Dear Members of the 419th,
Again at the 50th reunion of our group in Wilkes-Barre, you had your chance to oust us as your correspondents. But, we, the Waldreps, will try to keep you posted. Sometimes I get E-mails from friends that do not come through and so if we have omitted any of you who have corresponded by E-mail, please don't think it is intentional. Just send it again, and maybe we'll get it.
The 50th reunion in Wilkes-Barre hosted by Harold Laity and his daughter Bonnie Porter. Was a great time of seeing some of you we had seen last year and new persons we had never met
Attending the reunion were:
Harold & Lola Carmichael Myra Gebhardt Ober & Children
Henrietta Fox Jim and Sharon Gebhardt & Family
Frank & Virginia Gruden Chris Farrell 14, Jennifer 5 & J.T. 4
Noel & Estelle Jacobs &Daughter Joanna Gebhardt
Rea Dawn & Bill Poling Ed & Mary Jane Pratt
Harold Laity & Children Bill & Virginia Rapp
Son Bobby Laity Francis & Helen Roush
Daughter Bonnie and AI Porter Gerald & Laura St. Amand
Cathy & Brian Ellsworth & Ryan 3 Daughter Doria & Vincent Grimes
Albie Porter Frank & Mary Frances Vigneau
Friends, Mike & Mary Vigoda Jack & Juanita Waldrep
Ken Manning & Daughter Gene & Eileen Wells
Charles & Ethel Mohn & Son
Eric & Mary Mohn
On Friday those of us who wished to go, visited and toured a coal mine and museum. This, to us, was an outstanding educational opportunity which we enjoyed. Afterwards we took the steam engine train for a great ride.
Friday night in the rain (which was a delight for us to see, due to our Southern drought we are now behind in rainfall 14 inches for the year), we went to the Knights of Columbus Hall in Luzerne for a dinner hosted by Bonnie and Al Porter. The family style meal was wonderful and no one went away hungry.
On Saturday morning, prior to the business meeting, pictures were made which we were able to bring home with us.
MINUTES OF BUSINESS MEETING JULY 24,1999
The meeting held at Genetti Best Western, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, opened with Bonnie Porter presiding with the pledge of allegiance said in unison after which Gerald St. Amand prayed.
Juanita Waldrep read correspondence which had been received:
1. Pierce and Catheree Johns, who were unable to attend, wished us a Happy 50th reunion.
2. Charlie and Ethel Mohn, who were able to be here, wrote Happy 50th in the
possibility of something preventing them from attending. They sent a donation to MB.
3. A note from Edith Grubb wishing us a good time along with a donation.
4. A letter from Forrest Broome wishing us a happy time and stating that illness prevented them from attending. A donation to MB was included.
5. A note from Danya Thurston wishing us a Happy 50th and included a donation and change of address to 71 Toelsome Lane, East Hampton NY 11937.
6. A letter from Peter Falko with good wishes.
Telephone calls received from Henrietta Fox and Bonnie Porter talking about the reunion. Alice Long called to state she had broken her hip in March 1999 and had looked forward to the 50th. An address change for Alice Long (only in the street number) is 430 9th Avenue, S.W. Eastman GA 31023.
MuzzleBlast of the summer returned were Mrs. Rhoda Motta and Charles Weatherman. If anyone knows of change of their address, let MB know.
The financial report; which was approved by the group, was given by Juanita Waldrep as follows:
Year Balance from Colorado Springs reunion July 1999 $ 1355.87
Deposit from reunion 312.00
Donations by mail 680.00
Total interest deposits 29.96
Reunion pictures for Gammon already listed $14.00
J.C. Orange reunion $25.00
Fall MuzzleBlast Expense $ 144.60
Winter MuzzleBlast Expense $ 150.65
Summer MuzzleBlast Expense $ 128.20
Balance July 2000 $ 1915.38
An invitation by Noel and Estelle Jacobs for next year's reunion to be held in Guthrie, Oklahoma July 26, 27, 28, 29, 2001 was accepted. Rea Dawn Poling, the Jacob's daughter, stated that Guthrie is the quaint city which was the first capital of the state.
Jane Gebhardt Ober, whose husband was a member of Battery A, was welcomed.
Time for the dinner was announced and the meeting of the 419th was adjourned.
There were no donations made to the MuzzleBlast fund at this reunion. We assume we were all too busy enjoying the 50th.
There was one tidbit we learned at the reunion which possibly will be enjoyed by each of you. While chatting around the tables, a paper clipping from the Paducah Kentucky Sun was shown honoring Homer Holmes (who died Nov. 15) as the 1999 Distinguished Veteran by the Paducah Parks Dept. In the article a statement caught our eye "He received a Prisoner of War medal". We did not know of any of the 419th being P.O.W.'s but Francis Roush remembered that as well as Homer that Earl C. Marcott was a P.O.W. So if you see Juanita snooping, listening to you men, you now know why
Following our reunion I had a nice letter from Estelle Jacobs including a donation to MB.
