USS Von Steuben Obituary
Robert A. LaGassa
Cold War Submarine Veteran, Captain Robert E. LaGassa, USN (Ret.) of New London,
NH passed away peacefully at home in the company of his wife, Barbara Zoe, on
Wednesday, December 29, 2021.
Born 10 April, 1940 in Detroit, “Bob” was the eldest child of Robert M. and
Dorothea A. LaGassa. He graduated from Cass Technical High School, where he
studied architecture & construction. He entered the Naval Academy with the Class
of 1963 through a congressional nomination. There, he pursued a Naval Officer's
commission and Barbara Zoe Kunar, whom he met on a Washington, DC elevator
during Plebe Year spring break. They were married in San Diego in August 1963.
Bob attended Nuclear Power & Submarine Schools before assignment to the Skipjack
(SSN-585). He served on four additional submarines: Engineer of Ethan Allen
(SSBN-608), Navigator of Trepang (SSN-673), Executive Officer of Shark (SSN-591)
and Commanding Officer of USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632). Shore duty included:
Submarine School instructor, Strategic Submarine R&D Coordinator and Deputy
Director, Nuclear Warfare Policy for the Chief of Naval Operations. He retired
in 1991 as Assistant for Navy Nuclear Weapons, Secretary of Defense staff. He
achieved highest distinction at the Naval War College, earned a Master of
International Relations degree from Salve Regina College and was a CNO fellow to
MIT’s Seminar 21. He received the Defense
Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal,
among other awards.
Bob and Zoe retired to New Hampshire, where they had established roots during
their career. He enjoyed singing, gardening, rural life and was involved in
local governance. He was a Cantor for his church and webmaster for his USNA
company. Bob & Zoe enjoyed road trips about our great country and voyaging the
world on CUNARD's Queens.
He is survived by Zoe, the love of his life; a daughter, Laura LaGassa of
Hawaii; a son, David LaGassa, his spouse Debra, and three grandsons: Andrew,
Matthew and Samuel of Palm Coast, FL; and sisters Diane Walker of Virginia, and
Peggy Cook of Michigan.
Thomas Jefferson Branch, Jr.
Cold War Submarine Veteran, June 12, 1967 - November 25,
2021, Thomas “Jeff” Jefferson Branch Jr. was born, June 12, 1967, in Madison
County, Florida, and grew up in Wakulla County, until he joined the Navy in
November, 1985. Aside from his family, Jeff’s devotion was to the military. He
was a veteran of the United States Navy, where he served 30 years and 27 days as
a Nuclear Electrician, achieving the rank of Master Chief. His experience as a
submariner played an important role is his life, allowing him to help sculpt and
mold other, younger sailors, to lead successful careers.
Jeff was a devoted husband and father. He enjoyed
golfing, boating, hunting, camping, and helping out family, friends and
neighbors in any way he could. There are friends, and there is family, and there
are friends that become familyand because Jeff was loving, dedicated, brave, and
humble, his family was extensive, and he will be missed by many.
Mr. Branch is survived by his wife, Amy, of 35 years, and
two children: Son, Ryan, Daughter-in-law, Tina, and Daughter, Alison. He also
had two loving grandchildren: Logan and Bentley.
Norman Emil Kuzel
Cold War Submarine Veteran, Norman Emil Kuzel, 87, of Lebanon, beloved husband
of Ella Mae (Clinch) Kuzel, died December 24, 2021, at Windham Hospital. Born
October 25, 1934, in Milford Nebraskahe was the only child of the late Emil and
Erma Kuzel. In 1952 Norman enlisted in the United States Navy proudly serving
his country for 25 years. During which time he was detailed on the USS George
Washington (SSBN-598), the USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632), and the USS Archerfish
Norm qualified in submarines on the USS George Washington (SSBN-598) in 1961 and
was a LT when he left the Navy.
Shortly after his retirement from the Navy he moved the family to Lebanon to
start the Louka Zelena dairy farmduring which time he served as president of the
CT Jersey Cattle Club. Throughout his life, Norman belonged to numerous
organizations; he was a member of the American Legion Post 180, US Submarine
Veterans Inc. Groton CT, a communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Church in
Lebanon; volunteering as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and sexton.
Norman’s love of country and respect for veterans was exemplified by his
countless hours of volunteering as WWII Thames chapter chaplain, numerous honors
details, and as a docent at the United States Submarine Force Library and Museum
which featured the USS Nautilus. His involvement with Kap (ss) for Kid (ss)
allowed him to bring joy to terminally ill children. Norman was inducted into
the Holland Club in 2011 marking 50 years as a qualified submariner. His
greatest pleasure was to be surrounded by family as often as possible. Norman is
survived by his wife of 63 years Ella Mae (Clinch) Kuzel of Lebanon CT. his
children and their spouses Norman “Skip” Kuzel II of Port Gibson Mississippi,
Shawn and Randy Smith of Norfolk Virginia, Sherrilyn and Kieran Flannery of
Lebanon CT., Shayla and Glen Coutu of Lebanon CT., Shirleen and Mike Garrahy of
Rocky Hill CT., Shane and Alice Kuzel of Pomfret CT. beloved family friend Mary
Horan of Lebanon CT, 18 grandchildren , 9 great grandchildren and his ever loyal
dog Penny. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his daughter Shannon
Michele Kuzel; grandchildren Nicholas Emil Kuzel and Abbey Marie Coutu.
Born on October 25, 1934 - Entered into Eternal Patrol on December 24, 2021.
Gary G. Shepherd
Cold War Submarine Veteran, Gary G. Shepherd, age 77, a
21-year resident of Laughlin, Nevada lost his battle with cancer on Saturday,
October 30, 2021. He was born on November 14, 1943 in Shelby, Montana.
