The 2019 USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion will be held in San Antonio, Texas from Monday, February 25th through Wednesday, February 27th. Ron Hruby from Austin (1958-62) volunteered to be our local host this year. Although Ron and his wife will be unable to attend the reunion due to a prior commitment during the dates our hotel was available, we are grateful for the tours and events he proposed for us.
Ron definitely wanted us to experience the Riverwalk Area, so we picked a hotel that is right on the Riverwalk itself. Initially part of a flood control project envisioned by San Antonio native and architect Robert Hugman the area has developed into a premier destination attraction.
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 will be open from when we return from the days tours until the last group decides it is bedtime (This comes earlier each year! ). Our reunion is family friendly, so all relatives and friends are welcome.
Carter served as our Commander General from 2005-2007 and was extremely dedicated to our entire organization but most notably, the Texas Commandery. Carter was a key figure in establishing and administering the Nimitz Leadership Award and innumerable other initiatives in Texas. I know that I will miss his sage advice and wise counsel; he was a true gentleman of the finest order. We often say that the most important part of a person’s life is the ‘dash’ between the day an individual was born and the day they perish; for Carter this truly was an extraordinary sprint!
Carter was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He was just 17 on 7 December 1941 when the Japanese carried out the surprise attack on the U.S. Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the United States entered World War II.
Carter enlisted in the Navy on 30 October 1942. He reported for active duty in the Navy’s V-12 college program at the University of Southern California (USC) on 1 July 1943 where he graduated with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering in June 1945. After graduation Carter attended Midshipmen’s school (officer’s training program) at Columbia University in New York City. He was commissioned an Ensign on 2 November 1945 and assigned duty in USS Horace A. Bass (APD 124), a high-speed destroyer transport operating in the Pacific. In June 1946, Carter was separated from active duty to continue his Naval service in the Naval Reserve.
In April 1951, as part of the Korean Conflict actions, the Navy recalled Carter to active duty. During his recall to active duty he served as Combat Information Center Officer (CICO) on USS Lloyd Thomas (DD-764) and as Operations Officer (OPO) USS Jack Wilke (DE800). While aboard the Wilke he was promoted to be her Executive Officer. In April 1953, Carter was released from active duty to resume his inactive duty service in the Navy Reserve.
While serving in the Naval Reserve, Carter earned a M.S. degree in chemical engineering at USC and embarked on a long career with Texaco. 1982 was a milestone year for Carter when he retired from Texaco after 35 years of service and from the Navy after 40 years of service.
Then Carter began his third career as a consulting chemical engineer for small oil companies and other clients. He continued to be an active supporter of the sea services as a member of the Navy League and Naval Order, as well as a strong advocate for the USS Houston CA 30 Survivors Association and Next Generations.
Carter was a past Commander of the Texas Commandery and a Commander General of the Naval Order. In his service to the Texas Commandery, he was a key member on the committee of the Texas Commandery that brought the ship’s bell from the USS Houston (CA-30) to Houston to be placed atop a memorial to that ship and the other ships of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA) in the early days of WW II. Carter served as the Chairman of the TCNOUS’ Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Leadership Award selection committee, a position he held since the inception of that award.
A renaissance man, Carter had many loves: first and foremost, God, his family and his country. His many interests included playing the piano, reading, Bible study, photography, tennis, gymnastics, woodworking, and flying as a licensed pilot.
Carter is survived by his wife of 45 years, Nancy Conlin, and his five children, John, Carter Barry Conlin, Jr., Kevin, Brian, Ann Conlin Sommerfeld, and three grandchildren.
Members of the Texas Commandery, including CAPT Chuck Hewell and CDR Jim Sterling, both past Commanders of the Texas Commandery, served as Pall Bearers at CAPT Conlin’s internment at the Houston National Cemetery on 14 September 2018. CAPT Conlin’s service was marked by the rendering of full military honors where his widow, Nancy, was presented the National Ensign that draped his casket.
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 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.
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 www.ZaleFuneralHome.net
Published in Courier-Post from Apr. 28 to Apr. 30, 2017
Jerry Kitchen, 70, of Caney, Kansas passed away Monday, April 3, 2017, at Jane Phillips Hospital, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
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 www.pottsfuneralhome.com. Family suggested donations in honor of Jerry Kitchen to the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund, www.legion.org/scholarships.
Edward 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 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 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, 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.