Joel Erkenswick passed away on August 30, 2019 In St. Louis, Missouri. He was born on August 8, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois to Mary Lou Erkenswick (nee Sharp) and Herbert Erkenswick. He had a younger brother, Robert B., with whom he stayed close his entire life. Joel graduated from Lane Tech High School in 1964 and Wheaton College (IL) in 1968. He was drafted after graduating from college, volunteered for OCS, and became a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served as an advisor to the PF (local Vietnamese militia) and lived among them in a small village in southern Vietnam. He was proud that he never fired his weapon in anger. He returned to Chicago in 1971 and completed the core curriculum for a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Illinois. He then worked at various private businesses and for the City of Chicago in information technology positions and also did contract teaching work for the Chicago and Evanston public schools.
Joel married Jane (nee Lehman) on July 2, 1977. They had two sons, Aaron (born 1982) and Gideon (born 1984). Faith was always a large part of Joel’s life and led him to the Evanston Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in 1989. He quickly bonded with Evanston Friends. Participating actively in the life of the meeting, he served on several committees. He was loved for his good nature, loving and positive attitude, and his unique and joyful messages during worship.
Joel had a lively sense of humor and a zest for life, despite serious health problems the last three decades of his life. He was a three-time kidney transplant recipient and also developed multiple myeloma and Parkinson’s disease. This was the reason for his move to St. Louis in 2010, to be near his sons. Despite his medical problems, his desire for life was unstoppable. He never played the victim. He was an extremely loving and dedicated spouse and father. He loved community, and helped to grow community wherever he was.
A moving celebration of his life was held in Evanston, Illinois on November 2 at a Quaker meeting house with about 50 0f his family and friends. Mike Thornton and Brian Flora represented 50th Company. Mike had printed out photos of Joel from our class book and our OCS experience, and Brian shared MACV stories that paralleled Joel’s positive recounting of his MAT team memories. The attendees were pleased with our contributions to the story of Joel’s life.
Gordon D. Greta, 64, passed away May 2, 2011 at Kavanagh Hospice Center in Des Moines. He was born May 14, 1946, in St. Paul, moved with his family to San Diego, California and eventually wound up in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1952 at the age of six, he contracted Bulbar Polio and spent six weeks in an iron lung.
He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1968 with a degree in Political Science and almost immediately entered the U.S. Army. Gordon served with the 24th Infantry Division at Ft. Riley, KS. He later served as a second lieutenant in Vietnam as an adviser to the Vietnamese Army, living part of the time in the jungle. After his military service, Gordon entered the University of Iowa and earned a law degree in 1974. He practiced law in Eldora, Newton, and Des Moines, Iowa. His body was donated to the University of Iowa Deeded Body Program.
He was a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines and was a part of the Stephen Ministry. He fulfilled a lifelong dream to publish a book, “The 600 Pound Gorilla in the Sanctuary: A Parsimoniest's Ruminations on the Nature of God.” He is survived by his wife, Carol Greta of Des Moines; a daughter, Meredith of Taiwan; a son, Lucas of Iowa City; his sister, Glendy (Roger) Nichols of Sioux City; and a brother, Glendon.
Donald Huskins passed away on October 13, 2019 in Eatonton, Georgia where he was a retired country lawyer. Donald was born June 27, 1946 to Doris Hogan Veal and Walter George “Huck” Huskins in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He is survived by his second wife Alice, two sons, Chris and Grayson, and five grandchildren who lived within walking distance of where he lived.
He attended West Georgia College, where he met the first love of his life and the mother of his children, Sylvia Kathleen Sanders. Donald and Sylvia were married June 28, 1966. After college Donald enlisted in the Army as an infantryman, became a Jump Master at Fort Benning, and completed Officer Candidate School before serving a tour in Vietnam as a 1st Lieutenant. In Vietnam he was assigned to Advisory Team 19 out of Quang Tri where he served as team leader for a MAT, earning a CIB. He commented: “There were just five of us, two LTs and three Senior NCOs, whose function, as I observed, was to keep the LTs alive. Damned good men.”
After returning home from Vietnam, he attended Mercer Law School, while Sylvia taught grade school. During this time their two sons were born. After graduating in 1974, he moved his family home to Eatonton, Georgia to begin his law practice and serve his community. During his law practice, he was appointed by the Governor to be Putnam County’s first Solicitor General of the State Court, a role he served for 30 years. He retired in 2006. Throughout Donald’s career he served the Eatonton community in numerous roles. He coached sports teams and served as the Public Address announcer at home varsity football games. He enjoyed running and raced in countless 10K road races. He was active member of Eatonton First United Methodist Church
He and Sylvia enjoyed traveling the world together and traveling with their dear friends from their high school “Class of ’64.” She died in 2006 of pancreatic cancer shortly after their 40thanniversary cruise through Northern Europe. After Sylvia passed away, Donald was blessed to fall in love again and on June 3, 2007 married Alice Sumner, with whom he spent the rest of his life. He said he was one of the luckiest men on earth to be loved by and married to two beautiful and incredible women.
