| Scottye Hedstrom '70
Submitted by Pat Sullivan
Feb 8, 2003
BURBANK, CALIF. - P. Scottye Hedstrom died on Friday, July 19, 2002, at her
home in Burbank, Calif.
She was born in Newport News, Va., the daughter of Robert and Peggy Hedstrom of Sumter, S.C. She attended Wagner High School at Clark Airforce Base in the Philippines before graduating from Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Ala. Scottye went on to graduate from the College of William and
Mary in 1974, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. Upon receiving a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, she moved to South Carolina to work as a newscaster for WSCQ in Cayce. In 1979, Scottye received a law degree from the University of Virginia, where she was editor of the Law Review. Later that year she moved to Los Angeles, California, and began working in entertainment law. During her time there Scottye worked for New World Television on the soap opera "Santa Barbara," the USA Network, and Walt Disney Television. While with Disney, she served as the vice-president for network business affairs working on the popular sitcoms "Ellen" and "Home Improvement." Recently, she acted as a consultant for the studio production firm of Stasson & Associates, LLC. Stephanie Beemon of Stasson and Associates had words of praise, "Scottye was an
attorney's attorney, other attorney's looked to her for the final word in our business." Scottye was an avid reader, traveler, and enjoyed SCUBA diving, which had taken her all over the world to such places as Micronesia, Australia and South America. She was also was interested in soap opera writing and liked to attend Broadway Theater in New York.
Survivors in addition to her parents are: one sister, Penny McIntyre and one
brother, Robbe Hedstrom.
| Caryl Ann Gaffey '70
Memories from Steve Stroble '70
Caryl Gaffey was a free spirit. Once during class she spoke of how our generation had to be out doing something, even if it meant just getting your parents' car and driving around the base. She had a quiet way of leaving an impression on the ones she met.
| Mark Preston Gill '70
Memories from Nan Veurink '72
I just received word from Chip Horvath (70) that Mark Gill (70) passed away last week. He had been battling cancer for some time, but he managed to get to the Austin reunion last July. In his last email to me he said, "It still seems like a dream that we all got together in Austin". He loved his Wagner family. Thanks to all of you who made that experience possible for him. Mark was a tremendous person and he leaves a hole in the lives of those who loved him. Please remember his wife, Debbie, and their two sons in your prayers. I know Mark would appreciate that. Thanks.
Nan Veurink (72) <Pt5ft@aol.com>
Memories from Steve Stroble '70
During 1969, the two Explorer troops at Clark attended the jungle survival school together at Subic. I didn't know Mark at all but I found out his way of making a moment memorable. We were all sitting around the first night in the jungle at Subic when with no warning, Mark burst out with, "Now
somewhere in the backwoods of Dakota lived a young boy named Rocky..." As if on cue, almost everyone else came in on "....Rocky Raccoon walked into the room...." Only Mark could take a Beatles song and use it to pump some life into a dull situation.
| Lavardslyn "Vossie" Latimer '70
Memories from Lenard Latimer Jr.
"Vossie" as her friends called her; was an outgoing, and loving, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Her fondest memories were of Wagner and the times we lived, and loved in the Phillippines. After graduation in 1970 she returned to CONUS and entered the US NAVY. Upon completion of her military service she attended and graduated for NC Central University in 1981; with a B.A. in accounting. On June 29, 1986; after a brief illness, the Lord called her home. Lavardslyn had often mused what had happened to all her friends from Clark. This website would have given her a great deal of joy; as it has me.
To Lavardslyn Latimer Pickett
Finally among friends...
Your Loving Brother: Lenard Latimer, Jr.
| Edwin "Ed" Mallo '70
Wrestling (two-time champion)
Memories from Vincent Slupecki '70
USAFA Class of '75. Silver Star. An Air Force Academy graduate whose love of flying and distinguished valor saved his F-4G from total destruction only to have a crippling motorcycle accident destroy his will to live. He was a true warrior and good friend. Farewell Capt Ed Mallo.
| Scott Taylor '70
Memories from Marjorie Taylor Johnson '69
Submitted on July 23, 2009
Scott Edward Taylor died in March of 1984 of Leukemia at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the bravest man I ever saw as he faced the rigors of chemotherapy and radiation, which failed in the end to save his life. We lived in Pennsylvania, Texas, Morocco, Massachusetts, Guam, Mississippi, Nebraska, and of course, the Philippines. Scott had some problems when he was little, being slow to talk and walk. He also had a lazy eye, which was operated on twice when he was little. He completely overcame his disabilities, even becoming an athlete in high school. He really loved cross country. He was the only sophomore to letter in that sport when he was at Wagner. He really enjoyed the time we spent at Clark which was from February of 67- June of 68. We lived in one of those great old houses right on the Parade Ground and just two houses from the O’ Club. He graduated from Bellevue High School at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska in 1970. He moved to Douglasville, Georgia in 1970 when my father retired from the Air Force. He worked for several summers at Six Flags over Georgia. He wowed visitors to the park with his great “Kennedy” accent on the intercom of the trams that take visitors to the front gate. He later earned his CPA and worked for several years for Atlanta News in Atlanta. He was funny and generous to a fault. He always had a lot of friends. He was the best brother ever!
By his big Sis,
Marjorie Taylor Johnson ‘69
| Mike Garrison '71
Memories from Mark Parker '71
Mike Garrison and I were roommates at Ohio State our first year there. That year the lottery for the draft was still on and Mike's birthday, March 6 was drawn #1. Mike enlisted in the US Air Force and was stationed after basic training to Kirtland AFB, NM. He played baseball for Wagner. He had a problem with an arm that he couldn't completely straighten and decided to have it fixed. He died due a post operative complication. It was great fun living with him that first year in college. I miss him.
| Corinne "Corry" Louise Minori '71
Memories from Corry's husband; Eric L. Sick (Rick) USAF, Clark AB 70-71
Corry often thought of the times at Clark and we would reminisce about the good times we had there at the pool, Bamboo Bowl, bowling alley, football games and the 7.3 earthquake in 70. Her family had lived in the Dau housing at first and later moved into the new housing out toward the satellite terminal not far from Wagner HS. When I met Corry, her mother was at wits end because it seems she had a habit of cutting classes. Not long after we met she stopped playing hooky, of course I took credit for that, and her mother took a liking to me. Corry was the kindest person I think I will ever encounter, always pleasant and upbeat even when things weren't going well. She always saw the good in people. We were married in June of 71 at Offutt AFB, NE. for 30 years, had two children, and we saw the world together. Cancer took her from us the 16th of October 2001. She was cheerful to the end although she had reason not to be, but that just wasn't Corry's way. It has been a little more than a year now and we miss her dearly. The world was a better place with her in it and now heaven truly has another angel. Those of us left will suffer from her loss but one day we will be together again. I know her Wagner classmates and friends would remember her because she just wasn't someone you could forget.
| Fred "Fritz" Paulhamus '71
Memories from Debbie Cox Crowley '71
"Fritz" as we called him was my then Fiancé Rick Perkins '71 best friend. I discovered his passing when trying to find him to have him call Rick for his birthday as a surprise. We had wondered what ever became of him when we (Rick and I) talked for the first time after 28 years. Rick has fond memories of Fritz as probably the closest friend he had our junior year in the PI. I hope to get him to submit some memories as well. He left behind 3 sons. His father told me that Fritz had told him that the years spent at WHS were some of the happiest years of his life. His father said Fritz passed away suddenly in February 1998 from an aneurysm of the brain, so hopefully he didn't suffer. I'm sure all classmates will be saddened at news of his passing and, hopefully, make all of us realize how mortal we really are and how much we need to enjoy everyday as if it were our last. Let's all remember the good times with Fritz and may he rest in peace.
| Mike Winter '71
Memories from Bob Winter '71
Submitted on 4/10/00
I would like to say a few words about my brother Mike. We spent a lot of time together. We were constantly thrust together, whether we wanted to be or not, for 18 years. In that time, we were the best of friends and worst of enemies. We warmed each other up for baseball, football, basketball and
any other sports activities we shared. Mike truly loved all sports. The doctors said that if he remained active enough, his asthma could be held in check. So the doctor ordered him to do what he loved.
