16th REDFIN Reunion
2015 REUNION RECAP
The 16th reunion for the USS Redfin shipmates is history. We joined together in Branson, MO at the Lodge of the Ozarks on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 thru Thurs., Sept. 17, 2015. Almost everyone departed on Friday morning the 18th. Several couples stayed on Friday and departed Saturday and four couples stayed Saturday and departed Sunday. We had a “blast”.
Thirty Six (36) shipmates attended the reunion, some with spouses and family for a total of 63 people. Those in attendance were; Woody & Carole Gunderson, Lloyd & Mary Boucherie, Bill & Pat Pelkey, Art & Vi Maki, Terry & Anna Marie McFarland, Tim & Bunty Cantwell, Gerald Schoemann, Walt & Barbara Sealy, Ken Dorn, Erich & Emily Cramer, Rob Roberts, Ray & Betty Engle, Joe (WWII) & Carol Base, Ozzie & May Aossey, Larry & Maxine Rash, Jeff & Marge Jones, Baldy & Pauline Baldwin, Don Lamb, Robert & Pat Boyd, Jim Paulk, Harry Warren, George Garton, Gordon Banks, Gary Cogdell, Chuck Berry, Dave & Gerri Lienke, Al King, Jim & Mary Parman, Jim Gradeless, George & Ruth Williams, Duane Kersten & Tina and Don Lightfoot, Tom & Cass & Cathy Lavan, Art & Norah Fried, Frank Reisinger (WWII), Steve & Nancy Chordas and Jim & Linda Martin. Many of the attendees remarked to Larry, Maxine, Linda and me that they had a great time.
Some shipmates arrived as early as Sunday the 13th and Monday the 14th to attend Branson shows but everyone else arrived on Tuesday the 15th to start the reunion, renew friendships and swap stories. The evening pizza dinner had some problems due to a mix-up between the sales manager and the restaurant manager. This was resolved by the hotel general manager. I’m not aware that anyone went hungry but it could have been better. Lesson learned!
On Wednesday the 16th everyone did their own thing until 3:00 PM when we met at the Branson Belle Showboat for a military service in honor of the Redfin. We then boarded the Branson Belle for the Showboat dinner, show and cruise. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the whole experience. The food was excellent and the show was terrific!! Some of us retired to the hospitality room at the Lodge to enjoy a presentation by Ken Dorn about the history of the 48, 49 and 50 states American flags while some attended another Branson show.
Thursday the 17th started with another beautiful mid-western day. More Branson shows were attended. Yes, Linda saw every show she wanted to see and more!! The evening buffet dinner was served in the hotel restaurant, the La Piazza. The dinner was very good, making up for the pizza debacle. We then retired to the hospitality room where Jim Paulk and Erich Cramer gave a recap of their trip to the submarine school Redfin class graduation in May of 2014. Again, thanks to Jim and Erich for their representation of the USS Redfin at that ceremony. We then had a short business meeting which included asking where we should have the next reunion and suggesting that we will have one more reunion, for sure. Everyone is getting older, no kidding, so depending on attendance, reunions will need to be considered on a bi-annual basis at subsequent reunions. We may consider combining with another boat to get a large enough quorum to get enough attendees to obtain good hotel rates. For now, I’ve had several suggestions to do the Branson reunion again but as in past newsletters, I’m looking for suggestions for the next reunion location for 2017. If you don’t suggest, I don’t know your reunion location ideas!
Once again, we had a great Chinese Auction. The gifts were wonderful and one shipmate offered a piece of the Redfin decking to be bid on. This item fetched $100.00. (Thanks Chuck) We, also, had a shipmate purchase $200.00 of Chinese auction tickets. These “donations” helped us make our Chinese auction goal to keep our Redfin general fund solvent. Not only is this activity a good fund raiser, we have a lot of fun and we all had a good time. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Chinese auction.
A special thanks to several shipmates for helping to set up the reunion and being there to close up shop on Friday and Saturday. A special thanks to Larry and Maxine Rash and my wife Linda for being my sounding board when I’m preparing for the reunion, setting up, monitoring the reunion at the hotel and running the ticket sales and drawing for the Chinese auction. I couldn’t do this without them.