Make your own free website on


Gail Edwards Baker's Newsletter
June 21, 2010


See I'm trying to do better with the frequency of the newsletters. FIRST OF ALL A FEW ANNOUNCEMENTS:

#1. CLASSES OF 49, 50 & 51: "Announcing upcoming reunion for the class of 1950 our 60th reunion (yes, there is still quite a few of us still around) on Friday October 15, 2010. We will be having it at the new Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk, in the Harborview section. Our Retired Admirals newsletter will be coming out with all the info in a couple months. Call Barbara (Jopson) Jordan at 757-488-1432 if you have any questions"

#2. CLASS OF 1965: "Plans are being made for the 45th reunion of the Class of 1965 to be held on Oct 15th and 16th (2010). For info please contact Darlene Johnson Wylie at (757-686-4599) or Ralph Geabhart (757-484-4976)."

#3. CLASS OF 1960: " The Elizabeth Manor Country Club, in Portsmouth, has been reserved for the 1960 50th year class reunion to be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. If you have had a change of address since the 2005 reunion, please contact Kay Perdue Mixon ( and give her your updated information. Be sure to mark you calendar!

#4. As part of the reunion the Class of 1960 is looking for Donald Weeks. His address 5 years ago was Norfolk, VA. Anyone with any information please email me or Kay Perdue. This will allow them to be 100% accounted for which is great for 50 years of separation.

#5 CLASS OF 1962: Since the last Coming Home to Cradock (October 2009) we have lost the following classmates: John Belding, Eloise Stephens, Virginia Frazier, Larry White and Shirley James. We will need to order pavers at the cost of $50.00 each for them to be installed by the Gazebo in Cradock Square as we have done for each of our other 36 Fallen Classmates in Memoriam. Also as I'm sure you all are aware when a member of the Class of 1962 dies we send a maroon and gold flower arrangement from the Class. It is time to replenish the coffers. Please send your donations to Joyce Blake Strickland, check made out to Cradock High Class of 1962 at: 3436 Miars Farm Circle, Chesapeake, VA 23321.

Dee Cassidy (60) replied to the last newsletter "Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to keep us connected. Bless be the tie that binds! As you know, our class of 1960 will be holding our 50th reunion in October. Three of us, Pat Kay Key, Nancy Boylan Alford, and I will be bringing our spouses of 50 years (Jim, John, and Glen) and jointly celebrating our high school and wedding golden anniversaries. We three have been so blessed with our long friendships and long marriages. God is good." Gosh 50 years is a long time with the same person!!!!!!

And as always good to hear from someone that is still keeping the government working that is in my same age bracket Kay Schugeld Rodgers (55) wrote " don't know about you but am happy to see NSPS go just hope we get a better system as we are only going to be transitioned out to GS to go into Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratory (STRL) Personnel System (and for you non-government types this is even different from GS) Have no desire to retire now that I have 33 years in the percentage of my income for retirement just seems to get better quicker so will continue on as long as I have good health. My oldest Grandson, Daniel gets his white coat next month as he starts his clinical at MUSC's Dental School, this will be the start of his 3rd year, wants to be a maxifacial surgeon. My Granddaughter works here at SPAWAR, she is downstairs and I am on the top floor (only 2 floors) so I get to see her every day and now her Father started working here, he transferred from the State Department and he is upstairs near my office, nothing like keeping it in the family.
Really appreciate your newsletters from Cradock miss seeing everyone although I went back this past February just a short 3 day week-end trip, glad I got to go though as I stayed with my Brother Allan Schugeld class of 50 and since then he has been in the hospital several times with his heart but on the road to mending. He still lives in Chesapeake with his wife Lois." Kay works for SPAWAR in Charleston, SC.

Mavis Daniels Tompkins (52) wrote from sunny Florida
"I can't believe we have been full timers here in ft. Myers, Florida, since  2006.   Still living in our winter quarters - Siesta Bay RV Resort.   This is a 55 or older park.  I am very comfortable, feel safe and love the people,  but we are ready for something with a little more room.  This was perfect for our "long winters nap." the winter weather here is just perfect until the humidity moves in.  I throw kisses to the man that invented air conditioning every time I turn on the cool air.....    Most of the time it is warm but have nice balmy breezes. Seems like each year there are more & more snowbirds that are opting to live here full time. 