Mike was born in San Antonio, Texas. At 2 months of age, we transferred out of there, never to return. When we were in Morocco, Mike and the gardener would spend hours together outside. The gardener spoke no English, and none of us spoke Moroccan.
In England, Mike was in first and second grade the same year. We went through school in the same grade until we graduated. Mike didn't take the move to Montana in the middle of our senior year well, so he hitchhiked back to Kansas to graduate with the football team he started the year with.
At the time of his death, Mike worked in air conditioning-he figured it might be a worthwhile business to be in here in Phoenix, Arizona. Mike had turned 22 a couple weeks before he died. He drowned in the Salt River just outside Phoenix.
Our parents and the 6 of us brothers and sisters still miss him greatly. It is too hard to put into words all the things he meant to us. We remember him with love. And when I visit his grave, I always leave a few empty Coors cans in tradition (not so good taste in beer, but how do I tell him that now).
We were at Clark from 66-68. Mike and I were class of 71. Mike was very active in baseball, usually playing catcher or short stop or second base. And occasionally pitching. He played ping-pong at the teen club. He was excellent in math. We were both on the jv volleyball team, although we seemed to keep the bench real warm.
Rest in peace, little brother.
| Cheryl Abbott '73
Memories from Renny Cui
Submitted on 11/9/2004
I remember the first time I met Cheryl. With her pretty smiles and smirks. we all warmed up to her when
she first said hello. As months went by I grew very fond of her. Those smiles and laughter I remember, like walking and running in the rain with no care in the world. Sometimes just sitting and looking at each others face, and smile and say I'm glad your my friend. But those days are gone. The songs we use to listen to I still hear. I still see her with tears in her eyes listening to the song Heart of gold by Neil Young and you've gota friend by James Taylor . She would talk about when we get old, will we ever keep in touch. And of course I would always say- yes we will. no matter what happens .I'll keep in touch..
It would of been nice to have seen her at one of the reunions. But for now, I think of those wonderful times we had when we were young. Those wonder years we'll never forget
And I'll never forget my dear friend.
| Mark Williamson '72
Submitted on October 17, 2007
Williamson, Mark K.
Off Point Loma near North Island, California, September 3, 1986.
His F-14 crashed in the ocean because of a malfunction . Though he was able to get himself and the other pilot out, Mark did not survive the ejection.
| Yvonne Marshall '73
Submitted by Romoma Burton '72
July 8, 2003
Yvonne Marshall (Redwine) died June 19, 2003, quietly in her sleep. She graduate from Wagner High School in 1973. She was a wonderful person, and I will remember her easy smile, and great hugs. She spent only a year a Wagner, yet I will remember her forever.
| Whit Mitchem '73
Memories from Gil Settle '73
Submitted on 5/21/2007
I remember "Whit" Mitchum as a friend, classmate, and always with a smile. Boy did we have fun at track practice, track meets, and hanging around the Bamboo Bowl, the tennis courts,and the Gym with Jacques Grant, my brother Andy, and always getting popcorn right outside of the gym. I don't know what it was, but it was the best popcorn.
Both he and his brother Robert, were always there for the good times at Clark. Whit was one of a kind and even though after I left the P.I. he was always in my heart. I will surely miss him..
For all who knew him, and know the good times that we all had at Clark, keep the memories. When we are filled with despair, this prayer will help.
All Embracing Love,
Your circle of strength is around me.
I ask for the grace to yield to the reality of this loss,
I pray to surrender to what cannot be changed.
I beg for deliverance from the emotional drain,
and the unending sadness that this loss has brought me.
Let peace return.
Let hope begin.
Let comfort be mine..
Rest in peace my Brother, our fun memories will not be forgotten.
Memories from Jacques Grant '73
Submitted on September 6, 2007
I remember Whit, so vividly, huge fro, big smile...trying to tell everybody about Jesus....if you ever saw Whit and Marty Gaines coming at you, you know...you were about to get the "Word of God!" Whit was always laughing, having fun....we were the Mod Squad! Whit was Link, I was Pete, and Julie was LeeAnne. We were cool. Whit and I used to set up shop and "preach" the Word of God. We would throw tracks into open windows of cars as they drove by. Whit was there when I went out with Debbie Green.
He was right there with me when I broke up with her, yelling at me, what as fool I was! He later married her and had a few children with her....Whit was there as the moral compass in my life...encouraging me on the track field, helping me with my various romantic interludes in my life, and being the Christ in an otherwise Christless life. My sister Cherie and he were great friends as was Johnny Ascertion. Even later in life Whit and Debbie came to visit me in Austin, Texas where I lived. I took them to some of the blues clubs in town and we saw some of the greats. Debbie and Whit got married, then Whit came to Austin to marry Me and my wife Elaine....surreal, how life seems to go around and around.....The last time I saw Whit, him and Debbie had split up. he moved out to the west coast to hang with Johnny A, Vince and Tony Freese. He passed way to early, in fact it seems like yesterday when we were riding around on tricycles having a big time race....I miss Whit. A peace of innocence gone, His laugh, and Joy, and Peace, and Love for God, gone like the wind.....on a stupid motorcycle.....in a split second.....goodbye, my friend, my compadre..be at peace.
Class of 73
| Gregory Montilla '73
Dedication from Isabel Montilla '77
Constantine P. Cavafy
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon-dont'be afraid of them:
you'll never find the things like that on your way
as long as you keep thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony.
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
| Glen Runkle '73
Memories from John Driscoll '73
Submitted on 2/2/00
Classmate, and very good friend, Glen Runkle ;junior cl. 71-72 yr. deceased many yrs. ago.
| Philip Slupecki '73
Memories from Bernard McGuinness '73
Submitted on November 14, 2009
I would like to place a memoriam note for Philip Slupecki Class of 1973. I knew Philip.He was my classmate @ Wagner and a good friend.Philip lived on Dona Carmen St. in Mt. View subdivision,Angeles City.@ times the school bus I would be riding would pick him up.We knew each other.I was his team mate in volley ball.He played greatI also played basketball for his team off base Gomez Motors.His Aunty owned the shop off Macarthur highway.I still remember we would rip off the Gomez pick up truck from his aunty's shop so we could play basketball (all for fun).Load up the pick up truck w/ workers to play ball.I still remember Philip and I eating @ a restaurant called Spic and Span owned by one of Philip's relatives after playing a hard game.Imagine too he became a Security Policemen USAF and I was a USAF Security Policemen too.I learned of his passing from one(1) of my classmates.He too was a former Security Policemen USAF and both of them were sta. in the Phil.I was saddened by his passing.He was a good man.Philip would come to my house and I remember even playing spit walds w/him and he would do this funny karate stance pretending he knew karate.Well this is what I dedicate to him.It's from the book of Isaiah 54:10. The Lord says,"The mountains may disappear,and the hills may become dust.But my kindness will never leave you.I will make peace with you, and it will never end."The lord shows mercy to you.And he is the one that said these things.Praise the lord alleluia. I know there will be a former falcon and USAF veteran in heaven.
