January 2011 Newsletter

January 2011

Greetings Shipmates:

Another year has come and gone and I sincerely hope that everyone is doing well.  Before I get going too far with this letter Paul Steele sent me a note to put in this letter.

From the Ex-Presidents Corner:

By Paul Steele Pres. 2010 Reunion

Marcia and I would like to thank everyone who attended the 2010 reunion in Salt Lake City. It was a pleasure to meet many new faces and we look forward to seeing you all again in South Bend in 2012. It is because of all of you that the reunion was a success and we thoroughly enjoyed spending all the long hours that it takes to put one of these things on.

Once again, a huge Thank You

Paul Steele

Our next port of call will be South Bend, IN.  The dates are July 25th through the 28th.  

The host hotel will be the Magnuson Grand which is located downtown South Bend and is within a short walking distance of many sites and restaurants.

I have several things planned and will send information on those in the next newsletter.

South Bend is located in the middle portion of northern Indiana on Interstate 80/90.  South Bend is also easily accessible by air from many destinations. The airport code is SBN.  Information about the hotel is accessible by a link on the Association website under .  I would encourage all to take a look at this site as I am sure you will be pleased with the accommodations.  Reservations can be made starting July 2011.  The cost per night will be the same as we paid for the last several reunions at $99.00.

I have negotiated that each morning on Thursday and Friday there will be a free continental breakfast in the lower level restaurant for each guest registered.  On Saturday and Sunday there will be a free buffet breakfast for each guest registered. There is a pool and workout room at no extra cost.  We will have a large area for the hospitality room which will be large enough to have the registration and ships store tables along with the beverage bar and plenty of seating room enclosed in one area. The banquet room is adjacent to the hospitality room with plenty of space to mingle around before the banquet.  The meal will be served, and I will announce the menu at a later date when those details are finalized later this spring.

The total cost for the reunion per individual will also be announced before the July 2011 date that reservations can be confirmed.  I have booked fifty five rooms to start and for those who need there are smoking rooms available.  Pets are allowed, but be sure to mention that you are bringing a pet when you make your reservation.  Parking is available adjacent to the hotel and I will explain at a later date how to arrange for this to be at no charge to you.  The hotel does not own the parking garage.

I will also mention at a later date the activities for this reunion as I am still working out these details.  I can tell you that there will be a shopping trip to Shipshewana, IN, which is in the heart of Amish country, and I am sure you will enjoy this time and event.  The bus ride will be approximately 45 minutes.  There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and the Hudson Automobile Museum to enjoy.  I still hope for a baseball game on Thursday evening providing the schedule coincides with our dates.  There are plenty of sites downtown South Bend that are within walking distance for those who are able.  I am working out details now to provide transportation to these sites for those who are not able to walk four to five blocks. This will be done at a minimal cost to the association.

Our memorial service will be held beside the Saint Joseph River downtown South Bend.  My plans are to have this service on Friday before we go to Shipshewana in order to save on transportation.  I will be contacting the South Bend Police Dept. as they can provide the Color Guard for the service at no cost to us.

To those who are new to the Association, especially those who have never been to a reunion, I would like to encourage you to come to South Bend.  I am sure you will have a good time of fellowship with past shipmates and with those who served both before and after you were on board.  We make every attempt possible to keep everyone in touch with what is going on within the Association.  If you happen to know of anyone whom you had served with and you believe that their name is not on the ship's roster please contact Bill Busching and let him know the information.  Bill is our Association secretary and his e-mail address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  We will need as much information as possible especially their e-mail address if that is available.

Several years ago we began collecting dues from Association members that were willing to do so and we need to continue this process. We are asking that each member send an annual contribution of $15.00 to help finance the Association. The cost to produce, publish and mail the newsletter is about $700.00 each time that it is sent out. These annual dues are very important as it will take some strain off the additional cost for the reunions. These dues can be mailed to the Association Treasurer Jim Kulp at

USS John W. Thomason DD760 Association
131 River Bend Park
Lancaster, PA  17602

I want to encourage those who can to send more than the $15.00 to do so, but I am asking that all members please participate if you are financially able.

We are also trying something new and as we discussed at the business meeting in Salt Lake.  We want to start sending the newsletter by e-mail starting with the next newsletter.  Some of you will be receiving this letter both ways as a trial in order to attempt to work out all the necessaries before we decide to go live with this project.  Bob Soukup has spent countless hours creating ways that we can send the newsletter out via e-mail.   We are asking all who have an e-mail address to register at this site,   Once you have registered we will have the capabilities to send the newsletter to you electronically.  We have made some trial runs doing this and we believe this has been very successful.

We are asking that all members who have e-mail address to please register at this site as this will save a lot of time and expense for the Association.

While we were on board our families received what was designated as a Family Gram. There is on the website and if any of you happen to come across one of these that may have been saved by your parents or loved one, we would appreciate a copy to add to the web site.  Those can be sent to Bob Soukup at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I want to take this time and offer a big thanks to Paul and Marcia for the great time we had in Salt Lake City.  All the hard work paid off as we had another successful reunion.  If you have a chance and attended the reunion send them an e-mail thanking them.

I also want to thank those that have already helped me with the planning stages of the 2012 reunion.  I am looking forward to it and I hope we have a record attendance.

Mini Reunion Announced:

Skip Flippin and Rob Kleinschmidt will be hosting a mini reunion in Minnesota on May 20th to 22nd.  If anyone is interested contact Skip at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the desk of Bill Busching:

There comes a request from Ms. Marcie Pitcher Funkhouser who is the daughter of a deceased shipmate, Fred Pitcher. He served aboard as an SM3 from 1959 through 1962. He died in 2004. Marcie wrote “I would love to hear any stories and or see any pictures that anyone may have. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if anyone served with Fred please send Marcie an e-mail as I am sure she will be excited to hear any information that you may have about her father.

Until the next letter


Howard Barrett