Do not hear from many of the 1952 classmates.  I miss the contacts very much. I love hearing from you & Janie Norris Evans (60).  Sister, Patt Daniels Andersen ('50) , sends me the newsletter form her class - The Shipmate.  Love reading all about  this class, for i know so many. Then I mail it on to Janie to put online. You have a pleasant summer & keep cool....Again a plug for the website...check it

Marlene Keegan (53) replied "As the former Editor of "The Admiral", Class of '53, . I have to say I miss doing it some times. It seems we are busy taking care of Gene's (53) mother all the time and doctor appointments. I wish Freddie (Zerkle '53 former editor) would pick it up again. My brother, Charles Speegle (class of '56) died several years ago. We live in West Cradock and our hearts break every time we pass the school. Keep me on your email newsletter list."

Fred Zerkle (53) replied to my complaint about the 1953 Newsletter going away " As much as I would like to see the class have another newsletter, It would have to be someone else who would step forward to do it....I remember how much work it was to keep up with everything that was happening with our class. But I was lucky in the sense that I had 12 people who "willingly" stepped forward to lend a hand. We had loads of fun! I enjoyed the on-line edition of your newsletter. Gary and I talked about doing the same thing...I have all the email addresses of everyone in the class who is on-line, but because I have other things going on, I finally decided against it. I talked with Virginia (Zerkle (61)several weeks ago and she's doing pretty good. She takes life one day at a time, and is thankful that God has given her extra time and she makes the most of it. After all, it's been about 3 years since the Doctors gave her 6 months to live!! That reminds me, I have to call her tomorrow and I'll tell her that you asked about her."

Looks like another one is hitting the retiree list. Kirk Wood (62) writes "Good to get newsletter again and as always thank you for your hard work. Yes, I am retiring from Alabama State University as of June 1, 2010 after 24 years!!!! No more classes, no more book, no more students' ___________whatever. Actually, I've been semi-retired since the end of exams back on May 10. Cleaning out the office is almost complete: 18 bags and 5 boxes of trash out the door. 4 boxes of books and 8 plastic bins of teaching/research material moved to storage room (where 39 boxes of stuff and books had been moved a year ago to finally do a makeover of the living room that used to be a library!!!!) At age 66, still in good health, have most of my hair, and am still married after 42 years to Marcia P. Wood (Wilson). She has been retired from teaching for 2 years now. Will not be doing much since I am not a big traveler. Plenty of house and yard work to do. Also, I need to finish volume three of my Nullification, A Constitutional History, 1776-1833. Vols. 1 and 2 were published in 2008, 2009 by University Press of America. In the works also my big one of The Northern-Romantic Origins of the Civil War in America, 1815-1865!!!!Will be receiving state retirement as of June 30 and then Social Security. In pretty good financial shape as long as the country does not go belly up with too much debt. I am also on FaceBook and have a webpage at http://" I echo Kirk's sentiment with the hope the country finds its way out of the mess we are in.

My Southern friend who deserted me for a warmer climate plus retired from the government proves to me with every email that obviously had something to do with half of the crooked contracts issued by the Coast Guard. Ronnie Seidman (61) is still keeping his fingers in the fiscal pie "I am glad to see you cleaned out the cobwebs and let us know that your fingers and your brain are still functioning. Cindy and I have been working on a new project, bottling some of the oil that has spilled into the gulf, and selling it as a gift item. It appears as if we will be seeing some of the Gulf oil on the Outer Banks by the end of summer, so all we will need to do is stroll down to the beach to collect the oil." Last year he was going to put a portable john at the beginning of the bridge and charge people a $1 for its use. Ronnie is always thinking.

Betsy Hoffler (62) is counting heads for the census bureau this year keeping some long hours and staying really busy...and oh yeah she is retired also. I'm going to have to check on the definition of retired.

Al Thomas (62) is definitely retired in OBX, fishing and lying around and won't even use the word "work" in a sentence. Now that is retired.

I had managed to goof up Doug Wentz' email address so I called him in Mississippi for the correct one. You guys that keep changing your carriers are a trial for me. I try to remember to change it everywhere contacts, distro list, class list, etc) but sometimes I actually make a mistake! Glad I called him. Good news: he had been in the hospital 4 days last week with a stroke but fortunately with a shot he referred to as a "Clot Buster" there were no residuals effects that he can tell. He said he was dumb when he went into the hospital and I can't tell this soon if he is any dumber.

