It’s Time to Sign Up for Our 2018 Jacksonville Reunion

Weather Update for the Reunion:

It looks clear, but a little cool (at least for us) during the reunion period – lows in the upper 40’s to lower 50’s, highs in the low to mid 60’s. Saturday will be warmer in the low 70’s with a small chance of rain.


The 2018 USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion will be held in Jacksonville, Florida, from Wednesday, March 14th through Sunday, March 18th. Ed and Chrissie Bender volunteered to be our local hosts this year.

If you have not attended a reunion before, and would like to check us out, we would love to see you. There  are no registration fees, and all of the tours and events are optional. You can attend as many events as you  wish, or you can just drop by and visit us at our hospitality room each evening, just to say hello.

The hospitality room is our base of operations at the hotel, and it is open from when we return from the days tours until the last group decides it is bedtime (This comes earlier each year, lol). Our reunion is family friendly, so all relatives and friends are welcome.

The reunion hotel will be the Jacksonville Marriott, located at 4670 Salisbury Road, Jacksonville, Florida  32256.

You may make your hotel reservations now. We would like to have the reunion sign-up sheet returned by February 14th.  We can handle some late sign-ups, but the earlier you can submit the sheet, the better it is for all. You can always cancel if your schedule does not work out.

There is a space on our sign-up sheet to indicate if you are interested in sharing a room with a fellow shipmate. If you mark the box, we will put you in touch with others willing to share the cost of a room.

When you make hotel reservations by phone at (800) 962-9786 or (904) 296-2222,  be sure to mention that you are with the USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion so you will get our rate, or you can book a room online using this link.

The hotel will honor our rate of $119 per night ($134.47 with taxes) for three days before and after the reunion. If you are arriving before, or staying after the reunion, the online reservation system might not accept those dates, so you may have to make reservations directly through the hotel.

The hotel will furnish a complimentary cooked breakfast for two persons per room.

For our daily tours, we can have one of the buses equipped to handle wheelchairs. We have also contacted a company that will deliver rental wheelchairs to the hotel, if anyone should desire one. Please check the block on the sign-up sheet, if this is of interest to you.

Transportation Information

The hotel is 23 miles SE from JAX Airport. This location was chosen to allow us to travel to our daily tour destinations with little problem from city traffic, but it will require a taxi or limo ride if you are arriving by airline.

The estimated cab fare is $65, so some coordination of rides may be desirable. Gator City Taxi is the airport taxi service at 904-355-8294 or 904-3741-0008 . . . also Top Flight Carriers 904-728-2028 is available for limo service.

The Jacksonville Amtrak Station is located at 3570 Clifford Lane, Jacksonville, Florida 32209, and is about 15 miles from our hotel.

Scott’s Cell 412-951-0588
Nadine’s Cell 814-221-6813
Ed’s Cell 904-728-2753

If you are driving from I-95, take Exit 344. Turn East on Butler Blvd. Make 1st right on Salisbury Road. The Marriott Hotel is 2nd on the right at 4670 Salisbury Road.


The Events Schedule for this Reunion is:


Day 1, Wednesday, March 14

Arrive, check in, (Hotel check-In time is 3 PM) get reacquainted, and swap sea stories. There will be a welcome buffet served at the hospitality room from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.  You are welcome to sign up for this event if your arrival time allows. The buffet will feature All American Picnic fare, including:

Coleslaw Potato Salad
Shredded BBQ Pork, Buns on the Side Barbequed Chicken
Corn on the Cob Bourbon Baked Beans
Warm Rolls and Butter Sliced Watermelon
Coffee, Decaf, Hot and Iced Tea


Day 2, Thursday, March 15

St Augustine Tour – St. Augustine was founded on September 8, 1565, and is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the contiguous United States. Our guide will explain the history of the area, and we will stop at the Fountain of Youth and the Castillo de San Marcos.

There will be free time for shopping and lunch on your own at St George Street. We will be back at the hotel around 3:30 PM.

Alhambra Dinner Theatre – Boarding the bus at 6 PM, our evening tour will be a visit to the Alhambra Dinner Theatre, where we will enjoy a meal while watching the night’s presentation of “Little Shop of Horrors”. We expect to be back at the hotel by 10:30 PM.


Day 3, Friday, March 16

Mayport Naval Station Tour – Boarding the bus at 8:30 AM, we will proceed to Mayport and tour the Naval base, with lunch at the Chief’s Club.

Memorial Service at Memorial Wall – After lunch, we will bus downtown to remember our departed shipmates at the Memorial Wall. We should be back at the hotel by 3:45 PM.

Dinner is on your own.


