August 2009


CAPT W.E. Smith

19 Coachman Pike

Ledyard, CT 06339

Ph: 860.464.8425; Fax: 860.464.8425


Web site


In Memoriam Mr. Gene Bowers May 29, 2009


Gene died from congestive heart failure after his health had declined rapidly during this past winter. He ignored some of the early signs of heart problems attributing them to his allergies, and then spent two months in the hospital. He died peacefully in his sleep in a Buffalo, NY nursing home. A Mass of Christian Burial was held for him at 10:00 a.m. on June 3rd at St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo.

In our “Golden Tide Rips”, Gene noted that “Mid-terms of second class year sent me shuffling off to Buffalo” where he worked for the Carborundum Company of Niagara Falls. He said “the education gained at the Academy got me rapidly promoted through the technician ranks to Senior Technician”. His father, a Captain in the Buffalo Fire Department, encouraged Gene to take the exam for the department which he did. Gene passed the exam and the fire service became a huge part of his life! He received awards for bravery from the VFW and the S.P.C.A. and a Eugene Bowers Memorial Award for Bravery in his honor is presented to a firefighter. Gene said, “My father was a Battalion Chief when he died of a heart attack while on duty. My brother and I both retired as Chiefs. I was a Battalion Chief and my brother Lee made it to the top job, Division Chief. Our Department had seen several family Chief Officer combos, but we were the only three-way combo.”

Among Gene’s hobbies in his own words were: “Golf - once I got as low as a 7 handicap” (but he was a perennial “winner", with his partner Gerry Lipsett of the Flanagan-Smith Aw Shucks trophy for last place); Coins - good collection but no time to work on it; CB Radio - Call letters KAPH 3527 ... Handle ‘Easy Bee’; Crossword Puzzles; and Unionism - I was a Union official for more than 20 years and found it  interesting and important work. As a Captain in the Buffalo Fire Department, it would seem that I would be on management’s side, but I’m proud of the fact that the members chose me to represent them. I was the highest ranking officer on the Executive Board of the Union. Gene greatly enjoyed just “hanging out” with friends and he belonged to many organizations including: Buffalo and WNY Retired Firefighters; NY State Retired Police and Fire; NY State Association of Fire Chiefs; AMVETS; American Legion; International Veterans. Social Clubs: Moose, Elks, Squirrels (a men’s club dedicated to having a good time), the Queen City Jazz Society; and High I.Q. Societies: Mensa, Intertel, and Triple Nines Society. Gene, who never married, is survived by his brothers Ron and Lee, sister Sharon and several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. His brother Lee Bowers can be reached at 5318 Greens Dr., Lady Lake, FL 32159 - Cell: 352-552-8094.

From his home in Maryland, Ted Smith somberly played Taps for Gene at 10:00 a.m. on June 3rd at the time of Gene’s funeral and said, “I guess nobody heard it but Gene.” Bob Benson wrote, “Gene was a loyal supporter of the Flanagan-Smith annual golf classic and a proud member of MENSA and the great class of "53. The Aw Shucks trophy bows its regal head...Rest in Peace, Gene”.

The planning committee for our Seattle Mini-Reunion (9/21 - 9/25) (Dick and Meris Donnelly, Kirk and Jackie Greiner, George Everett and Barbara, Bud and Betsy Mathieu, Ed and Joyce Nelson, and Dimpy Spadafora) have put together a great program. The registration forms for it have been "snail-mailed" to all classmates with a request that replies should be mailed to Wee Smith by August 15.

This year’s "Hooligan Invitational Golf Tournament", (the successor to the Jay Flanagan-Wee Smith Men’s Invitational Golf Tournament), was held May 26-28 and provided an opportunity for Bob Benson, Hank Fisher, Bill Kohl, Roger Madson, and Wee Smith to get together for a “’53 micro-reunion” of “fun and fellowship.


Misc. Bits and Pieces from or about our classmates (in alphabetical order):


In May Dan Briganti was able to bring Sue home (1216 Whetstone Dr., Arnold, MD 21012 - Tel. 410-757-7223 - from the rehab center where she had been recovering after breaking her leg and wrist in falls. He said, “Thanks to all who have supported Sue and over the past 5 months with cards and calls. She is doing nicely, learning how to navigate the walker safely. There’s still much to be done to graduate from the walker to walking, but she has shown tremendous spirit and courage through the whole process.”

Bill Clark (2064 Horne’s Lake Rd., Williamsburg, VA 23185 - Tel. 757-467-1777 - said Ann is slowly improving from her pulmonary embolism she had in April and is returning to normal activities.

Heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Ed Cope and Rosalind (Roz) Priddy who were married on April 22nd in Reno, NV` with mutual friends CDR (Ret) Chuck Peterson and his wife Laurene who introduced Ed and Roz serving as their Best Man and Maid of Honor. The Cope’s new address: 1031 North Arroya (no St., Cir., Ln, etc.), Mesa, AZ 85205. New Tel. 480-654-8745; Cell remains 360-632-5370; e-mail remains Roz: Welcome to the Class of ‘53!!