I also called another Alexander Park boy Jackie Morris (62). He and Doug lived next door to each other in my backyard. Jackie too had been in the hospital with blood clots but is now doing fine. You don't suppose there was something in the water, do you?

I accused George Williams (61) of picking on me because I work for the government and he replied "Not picking, not picking, specially after working for IRS for 25 years. (who would have thought one of the Cradockians would go over to the dark side?) Just started business this year, love it but work 7 days per week. We do not yet have enough flowers for the customers we have but will by July and thereafter. When we sold flowers in Mathews County we did EVERYTHING wrong and did it by hand. Now we have all the equipment we need and it is much easier and we are doing everything right. We live on 5 acres, no horses, are planting to the east of the house and love every minute of it. Can't believe I like growing stuff. In evenings I still paint and still take painting classes. I missed our getting together for lunch when I worked in DC, it would have been fun. Thank you so much for all the Cradock High work, it always brought back many memories. It is good to "talk" to you again."

Good to hear from Bobby. "Greetings from Bobby Bailey (58) in Hysterical Williamsburg -- great to hear from you and about all others. Things are going well -- Weez and I have been married 48 great years - two daughters and five grand children -- Mom is still living and doing well -- my sister, Nancy,(60) and brother-in law Chip Wilder (59) are as well. I am retired now from the Williamsburg Fire Dept -- Anyone that visits Williamsburg is invited to look us up !!"

Heard from Sandra Neathery (62) after Jon Belding's funeral service "The funeral was very uplifting and special. Probably a tough weekend (Memorial Day) for folks to attend. At the visitation...Freddie Bowen (62), Eddie Eaves (62), Chet Barnett (60), Eddie House (62) and wife Anita, Joyce Blake (62), Martha Rea Butler (62), Jan Bateman (62), Katherine Leary (62). At the funeral...Donald Barnes (62), Eddie Eaves (62), Eddie House (62)and wife Anita. Walter (62) and wife Beverly Credle sat with the family. That's all I saw. We shared some wonderful high school years. Jon, Jan and Walter took great pleasure in teasing me all the way through high school and I loved every minute of it."

After the last newsletter Nancy Boylan (60) wrote "Am pleased to say I have no intentions of retiring, can't imagine what would keep me out of trouble if I did. I think for some of us, our work is such a joy, we can't think of any better way to live out our days. Thanks for your efforts and your energy." I replied I was glad to see someone else was an "idiot" and still working. We both long as we enjoy what we do and health holds up we plan on hanging in there.

I contacted Leland Bundy (62) via snail mail looking for his new email address and heard back from him. He is now retired living in Pittsburgh happily married and just back from the Cayman Islands. Attached picture shows Leland leading the good life.

Ronnie Fortune (62) from Florida called me 62's Mother Hen. Does that mean I like to know where all my "chicks" are or that I'm just nosey?

Diane Spence (63) reports her Mom is now getting Hospice care to monitor her more closely. Keep them in your prayers.

Alice Faye Cooper (53) shared the passing of fellow classmate Shirley Burton Williams (53) on 11 June 2010.

After a short visit to the DC area Eileen Beasley (62) wrote: "I just go back from visiting with one of my sons. Our visit as always was way to short. Just wanted to let you know that Sandra Fox (61) is in rehab at DePaul Hospital after undergoing her second hip replacement surgery. Her twin Loretta (61) came in from TN to take care of her. I stopped by to see Sandra for a few minutes the afternoon of her surgery last Tuesday. She was doing well at that time. Will go check on her this afternoon."

Becky Ambrose (62) is still working but has "cut back" to 4 days a week. She too is caring for her mother, making her quilts and reading "bucket loads" of books and playing with grandchildren. Can't figure out where she is cutting back. Any of you that have Facebook check out Becky stuck in the tree with her chainsaw. She had to call for her grandson and was really ticked because she had almost completed the job. Told her you would never find me in that predicament. She was not aware you can break fingernails doing that type of job.

