Naval Weather Service Association (NWSA)



An association of Aerographers & Mates,
Meteorologists & Oceanographers

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Donald Milton Pell
World War II
Oct 7 1920 to June 5 1945
AG1 Edward T. Earhart
Killed 9/11/2001 at the Pentagon

Remembering all those who came before

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The original version of Taps was called Last Post, and was written by Daniel Butterfield in 1801. It was rather lengthy and formal, so in 1862 it was shortened to 24 notes and re-named Taps.


Click on the link below to listen and watch the YouTube video by members of the U.S. Navy Band:
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Died Oct. 27, 1944 South Pacific
In the Service of His Country
AG2 Matthew M. Flocco
Killed 9/11/2001 at the Pentagon



(This Listing Only Goes Back a Few Years -- More Names and Possible Corrections Needed.)

Listing of AGs  and Their Spouses Who Have Passed

Compiled by CDR Earl Gustafson, USN RET

There is HISTORY, LEGECY, and MEMORIES with all those who served and came before, whether they be  Military, Civilian, or Spouse.  You will find, listed by Aerograph edition, some of those who came before us.  This is history worth repeating.

Aerograph Edition:

Gladys Rose Beasley

April 1, 1925 to January 16, 2019

Wife of AGCM Tom Beasley, USN RET

Gladys was born on April 1, 1925 and passed away on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Gladys was a resident of Maryland at the time of passing. "She got a six-month honeymoon in Waikiki," he said with a smile; "sixty eight years and 5 months we were together..." From 1950 forward, Gladys would take on the role of Navy wife and homemaker. Donations may be made to: Hospice of the Chesapeake Visitation at the Fink Funeral Home from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM on January 26, 2019.

LCDR Robert E. Buttrick, USN RET
February 6, 1933 to May 16, 2018 

Tuftonboro, NH. Robert Edgar Buttrick, 85, of Ledge Hill Rd, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. His family was by his side. Robert was born to Charles Lewis Buttrick and Hazel Vivian (Spencer) in Haverhill, Mass. on February 6, 1933.

He grew up in Hampstead, NH, graduating with his class of 7 in 1951. Robert met his sweetheart, Elizabeth Ann Holmquist, in high school. They were married in 1953. 

Robert enlisted in the Navy in 1952, and retired with honors in 1977 as Lt. Commander. He served aboard the USS Midway, USS Ranger, and the USS Albemarle. During his service Robert was stationed in Argentia Newfoundland, Opa-Locka Florida, Panama, Alameda California, Kodiak Alaska, Lakehurst New Jersey, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Pensacola Florida, and Willow Grove Pennsylvania.

Robert was a Cub Scout leader, a Little League coach, and was a member of the Tuftonboro Volunteer Fire Department. In his retired years he enjoyed vegetable gardening, and working on his vehicles. He was an avid NASCAR fan.  He and his wife enjoyed snow skiing, snowmobiling and their gambling trips to Las Vegas and Tunica, Mississippi. 

Robert was predeceased by his parents and his twin brother, Ronald Buttrick. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Betty Ann, two sisters, Connie Merrick of Haverhill, Mass, and Carlene Demerrit of East Hampstead, NH, 5 children and their spouses, Kathy and Russ Pettit, Robert and Carole Buttrick, Daniel and Stephanie Buttrick, Steve and Carrin Buttrick, and Susan and Curt Pike. He has 7 grandchildren, Melissa, Dustin, Sarah, Nancy, Ami, Stephen and Jonathan, and 6 great grandchildren, Madison, Chase, Coltan, Irena, Annabel, and Ryleigh. He had 16 nieces and nephews.

Following Roberts wishes there will be no calling hours or services. In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to make a donation to the Tuftonboro Firefighters Association, PO Box 437. Melvin Village, NH  03850 or Central New Hampshire VNA Hospice, 240 South Main Street, Wolfeboro, NH  03894.

AG1 Elmer H. Smith, USN RET
February 21, 1931 - September 11, 1989 

Elmer H. Smith was born February 21, 1931 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Lillian Harvey. He was later adopted by the late Vivian and Lester Smith.

He was a member of the Mission Memorial Church.

He attended grammar school and high school in Chicago and completed two years of college.

Elmer joined the Navy at age eighteen. He undertook the Occupation Specialty of Meteorology. During his distinguished career he served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He retired after twenty-two years of service at the rank of First Class Aerographer's Mate. After retiring from the Navy he worked for U.S. Gypson Company as a supervisor for fifteen years before retiring.

While serving in Okinawa Elmer met and married Kayoko Wakugawa. They have been married for twenty-five years. They have no children. Elmer leaves three children: Paul A. Smith, Janet Smith Martin and Gloria Smith from a previous marriage.

Besides his wife and three children, he leaves to mourn his death two sisters, Teresa Brown and Ellen Brooks; two brothers Harold Jackson and Fred Dukes; two grandchildren, Paul A. Smith, Jr., and Jessica L. Martin; a son-in-law, Andre' Martin and daughter-in-law, Patty; as well as a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives.

CAPT Jack J. Jensen, USN RET
November 23, 1940 to Sept. 10, 2018

Jack J. Jensen, Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired) of Monterey, CA, died Monday, September 10, 2018 at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. He was born in 1940 in Bloomington, IL to Clarence and Caroline Jensen and was raised in Milwaukee, WI. 

Jack graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in Meteorology and was commissioned in the Navy from the NROTC program in June, 1962. He served on the USS Paul Revere; as an NROTC instructor; as a meteorologist at Yokosuka, Japan, and aboard the USS Saratoga; and as the oceanography community assignment officer. He was the community's first officer assigned to the Royal Navy UK, and first oceanographer assigned to Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He served in Keflavik, Iceland, and as Commanding Officer of the Naval Oceanography Command Center in Rota, Spain.

Captain Jensen established and managed the Navy's Environmental Systems Program Office in the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in 1985. He was most proud of the (TESS(3)) program that set standards in the rapid acquisition of affordable, rugged, and high-powered computer technology for fleet use. 

