2008 Reunion Summary

Plymouth, MA

14 May 2008 – 17 May 2008



The reunion events began May 14 as scheduled.  Most shipmates and guests arrived on May 13 or earlier.  In summary, there were 61 shipmates present with a total of 130 present including family and guests.  We were pleased to have two small children at this reunion.  They were Madison Woods (age 6) and Tyler Woods (age 4), the grandchildren of Karl Gettel who served in 1961 and 1962.


The first event scheduled on Wednesday, May 14 was a whale-watching trip aboard the Captain John Boat out of Plymouth, MA.  Several whales were observed surfacing.  As someone said, “We either saw a lot of whales a few times or a few whales several times.”  In any event there were a lot surfacing to breathe and eat.  They were fascinating to watch.  The weather was great and 87 had a wonderful trip out to sea.  We found that some apparently became “landlubbers” over the years.  Even Dramamine didn’t work too well.


On Thursday, May 15, 94 boarded buses for a trip to Boston, one of the nation’s oldest cities, with a history of over 350 years.  There were so many highlights of this trip that it would take too long to cover them all.  We saw many historical buildings in the city and stopped for lunch and shopping at Quincy Market.  There are dozens of eateries where you can find food from just about anywhere in the world and boutiques where you could purchase just about anything to wear or decorate the home and yard.   


On Friday, May 16, 109 bused to visit Battleship Cove, Fall River, MA, where we boarded the USS MASSACHUSETTS (BB59).  The first order of day was to conduct our Memorial Service on the fantail of the ship.  We had 2 widows and 2 daughters of deceased shipmates present.  It is always an honor to have the families of departed shipmates present at the reunion and Memorial Service.  After the Memorial Service we were free to wander the Battleship and other vessels at the Cove.  We had a great lunch in the Wardroom Mess on the Battleship.  One of the busses was surprised to have Grace Kelly as the Tour Guide.  She explained that she was not “the” Grace Kelly of Hollywood fame though.  She owed her name to her mother and father who gave her the name Grace, and her husband who’s last name was Kelly. On the trip to and from Battleship Cove we passed several cranberry bogs, something many had not ever seen before.


Upon return to the Radisson, Plymouth Harbor Hotel the business meeting was held to hear reports from the Committee for this reunion, elect the Committee for the next reunion and to select 3 sites to be reviewed for the next reunion in the fall of 2009.  Again, to report all discussed would take too long.  Highlights are:  Mike Pollack, Reunion Coordinator, reported on the survey responses from shipmates about their likes, dislikes and things they would like to do at future reunions.  Gene Blum, Secretary/Registrar reported that 42 shipmates were added to the Active Roster, 52 were added to the Deceased Roster since the 2006 reunion in San Antonio, TX and several Newsletter renewal subscriptions have been received.  Treasurer Frank Hawkins reported on Reunion and SCOOP Newsletter receipts and expenditures.  Storekeeper Mike Kranack gave results on store sales and requested input on what shipmates would like to see in the store.  Frank Chesla, new Webmaster for the usssoley.org Website gave an update on the Website and advised that he was going to look into using another Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the Website.  It was moved, seconded and passed to authorize Frank to look into changes that would make the Website easier to maintain, improve the site and reduce the cost.


Committee Members elected for the next reunion are as follows:

            Reunion Coordinator                            Mike Pollack

            Assistant Reunion Coordinator              John Rhodes

            Treasurer                                              Frank Hawkins

            Assistant Treasurer                               Ron DuBois

            Secretary/Registrar                               Gene Blum

            Assistant Secretary/Registrar                 “Skip” Sharpe

            Historian                                               Jim Hawker

            Assistant Historian                                Robert Sefton

            Ship’s Store Operator                          Mike Kranack

            Assistant Ship’s Store Operator            Mel Gilmore

            SCOOP Editor                                     Ed Bryan

            Assistant SCOOP Editor                      Bill Smith

            Webmaster                                           Frank Chesla

            Assistant Webmaster                            Len Porter


Sixteen sites were nominated for the site of the next reunion in the fall of 2009.  Sites included Savannah, GA; Charleston, SC; Norfolk, VA; Branson, MO; Chicago, IL; Hawaii; Cruise out of Florida over resting place of the SOLEY; Portland, ME; Phoenix, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; San Diego, CA; Pittsburgh, PA;  Mobile, AL; Nashville, TN; Seattle, WA and Chattanooga, TN


Voting on these sites reduced the number of desired sites to:  Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA and Mobile, AL.


It was moved, seconded and passed to make a donation to Tin Can Sailors in the amount of $500.00. 


The meeting was adjourned.


The Banquet was held on Saturday evening, May 17 at the Host Hotel.  61 shipmates and a total of 116 enjoyed dinner with their choice of Broiled Scrod or Mayflower Chicken.  Our Speaker for the evening was Terry Miller, Executive Director and Editor of the Tin Can Sailors who provided information about Tin Can Sailors, their objectives, what they do and how they can be of service to the Tin Can Sailor members.  Upon completion of Terry Miller’s presentation we had a 50/50 drawing, and drawings for raffle prizes and door prizes.  A great time was had by all and we all look forward to the next reunion in the fall of 2009.


Respectively Submitted,


Gene Blum, Secretary/Registrar