Heard from Sandra Reeves (62) after I sent the notice about their (Peggy Cowan, 62 and Brenda Shackelford's , 62) Uncle Jake passing away. When we were kids we enjoyed him and his music playing and she responded "Uncle Jake was one of a kind, I'm sure you remember him and his antics. We will all miss him, the family keeps getting smaller. We still have Aunt Bet (Peggy Cowan's Mom), who by the way is not doing well, and Uncle Bill, who is just as good looking and active as he ever was. All is OK here; keep busy with the yard and trying to stay out of trouble. Go to Fl (her son and grandchildren are there) whenever I can, hope to get down there sometime this month."

Janice Hughes (62) is retired! So now she is only baking cakes (wedding, birthday, etc), keeping books for a friend and working in the garden department at Home Depot. She had to retire in order to have time to fit in riding her Harley!

And BTW: Freddie Bowen (62) also is riding a Harley. I've seen a couple of "tricycle" bikes on 95 I might consider riding on a back road. You old Harley riders are brave!

I sent out a notice of Shirley Burton Williams (53) death to the Classes of 52-54 and Mavis Daniels (52) and Mavis replied she and Shirley had such good times in Jobs Daughters which prompted me to reply that between sitting on the bleachers for son Shawn's games and chairs at Jobs Daughters for daughter Brandy (even though Alan was Bethel Guardian and did the heavy lifting) I had grown about 20 feet wide over the years. Mavis again answered she started as a Rainbow Girl in Panama Canal Zone and went on to Jobies in Cradock and has been an Eastern Star since age of 18 and she still loves the work these organizations do. Any of you remember your Job's Daughters/DeMoley Days?

Receive jokes and political announcements from Dewey Burchett (62) all the time but I finally emailed thanking him but then asked "how the heck are YOU?" He replied "Let me see where to begin. I don't know if you knew I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in May of 2009. I had a check up and a PSA Test that came back extremely high so I went to a urologist and after some more tests and a biopsy suggested that my prostrate be removed. I went in the hospital on August 26 and robotic surgery to remove the prostrate, stayed overnight and came home the next day and from then to December I went through recovery from the surgery and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles controlling the bladder. I went back to the doctor in December and found that my PSA Test came back with a low reading where there should have been no reading so he suggested that I take a series of radiation to get rid of any microscopic cells that may have been missed so as of 18 June I had my 13th treatment out of 35 I have to take. They will then do another PSA Test to see if there is any reading (I hope not) and we will proceed from there. Other than that everything is going pretty good. I'm trying to work when I feel like it. The radiation makes you feel tired most of the time......."Everyone keep your fingers and toes crossed that Dewey gets good reports when his series of radiation is over.

I heard from John Cannon (62) that he had plans to sell his house in Alexandria and move to Charlottesville and when I asked how much of this information I could share he replied "On June 5, 2010 John had a massive nasty growth for 29 years that was getting worse every year removed. The removal of the growth left no scars whatsoever, probably extended his expected life span, improved his attitude and outlook on life, and recovery was immediate. He plans to move to Charlottesville in 2-3 months where he will be able to spend more time with his youngest daughter Sasha, her husband John, and Trooper the Wonder Dog."

The world just gets smaller and smaller. I emailed Tommy Sitz (62) just to see how the heck he was. Our friend Butch Blow (62) used to keep us connected and now with Butch gone I hadn't talked to Tommy in awhile. He replied "I will retire July 1 (they offered me 6 years on my retirement so will have 42 1/2 years in the state retirement system). Tech will hire me back part time so will keep on working as long as my health holds up. Orientation for new students starts up in July so will be helping out with that. Butch's sister Grace Virginia (59) is getting his estate squared away and has been through most of his "stuff". She has had a job as Butch collected a lot of things. My son-in-law Scott Moore, the Navy seal, got his first star so is neat having an Admiral in the family." Here's where the world got smaller. One of the program offices under our organization is Naval Special Warfare and we have a contingent of Seals that work for them. So after Tommy's email I called the Program Manager also a Seal and asked if he knew Scott Moore. Not only did he know him but had the nicest things to say about Molly Sitz Moore. I told Tommy that he and Bonnie obviously had "done good". Be careful what you say aloud you just never know when someone connected with Cradock could be around. Congratulations to the Sitz and Moore families. Making Admiral is a huge accomplishment. Butch Blow is looking down beaming with pride.

On that happy note......have a good week...stay in touch.



Return to Top of Page
Return to Newsletter Index
Return to CHS Home Page