April 2012 Newsletter

Greetings from South Bend, Indiana

We are just about ninety days away from the reunion in South Bend, IN.   There has been a lot of planning for this event and I want to encourage those who may be attending to please register as soon as possible.   For those who may yet be trying to decide whether to attend or not I would like to encourage you to register and come to the reunion as I am sure you will have a great time.   The host hotel is the Magnuson Grand and their number is 574-232-3941.   If you should happen to need a handicap accessible room please request this when you register at the hotel.   Enclosed you will find a registration form and these can be mailed to Jim Kulp @ 131 River Bend Park, Lancaster, PA 17602

We still have shipmates who have registered at the hotel but not for the reunion and others who have registered for the reunion but not the hotel.   I want to ask that these reservations be made just as soon as you can.   You can go on line to register at for the reunion at

For those who may be flying in, once you arrive at the South Bend airport, at the baggage return you will find a phone to call the hotel as they have a complimentary pick up service.   Flying into Chicago O’Hare and then use Coach USA bus line to South Bend may be the most reasonable and least expensive way to get here.   Coach USA has a web site and can be accessed for ticket prices.

Thursday and Saturday will be free days, I have made arrangements for transportation to and from the Studebaker/National History Museum and the local zoo.   This will eliminate any excessive walking.   On Saturday arrangements have been made for a tour of the Notre Dame Campus for those who would like to visit there.

On Friday we will have our Memorial service along with a short trip to Jayco RV to tour their facilities and then to Shipshewana for lunch and shopping.

Saturday evening will be our closing banquet with a buffet meal consisting of Stuffed Pork Loin, Broiled Red Snapper, Mashed potatoes and vegetables, salad and dessert.

I have blocked out sixty rooms and can get more if need be but my cutoff date is June 20th.   I have also arranged for two charter buses to take us to Shipshewana and my cutoff date for those is late June also.   I also need to order items for the gift bags and my lead time on those will be 30 days so I need for those who will be attending to register soon so the Association can make these final plans.

We are planning on good weather and downtown South Bend has many fine eating establishments within a few blocks of the hotel along with the College Football Hall of Fame.   The hotel has a very fine restaurant along with an exercise room.   Our hospitality room will be large and will be a great place to renew friendships and share stories and maybe have a beer or two.

Several years ago the Association decided to ask its members to donate to the Association by the way of annual dues.   We have asked for those who are able to send in at least $15.00.   We have been very successful with this and these monies help defray the cost of newsletters, postage, and helping with reunion cost.   So if you can and are able to donate, these funds can be mailed to Jim Kulp whose address is listed earlier in this letter.

A note from Carolyne Wallace at the Convention and Visitors Bureau

Hello:

We are so excited to welcome the USS John W. Thomason Assoc. reunion to South Bend this summer.   Your reunion has been over two years in the planning and we know you will have a wonderful time while in our community.

As you prepare for your trip to South Bend, we encourage you to learn a little more about our city and all it has to offer.   We suggest you visit our website at www.visitsouthbend.com to explore what is available.

We think you will find there is so much to do in South Bend/Mishawaka you may want to come early or stay late.   In fact there are two special events that “bookend” your reunion.   The College Football Hall of Fame holds its annual Enshrinement Festival on July 20-21 honoring the 2012 class of Hall of Famers including Eddie George, Deion Sanders and Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr.   Stay after your reunion to enjoy over 800 Studebakers, Avanti’s and Packard’s when they arrive July 29-August 4 for the 48th Annual Studebaker Driver’s Club International meet.

We are a friendly, family-oriented community, rich in tradition and diverse ethnic heritage, eagerly waiting to make you feel right at home.   Can’t wait to see you!

Sincerely,
Carolyne Wallace

Hope to see many of you at this reunion and if you are planning to attend please register just as soon as you can.

Sincerely,
Howard Barrett