Bernard McGuinness class of 73
Memories from Carla Curfman 'friend
Submitted on Febuary 11, 2010
March 31, 1955 - July 26, 2008
Phillip John Slupecki, 53, of Tampa, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on July 25th, 2008. He proudly served his country in the United States Air Force from 1973 to 1993 and was presently employed by TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. He was predeceased by his parents, Hermelinda and Walter Slupecki. Phillip is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Brenda; daughters, Patricia (Joseph) Rosenwasser and Catherine Slupecki; granddaughter Mikayla Rosenwasser; sisters, Barbara (Craig) Brittian, Elizabeth (Ransom) Moore; and brothers Vincent (Hadejch), Michael (Jeda), Patrick and Mark Slupecki. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to One Breath At A Time-a charity that benefits lung transplant candidates and their families in the Tampa Bay area www.onebreathatatime.net
You might want to add about Phil. I went to school with Phil in the Philippines yrs ago and our paths did across again yrs later at Eglin AFB FL.
I went to Wagner HS but never graduated from there.
Memories from VJ Slupecki '70
Submitted on June 26, 2010
"My younger brother, Phillip passed in July 2008 after an unsuccessful double
lung transplant. He never regained consciousness as time stool still for nearly a
month. It was a very sad time.
He and I were not close when we were young. I terrorized him until he entered
Wagner. He was the middle child and didn't fit in with the older or younger
siblings. He loved his times as a Falcon and with our Gomez family in the Philippines.
My Mother had a special spot for him. I got the #1 Son label, but maybe not the favorite.
When he joined the USAF and visited me at MSU, When we shared an apartment
in Tampa.and met his Brenda. When I visited him at Wallace Air Station. When
Dad and Mom passed and when he retired in Tampa while I was a single dad of
2 boys. When he was their Godfather.
We were lucky to spent some quality times together over our adult years.
I love and miss, Phillip, my younger "big" brother and best friend.
| Teresa Watson Cundriff '73
Submitted on 12/4/2001 by John Cundiff (husband).
Taken from Teresa's classmate.com bio per her husband's request. Teri died in a MVA 8:30 am 10-5-01. John Currently living in Hillsboro, Oregon (a suburb of Portland). I work in downtown Portland for the largest regional CPA firm in the Northwest. I have recently been promoted to Internal Accounting manager, and I have been with the firm for almost 7 years. I have two grown boys, Troy and Brian. Almost 3 years ago, I re-married. My husband's name is John, and he is a Pastor and a Public Safety Chaplain for the Hillsboro Police & Fire Departments. I have three grandchildren already: MacKenzie is 3 1/2, and we have twins, Brenden and Trina who are 1 year 2 months.
| David Ximenes '73
Memories from Sammy Ximenes '70
David enjoyed life to it's fullest. He was a lover and was loved by many. He use to raise roosters up on the hill where we lived on Clark. Needless to say, all the brass up there quickly became a bit discontent with the non-regulation wake-up calls they were getting. After the Philippines he went on to earn a B.A. in art and painting from Sam Houston State University, and subsequently attended the Collegio de Arte in Mazatlan, Mexico. It was however, his willingness to help people which led him to attend law school in
California. He practiced in Los Angeles as a tireless legal advocate, giving others the chance to live a meaningful life through his work in securing Social Security benefits for the less fortunate.
David leaves a legacy of exciting and eventful memories of his love for art, his music and his
capacity for touching people's lives.
| Lynnette Barnes Madgwich '74
Memories from Steve Barnes ' 75
Please add Lynnette Ann Barnes (Madgwick) to your 1970's memoriam list. She was class of '74 (originally) and also then '75.
She died November 2, 1999 from a sudden, massive heart-attack. She went quickly and hopefully without much pain. God was probably being kind to her because she was battling breast cancer (since '95) which had spread to her liver and bones.
Lynn was probably best remembered for her sweetness and generally outgoing nature. Cindy Duke ('77) helped Lynn through most of her struggle (Lubbock, TX). Lynn is survived by her husband of 22 years - Charlie Madgwick, and her son - Chris Madgwick (born Mar '83).
| Laura Smith Cunningham '74
Memories from LeeAnn Smith Spence '75
Submitted on 2/01/01
How do you put into a few words, the volumes of memories you have for someone as special as Laura? So many of us could go on for hours remembering her, and thanking her for the ways she blessed our lives. She was taken from us on October 25, 1987, in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver. She was only 31.
She had told me just two months earlier, on her 31st Birthday, that she probably wouldn't live to be 32. She kept telling me she didn't want her funeral to be a sad occasion, but one that was up-lifting, and that
remembered the good times, and the joy of life. She didn't want the Traditional Funeral songs either. She wanted some of her favorite songs played, that depicted what Laura sensed as Spiritually meaningful throughout her life. Some of the songs played were; Kind Woman (Buffalo Springfield), Lay Down(Melanie), Simple Man (Graham Nash), Crystal Blue Persuasion (Tommy James), Tell Me Why (Neil Young), and Ball of Fire (Tommy James). Also played was her favorite song, which also described who she was...Heart of Gold by Neil Young.
I remember when we used to sit and talk for hours about our time at Clark, and all the fun, crazy things we did (and lived to tell about), and about how much you all meant to us. Even though it is so great finding you guys, it's also bittersweet, in that Laura isn't here to share our Joy. I Love you my sister, and my best friend. We are finally home.
Memories from Belden Granada '75
Submitted on 3/1/01
I remember Laura Smith as one of the most beautiful young ladies I have ever had the privilege and pleasure of knowing. Her outside beauty was stunning; long blond hair with eyes that would capture your attention and would embarass the sun with their brilliance whenever she smiled, which was so very, very often. That same smile had a sparkle, a dazzle to outshine those brilliant Philippine rainbows after a long, hard morning shower.
What I recall most, however, is the beauty inside. Gorgeous enough to be a model, she never snubbed anyone. Laura would talk to you would laugh at you and with you. I cannot recall a mean word that left her lips.
Back then, we were known as the children of Aquarius, the last vestiges of the hippies, the flower children, peace and love...to all your brothers and sisters and to all living things.Many, many times over the years, whenever I thought back to those special days I always thought of Laura Smith and how she could make anyone smile and feel that they were truly special.
I miss your smile, Laura...but I do see your dazzle in each sunrise and sunset...I can almost see your sparkle each time I'm blessed with a Rainbow.
| Maurice Stokes '74
Memories from Vonstephen Stokes '79
Maurice graduated in 1974. His true love in life was music. He could really play a guitar. He played in bands since he was 14. Maurice was also very athletic, in high school he played football and ran track. He was also deeply into martial arts, karate and kung fu. My brother lived life to the fullest, everyday and to the utmost. Leukemia took him away in the prime of life. Life, so precious and yet so short. One thing that could make a difference for future generations, would be if we could find a cure for leukemia and all forms of cancer. In memory of my brother, I would like for all of us who at one time or another, spent time in the Philippines, to make an effort to help find a cure for the scourge of mankind.
Memories from Belden Granada '75
I remember Maurice Stokes as a powerfully-built young man with a very gentle heart, who always wanted to laugh with his friends and just have a good time with life. My strongest images are of him onstage at the Hafa Adai club in Balibago, singing 'Smoke On The Water' with an off-base rock group; of him taking off his shirt and demonstrating some karate moves; of him just smiling, having a good time, and making those around him happy.
Rest In Peace my brother, it broke my heart to hear of your passing; it makes me sad to think we will not meet again in this life.