Captain Jensen retired from the United States Navy in 1992, after serving as the Commanding Officer of Fleet Numerical Meteorology Oceanography Center (FNMOC), Monterey, CA. Following retirement, Jack supported the Naval Postgraduate School as a defense contractor. 

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Valerie (Eilers); daughter, Kristen; son Andrew (Alicia); grandchildren, Samantha and Aaron; and his sister, Lois, of Madison, WI. 

Captain Jensen will be interred at the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery with a small family ceremony. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation in Jack's name to your favorite veterans' charity.

Condolences may be written to the family at

AGC Robert J. Mackie, USN RET
August 23, 1932 to April 28, 2018

Robert Mackie 85, of Camarillo, Physical Science Tech, died 4/28/2018. 
Arrangements by Conejo Mountain Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory
Published in Ventura County Star on May 2, 2018.

AGC Elroy R. “Mac” McLeod, USN RET
Passed Sept. 13, 2018 at Age 74

ELROY R. MCLEOD 74, died September 13, 2018.The Funeral Mass was held on Sept. 28th at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Prince Frederick, MD, followed by burial in the SJV cemetery.

Local arrangements were handled by Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, Wilmington, NC.

Published in the Wilmington Star-News on Sept. 26, 2018.

xAERM2C Francis J. Drybala
Sept. 21, 1924 to August 8, 2018

The Service of Remembrance for Mr. Francis J. Drybala, age 93, of Beverly Hills, Florida, was held August 10, 2018 at the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida. He was born September 21, 1924, son of the late Stanley and Helen (Laskowski) Drybala. He died August 8, 2018 in Lecanto, FL.

Mr. Drybala was an Navy veteran serving during World War II. He worked as a meteorologist for the Hurricane Center in Miami, FL. His interests include classical and jazz music and plants. Mr. Drybala was a member of the Beverly Hills Civic Club, Polish-American Social Club, Polish-American Hertitage Club, and Italian-American Social Club. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Mary Drybala, son, John Drybala, grandson, Jeffery Dixon. Survivors include a daughter, Ellen Dixon of Citrus Springs, FL, 4 grandchildren, Michael (Tiffany) Barry, Jeanna Barry, Amanda Dixon, and Jacob Dixon, 4 great grandchildren, Austin, Jaylina, Carter and Jayson. 

Online condolences may be sent to the family at Arrangements are under the direction of the Beverly Hills Chapel of Hooper Funeral Homes & Crematory.

Published in Citrus County Chronicle on Aug. 9, 2018
Submitted by AGCM Tom Miovas, NWSA Sec/Treas.

AGC John P. Bleclic USN RET
Passed Sept. 4, 2018 at Age 97 

Learned from receipt of an email from his daughter that my first LPO, AGC John P. Bleclic USN (ret) passed away 4 SEP 18 at the age of 97. John and I served in USS GLACIER (AGB4) from 1959-62 making three trips to the Antarctic. John was advanced to AGC in 1962 with nearly 20 years in the USN. For his Antarctic service in 1961-2, there are two peaks in Antarctica named for him. His committal service will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.

Blec may be the last survivor of the those U.S. Sailors ( the Aerographers' Mates) that Served Undercover in China, in the Rice Paddy Navy; or sometimes referred to as "Gobi Desert' wanderers. The Author of the book "Rice Paddy Navy", Linda Kush, included quite a bit about the "weather" effort"; however, not many names were used; probably the time she wrote the book (published 2012) there weren't many left alive to provide names or wasn't able to obtain data that was classified. I sent a picture of an American in one of the pictures on the dust cover of the Kush book and he told his daughter "that's me". I have read the book and it talked about those who served were debriefed when transferred, their tour of duty was SECRET, and not to talk about it. Maybe that is why in 14 years after WWII Blec didn't talk much about it.

One day when taking a sounding, Blec was wearing a tee shirt (we were passing through the tropics), I noticed he had a real ugly tattoo on his left bicep. I asked him what it was suppose to be and he told me it was an Eagle; I told him it looked more like a Chicken; he then told me he got it in Rangoon India. Asking what he was doing in Rangoon he told me it was a stopover for his trip to China.

I thought he might have been an AG that served in China (I had seen the movie "Operation Gobi" starring Richard Widmark) and asked if he had seen the movie; he told me had, but the story was bogus as the U.S. Govt did not give saddles to a tribe of mongols to fight for the U.S. Navy. He told me weather missions were to avoid any contact with the Japanese.

At a 2002 NWSA Reunion in Asheville, N.C., I visited him in Rutherfordton ("ruffton" according to Moon Mullins) and asked Blec about his tour "wandering the Gobi"; he didn't add anything to what he had told me on Glacier.

It was a miracle that I found him living with one of his daughters in Virginia in 2016. His daughter arranged a telephone call with me and  Blec and I talked for 10 minutes or so. He knew who I was and mentioned Glacier; I think he was 95 at that time.

I only knew two "weather guessers" who knew Blec; Gerry Struck who Blec relieved on the USS Randolph, and Mel Harder who was stationed with him at Suitland, where Blec transferred to serve in Glacier (1959).

He was a sailor's sailor, and from America's Greatest Generation.

Submitted by CDR Chuck White, USN RET

AG1 Jimmy E. Moore, USN RET
Passed April 7, 2018 at Age 73

Jimmy E. Moore of Las Animas, CO. passed away on April 7, 2018 in La Junta, CO. at the age of 73. Jimmy was born on May 30, 1944 in La Junta, CO. Graveside Memorial Service was held on June 4, 2018 at Ft. Lyon National Cemetery in Las Animas, CO. Per Jimmy’s request, cremation has taken place and there was no visitation.

RADM Kenneth E. Barbor, USN RET
Passed July 22, 2018

After a hard fought battle with melanoma, Ken passed away on July, 22nd 2018 in his Bay St. Louis home, guarded by his faithful dogs, Gunner and Navigator, while in the loving arms of his wife, Leslie.