Day 4, Saturday, March 17

Jacksonville City Tour – Boarding the bus at 9:15 AM, we will enjoy a guided tour of the most populous city in the United States.  We will have lunch at the River City Brewing Company. We had originally planned to visit the USS Charles Adams, which was supposed arrive in Jacksonville as a museum ship in the Spring of Her arrival looks doubtful at this time, but if she does show up, we will see if she is available for a visit. We should be back at the hotel by 3 PM.

We will hold our annual business meeting upon return to the hotel after the day’s tour. Would you consider hosting a future reunion in your hometown, or in an area you know well?  All it takes is a familiarity with the local geography, and an idea of some interesting events and attractions that your shipmates might enjoy. We can provide advice on hotel selection and negotiations, and do all of the paperwork to make it happen. We just need ideas, and some groundwork on your end.

In the evening, we will enjoy our Banquet in the banquet room of the Marriott Hotel.

Menu choices are:

  • Panko Crusted Chicken Picatta, with Lemon Caper Sauce
  • Sliced Roast Strip Loin of Beef, with Mushroom Demi-Glace
  • Garlic and Lemon Baked Cod, with Lemon Caper Sauce

The above menu choices will include a Field Greens House Salad, with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Ranch Dressing, Warm Rolls and Butter, Savory Rice Pilaf, and Fresh Steamed Green Beans (Soft)

This year we are also adding a vegetarian choice for the banquet:

  • Pasta Primavera – Penne Pasta and Julienne of Mixed Vegetables tossed in a Light Alfredo Sauce

Dessert will be a choice of Chocolate Mousse, or Strawberry Shortcake.


Day 5, Sunday, March 18

Departure –  Hotel check out time is 12:00 PM. Farewell until next year !


If you have any items to donate to our raffle, please bring them with you to the reunion. The raffle drawing will be at the Saturday evening banquet. We fund the Hospitality Room with money raised by the raffle.

If you wish to order Lloyd Thomas clothing or items from the website, please let us know what items you would like before the end of February, and we will bring them to the reunion and save you the cost of shipping.

Be sure to check us out on, and on Facebook at USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion Family.

The 2017 Charleston Reunion Book is available on To view our book, use one of the following links:

Our signup form is here for you to download, fill out and mail back to us.  Please send to this address:

Scott and Nadine Sheffer, Reunion Coordinators
PO Box 37, Lamartine, PA  16375

We hope to see you in Jacksonville !

John P. Cromwell Jr, Passed Away Dec 17, 2016

Captain (USN) John Philip Cromwell, Jr., passed away on the evening of December 17, 2016 surrounded by his family in his home in Annapolis, MD. He was 88 years of age.

John P. Cromwell
John Cromwell
XO 1960

John Cromwell Jr., or Jack as he was commonly known, was born in San Diego, CA on July 22, 1928 to Captain John P. Cromwell Sr. and Mrs. Margaret Robertson Cromwell of Henry, Illinois. During his formative years, he and his sister Ann traveled with their parents to various duty stations and were in New London, Connecticut during the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, and then in Honolulu during the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. After graduating from Palo Alto High School in California in 1946, Jack attended the US Naval Academy where he was nicknamed “Duke” by his classmates of the 21st Company.

Upon graduating with the class of 1951, his first assignment as an Ensign was aboard the USS Radford based in Honolulu. It was in Hawaii where he won the heart of Louanne Hoffheins. They were married on March 7th, 1953 at the Pearl Harbor Chapel and spent their honeymoon watching the erupting volcano while staying at the Kilauea Military Camp on the Island of Hawaii. Over the course of their 63 year marriage, they had the opportunity of calling many places their home, including Lanikai, Aiken, San Diego, Paris and Annapolis. His distinguished 30 year naval career included notable assignments as C.O. of the USS Meadowlark (1955), Naval Attache to France (1957), X.O. of the USS Lloyd Thomas (1960), U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (1967), X.O. of the USS Ponchatoula (1968), C.O. USS Earnest G Small (1969), C.O. Naval Station Treasure Island, CA (1975), C.O. Naval Ammunition Depot Lualualei, HI (1977).

Jack is survived by his wife Louanne and children John Cromwell (wife Donna), Carolann Horton (husband George), Susan Earls (husband Dennis), Elizabeth Woznicki (husband Anthony), and James Cromwell (wife Cindy). His eight grandchildren are Margaret Horton Harr (husband Steve), Katherine Horton Noel (husband Stephen), Michael Horton, Christopher Eichstedt, Louanne Woznicki, Sara Woznicki, William Woznicki, James Cromwell Jr and two great grandchildren, Alexis and Mia Harr. He was predeceased by his sister Ann Brenner (Alan). He is remembered by his family and friends for being a true gentleman, having a warm smile and a quick wit. He was always glad to see old friends, drink martinis, and watch Navy football, win or lose. As a father and grandfather he provided guidance and wisdom on countless occasions, and he will be genuinely missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service will be held at the US Naval Academy in early spring. Donations in his name can be made to the US Naval Academy Foundation.