Memories from Melinda Hawkins Bourne '75
I remember Maurice well. He was so very friendly and outgoing, very personable. Always had a smile, and an extra one to give to others. Since I was at Clark from 70-72, I believe Maurice may have been there in 72. Our family did not return to Clark again until 75. He may have been there then, but I don't recall. I ran into him years later when we were stationed at Malmstrom AFB. As fate would have it, he and my husband....at the time....were both officers for Norad. He had not changed much ....this was early 80's.
It is sad that the next time I hear of him I learn he is no longer amongst us. But, his smile is still fresh in my mind.
| Arnel Emery Zamora '74
Memories from Anthony Zamora (son)
Submitted on 02/24/04
My father was Arnel Zamora C/o 1974. He served in the USAF and was retired in 1998 at the rank of MSgt. He has left seven children, Jarrod, Janel, Rebecca, Anthony, Christopher, Jonathon and Monica
Jarrod and Anthony are now currently serving the USAF.
Although we didnt have time to come to know him well, we all love and miss him. I hope that he may rest in peace with god, and that he looks after not only his children, but his grandchildren as well..
| Sherree Boutwell Bratt '75
Memories from Carrie Boutwell May '76
My sister Sherree Boutwell Bratt '75 died in 1991 after giving birth to her 3rd child. The doctors had no idea why she was in a coma for 5 days. It was real hard on me to go through as she was my only sister. Three months later her 9 year old daughter died on Christmas. Cause unknown. I feel she died from a broken heart after losing her mom. Sherree was a 75 graduate from Wagner. She died Sept 23 of 91.
| Cheryl Cox Peterson '75
Quill and Scroll
Memories from Gary McClellan '75
I didn't get to really know Cheryl until years after Wagner when I encountered her on CompuServe. She was a Sysop for several Forums on CompuServe and an accomplished author in the computer and science fiction worlds. Always fond of a nickname for herself, she was no longer the 'Cher' of Wagner days, she was now 'Chirp'.
| Kevin Seagroves '75
Memories from Julie Pietila (sister)
Submitted on 10/18/2007
Kevin Michael Seagroves of North Ft. Myers, FL, passed away unexpectedly on August 29, 2007. Newt" was 49 years old. He leaves Tammy, his wife of 25 years, his very special & dearly loved son Kevin Jr., daughter Ronda and three grandsons. Mother Honey and siblings Ken, Julie, Jeanelle & Jenny, also survive him. Our father, Col. JC Seagroves, USAF Ret., predeceased him. Kevin's interests were completely family-centered and his influence is evident. Little Kevin and all three grandkids wear crew cuts just like their Poppy. Kevin was a talented craftsman and cabinet maker. He loved to fish and scuba dive. Several years ago he became a Christian and desired to live as a man of faith, tender-hearted, loving others & always ready to lend a hand. He was dearly loved and is fondly remembered by those that knew him.
Kevin attended Wagner HS 1973 – 1975 and his friends there meant a lot to him. Life was carefree for him at Clark, riding around base on the newt mobile, streaking the Bamboo Bowl, island hopping with the guys, and getting into and out of trouble. He had a great time catching up with Jason Roosma, Mark Santacroce, Scott Stewart, Mike & Lisa Dobbs at the Portland 2004 reunion. (Photos are on WHOA website)
| Cathy Morgan Hughes '75
Memories from Jim Cook '75
A very dear friend of mine, Cathy Morgan Hughes, passed away on Jan. 12, 1998. She attended Wagner for only her Junior year. Her death was sudden and unexpected...
Cathy, was a very dear person. Any of you who were at Wagner in '73 - '74 probably won't remember her. She was an average girl but she was full of fun and spirit. I don't remember other than Mike Bertram who she might have dated, we dated a couple of times but found it better to be just best friends. I shall always remember Cathy and hope that you will ...also say a prayer for her.
| Ross Allyn '76
Memories from Belden Granada '75
Submitted on 2/23/2008
I am without words...Ross Allyn '76 was in my PE class. More than that, he made up an original "PARK" junior trio comprised of Rick Johnson, Ross Allyn, and EdLudwick. I used to love to hang out with these guys. I recently found Ed Ludwick living about 30 miles from me for the past 30 plus years.
Ross Allyn had a quick sense of humor. Bright, hip for the days when I knew him - in the early 70s. Always very nice to me. I got to spend maybe less than a year hanging around with these guys before Ed rotated back to the states, then I lost all contact w/Rick and Ross.
I believe Mark Allyn, senior class president, is/was his older brother.
Ross, in my mind you will always be this white guy with a huge afro, who could run JUST as fast as all the black guys in our PE class:-). But, still had enough of an "edge" to be a parkie. God Bless you for the laughter you brought to my young life. May you rest in peace, my brother.
| Michael L. Caldwell '76
Memories from David Caldwell ' 78
Submitted on 11/2/00
Michael L Caldwell '76 - Mike was a quiet guy who liked playing baseball and enjoyed hanging out with his buddies Tom Goodall, Tom Moore, Joe Gray, and Bob Bagley, and later, living in Long Beach, Ca. He really got into running along the beach and scuba diving. Mike took a few years trying to find out what to do after high school, but always enjoyed the things he did while searching. He is survived by his parents, Joe and Lois Caldwell of Lancaster, Ca.,brother Joe '75 of Fremont, Ca., and brother David '78 of Franklin, Ohio. After his passing, his brother Joe and I found this poem in his apartment, it was handwritten but I don't know if he wrote it, he kept it around for obvious reasons. A poem that many could use for motivation.
Tis a great dream
To fly straight as an arrow
To go in the direction you set for yourself
To reflect off of passing obstacles as you soar
Set goals for yourself and accomplish them
For you are the only barrier against yourself
You see something wrong, you correct
No wall is too tough to climb
Be what you want to be, Live life as you will
Give things time if that is what it takes
Just remember the target you have set
| Juan Lee '76
Memories from Karen Jimerson Hasan '76
Juan Lee was a one of the big guys who played football. For a guy his size he had a heart just as big. He was crazy, I remember him as a comedian in his own right. He had a fabulous sense of humor. I also recall him as one who enjoyed having fun and was happy-go-lucky in each of the minutes and situations life offered him. Juan was a kind person.
Memories from Johnny Molock '75
Submitted on January 12,2007
Remembering Juan Lee 76
Before I met Juan Lee people would talk about this guy named Juan Lee and how good he was in karate (Black Belt). Because of his name and karate, I thought Juan was oriental. Juan and I became good fiends. I went to Albuquerque New Mexico in June 1977 to visit with him and his family. I really was surprised that Juan did not play college football, during the 1975 football session he was arguably the best player. There were only two times that I can remember being knocked on my butt in football (high school or college). Juan Lee administered one of those hits. Juan informed me his plans were to attend the University of New Mexico. Before hearing about his passing, the last thing I heard was the Juan had joined the Marines.
Johnny Molock 1975
| Jay Littlehales '76
Memories from Jim Hedges '77
Submitted on 01/12/2009
After losing touch with a good friend I finally came across this thru a google search. Jay was a graduate of the class of 76 and my best friend while I was at Clark, (James Hedges aka Jim class of 77). We both went from the Philipines to Belton, Missouri and both enlisted in the Air Force from Kansas City though at different times. I visited with his parents at Scott AFB around 1983 which was the last word I had on him and at that time he was in Korea and had just lost his daughter. It seems Jay’s life had been given to more hardship than many of us will go thru. While I was never able to get in touch with him again in this life the time we shared left happy memories that I will always cherish. Jay was a brother to me and I will miss him as such.