About his OCS experience he wrote in 2016: “I enjoyed making fun of Captain Smith. It's a miracle that Gary Bottoms and I weren't brought up on charges for the routines we put together and performed. But not to worry – CPT Smith got me in the end. Sylvia and I were so excited when I got orders for The Old Guard at Ft. Myers, Virginia. Our first Sergeant called me into his office and suggested that I sit down. He handed me new orders that rescinded the Old Guard assignment and redirected me to serve as a TAC in our battalion. Smith got me good, and I'm not sure if it was worth all the laughs I got at his expense. I'd say I'm sorry, but it is too late and it would be a lie.”
John S. Lee 4TH Platoon
John S. Lee passed away peacefully on March 10, 2020 in Seattle. He was born to Arthur and Helen Lee in Anchorage on January 12, 1946.
John grew up in Iliamna, Alaska where his parents operated the general store. He mushed his five-dog team to the nearby village of Nondalton each day to attend school through the eighth grade and then went on to Anchorage (now West) High School, graduating in 1963. Next, he attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. At the height of the Vietnam War, John joined the U.S. Army, attended Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned as a Signal Corps officer. He served in Vietnam, where he became a company commander.
After his military service, John worked for RCA Alaska Communications (RCA Alascom) as a civil engineer and pilot. He played a major role in building new telecommunication facilities across Alaska, including the company’s mountaintop facilities and its “bush telephone” project, which brought the first telephone service to many Alaskan villages.
In 1978 John started a new company to provide design and construction services to Alaska’s telecom industry. He called the company New Horizons Telecom. At first John was the sole employee, working from his basement and the cockpit of his airplane. But John was a talented engineer who built things the right way and built them to last. His diligence, strong work ethic, and ability to quickly respond to new opportunities helped the company grow quickly, and it ultimately became one of Palmer’s major employers, providing many jobs to local people.
John loved aviation. It seemed that his favorite place was the pilot’s seat in an airplane. He could fly almost any aircraft, from a Super Cub to a jet, and he used his love of flying to help his hometown of Palmer. John saw Palmer’s airport as a “crown jewel” that could become one of the city’s greatest assets. He worked to make that dream a reality, serving for years on Palmer’s Airport Advisory Committee. During John’s tenure on the committee, the airport thrived, adding new airside businesses like Life Med to its grounds. And soon after the completion of the airport’s big runway restoration project, Palmer honored John by naming its new helipad the John S. Lee Helipad.
John worked “below the radar,” never calling attention to himself. He avoided publicity. But despite his low-key, soft-spoken manner, John made great contributions to Palmer and to all of Alaska. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Helen Lee. He is survived by his two sons, Leighton (Katherine) of Palmer, Conan (Jennifer) of Seattle, and his four grandsons, Connor, Alex, Ace and Van. A celebration of life is planned for April 24th at 2pm. Per his wish, the event will take place in John’s hangar located at 901 Cope Industrial Way on the Palmer Airport. Due to current uncertainty surrounding travel and large gatherings, this event may be postponed and the family will make every effort to reschedule efficiently.
Dean A. Derthick / 6th Platoon
Dean Derthick, born December 11, 1945 in Oregon, passed away on October 13, 1974 at the age of 28 and is buried in Sardis, Burke County, Georgia. No obituary has been found.
Stuart “Stu” Ferguson II, age 68, of Albuquerque, New Mexico passed away July 5, 2014. Stu was born in Syracuse, NY on April 22, 1946 to the late Stuart Ferguson and Nancy Smith Ferguson (nee Smith). He was raised in Ashland, Ohio, graduating from Ashland High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Washington and Lee University and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University. Stu practiced as a Certified Public Accountant after moving to Albuquerque in 1975 and served as an accountant, controller, and chief financial officer during his career. He was a member of the business community in New Mexico for over 30 years. In addition to his accounting and finance roles, he taught classes in business and finance at the University of Phoenix.
Stu was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army and served in Viet Nam. He was decorated for bravery in combat, earning a Bronze Star with a V (valor) device and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He was a proud veteran who remained involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars throughout his adult life. Stu was also an avid judo player and teacher. He served as Commissioner of the New Mexico State Judo Games in 2011 and won the national and world senior Judo championships in 2001. Stu is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Ferguson and by his three children, Michelle Wade, Stuart “Tug” Ferguson III, and Erin Myers, as well as twelve grandchildren. Stu was laid to rest at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Harley V. Finley / 1st Platoon
Harley Finley, born on October 21, 1946 in Marysville, California, was the son of the late Harley V Finley, Sr. and the late Billie Botto Finley. A resident of Rockport, Georgia he passed away on June 10, 2012 in Rome, Georgia.
