GBNF: Larry T. "Tom" Bishop, CS-26, passed away on 5 Nov 2017 in Missouri of renal failure. Tom flew the RF-4 while on active duty and worked in the Kansas City after departing the Air Force. More information can be found at 75bestalive.org.
Retirements: It appears the Best Alive are retiring at an ever-increasing rate. Many of them went to the airlines and, judging from some of the landings we cattle in the back experienced, forgot to teach their underlings the concept of the flare. If you have reached the golden age of 65 and don’t find your name listed below maybe it’s time to sit down in a dank corner and do some soul searching. If you haven’t found the cure for the common cold by now it’s time to pursue other avenues.
John Kearns, CS-15, retired from Delta, but according to the sign his wife was holding in the SLC terminal following his final flight his retirement was actually just a matter of switching bosses. Bullsixer Bryon Huddleston (Hud) also retired from Delta. Hud’s father flew for Delta too, and his son hopes to follow the family tradition after graduation from Embry Riddle. Roger Keith, CS-05, recently retired from a career of flying for United, PanAm, and the Air Force. He and wife Cindy are enjoying snowbird status between Albuquerque and Minnetonka.
Doing Retirement Right: Dale (Sledge) Hanner, CS-23, and Rod Kallman, CS-16 hiked the Grand Canyon from the south rim in November. Rod reported that based on their delicate golden years, they hiked down Kaibab trail (7.5 miles), spent the night at Phantom Ranch, then hiked back up Bright Angel Trail (9.5 miles) the next day. The fact that Rod lived to tell the tale is proof that he stayed upwind when Sledge took his hiking boots off at the end of each hike.
Still At It: Rick Pyatt, CS-08, and Sam Ryals, CS-13, were part of a group that won the United Technologies Corporation Board of Directors Trophy this year for obtaining over $300M in Air Force R&D funds to develop and integrate the MS-177 long-range, high-resolution, multispectral imaging sensors on the Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System. Carl Van Pelt, CS-19, was also instrumental to the team’s success as was John Sullivan, CS-12.
Another Hat in the Ring: Bran McAllister, CS-18, announced he’s a candidate for the county school board, in Okaloosa County, FL (vicinity of Eglin AFB). Seems his three-degree roommate (Max Della Pia) and he both decided on a run for office about the same time. The election is in August 2018, and his website is BranMcAllister.com.
Families Are Forever: The class “theme” for this issue is family, specifically grandchildren. Logic dictates that the Best Alive would select the Best Spouses, and that many of them would go through the required step of producing children who would in turn perform their sacred obligation of producing grandchildren for the Best Grandparents Alive to spoil and enjoy during their retired years. In the request for inputs for this issue I asked for classmates to respond with total number of grandchildren (genetic and inherited), oldest grandchild, and any category of your choosing (most fish caught, longest projectile vomiter, highest data usage on cellphone, etc.). Several responses focused on classmates’ dogs and cats, which is totally understandable because pets are family, but I suspect those responders often found “Read the question” written on their GRs. The results of the search for family stories are as follows:
Rich Chanick, CS-31, claimed the prize for number of grandchildren with a total of zero. He married Mary three days after graduation and they opted to skip the whole procreation routine. He astutely pointed out that he was a contender for the total number of grandchildren prize because the request for inputs didn’t say “most” grandchildren. Rick shares the prize of zero grandchildren with several classmates, but the prize for being a pedantic pain in the butt goes to him alone.
Bill Carrothers, CS-22, and wife Cathy are looking forward to grandchild number one in June. Bill is a T-38 Academic/Simulator IP at Columbus, and his daughter and son-in-law live in Oswego, IL. Bill plans on working for several more years, which one can only assume is because he doesn’t play golf or Cathy doesn’t want him underfoot.
Dave Sprenkle, CS-17, has two adopted grandsons. Both boys are 7-years-old, although they were adopted five years apart. He retired from the Colorado ANG in 2007 and as an engineering consultant in 2016, which means he now has ample time to show the grandsons who’s king of the roost, and there’s no doubt it isn’t Dave.
Don Henney, CS-22, sired three boys who he “would characterize as deliberate, and not rushing to the altar.” He still managed to get two grandchildren, and judging from the pictures and narrative Don sent in, they have him thoroughly twisted around their small fingers. Don asserts that grandson Jay should get awards for most organized, most successful farmer, best chef, and most studious. Granddaughter Allison was nine days old when Don submitted his claims, so she naturally got the nomination for most precious. Don wanted to put her in for the cutest award, but everyone knows all newborns look like Winston Churchill for the first three weeks, so Don’s claim was judged to be biased and inadmissible.
Jim “Tony” Mahoney, CS-22, has five children spread out between California and Maine, so he and Cindy plan on spending a fair amount of time crisscrossing the country to see their eight grandchildren.
Mike Goyden, CS-20, claims five genetic grandchildren and one from other means. When he’s not playing with the grandchildren he’s teaching at six online universities.
Steve Duresky, CS-06, is a contender in the extended family categories. He has no genetic grandchildren yet but has six step-grandchildren who call him "grampa," the oldest of which is a 24-year-old granddaughter. She has two children, which technically makes Steve a GREAT-grampa!
Sandy Terry, CS-32, chimed in with an impressive block. He has three genetic and six adopted children, which have given him 12 grandchildren from his own gene pool and 25 grandchildren total. And finally, at the time of printing, Jerry Cooke, CS-06, has the most organically grown grandchildren in the class with a grand total of 13.
And speaking of families, Scott Arnott, CS-19, discovered that Sgt William Matthews, his fifth great-grandfather, served in the 4th Virginia Regiment of General George Washington’s Continental Army in winter camp at Valley Forge. Fortunately for Scott, Sgt Williams was not part of the 20 percent of the troops that succumbed to harsh winter conditions, disease, and malnutrition during that encampment.
Cats and Dogs: Dean Spraggins, CS-20, and his wife Jean undoubtedly take the award for most animal adoptions. Dean didn’t name the number of cats they have, but it’s more than a dozen, each with it own tale of hard luck and neglect until it found the Spraggins home. Good on ya, Dean and Jean!