Jay Bradford Littlehales, 41, Olathe, died Friday, March 10, 2000, at his home. He was born July 19, 1958, in Glendale, W. Va., and had lived in Olathe for the past nine years. He was a graduate of New York State University and of Kansas City, Kan., Community College. He was a linguist while serving in the U.S. Air Force and had graduated from the Presidio. While stationed in South Korea, he had taught English as a Second Language; while in the Philippine Islands with his family, he had assisted refugees during the fall of Saigon, South Vietnam. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in the Philippines, and of the Boy Scouts of America. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Michelle Susane Littlehales, in 1983. Survivors include his mother and stepfather, Pat and Bob Reinke, of the home; a sister, Elena "Suzzie" Muro, Shawnee; a stepgrandmother, Virginia R. Phillipsen, Aurora, Colo.; and two nephews. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 16, at the Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, Olathe. Graveside services will be 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 17, at the Leavenworth National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Children's Mercy Hospital, 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, MO 64108.
| Elaine McEntire '76
Memories from Mike McEntire '78
Submitted on 06/06/2011
Elaine McEntire Guthrie, Class of ‘76
January 4, 1958 – April 17, 2001
“We are the people of tomorrow.
Let us not be molded by ways of yesterday,
nor forced into the future;
but let us find our own way.
Class of ‘76”
That’s inscribed on one of those wooden plaques most of you have somewhere as a memento of something significant in your time at Clark. It’s the statement Elaine made for her graduation from Wagner High School in 1976. This particular plaque hangs in my father’s house now. How it got there is a story I wish I didn’t have to tell.
Nearly a decade after the shock for which no one can ever be prepared, it’s still like ripping open a wound to relate to you all that my big sister died suddenly of a brain aneurysm the day after Easter in 2001. We were all together for a great family Easter holiday weekend at my dad's near Charlotte NC and had just returned to our respective homes. No sooner did I get back to Ohio with my wife and daughters, than I got a shocking phone call. Elaine was enjoying gardening (one of her favorite things) and joking with a friend, when she stood up—laughing—and suddenly collapsed. The doctor gave us some comfort telling us she went so fast that she never knew it and had no period of pain.
She was only 43.
If you knew my big sis at Clark, you knew she was kind of a rebel. She was real smart, but didn’t always see the benefit of attending class. She was a cheerleader, a mainstay at the Sr. Teen Club, and had a lot of friends. I remember Joanne Kristol, Vicki Tipper, a few other girls, and several boys who I’ll not name here. Mostly, I remember a lot of faces (more than names) around my sister; but I was pretty self-absorbed. I’m sure some of you will add your fond memories. I also recall that she didn’t always see the need to do what the parental and school authorities expected. The relationship between my dad and Mr. Taft got a lot closer than most teenagers would find comfortable between their parent and their principal.
Elaine graduated early—in the midterm ceremony of the ‘75/’76 school year (where that wooden plaque was born)—and couldn’t wait to get “back to the world” and get on with things. In the quarter century that followed, she remained the spirit we knew—generous and kind, rebellious, well-loved but drawn to outcasts, and prone to ill-advised choices but always ready to own responsibility for them. For most of that post-Clark quarter century, she had an honest, intense relationship with Terry (her husband and the father of her four grown children). They sometimes struggled, but Elaine always made lemonade and was always more interested in helping someone else than in bemoaning whatever difficulty she might be facing.
Elaine has a son and three daughters (all grown) and a growing brood of ten grandchildren—the latest only a few weeks old—all living in the Warner Robins-Perry-Macon GA area. She made a lot of friends there and touched a great many lives in the county youth recreation department where she did some work for a time, at the historic Perry Inn where she and her eldest daughter were both mainstays, and in so much else that would be only data to you, but precious life memories to others who will never read this page.
Due mostly to my dad's Air Force moves (then mine and our sister Patti's), we wound up strewn across the country, but all except me have somehow wound up in the Charlotte NC area. Patti (a year behind me and 3 behind Elaine) wound up nearest Elaine geographically during some significant adult periods and spent the most time with her. I'd be happy to talk to any of you about Elaine, and I know Patti, Tracey, and Scott would, too.
This message is nearly decade overdue, and that’s my fault completely. When we got “back to the world” in the summer of ’76, I lost touch with that whole era and world and remained incommunicado until very recently (owing mostly to the magic of Facebook). Since beginning to reconnect and discovering this wonderful WHOA site, I’ve had several inquiries from people looking for Elaine. This is not the reply I wish I were sending. Even though I've had nearly a decade to deal with it, it’s suddenly raw again. But that will pass again and I’ll still have my fond memories of my big sis. I hope that’s true for all of you who loved Elaine.
| Peter Ramos '76
Memories from Joan Ramos Kady '80
Pete died in February of 1988 of a heart attack due to hemochromatosis.. This disease is usually an "old man's" disease in which the body does not get rid of any excess iron. The normal iron count in a person's body is five grams; Pete had 35 grams. The iron slowly deposited on his vital organs, including his heart, thus causing the heart attack.
Life is so short, isn't it? It wasn't until after Pete died that I started realizing what a treasure I had for a brother. Floods of letters came from people all over the world telling us how he had touched their lives. So many people told us how he had shared the Lord Jesus Christ with them; how he had helped people financially when they were in need; how he had supported many missionary friends through prayer and finances. I myself came to know Jesus Christ through my big brother. For that I am grateful to him.
Pete truly is in the best place ever. He is in the presence of his Lord with a new body...way better than the six million dollar man's. I know that if Pete were here, he would want to share about the Lord. Since he isn't, I will take it upon myself to do so and to share unashamedly because time is short. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Saved from being eternally separated from God who made you, who loves you and who longs to have a relationship with you. Admit that you are a sinner; admit that you need a Savior; and admit that Jesus is the only one who can save you! That's basically what Pete shared with me and all the other people he knew and loved.
I miss my brother immensely. I wish he could be here to meet his brother-in-law and two nieces. (He actually has two brother-in-laws, two nephews and five nieces. My sister is married with five children.) I
wish he could be with us to watch our parents gracefully age. Yet, as I said, he is in a much better place and I look forward to seeing him one day.
Memories from Belden Granada '75
Submitted on 3/1/01
The most precious to me is Pete "Sammy" Ramos from the class of 1976. Our families are so close, to this day we still call each other cousin or uncle or aunt.
While Pete was the straight A student; the altar boy; the popular one with the family and the school crowd, I was busy growing up in the streets and growing away from my father, mother, and sister.
Through all this, however, I was always his brother. He never judged me, and always wanted me to spend the night so we could be together.
I will never forget visiting him in the hospital when he suffered from a very serious heart ailment. As I was leaving, I did something I had never done before...I held his cheek in my hand and looked in his eyes and told him I'd see him around or see him later or sometihng to that effect.
The next time I saw him was in his coffin as I acted as pallbearer.
For the longest time I wondered why God would take the good and leave people like me behind. Now I think I know why...because of you, my brother Sammy...you taught me how to be as good as I can be and how good and sweet life truly is. I will never stop mourning for you, Sammy. But I can see youin every good act that I commit.
Memories from Debbie Goldey Wardick '76 (Duckie)
Submitted on 3/3/01
I can't believe Pete is gone. There are so many memories of times I spent with Pete at WHS and around Clark. Pete was voted the "Most Spirited" for the class of 76 Superlatives. He was very involved in Pep Squad and often could be heard shouting louder than the rest of us. Pete and I used to sit and have long discussions on very deep subjects. His smiling face is one I never want to forget. I was thrilled I got to spend time with my friend again at the 1987 San Francisco reunion as that was the last time I got to
hug him in person. Pete will always be in the hearts and minds of those who were lucky enough to have known him.