He graduated from 50th Company Infantry OCS in August 1969 and went to Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. He served in Vietnam with 235 AWC in ‘70-71, F/8 CAV 23 INF in ’71. He stayed in the United States Army for 21 years and retired with the rank of Major. After his retirement from the military, he taught for ten years at the Rockmart Middle School, northwest of Atlanta.
Survivors include a son, Thomas Finley of Lake City, California; step-daughter, Kristen Powell of Clarksville, Tennessee; and a brother-in-law, Ken Wessels of Clarksville, Tennessee; and special friends, David Cone, Simon Towns and Wayne and Jenny Matlock. Two grandchildren and one great-grandchild also survive.
Richard Flamm, known by his friends as Rich, was born Sept 21, 1946 in Alameda County California to Robert Flamm and Violet Caeton. He passed away on June 27, 2008 in Villa Hills, Kentucky. After his military service he joined Delta Airlines at Fresno California and had a thirty year career working with ground crew operations. He later was assigned to the Delta hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. He married Kathy Jo Bloch, a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, on January 10, 1999 in Boone County Kentucky. They lived in Edgewood, in northern Kentucky near the airport.
Frank Funderburk passed away on December 5, 2001 in Houston, TX. He was born on October 14, 1946 in Gastonia, North Carolina. Following graduation from East Carolina University he joined the U.S. Army. After Officer Candidate School, he became a paratrooper. He then joined the Green Berets. Four of his seven years of military service were overseas. He became a captain while serving in Vietnam, Cambodia and Okinawa. Among his commendations are the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with three Bronze Stars, and the Republic of China Rough Terrain Parachutist Badge.
While serving in Okinawa, he married Rumi Higa. After returning to the States to Fort Hood, Texas, he received his Masters Degree at the American Technological University at Killeen. He then moved to Houston where he and a partner established the Ram Rod Trucking Company in 1980 of which he soon became the sole owner and operator.
Survivors include his parents, the Reverend Donald K. and Marian C. Funderburk of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; his wife, Rumi; two sons, Charles and wife, April, and Lee; one daughter, Tina; and two grandchildren, all of Houston; and a sister, Rena F. Meredith of North Carolina. On December 9, 2001 he was laid to rest at Houston National Cemetery with full military honors.
Richard M. Geib, 71, a resident of Cape Coral, Florida for the past nine years, formerly of Grapevine, Texas passed away Thursday, March 31, 2016 in Cape Coral. He was born February 13, 1945 in Washington, DC to Robert and Louise Geib, Jr., now deceased. He is survived by two brothers, Robert C. Geib of Denver, CO and John B. Geib (Rose) of Reston, VA and four nieces and nephews.
A proud Vietnam Veteran, Richard served in the Army with the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge for his service. He was a member of the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society. Richard was an avid boater and an officer with the Southwest Florida Yacht Club, as well as a past Flotilla Commander in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He also enjoyed studying genealogy and was a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and Sons of the American Revolution.
Richard was a graduate of Bridgewater College and the former owner and CEO of Tripmaster Corporation in Arlington, Texas before retiring to Cape Coral. He was a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Richard Lewis Giddings, 64, of Peachtree City, Georgia, died June 25, 2008. He had resided there here since 1983. He was a veteran of Vietnam and earned the Bronze Star for bravery. He enjoyed motorcycles, golf, and hunting. A private memorial service will be held. Survivors include his wife, Merilee Giddings; parents, Wilma and George Giddings; a son and daughter-in-law, Derek and Pam Giddings; grandchildren, Hanna and Claire Giddings; a brother, George Giddings Jr; and a sister, Carol Giddings.
John A. Gillis, born February 5, 1945 in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, died October 14, 2006 in Springfield, Delaware County, PA. The beloved son of Dr. John Gillis and Eleanor Ryan Gillis, John was a graduate of Devon Preparatory School in Devon PA, a 1967 graduate of St. Joseph's University, and a 1974 graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from August 1, 1969 to June 4, 1971. He is survived by his wife Ruth MacAlpine Gillis; a son, James Gillis; and a daughter, Christina Gillis. Three sisters, Margaret Gillis, Eleanor Gillis and Dr. Victoria Gillis, and two brothers, Dr. Angus Gillis and James Gillis also survive him.