Rear Admiral Barbor served with distinction in the United States Navy, including:  four sea duty tours, multiple shore staffs, and command of two shore facilities. He also culminated as the Commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi from 1998 until his retirement in 2001.

Following his service to our country in uniform, Ken answered another calling, to become an educator. He joined the University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Marine Sciences as Director of the Hydrographic Research Center, where he both developed an internationally recognized research program and led the Department’s Master’s Degree in Hydrographic Science to a position of international prominence.

In 2002, he was asked to serve his country for nearly six years as the United States Representative to the International Hydrographic Organization in Monaco. He served in this role with distinction and returned to USM once again to educate students from all over the world and to develop MS graduates in Hydrographic Science that are recognized internationally for their expertise. Additionally, the program at USM was designated by the government as a “national center of hydrographic expertise”.

He was very active in the community as President of the Bay St. Louis Harbor Commission and board member of the Bay St. Louis Habitat for Humanity. Ken will always be remembered as an exceptional leader, sailor, visionary, mentor, and a compassionate friend by anyone who had the pleasure of his company.

Ken was preceded in death by his father, D. D. Barbor; his mother and step father, Mary E. and Jack Tick; nephew, Johnny; and his faithful boat dog, Bosun.

AGC John E. "Jack" Halpin, USN RET

January 19, 1949 to July 26, 2018

John Edwin Halpin of Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, age 69, passed away peacefully at home on July 26, 2018, surrounded by his loved ones.

He was born on January 19, 1949 in Plymouth, New Hampshire, and was a longtime resident of Phippsburg, Maine. “Jack” was a U.S. Navy aviation weather forecaster, staff meteorologist on the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and a science teacher in Maine. Navy postings included NAS Brunswick, Guam, the Antarctic, Spain and aboard the USS Saipan. He embarked on a second career after he proudly earned a Masters degree and taught science at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle and Morse High School in Bath.

After retirement, he and his beloved wife Peggy enjoyed traveling cross country in their motor home. A lover of nature,he spent his leisure time birdwatching, hiking with his dogs, golfing, operating his Ham radio, and flying model airplanes. He enjoyed keeping in contact with his many friends and introducing his grandchildren to his hobbies—and he made a wicked good bowl of chili, seafood chowder and excellent ribs. Jack had a true affinity for cooking for his family.

He is survived by his wife, Peggy; his son Erick and wife Anne Schlitt of Phippsburg, Maine; daughter Holli Owen and husband Erich of Telluride, Colorado; grandchildren Willow of Phippsburg, Maine and Hayden and Ellowyn of Telluride, Colorado; a brother Will and sister-in-law Joanne of Milbridge, Maine; and sisters-in-law: Patti Freeman and husband Doug and Heidi Leveillee and husband Dan. Jack also leaves many friends from Patrick Air Force Base and Phippsburg. He was predeceased by his parents Joseph D. Halpin, Sr. and Phyllis (Thompson) and by a brother, Joseph D. Halpin, Jr.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

This OBI was provided by his wife Joanne Halpin today.John E. Halpin passed away on 7/26/2018.

His wife (Joanne) e-mail address  is

AG1 Greene Berry "Gene" Hawks, USN RET
November 3, 1937 to August 5, 2018 

Pensacola - On November 3, 1937, Greene Berry Hawks was born to Hobart Cardwell and Maggie Jean Bobbitt Hawks in a beautiful old home nestled in a cove of the Appalachian Mountains in Lambsburg, VA. Greene lost his father to cancer at a very early age. Maggie moved with her son to Mt. Airy, NC, to be closer to her family and later gave Greene a stepfather and five brothers and sisters; Tony (Frankie) D'Amico, Angelina (Clyde) Bowman, Bruce (Brenda) D'Amico, Phillip (Juanita) D'Amico, and Bonnie (Irby) Payne.

Greene always enjoyed singing. During his high school years, Andy Griffith, a native of Mt. Airy, served as a school music teacher and chorus director for Greene's chorus. After joining the U. S. Navy at age 17, Greene was chosen to sing with the Navy Blue Jacket Choir, which performed at the Capitol and other venues. In later years, he sang with his son, Clay, in the Pensacola Oratorio Society.

Greene trained with the Navy to be a Meteorologist. His first duty station in his career was at Corry Field in Pensacola. He spent many tours aboard Navy Carriers and time in Alaska, Newfoundland, San Diego, Norfolk and school tours at Great Lakes. He came back to Saufley Field to complete his final tour and begin retirement after 22 years of service.

He became active in the Masonic Lodge and in the Shrine Antique Car Unit with his "58 Lincoln Continental convertible (supposedly one of 4 identical ones purchased by Elvis Presley). He was an active member of the Local and National Retired Navy Meteorologist.

After retiring from the Navy, he began a new career studying Special Education and Administration at UWF. He became an Administrative Dean at ESEAL for a rewarding second career spanning over 18 years. After this retirement, he devoted his time to family, growing his prize daylilies and camellias and being actively involved in the Garden Club and Camellia and Daylily Clubs.

Greene is preceded in death by his son, Dempsey Clayton. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Marion Hawks, daughter-in-law, Malinda (grandsons, Joshua (Kate) and Jonathan), son, Andrew David and wife, Mary (grandson, Jeremy and granddaughter, Whitney).

Greene passed away on Sunday, August 5, 2018. The Hawks family would like to express their sincere thanks to his wonderful caretakers and support group at Homestead Village and Covenant Hospice, who helped so much in the last months of his life.

A Memorial Service will be held Friday, August 10, 2018, at 9:00 AM, at First United Methodist Church of Pensacola. A Committal Service will be held at Barrancas National Cemetery, NAS Pensacola, at 11:00 AM.

xAG Dorothy Reetz, WAVE REL

May 27, 1922 to July 15, 2018

Dorothy Reetz, 96, whose Navy training in World War II led to a civilian career in meteorology, died Sunday at the Laurels of Defiance, a nursing and rehabilitation center.