We love you and miss you Pete.
Carla Wade '76
Memories from Debbie Goldey Wardick '76 (Duckie)
Submitted on 05/06/2009
This is hard for me. I have some very sad news. Someone I knew and loved from the Class of 1976, died yesterday. Carla Wade Gamez '76
As I understand the circumstances: Carla had called her boyfriend in the wee hours of the morning, to tell him she was not feeling well, and while they were talking on the phone, she stopped talking. He rushed over to her apartment, and with the police (I think) - broke down her door - only to find her already dead. No one at this time knows why she died.
I had just spoken with her 9 days ago on the phone, she was excited about attending the reunion, and had paid for Laraine Brooks '76 to fly into Phoenix to attend the reunion also. Laraine is very distraught also, and is using her reunion airline ticket to change it to attend the reunion in Tucson.
This is so upsetting to me to lose someone I knew and cared about from Wagner. I have photo's of Carla and I at reunions together - one very nice one of Laraine, Leslie Shamp, Carla and I - who all showed up at a reunion in San Francisco wearing fish net stockings - and we are all lifting our cocktail dresses as high as we dare. SO many good memories of Carla.
Memories from Laraine Brooks '76
Submitted on 05/29/2009
August 3, 1958 - May 4, 2009
Our beloved, vibrant, joyous Carla passed away unexpectedly on Monday, May 04, 2009. Born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, she moved to Tucson in 1975 and graduated from Santa Rita High School in 1976. She went on to attend various post-secondary institutions, always curious to learn more. She was a long-time employee of Tucson Newspaper's, JC Penney's, and the Tucson Convention Center.
Carla's life was full of friends because of her innate ability to be a friend from the moment you met her. She had the wonderful gift of being able to light up a room upon her entrance and put everyone at ease with her smile and sense of humor. She will be sorely missed by those she has left behind.
Class of 1976
May 29, 2009
I met Carla in 6th grade. She sat next to me in class and one day, she turned and looked me straight in the eye and just started talking to me. She talked as if she'd known me for years. "How peculiar" I thought with I'm sure an even more peculiar smile on my face. "I have no idea what she is even saying for her talking so much--as if she's known me forever and is my best friend".... How very very little, did I know...
My heart breaks; my heart is broken. Of course all the littlest tiniest menial things we said and did over these past 35 or so years keep running through my mind. Things you can't "do over"; things you have only in your memories when you no longer have the other memory-keeper, the one who can say 'Remember when we....' the cheerleading tryouts, the practices, the away-games, the bamboo bowl, the Silver Wing, the bowling alley, the football / baseball games, the pageants and fashion shows, the sleep-overs, the weekends, the holidays, the borrowing clothes, running track, Spanish class, algebra with Ms. Dulak, Ms. Cordero class, Ms. Jackson and Mr. Barone, Mr. Quayle and the fun of such a great life, such a great friend; we laughed, my God, we laughed. We cried too, but mostly, we laughed. I'm sure if you know Carla, if you've ever laughed with Carla, you can be still for just a second, and hear her laugh. While she is now with God, I find she is also still with me, in my heart, in my memories, and in spirit. When I need to laugh, I'll be still for just another minute, and I will hear that laughter, and it will heal me.
God Bless You Carla. I miss you.
| David "Goose" Charles Taylor '76
Submitted by Parents
Submitted on October 19, 2006
David “Goose” Charles Taylor – 48
Of Valdosta, GA passed away unexpectedly Tuesday Oct. 12, 2006. He was born January 15, 1958 in Austin Texas to CMSgt (RET) Al and Connie Taylor of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. David lived and traveled with his military family overseas going to Japan, the Philippines, and Germany. He graduated from High School in 1976 at Bitburg Germany. He also served his country in the U S Air Force, and he later joined the American Legion Post # 18 in Douglas, GA. He enjoyed riding dirt bikes and driving Stockcars. Dale Earnhardt was his favorite Nascar Driver. He was of the Baptist Faith.
| Tony Tullo '76
Memories from Belden Granada '75
Submitted on 12/28/2004
Tony Tullo (Class of '75 or '76)
Though I could be wrong, I don't recall Tony actually attending WHS. I knew him in elementary/junior high and his older brother, Paul (Apollo) '66 is known on this website and at our reunions.
Smiles...with this man that's what sticks in my mind and memory the most. A bright, dazzling smile that hinted, at times, of mischief, and at others, of just having a good time...a strong passion for life was very evident.
The Tullo's lived in Marisol subdivision, where my sister Arlene (Ace) '72 and I grew up. And, as so many of us did back then, we often played pick-up games of football and softball in the narrow, part-dirt, part-asphalt streets. Both me and my sis remember playing softball often with Tony. I cannot, for the life of me remember a time when he didn't have a smile on his face. I don't think it mattered who won or lost...it was the smile with Tony.
I lost contact with Tony for many years. Once I moved back to the US, I ended up living and working in the SF Bay Area. It was here that I got a chance to renew my acquaintance withTony and Paul as all three of us ended up working for the same company. We began playing basketball regularly with other filipinos, and again...that smile, devious, and intense, as he always played to win.
Thank you, my friend, for all the smiles. I wouldn't bet money against the fact that you're probably lookin' down at us right now with - guess what - a smile on your friend. Rest now, save your smiles for when your family and friends get the chance to see you again.
| George Zacharias '76
Memories from Tom Womack '75
Submitted on 6/9/2004
George Zacharias (class of 76) died Friday May 28, 2004 of natural causes related to dialysis treatment that he had been receiving for the last 20 years. Some of you will remember him as "the little long haired guy in the wheelchair". George lived a full, happy life and passed away surrounded by family and friends peaceful and happy. He is survived by his wife Edna, his parents Dan and Olga, his sister Elizabeth, his younger brother Paul and a multitude of friends. George touched many and was well known and loved by
all who knew him.
He will be greatly missed.
Memories from Suzie Womack '77
Submitted on 6/9/2004
George was my friend for nearly 30 years. Our families have known each other since we were teenagers at Clark. George remembered those years as some of the best. His memorial service was very fitting and paid homage to George and his beautiful and devoted wife of 15 years, Edna. He will be remembered for his wit, his intellect, his humanity and the extraordinary way he touched the lives of others. He will be very missed. He was always ready to listen and cared deeply for his friends and family. His life was not an easy one, yet he persevered and kept a positive attitude. He was an inspiration to us all.
| Daniel William Grant '77
From his Mother
In Loving Memory
March 18, 1959 - February 22, 1995
Our Danny Boy will always be with us and be remembered for the gentle, funny, and generous person that he was. During his short life he touched many people with his love, his art, and his music. Although the last years of his life were marred by doubts, fear, and pain, and sometimes by anger and bitterness, he was always a child of God, and God, knowing all, in his mercy, spared greater pain and took him gently into His Kingdom while he slept.
Rest in Peace, Danny Boy.
Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. U.S. Grant Jr. of Austin; his Brother Jacques Grant of Austin; his sisters Cherie Kuhne of Dallas and Denise Trice of Lubbock; his Grand Mother Hazel Grant, of Lake Worth, Florida and his Son, Andrew Shakespeare of Lubbock; as well as Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews and Cousins, and numerous friends.
A Private family service was held for Danny on 11 March 1995.
"Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am that diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you waken in the morning hush;
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die."
| Brian Pullings '77
Memories from Bob Pullings '71 (brother)
Submitted on 02/20/2008
I'm writing to let you know (so as to post on this site) that my brother, Brian Pullings, passed away on Valentine's Day. Apparently he had a major heart attack and died within minutes. He was living with his wife, Angela,in Fort Vermelion, Alberta, Canada and was buried yesterday (Tuesday) in
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
I'm not sure when Brian graduated from Wagner. I tend to think it was 1977. I attended Wagner from the fall of '67 through the spring of '69. To all of Brian's friends and reunion buddies who knew and loved him, too I thank you in advance for the prayers you offer.
| Edward Frye '78
Memories from Nancy Ganzon (sister)
Submitted on 7/17/2007
Hi there. My name is Nancy Frye Ganzon. My brother Edward L. Frye ('78) is shown in the '77 year book. I would like to inform you that he passed away tragically February 2006.
My brother had many friends growing up in the Philippines and I know that he was greatly loved.
He and I were both born on Clark and have many wonderful memories of our life there.
He had a poet's soul and was a gentile giant and I will forever miss him. My brother saved my life in so many ways and he will forever be my hero.
I know that we will see each other again with our heavenly father and I know he looks over my family from above.
| Lynnette Howard Bates '77
Memories from Bob Lumby ' 79
Submitted on 11/29/00
Please also update your database concerning my sister Lynnette (class of 77). On November 16, 2000 Lynnette passed away at home. There was no trauma, drugs, heart failure, or anything else. She just passed away. It was a tremendous shock for our family. She was buried on 22 NOV 00.
| Robert Robison'78
Memories from David Hamilton '77
I was very saddened to find out that Robert has passed away. He was a nice guy and a friend of mine at WHS. We had a lot of fun together going out and using our metal detectors to find coins and other lost treasures that I still have in my collection to this day. He was on my short list of classmates that I wanted to send a Hello note to...
| Camilla Russell '78
Memories from Catherine Russell Hilger
My sister Camilla did not attend Wagner High School. She was in 5th, 6th and 7th grade in the Philippines. That would have been 1971,1972 and 1973 . We were "stable bums" and have many fond memories of the riding academy. One of her closest friends was a girl named Lori Lewis. I am the youngest in my family, so my school experience was 4th grade at Wurtsmith, 5th grade at
Grissom and half of 6th grade at Wagner and half at Lilly Hill. My sister was killed on Sept 3, 1979 in an auto accident, she was 19 years old. Her date of birth is August 26, 1961. She was my best friend. I will always remember her for her courage. In spite of great obstacles she never stopped pursuing her dream. She was not afraid of being herself and made no apologies for it. She was ahead of her time in many ways. She was my confidant and lighthouse. Her death forced me to step out of her shadow and
discover who I am. This has been a great challenge, it is not as easy for me as it was for her. I depended In her. Praise God I am a Christian. I do not know where she stood with Christ at the time of her death. All I know is she was a gift to me then and her memory is a gift to me now. She was good to me and looked after me. I will miss her.
| Blase Gaude '79
Memories from John Ward '78
Submitted on 03/7/06
On January 1, 2006, we lost Blase Patrick Gaudé (79), one of the finest members of our Wagner Falcon family. He was 44.
Blase died at his brother’s home in Georgia, where he was visiting while en route to his Virginia home. Blase worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico but was temporarily assigned to the Washington, DC area.
Surviving Blase is his wife, Patricia; 5-year-old son, Nathan; parents Henry and Roseminette Gaudé; and siblings Chere Lynn Johnson, Lance Gaudé (78), David Gaudé (76), and Kurt Gaudé. Blase’s wake and funeral were held in Natchez, Mississippi. Pallbearers were his three brothers, nephew Blase Edward Gaudé, Eddie Foley, Ward Graning, Glenn Murray, Tony Sandoval, and me, John Ward. Honorary pallbearers were his friends from Virginia and Albuquerque. Blase’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Bobby Irby Memorial Scholarship Fund at Cathedral High School where Blase attended.
Those of you who knew Blase knew that he was full of life. After a football injury at age 17 that left him paralyzed from the neck down, he went on to Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez and then to Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS where he graduated summa cum laude with double degrees in computer science and computer engineering, continuing on to complete a master’s degree in the former.
Prior to his accident, Blase was an excellent athlete who never compromised his work ethics when practicing or training for any sport. He was an accomplished horse rider in both English and Western events. He excelled in swimming and water polo. He was also an All-Star in football and baseball. No matter what he took up, he did it with the zest of a white-hot flame. Although Blase strived to be the best at whatever he did, he enjoyed competition and helped others to excel even if it meant stiffer competition. He continued to live his life with the same passion after the accident, excelling in his career and personal life as a result.
Blase was very intelligent, had the heart of a giant, and was a true friend to everyone who knew him. I was fortunate to have had Blase as both a teammate and opponent in playing sports in the Philippines. I don’t know exactly when Blase and I became friends, but he became my best friend. Because he remained a part of my life all these years, I had the privilege of watching an extraordinary boy mature into an extraordinary and exemplary man. Following are some of my favorite stories of Blase.
BLASE THE FRIEND
Blase was the kind of friend who didn’t leave friends out of anything. When a group of friends had plans to go out and someone did not say “count me in,” Blase had a way of figuring out why - without prying. If the reason was because of finances, Blase was quick to say he had you covered and slip you the money without anyone knowing. He never kept tabs and never again mentioned it, though he would always be there if needed.
BLASE THE SWIMMER
I was at a swim meet watching Blase, his brothers, and other Wagnerites swim. One of the events was short a swimmer. Blase said to his mother, the coach of the Clark Flying Dolphins, “Why don’t you get John Ward to swim?” He said it loud enough so I could hear. When Coach Gaudé approached me, I told her that I didn’t have my bathing suit. Blase, being the competitor and friend that he was, said, “I have a new spare bathing suit that has never been used.” I said, “What the heck…I’ve been swimming since I was four – how hard could it be?” Blase handed me the SPEEDO and said “Then you shouldn’t have a problem.” Okay – if you’re laughing at the thought of me in a Speedo, STOP! I was in great shape back then.
The first event, I believe, was freestyle. We got on the platform, and when the gun was fired, the swimmers took off. I swam like mad. Just a few yards down the pool, people began jumping on my back! I thought it was some kind of initiation prank being played on me, so I pushed the people off and kept going. After fighting the fourth or fifth person off me, someone jumped in front of me and pushed my face upward. When I was finally stopped is when I learned it was a false start. The other swimmers were already behind their platforms, laughing, as they got ready to start again. There was another false start, and I was the only one left standing on a platform. It was my turn to laugh. The third start was good, and I finished -- last!
The second event was the breaststroke. I knew I was going to be good in that event because I was really a strong breaststroker. The gun went off – no false starts that time. About half way down the length of the pool, Blase and I were close together, and about three quarters down the pool, I turned it on and pulled away. I was giving it all I had. I hit the wall at the end of the pool and turned around to see Blase about two strokes behind me. I smiled big time. Blase hit the wall and said; “Now you have to go back.”
Blase finished a half of a pool length ahead of me. It was the one hundred breaststroke, not the fifty. Had it been a fifty breaststroke, Blase would have paced himself faster and blown me out of the water. Blase won both events. Remember what I said about “White Hot”?
BLASE THE BASEBALL PLAYER
In 1976, Blase and I were on the Pirates because of some masterful trading by my dad, who was one of our coaches. You see, Blase was a disciplinary problem. Coach Ward, my dad, overheard two coaches discussing the draft pick, that they would not have drafted the “Gaudé boy” because he was a disciplinary problem and would disrupt the team’s unity. My dad offered to take Blase off his hands, offering a sixth or seventh round draft choice. The offer was accepted. We got an All-Star player. Blase had been mistaken for another player!