Ed Farmer ( reports from Thailand that “Fitness is at the top of my list of ‘do’s’. I have lost 25 Kg over the past year -- slowly to retrain my eating habits -- now at 74 Kg (For those who forgot, l Kg = 2.205 pounds). I feel great and I know that my heart and body are thanking me for it. I jog 5 km nonstop without any labored breathing.”

Bud Foster (22 Westwood Dr. W, Trinity, TX 75862 - had rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder in October and on May 20th he had right shoulder replacement surgery. He said “everything went well”. In February, for “R & R” between shoulder operations, Bud and Geri went on a 10 day cruise to the Panama Canal. Bud has also taken up woodworking as a hobby and has made several things with the scroll saw, including a wall clock. Bud Foster also notes The Hearts Veterans Museum of Texas, which stands for Helping Every American Remember Through Serving, (P.O. Box 6060, Huntsville, TX 77342, e-mail: strives to honor and recognize the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. He said it has very few Coast Guard items, and that they will welcome and appreciate any donations of CG memorabilia. It’s a hands-on, educational museum which provides space for the preservation of military memorabilia, artifacts and the history of past wars in effort to honor America’s veterans and educate generations to come.

On June 29, Frank and Jan Frauenfelder's grandson, Tyler Babkiewich, was sworn in as a  member of the CGA Class of 2013 and on July 2nd, Frank turned 81 years young.

Bud Grader (11 Highland Terrace, Marblehead, MA 01945, Cell: 781-439-5888; e-mail: is home and is optimistic about participating in a “cutting edge” experimental clinical program at Mass. General Hospital for treatment of his malignant brain tumor. It will involve removing fluid from his tumor to make a serum and then subsequently giving him weekly vaccinations for eight weeks.

In April, Ralph and Diane Hill enjoyed a week in Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown, VA with Ted and Mary Frances Smith on a time share exchange at the Kings Creek Plantation. In June the Hills had a wonderful tour of Prague and then a cruise on the Danube through the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria which they found was most interesting to learn about Eastern Europe's history and rich culture before the Communist era.

Gerry Lipsett is back in his home in Mass. (34 Pond St., Cohasset, MA 02025, Cell 857-205-5034; e-mail: and is continuing his rehab from his broken neck. So far he seems to be managing o.k. living by himself. He uses a cane for stability when walking and has a feeding tube because he still has difficulty swallowing food.

Bob Lynch’s recovery from the major esophageal cancer surgery that he had on May 4th at the Tucson Medical Center has been very slow. He is re-learning to chew and swallow and is working to get his muscle tone back. Bob has greatly appreciated hearing from classmates! Cards should be sent to his home (8572 E. Mustang Trail, Hereford, AZ 85615). Iris can be reached at

In the week before these notes were due, I called Ed Nelson (1160 Niagara Ave., Astoria, OR 97103 - Tel. 503-325-2596, to get a SITREP. Ed was in the hospital in Portland, OR with three of his doctors trying to decide why he has a pain in his hip, why he had infections on the wires from his pacemaker, and whether or not to replace his heart valve. Joyce has been staying in an apartment near the hotel. When Ed's doctors gave him an "overnight pass" while they tried to sort out the best courses of action, Ed said he and Joyce did two things they couldn't do in Astoria: go to an Olive Garden Restaurant for dinner and have breakfast at an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) restaurant. Why couldn't they do this in Astoria? Because they don't have these restaurants in Astoria!

After selling her house in British Columbia, Canada, Nina Rowland had a great time traveling across the USA with a few stops to visit special places such as Mount Rushmore. Her temporary mailing address is P.O. Box 252, Earleville, MD 21919, her cell phone number is 610-322-6737, and her e-mail address is: Nina added, “Maybe one day I will find that special place where I belong but in the meantime, I am taking one day at a time and enjoying life.”

Fred Sponholz (21949 Calverton Rd., Shaker Heights, OH 44122,  - Tel. 216-342-4840) joined ‘53’s “Octarian Club” on May 7th! He has been taking art classes two times/week and has done some seascapes and boats in water colors and acrylics. Fred said, “oils are next” and he has also been doing some sketches.

Glenn Young ( is still in Australia and said he had a short holiday at a town called Strahan, on the West Coast of Tasmania. It is across Macquarie Harbor from the site of the Sarah Island Prison Colony which during its 11 year existence from 1822 to 1833 earned the reputation as the most brutal of all the English prisons established in Australia. He said, “I wanted to see the prison site and ‘Hell’s Gate’, the entrance to Macquarie Harbor. The harbor is larger than Sydney Harbor but is entered through a gap in the shoals and headlands only about 250 feet wide. The book, “The Ship of Thieves”, describes the prison and a most remarkable escape by sea.” Glenn added that he may be in the U.S. in September, and if he is, he will try to attend our mini-reunion in Seattle, “but don’t depend on it.”

Finally, in late July, Jane and I will be flying to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. We will spend two weeks traveling in Georgia with our daughter, Beth, who is the principal of an international school there.