She was in declining health, said her son Kevin, with whom she lived in Defiance the last five years.

“She was the kind of lady who told you what she thought. She was independent,” he said.

Mrs. Reetz was the senior staff member when she retired at the end of 1983 from the National Weather Service at Toledo Express Airport. Afterward she spent most of each year in Clermont, Fla., an inland location. She aimed for good weather as she planned her drives there and back north, she told The Blade in 1997. During hurricane season, she visited her son Kevin.

Wherever she was, when Mrs. Reetz stepped outdoors, she looked up.

“You always can identify a weatherman,” she said in 1997. “I like to study the clouds, to see what is moving in.”

She had lots of opportunity over a career that began in 1957 with what was the U.S. Weather Bureau. She kept track of gauges and analyzed maps.

By the mid-1960s, a computer — albeit room-sized — aided in sorting data. She recorded weather conditions hourly and released balloons for high-altitude readings.

She was scientifically minded, her daughter Barbara Garvin said. And she was analytical, son Steven added. Few women then were in weather-related jobs.

“She just wanted to support her family. To her, family came first,” Steven said.

Mrs. Reetz worked every shift around the clock for years, commuting from the family home in Henry County. She viewed a nighttime snow storm in April, 1983, as a message to retire.

“It was only an 18-mile drive, and I wasn’t due until midnight,” she told The Blade in 1997. “I left my home in Liberty Center at 10:30 p.m. and didn’t get there until after 1 a.m. En route I passed two snow plows that were in the ditch and a semi-truck that was crosswise at an underpass.”

She was born May 27, 1922, in Lima, Ohio, to Winifred and Thomas Kincaid. The family moved to Toledo, and she was a graduate of Woodward High School. She was studying business administration at the University of Toledo when she enlisted as a WAVE, the acronym for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, formed by the Navy in World War II. The Navy trained her in meteorology, and she was assigned the naval station in Miami. She was on duty when a hurricane passed overhead.

After the war, she received a bachelor’s degree from UT. She and Robert Reetz married Feb. 7, 1948. He died in November, 1982.

She’d been an Eastern Star deputy grand matron and a former district president. She was a member of Liberty Center-Colton United Methodist Church.

Surviving are her sons, Michael, Steven, and Kevin; daughter, Barbara Garvin; nine grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.


Funeral services were July 21, 2018 at Walker-Hoening Mortuary, Napoleon OH. The family suggests tributes to Salvation Army.

Submitted by LCDR Mike Gilroy, Past NWSA Pres.


CDR Kenneth Raymond Liechty, USN RET

August 30, 1939 to July 14, 2018

CDR Kenneth Raymond Liechty, USN RET, age 77, of Orange Park, Florida, entered the presence of His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, July 14, 2018.  Ken was born in Bay Village, Ohio, to Edgar and Iva Liechty, on August 30, 1939.  A twenty-year veteran of the United States Navy, with service in Vietnam and other foreign and domestic duty stations, Ken was a P-3 pilot and meteorologist.  After his retirement from the Navy, Ken served the local community as a mathematics teacher and Assistant Principal in the Clay County School System.  For over forty years, Ken was a faithful member of First Baptist Church, Orange Park, serving in many ways, including as deacon, committee member and Sunday School teacher.  Following his second retirement, he enjoyed service and leadership roles with BASCA (Building Abilities of Special Children and Adults).

Ken is survived by his wife of 53 years, Linda Liechty, daughter Kayla Paulk (Jason), of New Mexico, son Greg (Kara) and their children, Samuel and Sarah Grace, of Oregon, a brother, Edward (Freeda), of California, and a sister, Marge, of Ohio.  He is preceded in death by his parents, two sisters (Lucille and Lois) and a brother (Dean).

Burial was July 19th at Jacksonville FL National Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the FBC Orange Park,mission’s fund, BASCA or Gideons International.

Please sign the family’s online guest book at

Submitted by Bob Johnson, SE Chapt. 2nd VP

CDR Liechty was a student at the Naval Postgraduate School in the early 70's while I was assigned there. I was transferred to Gitmo in 1971 and in late 1972 or 1973 CDR Liechty came aboard as the Officer-in-Charge.  He was a great guy to work for- always supportive.

Jim Cerullo

Doris C. Stepaniak
Passed July 16, 2018 at Age 77

Doris C. Stepaniak, 77, of Virginia Beach, VA, passed away July 16, 2018.

She was born on February 2, 1941, in Fairhaven, MA, to the late Joseph and Philomena Comeau. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Edward R. Stepaniak; first husband, Francis G. Maresca; and companion, the late Marty Nemcosky (CDR, USN RET).

She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who will be missed by all who knew her.

Left to cherish her memories are her special love, Howard V. Lee (LTCOL, USMC RET), who has been by her side during this very difficult time; her daughter, Maureen Wood (Jeffery) of Rapid City, MI; her son, David Maresca (Cheryl-deceased) of Canton, MI; grandchildren, Jeffery Wood II, Ryan Wood, Lyndsay Maresca, and Allyson Markham (Tyler); great-grandchildren, Coltyn, Brinley, and Levi Markham, all of Michigan; step-sons, Edward R. Stepaniak II, (Rachel), and John Stepaniak; step-daughter, Irene Nieves (Anibal, Jr.); step-grandchildren, Edward R. Stepaniak III, Blake Stapaniak, and Michael Rodgers. Also left to cherish her memories are her sister, Laura Comeau; brother, Albert Comeau (Mary); several nieces and nephews, all from Massachusetts.