                                                                                    Published in The Capital Gazette on Dec. 21, 2016

Robert J. Kelley, Passed Away Apr 25, 2017

Robert Joseph Kelley
Robert Joseph Kelley Seaman, 1952

Robert J. Kelley, age 83, of Washington Township, formerly of Stratford and South West Philadelphia, passed away at home on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 surrounded by his family. Beloved husband of Florence M. (nee Mocarski); devoted and proud father of Linda, Bob (Debbie Dodge), Ken, Diane (Walt) Stumm, Kevin and Greg; cherished, loving and goofy Pop-Pop of Lyndsy, Erin and Tyler. Predeceased by his father Thomas, mother Elizabeth, and brother Thomas.

Bob was born and raised in South West Philadelphia. He served in and is retired from the U.S. Navy. He married the love of his life, Floss, in 1956, and they moved to Stratford in 1962, where they raised their family. He retired from the Defense Industrial Supply Center after 38 dedicated years. Bob enjoyed the beach, especially “the nicest time of the day”, yearly month long trips to Hawaii, the Phillies, reminiscing about his childhood summers in West Wildwood, and spending time with his large, loving family.

Relatives and friends were invited to attend his viewing and visitation with the family on Monday, May 1, 2017 from 10:30-11:45 AM at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 362 Ganttown Rd, Turnersville, NJ 08012. Funeral Mass was held at 12 noon. Burial immediately followed at Gloucester County Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 240 North Tuckahoe Road, Williamstown, NJ 08094.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations were requested for Vets Helping Vets with checks mailed to: Veteran’s Affairs, Gloucester Co. Veterans Advisory Council, PO Box 337, Woodbury, NJ 08096.

Services under the direction of Eugene J. Zale Funeral Home, Inc. of Stratford. (856) 783-5100. Condolences were shared at

Published in Courier-Post from Apr. 28 to Apr. 30, 2017

Jerry Lee Kitchen, , Passed Away Apr 3, 2017

Jerry Kitchen, 70, of Caney, Kansas passed away Monday, April 3, 2017, at Jane Phillips Hospital, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Jerry Lee Kitchen
Jerry Lee Kitchen

Jerry Lee Kitchen was born September 24, 1946 in Wichita, Kansas. Born the second oldest of seven children to William R Kitchen and Wynona (Rouse) Porter. He was raised in the Wichita area, attending schools and completing middle school there. He joined the Navy and served his country honorably.

On December 31, 1985, in Miami, Oklahoma, Jerry married Janice Patterson. Jerry and Janice raised their two sons, James and Chris, in Caney.

Jerry retired from the City of Caney, Kansas, after 25 years of service. In retirement he enjoyed traveling with Janice to Branson, watching Western films, especially those starring John Wayne, the music of Dolly Parton, enjoying breakfasts with friends, and spoiling his grandchildren. He will be remembered for his patriotism and his humor.

He was an avid and active member of the American Legion, serving several terms as Caney Commander, as well as District Commander. He also served as State Vice Commander and State Commander for Kansas.

Survivors blessed by his memories are brothers Robert Porter of Longford, KS; Ricky Porter of Lindsborg, KS; James Porter of Gypsum, KS; Edward Porter of Wellington, KS; sister Betty Enright of Solomon, KS; sons Allen Kitchen of Salina, KS; James DeGood (and wife Jennifer) of Olathe, KS; Chris DeGood (and wife Cassandra) of Dearing, KS; and daughter Tisha Wood of Caney; many grandchildren and great grandchildren; and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by wife Janice, his brother Terry, and his parents.

Celebration of Life services were scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, April 7, 2017 at Potts Chapel of Caney, with Pastor Jonathan Schultz of Trinity Lutheran Church officiating. Interment followed at Sunnyside Cemetery. Friends were invited to sign the register and greet the family on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at the Chapel from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Online condolences were shared at Family suggested donations in honor of Jerry Kitchen to the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund,

Obituary from Potts Funeral Chapel website.

Edward Eugene “Rags” Ragsdale, Passed Away Jun 3 2016

Ed RagsdaleEdward Eugene “Rags” Ragsdale of Pace passed away peacefully on Friday June 3rd, surrounded by his family and close friends. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather, as well as a loyal friend to many.

