early December, Bill Bruinsma spent a couple of weeks in Okinawa visiting a former colleague and then the last week in December he an Romy made a driving trip through Arizona
     Ed and Joan Cope have settled into their new "digs" (P.O. Box 1156, Oak Harbor, WA 98227, Tel. 360-632-5370, e-mail: ltbeam53@yahoo.com).  Joan continues to courageously battle her Idiopathic (unknown origin) Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Ed said the experts do not know what causes IPF and they don't know how to cure it.  They can only attempt to slow its progression.  It's essentially an auto-immune disease (body fights itself) that does inflammation of the lung tissue, followed by scarring which then reduces the capacity to get oxygen into the blood stream and CO2 out by exhale.  Joan is on oxygen and is limited to how far she can walk before becoming exhausted.  Ed and Joan say they are "taking life one day at a time and making sure that they enjoy each and every one to its fullest.
     Dick and Meris Donnelly have been wintering in LaQuinta, CA from their home in Bellevue, WA.  In late January they planned to go to Costa Rica for three weeks.
     Since falling and breaking his hip in October, Frank Frauenfelder (8387 Fig St., Arvada, CO 80005), has been essentially wheelchair bound.
     Bill and Dixie Linn (3 N. Mahogany Way, Elk Ridge, UT 84651; cwilllinn@msn.com), celebrated their 50th anniversary in June.  They were married on June 19th, 1956, which was also Bill's birthday, and it is often Father's Day, so Bill thinks he should get three presents.  Dixie kiddingly says "Not true.  Anniversaries are only to give presents to wives, and Bill, (who is the youngest member of our class!) is 'too old' to celebrate birthdays and since Father's Day occurs on their anniversary so infrequently it should be ignored"
     Juanita Madson (163 Saloli Way, Loudon, TN 37774, e-mail: jawanada@charter.net) suffered a stroke sometime during the weekend of Nov. 25-26 and had difficulty forming words. The area of the brain affected was the frontal lobe (speech and thought).  She was given intensive speech therapy at the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville, TN and was able to go home on December 13.  She is doing well.   No paralysis or weakness in any limbs and her speech is very close to what it was pre-stroke. Roger says, "it appears we really dodged a bullet and the fact she has been on a blood thinner for several years perhaps had something to do with it.  That and the thoughts and prayers of lots and lots of friends and relatives".
     Bud and Betsy Ann Mathieu (3155 108th Ave. SE, Bellvue, WA 98004) celebrated their 50th anniversary in November  with five of their six sons  and 18 of the 25 members of the Mathieu "clan" gathering for a week in Mazatlan, Mexico.  Bud said,  "the week could not have been more perfect.  We had ideal weather and spectacular sunsets, no illness and nary a serious mishap, and the week was a great family bonding experience and will remain a high spot in all our memories.  Near the end of the week the boys started making plans for our next family get together."  They have set up a family web site (www.mathieu-family.com ) so planning can continue, pictures can be shared, and they can stay in better contact.  Check it out.
     Bill and Margie Russell (2613 Woodfern Court, Woodbridge, VA 22192; e-mail: olddog56@aol.com) celebrated their 50th anniversary on November 25th.  Their actual 50th anniversary was October 12th but Bill and Margie waited until Nov. 25th so all four of the Russell children and 10 grandchildren could come from "near" (VA) and "far" (CA) to help them celebrate the event over Thanksgiving weekend.  Bill is doing very well in his recovery from the abdominal aneurysm that he suffered a little more than a year ago and a more recent bout with a colon problem. He only has to use a cane to steady himself when he's on uneven surfaces.
     Nat Spadafora (7203 193rd Place SW, Lynwood, WA 98036; e-mail: naspad@verizon.net; Tel. 425.771.5634) continues his courageous battle with lung cancer.  He's home, his spirits have been good in spite of having to be on oxygen 24 hours/day.  No further radiation or chemotherapy treatments are planned.  Dimpy said that their sons have been a big help with Nat's care and that Hospice is now also helping with his care.    Please keep the Spadafora family in your thoughts and prayers.
     Bob West has frequently visited Gene Trainor (14 Wellesley Rd., Scituate, MA 02066; Tel. 781.545.7942) and reports that Gene is slowly recovering from the surgery to relieve the fluid pressure on his brain.