The funeral mass was celebrated on July 20, 2018 at St. Matthew Catholic Church. Interment was at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. Condolences may be offered to the family at

AGCM Richard “Dick” Tokryman,  USN RET

April 23, 1942 to June 27, 2018

Richard “Dick” Tokryman passed away on June 27, 2018 at Select Specialty hospital in Pensacola following a courageous battle against emphysema.  He was born April 23, 1942 to Nellie and Peter Tokryman in Cohoes, New York.  He leaves behind his devoted and loving wife Elizabeth, brothers Leo and wife Joyce, John and wife Kathleen, sisters Helen and husband Robert Seger, Nancy and husband Joseph Byra, and Janet and husband James Drummond.

Dick enlisted in the Navy in April 1962 at Albany, New York.  His first duty station following AG “A” School was Midway Island, followed by a tour aboard the USS Yorktown CVA-10.  During that tour he was involved in operation “Rolling Thunder” and then two years later the ship operated at Yankee Station (near the Tonkin Gulf).  He recounted the heavy workload involved with thousands of sorties being launched from the flight deck to Vietnam, the constant smell of napalm throughout the ship and, the great team work exhibited by the crew in carrying out their mission.  Subsequent tours included NWSED Naples, NWSED Adak, two tours of instructor duty at NATTC Lakehurst, NOCC Guam, the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), and his final tour as Command Master Chief at NOCC Rota, Spain.  He also recalled during his Blue Ridge tour how the ship’s crew rescued 91 sick and emaciated Vietnamese refugees from a floundering boat.

Dick was a consummate professional.  He was qualified in both surface and air warfare.    I first met him at NATTC Lakehurst.  I was an AGC at the time and the Officer In Charge said I could pick any two petty officers from the staff to form a programmed instruction writing team for the AG “A” school.  Dick was one of my picks and I became very impressed with his work ethic, attention to detail, loyalty to the team, and dedication to developing only the highest quality product.  Those traits marked his entire distinguished career.

Dick was very personable and “others” oriented.  He mentored countless numbers of young sailors in the ways of the Navy and the professions of meteorology and oceanography. One of his shipmates, Jess Ellsworth, told me that he met Dick at Lakehurst while they were both attending AG “A” school.  Dick showed Jess, a young small town Wyoming boy, the sights and sounds of New York.  They became lifelong friends.  In fact, years later, Jess was honored to serve as Best Man at Dick and Elizabeth’s wedding in San Diego.  Dick was bigger than life with his outgoing personality and hearty laugh.  He was loyal to his shipmates and always “had their back”.

Following his retirement, he reinvested himself into his lifelong love of cars and car engines by becoming a top sales agent for two of the largest car dealerships in Pensacola.  After his first day on the job with one of those companies, his supervisor was so impressed with Dick’s extensive knowledge of all-things cars, that he dispensed with the mandatory two-week training   program.   The combination of his expertise and genuinely  engaging personality resulted in a second successful career.

Dick was also very active in the Pensacola chapter of the Naval Weather Service Association, often volunteering his time to work behind the scenes supporting the yearly Naval Weather Service Reunions . For instance, he contacted Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office with a special request and the governor responded by  writing a lengthy welcome-to-Florida letter which was included in every attendees packet when the annual reunion was held in Pensacola.

Dick made Master Chief while serving aboard the USS Enterprise.  At his transfer from the ship, the Commanding Officer presented him with a large American flag.  Once, while visiting Dick during his hospitalization, he became quite emotional when telling me about how much that flag meant to him.  He also added that if he did not survive his treatment, he wanted to be buried in his dress blues. That wish was granted.

As his casket was transported from the hearse to the ceremonial stage at Barrancas National Cemetery, the walkway was posted by the Patriot Guard holding the American flag and flags representing the various branches of the armed forces.  His casket was covered by the flag presented to him onboard the Enterprise.  Following the playing of taps and a volley, that very special flag was ceremoniously and flawlessly folded by a detail of two very sharp AB3’s.  The flag was then formally presented to Elizabeth.  Dick would have been proud of the ceremony and the military precision with which it was conducted.  Appropriate honors for a true American patriot and warrior.

Submitted by LCDR Dennis Maljevac, USN, RET

Harriett Sokol
March 3, 1926 to June 16, 2018
Wife of CAPT David Sokol, USN RET

It's with great sorrow that I inform you of the passing of my wife, Harriett Sokol, the 16th of June in Leesburg hospital. She had been suffering for many years from congenital heart disease and recently from kidney problems. She was born on the third of March 1926. Survived by her husband, CAPT David Sokol, daughter Leslie Rebhorn, son Clifford Sokol and four grandchildren. She will be interred in Arlington National   Military Cemetery when space becomes available (approx 3 mos) at which time a ceremony is planned at graveside.

CDR Michael D. Johnson, USN RET

April 6, 1948 to April 11, 2017

Michael DeWayne Johnson was born April 6, 1948 in Denison Texas to Marland Johnson and Bonnie Adamson Johnson. Michael grew up in the Southern California coastal community of Santa Paula, California and moved to the Cleveland area and attended Cleveland High School his senior year, graduating with the class of 1966. Following graduation, he enlisted in the US Navy becoming a Navy weatherman.

In 1970 he married Cynthia Wilkinson of Saugus, California. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Laverne in California in 1973, he attended Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island and was commissioned an Ensign in the United Navy Supply Corps in 1974. He had a myriad of different assignments, serving on nuclear submarines, amphibious assault ships during the Vietnam War and aircraft carriers in peacetime, and a number of shore stations overseas and stateside. He retired in 1992 after 26 years’ service following his last assignment as Chief of Staff for Logistics with the Navy Seals. Along the way he earned a Master’s Degree from USC in 1980, attended the National University School of Law 1980 to 1981 and completed a PHD curriculum in business management at the United States International University at San Diego in 1985. He retired with the rank of Commander, SC, US Navy in 1992, Michael was awarded numerous medals, decorations and citations.