He never met a stranger. He served in the US Navy for 22 years and loved to swap sea stories with other veterans. He enjoyed traveling, riding his Can-Am Spyder (especially with the NWFL PGR), spoiling his grandchildren, cheering on the Ice Flyers, attending Navy reunions, tinkering in his workshop and talking, talking, talking. He inspired his family and friends; taught us by example, discipline, forgiveness, honesty, integrity, loyalty and love.

Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Otis Eugene and Vieta Ragsdale.

He is survived by his wife Cheryl Reinhart-Ragsdale; son Gerald Ragsdale; daughters Gloria (Adam) Painter, LiAnne (Bill) Diehl and Carolanne Savage; grandchildren Patrick, Kayleigh, Vincent, Ayden, Mason, Mackenzie and Layla; and brother Jerry (Sue) Ragsdale.

A Celebration of Life was held Monday June 13th, 11:00 a.m., at Woodbine United Methodist Church, 5200 Woodbine Road, Pace, FL, 32571, with visitation from 9:30 – 11:00.

Graveside services were at Barrancas National Cemetery with military honors at 1:20 p.m.

Memorial donations can be made to the local chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders (John Lowery, 1296 Point East Circle, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563) or the Woodbine UMC WORD Motorcycle Ministry, 5200 Woodbine Road, Pace, FL 32571.

David H. Dudley, Passed Away Jul 5, 2016

David H. Dudley
David H. Dudley

David Henry Dudley, 72, of Topeka, Kansas, passed away July 5, 2016, in Wyoming while visiting the mountains he loved.

David was born Jan. 12, 1944, in Cheyenne to Fred and Ruth Dudley. He attended elementary, junior and senior high school in Laramie. David graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture, followed by

his achievement of a Masters of Agri-Business from Baker University in Kansas City. During his career, David worked as a crop specialist and co-op manager.

He was a U.S. Navy veteran, honorably discharged after serving three tours in Vietnam.

David married Terry Banks on Dec. 2, 1995, in Laramie.

David is survived by his wife and sweetheart Terry Dudley; daughters, Christy and Erin Dudley; sister in-law Sharon Dudley; brothers, Bruce (Michelle) Dudley and Robert Dudley; Terry’s children, whom he considered his own, Bruce Banks, Erika (Timothy) Lewis, Lauri (Chad) Walker and Monica Welch; grandchildren, Ashlee and Benjamin Banks, Tanner and Bradie Lewis, Levi, Taelor, Jackson and Harley Walker and Ty and Davis Epler; and many nieces and nephews. David was preceded in death by his parents; and brother Gordon Dudley.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, July 18, 2016, at Penwell-Gabel Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Road. Burial will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 17, 2016, at the funeral home.

Memorials can be given in David’s name to any local V.A. or Wounded Warrior project.

Kenneth A. Lee, Passed Away Feb 5, 2016

Kenneth A. Lee
Kenneth Lee, MM 61 – 65

Kenneth Anderson Lee, 74, of Sterling Road, died peacefully at home Friday, February 5, 2016, after a long illness. In the presence of his daughters, he passed from the loving arms of his wife Elin and into the joy of Jesus Christ, his Savior and Friend for more than forty years.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 27 years, Elin S. (Tremblay) Lee; three daughters: Susan Gravel and her husband, Gene, and Sandra DeCoteau, all of Fitchburg, and Sheri Poole and her husband, Jim, of Lancaster; five sisters: Susan Burgess and her husband, Bill, of Reno, NV, Nancy Davidson of Sparks, NV, Mary Ellen Nichols and her husband, Jeff, of Bolton, Virginia Lee of Hudson, and Christine Gasparoni and her husband, Rick, of Marlborough; his step-mother, Ellen Lee, of Hudson; six grandchildren: Jonathan, Scott, Jared and Rebecca DeCoteau, Kevin Poole and his wife, Alyssa, and Kelly Poole; four great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Ken was born in Clinton and raised in Bolton, son of the late David I. and Arline (Weatherbee) Lee. He was a graduate of Worcester Boys Trade High School, Worcester, and was a proud US Navy Veteran, serving onboard the USS Lloyd Thomas (DD 764) during the Vietnam War era. Following discharge from Active Duty, he continued to serve in the Naval Reserves for more than 20 years.

For many years, he worked as a Machinist and draftsman at the former Digital Equipment Corp., retiring from that company in 1992.

He was a member of Excel Church, Lancaster, and the First Congregational Church, Clinton.