One day, Coach Richards was called away because one of the airmen in his unit had gotten into some trouble. Being the team captain, Coach Richards called me to hit fielding practice. Blase was at first base, so I hit him a ground ball. It went between his legs. I hit him another. That, too, went between his legs.
“Hit me another,” he said.
I eased up, he caught it, and said, “That’s bull…hit me another.”
I did but still didn’t have a lot on it. Blase threw it back and said, “Hit me one with something on it.” I did. It took a bounce and hit him in the chest leaving a huge bruise, but he kept it in front of him.
“Another!” he said.
“Let me go around to the other players first."
He insisted. The next ball took another bounce and hit him in the mouth. Blase picked up the ball, spit blood out of his mouth and said, “Another!”
He fielded the ball cleanly, but said to give him a second one. He fielded it, and then told me, “Okay – hit to second base.” Remember what I said about “White Hot?”
A few days or maybe a week later, with a bruised chest and split fat lip, Blase was up to bat for a game. The ball was badly thrown. Blase got to first and slid into second as the ball got by the shortstop covering second base. Blase got up, turned to third base, and then both Blase and the ball were heading for home. The catcher blocked the plate and threw his shoulder into Blase. Blase went over the catcher’s back and did a handstand on home plate. The catcher was angry and pushed Blase over. Blase landed flat on his back and was taken to the hospital. ( How Blase got to home base first is still a mystery since we used to tell him we were going to build a moat around the bases since he swam faster than he could run, to which he’d always say, “My mama taught me how to swim, but she didn’t teach me how to run.”)
Blase was instructed to rest for a few days because of his hurt back, so he couldn’t play the next game. I was at bat when the umpire called a strike, and some not-so-wisely chosen words came from the dugout. The umpire called timeout and walked over to the dugout.
“Who said that?” he said.
Nobody spoke up. He then threatened to clear the bench, that we’d forfeit the game, if no one spoke up. Blase said he did it. He was ejected from the game. Blase had taken one for the team. Now let me ask you: who, besides Blase Patrick Gaudé, can get ejected from a game in which he wasn’t even playing and for something he didn’t even do? Remember what I said about “White Hot”?
After the baseball season, Blase and I stayed close and hung out at the riding stables where the Gaudés kept four horses. Football season came around and when we weren’t practicing or playing in a game, we hung out together even though we weren’t on the same team. We used to we hang out a lot at the Bamboo Bowl to watch the Clark Diplomats' football games. During the last game of the season, I noticed that one of the players on the opposing team had a “U” bar as part of his face mask; I wanted one. After the game I asked the player where he got it so I could order one. He told me that if I went to the barracks where they were staying the next day, he would give it to me. Blase and I went, waited an hour and a half, but the player never showed his face. The Gaudés were reassigned stateside, and before the next football season started, I got a small package from Blase. It was the “U” bar that I had been wanting but had given up hope of ever getting.
That’s the kind of friend Blase was: “white hot” and thoughtful.
BLASE AFTER CLARK
After Clark, Blase played football in Nebraska. I remember him telling me that he and Rex Barnhill (78) were on the same high school football team but neither got much playing time. They sat on the bench side by side during one of the games. Blase told Rex that he was glad no one from Clark were there to see them since neither of them had ever been “benchwarmers.” He never made an excuse, but we all know that military brats have to prove themselves over again every time they move; it's hard to compete with players who have been at the same place since birth.
When the Gaudé’s moved to Natchez, Mississippi, Blase made the football team. He became a starter and a team leader. The accident occurred during their first game. I was still at Clark; Cindy Weir (78) told me about the accident. For weeks, I went to the MARS tower to call him. We spoke when he was thought to be stable enough. We kept in touch the best we could from then on.
When Blase was in rehabilitation, a teacher, Eddie Foley brought some of his teammates to the hospital to visit him. Mr. Foley overheard Blase talking about hunting. He told Blase that what when he got out of rehab, he would take him hunting, that he wasn’t sure how they would do it, but they would figure it out. About a year or so later, Blase called Mr. Foley to take him up on his offer. True to his word, Mr. Foley took Blase hunting. Through the years, Blase, his brothers, a few engineer friends, and Mr. Foley developed a way for Blase to mount his gun to a tray that was attached to his wheelchair so that Blase could aim his gun and fire it. For the next 25 years, Mr. Foley took Blase hunting every year.
We rang in 2005 with the Gaudés, so I was lucky to have gone hunting with them a couple of times during the 2004 season. I saw Blase pass up three does on December 30, 2004. He wanted to shoot something with horns -- a buck. He didn’t compromise his goals and went without shooting a deer that year. After 25 years of trying, on December 21, 2005, during his visit home for the holidays, Blase and Mr. Foley got their buck, a beautiful nine-pointer.
Blase and his wife, Patricia, decided to leave Natchez early to visit Blase’s brother in Georgia. While preparing to attend Mass on New Year’s Day, he suddenly but peacefully passed away.
We got the call the next day, while I was out at Starbucks getting coffee for my wife, Denise Leitz Ward (82). Through tears, I called Blase’s mom for details of the wake and funeral. She asked if I had a suit, telling me that I was going to be a pallbearer. “Yes, Ma’am," I said. But the one suit that I had was too tight. I bought a new suit the next morning and headed for Natchez.
I shared some of these stories about Blase at the wake, with the hope of helping ease the pain for Blase’s family and friends for at least a few minutes. Blase and his wife, Patricia, had a 10-year love affair second to none. Patricia thought her husband hung the moon, and Blase thought she hung the stars. Together, they hung the moon, the stars and the planets to create their own universe of love.
Blase spent his last days with the people he loved most: family and friends. He also got to do what he loved most: hunting with Mr. Eddie Foley. Mr. Foley told us that he wasn’t sure who was more excited about the buck, he or Blase. He said that he did not lose a son, but he knows he will never have another relationship like it. As Mr. Foley’s wife, Karen, put it, “Hollywood could not have written a better movie script for the time they were together or the ending to Blase’s life. Blase spent it with loved ones and got his buck – a beautiful nine-point.”
Blase lived by six simple words: Adapt, overcome, conquer, BUT DON’T QUIT!
BLASE: A "WHITE HOT" SHOOTING STAR
My wife and I cried all the way to Natchez. We tried our best to comfort each other but with little success. Just as the skies darkened, a shooting star with the longest tail I had ever seen burned across the sky from one side of the horizon to the other. I had never before seen a “white hot” shooting star with a blue tail. It was Blase, giving us a sign that he was okay, that we should be happy, and things were going to be fine.
He truly enriched my life in many ways and judging by the numerous people who showed up for his wake and funeral services, he obviously reached out to many others the same way. So borrowing some of Gale Sayer’s words when he spoke of Brian Piccolo who was portrayed in the movie Brian’s Song, “I loved Blase Patrick Gaudé, and I want you to love him too. For those of you touched by Blase, before you take off your slippers and crawl into bed tonight, I hope you drop to your knees and thank God for letting Blase enrich your life.”
Blase, dear friend, we all love and miss you so much. We praise you and cherish you by telling everyone how great you were and how much you touched so many people. It became obvious to us just how much you lived your faith. We should all be so lucky to learn from you and make a difference in someone’s life as you did in ours. We will always be there to help and comfort Patricia and Nathan. Thank you for everything, dear friend.