Following retirement Michael and Cynthia and family settled in Meeker, Oklahoma. He was employed with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, operated a local diner and ran cattle on their 80 acres ranch. Michael closely followed the San Diego Chargers, politics, and was considered a new junkie by his grandchildren. Cynthia passed away in August 2009. During the final years of Cynthia’s life, Michael dedicated his life to her care as she was battling cancer and was by her side most of that time.
In July of 2010 Michael married Cleveland High School classmate Karen (Raborn) Bradley. The couple resided near Keystone Lake together and took trips to California together twice a year. Michael was described by his family as a kind and funny husband, father and grandfather who was extremely intelligent and patriotic.

Michael is survived by his wife, Karen Johnson of the home, and children, Michelle (Johnson) Fox of Meeker, Oklahoma, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Johnson Jr., USCG, Homestead, Florida, Jennifer (Johnson) Cannon of Okeene, OK, Melissa Johnson of Mustang, OK, and Staff Sargent Jacquelyn (Johnson) Yenser, USAF, now serving in Guam, numerous grandchildren and several great grandchildren, and two brothers, Steve Johnson of Sand Springs, OK and James Johnson of Broken Bow, OK. He was preceded by his parents, Marland and Bonnie Johnson, sister Christy Stevens, grandchildren Briana and Brandon, and his first wife Cynthia Johnson.

Funeral services were held on April 18, 2017 at the Chapel of the Chapman-Black Funeral Home, Cleveland, OK. Commander Johnson has been interred and rendered full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Submitted by Mel Bourn via Jim Maxwell

Mary Florence Snopkowski
August 29, 1924 to April 8, 2018
Widow of CAPT Edward L. "Ski" Snopkowski

Mary Florence Snopkowski, 93, a longtime resident of Monterey County, died peacefully on Sunday, April 8, 2018 surrounded by her loving family. She was preceded in death by her husband, Captain Edward L. “Ski” Snopkowski, USN.

Mary is survived by her six children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mary lived a life filled with beauty and grace; she will be deeply missed by all. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Mary and Ski's two favorite charities: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Covenant House.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to her many caregivers and Hospice who provided her with great comfort in her last months. For more information:

AGC Karl Loeper, USN RET
Passed March 29, 2018 at Age 75

Karl Loeper was the calm during the storm. As an in-flight meteorologist for the Navy’s “Hurricane Hunter” squadron, he kept his cool when colleagues needed help navigating perilous conditions.

And when Loeper came to The Villages 12 years ago as the voice of AM-640 WVLG’s weather forecasts, he put weather-weary listeners at ease through the worst of Florida weather. “He had a great way of assuring people, because of his knowledge, that everything will be OK,” said WVLG station manager Kathleen Kane.

Loeper died Thursday morning at The Villages Hospice House months after suffering a stroke. He was 75.

"Very unhappy news to hear about Karl’s passing,” said WVLG senior forecaster Dave Towle, of the Village of La Belle. “He was a wonderful, wonderful person.” Since his WVLG debut in 2005, Loeper, of the Village of Belvedere, left his mark on anything and everything having to do with weather in The Villages.

Beyond forecasting, he also formed a team of volunteer weather spotters who use equipment such as rain gauges, digital lightning detectors and weather stations to identify weather phenomena.  He used the data from those observations in daily forecasts and monthly and yearly climatology outlooks.

Flying through the storm Loeper’s meteorology career began with his 20 years service in the U.S. Navy, which included five years with its weather reconnaissance aircraft squadron known as the Hurricane Hunters. Until the Navy decommissioned the Hurricane Hunters in 1975, Loeper flew through storms to obtain data and information about them.  “He was telling us where to go in the storm, so we had to trust him and like him,” said Gary Polletta, of Jacksonville, who served with Loeper in the Navy’s Airborne Early Warning Squadron Four. “We ended up loving him.”

Loeper said he flew into 15 hurricanes. “You can’t see your way in or out,” Loeper said in 2015 about the experiences. “You can feel the rain beating on the side of the plane. It would rain so hard, sometimes the rush would cause the engine to shut down. When you hit the hurricane, the captain will say, ‘Commence penetration!’ They don’t even know it’s going to happen. They see it, then boom!”

Loeper remained close with fellow veterans on his squadron and attended annual Hurricane Hunter reunions. At a 2009 reunion, Loeper encouraged fellow Hurricane Hunters to donate to Operation Shoebox, the Belleview-based nonprofit group whose volunteers pack and ship care packages for troops overseas. The group gave $1,000 to Operation Shoebox, one of Loeper’s favorite causes. He spent most Monday afternoons volunteering with the nonprofit. “He was a wonderful volunteer,” Operation Shoebox founder and president Mary Harper said. “He worked so hard for the troops. He’s a tremendous loss.”

Paul Tilson, of Viera, another Hurricane Hunter, remembered him through the years as a good leader who had a sense of humor that included making up funny sounding interjections. “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “You banter back and forth on the way to a storm or on the ground.”  Tilson was looking forward to a mini-reunion with Loeper and others in a core group of Hurricane Hunters that stayed close with each other. They planned to do something in Central Florida so they could be close to him.  “Instead,” he said, “we’re going to a funeral.”

A community weather asset Loeper — who held the title of staff meteorologist with the radio station — kept residents informed about weather phenomena in the community that impacted their lives. He was there for routine seasonal events like heat and cold spells, and he was there for destructive storms like the Groundhog Day tornado in 2007 and Hurricane Irma last year. “He would get up at 3:30 a.m. to get the most up to date information on the weather, be on the air from 6 to 10 a.m., and then he’d call again in the afternoon,” Kane said. “Especially with the past hurricane. He and I were together that day in the studio. He was reporting exactly what was happening.”

Loeper’s work might not have been possible without the army of volunteer weather spotters he volunteered, now more than 70 Villagers strong. And he made sure his spotters were appreciated, said Joe McElwee, one of the first residents to get involved.  “Karl worked hard trying to recognize the people involved in this volunteer activity, showcasing them on the radio and recognizing their birthdays on the radio,” said McElwee, of the Village of Glenbrook.