Warren Hamm, formerly of Kalamazoo, Michigan passed away May 11, 2002 in San Francisco, from interstitial lung disease. He was born April 25, 1943 in Kalamazoo, the son of Eleanor H. and Howard K. Hamm. He graduated from Purdue University and received his Master's Degree from Western Michigan University. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army and was discharged as a captain. He worked for Eaton, and then Dean Witter Reynolds, as Senior Vice President for Investments in Denver and then worked for Fleet Sales/Leasing at Stevinson Toyota, west of Denver until he retired in March 2002 due to his illness.
He was an avid sailor and raced competitively. His last sailboat was in the Ensign Class. He served as treasurer from 1983-86, and was Vice-Commodore of the Dillon Yacht Club of Colorado. He loved living in Colorado and had a passion for the outdoors, as evidenced by his geological explorations and his hobby of researching old mining stocks. Surviving are his wife, Leora L. Hamm of Denver; son, Matthew W. Hamm of Wheatridge, CO; son, Russell K. Hamm; and daughter-in-law, Eleanor A. Hamm of Trophy Club, TX. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him and loved him.
Michael Horn was known as a generous, loving man, a man who was always there when you needed him. His steadfast loyalty and honesty were well known. His long nine-year struggle with Alzheimer's ended Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Born in San Francisco on August 23, 1946, his family moved to Petaluma, CA in 1949. His father, Elmer, and mother, Ruth, owned the only pharmacy on the east side of town. Mike graduated from Petaluma High in 1964. He went on to Sonoma State University, graduating with a BA in Biology.
Joining the Army in 1968, Michael became a Captain and spent his time in Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1972 and upon returning to Petaluma, continued as a reservist until 1977. His father's business was instrumental in his decision to start a 35 year pharmaceutical career as a salesman and later area manager. In 1977 he married Lucretia, his wife of 36 years. She will always remember him as a wonderfully sensitive, kind, and supportive husband, a true “southern gentleman.”
Michael had many and varied interests. He was a man of faith and attended the First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma. Music was a source of much enjoyment and pleasure to him, especially Country & Western. One of his great delights was singing with the Wings of Glory. They also were an amazing support group for him. He even dabbled at playing various instruments, including the guitar, trumpet, and harmonica.
Western novels were a pastime as well. Horses were a special passion and during his illness his participation in Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center greatly enriched his life. Michael loved sports, especially fishing and hunting. A weekend spent out on his boat fishing was his favorite getaway. He was a lifelong Giants and 49er fan. He wrestled in high school and college, and then studied martial arts. Michael was also very involved in his two sons' activities and sports, attending their events and games. He volunteered in many ways, including coaching and working on Little League activities. Michael is survived by his loving wife, Lucretia Horn, and son Paul Horn.
Dale Kratsch passed away on April 4, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was born on September 13, 1946 in Palatine, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. He married Cheryl (Brewster) Kratsch from Bellwood, Illinois on August 3, 1968 at Notre Dame Cathedral, Indiana, shortly after graduating from the University there with a BA in Chemistry. His honors thesis, for the record, was on “unsaturated oximes.”
Juneau, Alaska resident Ronald Walter Lorensen died March 29, 2007 at home with his wife Bernadette by his side. He was 61. He was preceded in death by his father, Walter Max Lorensen; and his only son, Brian Ronald Lorensen. He is survived by his wife of nearly 17 years, Bernadette (Campbell) Lorensen; his mother, Inge Lorensen; three daughters; a sister; and three grandchildren.
Born Sept. 16, 1945, in Hamburg, Germany, he moved to the United States as a child. Mr. Lorensen attended Dartmouth College, receiving a BA in 1967 and a MBA in 1968. From 1968 to 1971, he served in the U.S. Army as an officer. After the Army, he entered Albany Law School and received his Juris Doctor in 1974. After law school, he moved to Juneau to practice law. He spent ten years as Alaska's Deputy Attorney General serving as counsel for the Departments of Education and Labor. While with the Department of Law, he argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to this appointment in 1980, he was a partner in the Juneau office of Josephson, Trickey and Lorensen. Before private practice, he was assistant Attorney General for Alaska,
His parents, Inge (Giese) and Walter Max Lorensen, met and married in Germany, where his mother served as a translator for the Nuremburg war crime trials. The Lorensen family later moved to Rochester, N.Y. His family remembers him as a valued and well-respected member of the Juneau community, serving on multiple boards, including the Bartlett Hospital Board, the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Association, and the Governor's Executive Clemency Review Board. He was a former director of Juneau Teen Homes, Inc., and a contract attorney with the State Capital Law Firm Group. He was counsel to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., assisted the State of Alaska in a variety of matters, and represented the municipalities of Haines and Klawock in litigation. His family writes: "Ron was a quiet, kind, intelligent man. He was generous to a fault with family, friends and any and all charitable organizations."