A letter from Owen Kreigsman, with a donation included, stated he and Winnie had moved after 54 years in their home to a retirement community about 15 miles north of Eustis. Their new address is 280 Raintree Drive Apt. B-5 Altoona FL 32702. "They have a nice apt., one excellent meal daily, maid service and if and when, an extended care facility at a price we can afford", he wrote.
Money starts at home, so Jack made a donation to MuzzleBlast.
In September Rea Dawn Poling, the Jacobs' daughter, sent pictures of the reunion stating about the good time in Wilkes-Barre. "Bonnie did such a great job" she wrote.
Ken Manning wrote that "he and Letitia had driven 4660 miles in 10 days" but they had somewonderful side trips such as Niagara Falls, the Wisconsin Dells and the House on the Rock. We were so happy to see your daughter again, Ken.
Frank and Virginia Gruden wrote on October 3 that they had just returned from their trip two weeks before. They went from Wilkes-Barre to Niagara Falls, Canada, Montreal, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland. We know you had a wonderful 6 weeks trip; they sent negatives from the reunion I am having developed.
Joanna Gebhardt sent a copy of an E-mail from Doria Grimes, daughter of Laura St. Amand, stating her mother had suffered a stroke during Labor Day weekend. She was recovering at Wilmington Rehab Center to regain strength on her left arm and leg.
Lois Hall sent an E-mail that Larry Gronefeld had resigned from City Council after over forty years in community service. Maybe this extra rest will be what you need, Larry, to get you ready for Guthrie, Oklahoma next July.
It is wonderful how these daughters will keep us informed. Rea Dawn Poling wrote that her mother Estelle Jacobs, suffered a stroke Sept. 24 and had been hospitalized since that time (letter mailed Oct. 7). She lost the use of her right arm and leg and speech is impaired as is her eyesight. She stated that she was improving daily and 80% of her speech returned. They plan to take her to Edmond for extensive rehabilitation and surgery for clearance of a blocked artery. Knowing Estelle's determination, we know she will work as she is told. One of Rea Dawn's last sentences was concerning the reunion. "We still talk about our great time with everyone in PA and look forward to next year here in OK". Let us send best wishes to both Laura St. Amand and Estelle Jacobs for speedy recoveries and say our prayers !
We found that we needed two addresses for Francis Vigneau. Winter address is 915 S.E.4 & Terrace 104 - Cape Coral FL 33904 and summer address 126 Biruta St. B19, New Britian CT 06053. Those of you who are at different places at different seasons, advise us of just when you go to each address so we can get the MB to the right place.
Noel Jacobs called to tell me that Estelle was better, but he had heard that Mrs. Walter Mummert had had a heart attack but is doing well. She had to put Walter into a nursing home for his care.
E-mails came from Rose Lemberg stating she was afraid she and Larry will not make the reunions. Larry's health is not as good as we would hope and Rose thanks God every night for her good health.
Virginia and Bill Rapp sent an E-mail for information about Wilkes-Barre (they have two mail addresses also so the possibly got the MB sent to the wrong one). We did manage to send them the info and they came.
Wanda Cluck sent an E-mail about receiving the MB and stated possibly she would attend the 2001 reunion and to tell everyone "Hello" for her.
Dorothy Halstead E-mailed that she enjoyed all the MB's and she has folders of old ones, Tenth Armored Newsletters and some from the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. She would like to visit a reunion with everyone but she is trying to get back to normal living. She stated it had been nearly a year since Wayne died and with her broken arm and pelvis at that time, she has had a diffucult time.
Thanks also to Woodie Briner who sent a letter by E-mail to tell of his new address. He is with Debbie and family and the address is Box 23, Riverton IL 62561.
E-mail is wonderful and we appreciate each of you who use it; I just make a copy and put it in a folder for the next MB, so let us hear from you.
Now to get back to the reunion which was another highlight of our summer. Harold Laity, we thank you for the invitation for the 50th and we appreciate the hours of work which Bonnie Porter had to have done for such a successful and wonderful time. Thank you for allowing me, Juanita, to read our son Marvin's "Tribute to the Men of the 419th" at the dinner. Thanks for the beautiful decorations, all patriotic red, white and blue; the special wine made for all of us and the Tiger 2000 stems to drink it from, the gifts both large and small which each of us received, the food which was most delicious and the wonderful downtown Genetti Best Western Hotel which was a delightful place to be with our own 419th room, brimming with drinks and tidbits. Truly, you made the 50th reunion (and we'll be back down to earth next year) the colossal of again, Harold and Bonnie, for a job well done.
One of the statements made by former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, we would like to share with you now: "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face...you must do the thing you think you cannot do."
To each of you we wish you happy holidays with family and friends, good health for the rest of this year and next year and we will meet again in Oklahoma in 2001.
Jack and Juanita Waldrep
201 Greenview Road, S.W.
Rome, Georgia 30165-4307