Following the Groundhog Day tornado, Loeper and McElwee worked together to improve the reception of the National Weather Service’s Sumter County transmitter in Sumterville.  They became close friends through working together. “Karl was a highly experienced and knowledgeable professional in his field, and we were extremely fortunate to have his talents in The Villages,” McElwee said. 

He also made countless appearances as a guest speaker at various club and neighborhood group meetings in The Villages, where he spoke about severe weather in Florida. This outreach proved valuable for educating the public on why preparing for severe weather events is important, said Dan Noah, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. Noah worked alongside Loeper for four years at the weather service. Loeper also helped Noah get involved in his own outreach to Villagers. They both appeared regularly at The Villages’ annual Hurricane Expo, which presents information on preparing for hurricanes and other severe weather events. “Once you leave the National Weather Service, you don’t stop loving weather,” Noah said. “And Karl loved weather.”

Saying farewell – “Funeral arrangements will be made after Easter,” said Patty Loeper, Karl’s wife.  A funeral mass will be Monday, April 9, 2018 at 10 a.m. at St. Mark The Evangelist Catholic Church.  Inurnment will be at Florida National Cemetery with honors presented by the US Navy.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages people to give memorial donations to Operation Shoebox in his memory.  Donations can be mailed to: Operation Shoebox, 8360 East Highway 25, Belleview, Florida, 34420.

From March 26, 2018 Staff Report

Patricia A. Forsberg
March 21, 1929 - January 7, 2018
(Wife of LCDR Robert C. "Bob" Forsberg, USN Ret)

Pat was born in Sioux City, Iowa where she lived until her marriage to AG3 Bob Forsberg in January 1948. During 22 1/2 of their 70 years of marriage she was a supportive Navy wife. Pat spent three tours overseas with Bob, once in Kodiak, Alaska and two on Guam, M.I. On the second time on Guam she volunteered as a Gray Lady for a year at the then new Naval Hospital. During Bob's first tour at PMR, Pt. Mugu, CA Pat took a job as school secretary at an elementary school in Port Hueneme, retiring in 1986 after 25 years of service. 

She is survived by her husband, two sons, Richard and William, and a sister, Mrs. Barbara Jensen of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Arrangements under the direction of Funeraria del Angel Oxnard, Oxnard, CA.

CDR Arnold William "Bill" Pruitt, Jr., USN RET
February 26, 1926 to February 3, 2018

Arnold Pruitt passed away on February 03, 2018. Funeral Home Services for Arnold are being provided by NC of Milton, FL.

CWO4 Carl W. Matthews, USN RET
January 12, 1921 to March 18, 2018

Virginia Beach - Carl W. Matthews, CWO-4 USN, Ret., 97, passed away peacefully on March 19, 2018 at his home. He was born on January 12, 1921 to the late William Jess Matthews and Elfrieda Martha Kobsch in Taylorville, IL. His sister, Anna Louise Robison, daughter, Gail M. Garner, and a grandson, Michael A. Matthews Jr., preceded him in death.

Mr. Matthews proudly joined the U.S. Navy in 1939 retiring in 1970 after 30 years of service. He was a true family man who was always there for his wife and children, encouraging respect and ensuring a sense of security and stability as part of a large, loving family.

He is survived by his loyal and loving wife of 74 years, Frances Lorraine "Rainey", three daughters, Patricia Strong and husband Roger of Berlin NJ, Linda Beisch and husband William of Virginia Beach VA, and Doris Locke and husband Joseph of Jacksonville FL; three sons, Carl Matthews, Jr. and wife Gale of Selma NC, Michael Matthews and wife Mary of Virginia Beach VA, and Christopher Matthews and wife Marsha of Chesapeake VA; seventeen grandchildren and thirty-five great-grandchildren.

Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated on March 22, 2018 at St. Gregory's Catholic Church, 5343 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach VA 23462  Following the Mass, a graveside service was held at Rosewood Memorial Park, 631 Witchduck Rd. Virginia Beach, VA,. 

The Altmeyer Funeral Home-Southside Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed by visiting

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church. To make a donation, please visit
Submitted by Frank Muscari via Fay Crossley, HRC Pres.

CDR William E. “Bill” Baldwin, USN RET

April 18, 1929 to July 19, 2017

William E. Baldwin, 88, died July 19, 2017 at his daughter's home in Maryland. Bill was born in Kansas City, MO on April 18, 1929 to Ruth Steenbock Baldwin and Earl Raymond Baldwin. In 2006, he was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Ramona G. Loudermilk.

At age 19, Bill joined the U.S. Navy as a Seaman Recruit, rising through the enlisted and officer ranks to retire as a Commander after 30 years of active service as a meteorologist. He served with the Amphibious Forces during the Korean Conflict. He was stationed all over the U.S. and the world, retiring in Meridian, MS, in 1978.

For a few years, Bill worked at Lowe's and ran his own handyman business before volunteering almost full time with Habitat for Humanity beginning in 1990. For 16 years, he assessed sites, built homes, served as Vice President and President, and took photos for Habitat. He was a Mason, a Shriner, and an active member of Central UMC. He was active in the Retired Officers' Association and The Mac Users Group. In 2007, Bill moved to Maryland. He lived in the Wildewood Senior Village, then at Asbury Solomons, and finally with his daughter and her family. He attended First Saints Community Church, serving as an usher.

Mr. Baldwin is survived by his daughter, Sheila Galanie and her husband James Galanie of California, MD, and their two children, Stephanie Galanie and her husband Ryan Salvador of Palo Alto, CA, and David Galanie of Arlington, VA.

Services were held at First Saints Community Church, Leonardtown, MD, on Saturday, July 22, 2017.

Published in The Enterprise on Aug. 9, 2017



LCDR Robert Ross, USNR RET and wife Mary

Fairport, NY - January 31, 2018. Survived by son, Robert (Teresa) Ross; daughter, Jennifer Pearl; grandchildren, Haden, Parker, Nicolas, Cameron, Brady and Nicholas.
A Funeral Service will be held at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Lollypop Farm. For further information, please visit:
Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle from Feb. 21 to Feb. 22, 2018.