Ken was a devoted Christian, a humorous storyteller, a dedicated Bible Study leader, a caring husband, father and grandfather, and a lover of cats—especially PeeWee, who was a comfort to him until the end. Ken and Elin also enjoyed traveling to China Lake, Maine, for frequent meetings of the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers, a wonderful and life-changing group of friends they first met in 2001.

In addition, he was a proud member of the USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion Association, and he and Elin attended many happy and interesting reunions throughout the country whenever his health allowed.

In 2007, he and Elin flew to Europe to fulfill Ken’s lifelong dream of visiting Norway (he joined the Navy to go there but his ship went just about everywhere else) and to attend Elin’s family reunion in England. Elin notes that in England, she was too ill to participate in most of the reunion activities—so Ken went to them in her place and took many photos for her.

Ken’s funeral service was held on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 11:00 in the First Congregational Church, 34 Walnut St., Clinton. Burial followed in South Cemetery, Bolton.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggested that memorial donations be made to the American Liver Foundation, 39 Broadway, Suite 2700, New York, NY 10006; the American Diabetes Association, New England Chapter, 10 Speen St., 25nd Fl., Framingham, MA 01701; or to the National Kidney Foundation, New England Chapter, 85 Astor Ave., Suite 2, Norwood, MA 02062

Rudolph (Rudy) Welsek, Passed Away Sep 11, 2016

Rudy Welsek
Rudy Welsek, BT 59 -61

Rudolph (Rudy) Welsek, age 76, of Grandwood Park, IL passed away peacefully on September 11, 2016 surrounded by loving family at his daughter’s home in North Chicago, IL with his trusty dog Trixie by his side.

He was born September 23, 1939 in Weehawken, New Jersey.  He was married to his loving and devoted (late wife) Carol Estelle Welsek for more than 50 years.  Rudy retired as a U.S. Navy Boiler Tech in 1978 after 20 years.  He was a bartender at McCormick Restaurant in Lake Bluff, IL and at Morroco’s in Waukegan, IL while attending Harper College for culinary arts.  Rudy worked at several restaurants including Chicago Holiday Inn, Ramada Inn, Highwood, IL, Gurnee Holiday Inn and owned his own restaurant, Cottage Café, Round Lake, IL.

Rudy was a member of the American Legion, Gurnee, IL.  He enjoyed traveling and taking trips with the family.  He loved to cook; always had a charming personality and a witty sense of humor with a heart of Gold.

Rudy is survived by his daughter Carol Welsek-Frank (Stanley Frank) and son Michael (Norma) Welsek.  Grandchildren Heather and Kevin Winters, Nicole Lang, James Riley, Stephanie Welsek, Samantha and Scott Parker, John Riley, Kylie Welsek, Michael Welsek, Brandon Welsek.  Great-grandchildren Cameron Lang, Ella Winters, Christian Gillman.  Siblings John and Mary Jane Welsek.  Sister-in-law Carol (late husband Billy Welsek, Brother-in-law (late wife Edna Atkinson) and many loving nieces and nephews.

USS Lloyd Thomas Charleston Reunion has been Rescheduled

The USS Lloyd Thomas Charleston Reunion has been rescheduled to March 8-12, 2017.  The hotel will remain the Doubletree North Charleston Airport, and you may make your reservations now.  Our tour schedule will be the same as planned for the October reunion, and as soon as we confirm menu choices with the hotel, we will get out a sign up sheet.

The refund checks are going out this week.

Costs of Cancelled Tours Will Be Refunded

We have received word that the Charleston tour company will be returning all of our deposit for the 2016 reunion, and when those funds are in the bank, we will begin refunding 100% of what you paid for the reunion events.  We will send the check to the address shown on your events sign-up sheet.  If you need it mailed to a different address, please contact Scott at .

Also, if you are trying to recover airline or other travel expenses and need a letter stating the reunion was cancelled, please let us know.

We are now trying to reschedule the Charleston reunion in the Spring of 2017.

Due To Hurricane Matthew, Our 2016 Charleston Reunion is CANCELLED

The 2016 USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion in Charleston has been cancelled due to the approach of Hurricane Matthew.

If you have hotel reservations, please call and cancel them.  We expect to be able to reimburse most, if not all, reunion payments. 

Sorry folks…..we will let everyone know about when and where the next reunion will be.  


Regarding Hurricane Matthew

No doubt everyone is concerned with the presence of Hurricane Matthew and it’s effect on the reunion events. We are watching the track of the storm, and will be contacting the tour operator and hotel folks tomorrow to get their views on how we should proceed. If the storm still appears to threaten this area on Saturday, the possibility exists that we would cancel that days tour.

Scott Sheffer

If you are looking for information about the events we will be enjoying in Charleston, you can still see that post here, even though the deadline for registration has passed.