I first met Bob when I was OIC at NWSED South Weymouth. He was an AGC with a drilling reserve weather unit which drilled at the det one weekend a month. He was very professional and an exceptional leader. He applied for the LDO program and I wrote the endorsement letter for his (successful) application. We kept in touch over the years and after we had both retired, Bob, Mary, Helen and I would get together and keep our friendship alive. The four of us were to get together again this month. However, this past December, Bob was diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 brain cancer and given a short time to live. For a while no one could contact he and Mary and no one knew

where they were. The police issued a missing persons report and enacted a diligent air and surface search. Bob and Mary’s bodies were found by divers in their SUV at the bottom of a local river, 80 feet downstream from a boat launch. His extended family and yours truly were devastated by the news. I’m a better man for having known Bob.

Keep your friends close.

Submitted by LCDR Dennis Maljevac, USN RET

AG1 Verne L. Ballard, USN RET

March 28, 1940 to August 18, 2012

Verne was born March 28, 1940 in Auburn, Washington and called by his Lord on Saturday, August 18, 2012.

His love for the weather was electrifying. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and continued his career at the National Weather Service until his retirement.

He loved and treasured his time with his family. He was a great and loving husband to Carmelita; a very wonderful and spoiling father to Christian and Veronica; a caring brother to Marion Jr., Beatrice, John and Jan, and an amazing friend. He left so many memories that touched our hearts.  

He was preceded in death by his father, Marion Sr.; mother, Mildred; stepfather, Lloyd; and brother, John.

A Mass of Christian Burial took place on August 24, 2012, at St. Paschal's Catholic Church, 2523 N. Park Road, Spokane, WA. Inurnment with Military Honors followed at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, WA.

Submitted by AG1 Alan D. Baker, USNR RET

Jeannine A. Fastow 
Passed October 22, 2017 at Age 75
 Wife of AGCS Mike Fastow, USN RET

FASTOW (Spornhauer), Jeannine A. Age 75, of Wimberley, passed away Oct. 22, 2017. Service pending. Thomason Funeral Home, Wimberley, TX.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Oct. 25, 2017
Submitted by Jim Maxwell, Lone Star Sec/Treas.

AG1 Wesley I. Perry, USN RET

May 30, 1933 to January 15, 2018

The social butterfly we all knew and loved, took his final flight on Monday, January 15, 2018. Wesley I. Perry grew from the Great Depression, born May 30, 1933 to Percy "Pete" and Margaret Perry, in Spencer, NY.

His life revolved around people - from his job with the Pennsylvania Job Center as an Employer Relationship Representative, helping employers, potential employees and disadvantaged youth, to being active in the Penn York Bowling League and member of the New York State Bowling Hall of Fame, Valley golfing leagues, recreational softball leagues (coaching and playing), Boy Scouts, and many more while living in Florida; to helping and giving back to people - as a member and Commander of both the VFW Skiff Bower Post 1536 and local American Legion, and member of the Catholic War Vets, Sons of Italy and Fleet Reservist Association; to serving people and his country - retiring after 23-years in the US Navy, E6 Meteorologist; to being a father of five daughters and innumerable "adopted" children.

Every father wishes for sons. Wes Perry did one better. He taught his daughters to be strong, independent, athletic and frugal and often presented them with challenges to improve themselves socially, economically and civically.

The oldest of 13 siblings, Wes was predeceased by his parents, Percy and Margaret Perry, and brothers, Norman, Gerald, Robert and Charles Perry. He is survived by brothers, Richard (Cynthia), William (Gayle), Clifford, and John and sisters, Betty (Skip) Searfoss, Bea Hyatt, Jean (Gary) Rockwell, and Cheryl Zorn. Wes is survived by his wife of 47-years, Diane (Bydairk) and daughters Patricia Emi (Willard) Oshiro, Tina (Ken) Acla, Shannon (James) Moore, Clara (Doug) Cherry, and Karliane Perry, nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren and nieces, nephews and cousins too many to count.

There will be a celebration of life at the convenience of the family

Submitted by Karliane Perry via AGC Larry Field, USN RET

LCDR Morris L. "Morry" Summey, USN RET
3 November 1928 to 6 January 2018

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Morris “Morry” Latham Summey, 89, of San Diego, California, died 6 January 2018. He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Joan, and survived by daughters Martha S. Locke of Vallejo, CA and Marilyn S. Roberts of Herndon, VA, seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

An only child, Morry was born 3 November 1928 in North Carolina to the late June H. and Mary C. Summey.  At the age of 17, he began his 30 year career in the US Navy as a seaman.  He retired June 1975 as a LCDR having served the majority of his career as a meteorologist. Duty stations included NAS Miramar, three tours on Guam, the USS Hornet, NAS Brunswick, Amphibious Group Three and a final tour at NAS North Island.  When stationed at Miramar he met his future wife, Joan, while on a group date and within the year the two found themselves on 14 April 1950 married. Hand in hand they moved from duty station to duty station building long lasting memories and friendships along the way.  Upon retirement, he completed his education earning his Bachelor of Science in Accounting at San Diego State University.

Morry, an avid reader, also enjoyed cross word puzzles, golfing, cooking, spending time with his family, and cheering on the Padres with his wife, Joan. He especially looked forward to his annual Father/Daughter road trips to the Naval Weather Service Association (NWSA) reunions. Over the years he was active in the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Elks, and served in a variety of roles in the NWSA and Southern California NWSA Chapter. Most recently he served as the secretary/treasurer for the chapter.

As they passed through this life, a running thread throughout Morry and Joan’s story was dedicated service to family, to country, and to others they would come upon along the way.

There was a graveside ceremony on January 13th at El Camino Memorial-Sorrento Valley, 5600 Carroll Canyon Rd., San Diego, CA 92121.  They requested, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to one of the following: American Heart Association, Diabetes Association or Navy Memorial 
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