Gary was in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to1966 serving as a
fire controller on 1st nuclear submarine, USS Von Steuben and earned his
Dolphins. He owned several gas stations in Hobbs, New Mexico in the early 70's,
then worked for Climax Chemical, and retired in 2003 after 25 years, owning
Shepherds Rental in New Mexico.
Gary was a member of the Moose Lodge. He loved to spend
time with family and friends and an avid collector of casino chips and
memorabilia and coins. He enjoyed his Jack Daniels, watching football, playing
poker, and visiting with friends while sitting and watching the river. Gary
always had a story to tell of an adventure of the past. He spent several years
working his booth at the local antique store. He enjoyed hosting get-togethers
with family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Garmon Shepherd
in 1995mother, Helen Shepherd in 2013wife, Nicky Shepherd in 1992; and wife, Ida
Turner in 2016.
Gary is survived by his daughter, Theresa Shepherd of
Laughlin, Nevada; step-daughter, Dixie (Sheldon) Lowery of Tomball, Texas;
step-sons, Kenny (Martha) Swinney and Wylie (Ruthie) Swinney both of Hobbs, New
Mexico; and several step-granchildren and great-grandchidren.
Born on November 14, 1943 - Entered into Eternal Patrol
on October 30, 2021.
Robert Lee Orndorf
Cold War Submariner Robert Lee Orndorf, 75 of Howard, passed away on Sunday,
October 24, 2021 at his summer home in Manilla, Philippines. He was born in Lock
Haven on March 26, 1946 a son of the late Edwin and Mary E. Young Orndorf.
Bob proudly served his country for 25 years in the United States Navy throughout
Bob qualified in submarines on the USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632) in 1973 and was a
STSCS(SS) when he left the Navy.
He rose to the rank of Sr. Chief Sonar Technician and would spend a great deal
of his time on submarines patrolling waters all over the world. Following
retirement he worked as a postal carrier for the U.S. Postal service and then as
the Veterans Affairs officer at Career Link of Lock Haven where he took great
pride in being able to help his fellow veterans.
Bob enjoyed hunting, transporting his Amish friends and neighbors, and
vacationing at his home in the Philippines.
He is survived by many nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by
his parents and four brothers, Edward, Harold Sr., Dale Sr., and Dean Orndorf
Sr., and a sister, Lela Sweely.
Born on March 26, 1946 - Entered into Eternal Patrol on October 24, 2021.
Clarence Frank Wreath , CWO4
Went on Eternal Patrol on:
Ships / boats served on: SS-424, SSBN-610, SSBN-632,
Donald A. Meacham
July 14, 1943 - August 31, 2021
Chief Donald Alfred Meacham, US Navy, Ret., of Cross, SC, died Tuesday morning
at his residence.
His funeral will be 2:00 PM Wednesday afternoon, September 8, 2021, at the
graveside in the Beaufort National Cemetery. Interment will follow with military
honors. The family will receive friends at Dial-Murray Funeral Home, Moncks
Corner, from 4:00 PM until 5:00 PM Tuesday afternoon.
MCPO Meacham was born July 17, 1943, in South Weymouth, MA, a son of Marshall C.
Meacham and Olive Carter Meacham Reinhalter. He was a veteran of the Vietnam
War, and was a member of Pointe North Church. He loved to read his Bible, and
spend time with his family, especially his granddaughter. MCPO Meacham also
enjoyed farming, art, music, and photography. But most importantly, his primary
concern was caring for his wife.
Surviving are his wife, Julie Ann Mondor Meacham; a daughter, Barbara Meacham
Monroe and her husband, Mark D. Eutsler, of Charleston; a granddaughter,
Samantha Katelyn Monroe, and her father, Donald W. Monroe, of Charleston; and
two cousins, Billy and Jimmy Meacham.
James Edward Kennedy
April 5, 1943 ~ June 19, 2021 (age 78)
It is with great sorrow, relief and joy that Jim passed away Saturday, June
19th at his home leaving a legacy greater than life. He was a man of
great integrity and responsibility. He took on a bride in 1968 along
with her 3 small children and thru the years added another 3 babies to make
a family of six. His life was about work and family. He lifted
others so they could find their dreams above his own. He was always talking
and teaching new things to everyone he found. He attended Sacred Heart
Schools and graduated from Breckenridge High in 1962. He worked at
General Motors in Saginaw Michigan and Arlington Texas for 33 years.
In his retirement he volunteered at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, in
Dallas. He had a love of flying and joined the navy only to see the
depths of the ocean on a submarine for 8 years. He proudly served on the USS
Medregal, USS Von Steuben, & USS Gato. His generosity and laugh were larger
than life. He touched so many with his jokes, unfailing selflessness
and love. To know him was to love him. Rest easy, you left
this world better than you found it!
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jean, his six children, Connie
North, Marty (Terry) North, Sherri (Craig) Jacobs, Hugh (Shannon) Kennedy,
Tonia (Gary) Kilcoin, and Tasha (Juan) Alcarez . He was a grandpa, legend
and hero to 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, leaving them with
lasting memories and life lessons. He is survived by 6 sisters, Fran
Kuelske, Irene Kennedy Karen Kennedy, Elaine Kennedy, Jenny (Richard) Moore
& Marilyn Lair and 3 brothers, Pat (Darlene) Kennedy, Don (Angie) Kennedy &
Joe (Lisa) Kennedy. A sister-n-law Jean Kennedy and many nieces,
nephews and friends.
He was predeceased by his parents Everett & Sarah (Ryan) Kennedy, Hugh &
Jennie (Peeples) Stanley. Four brothers Raymond Kennedy, Leo Kennedy, John
Kuelske and David Lair
The family would like to thank Dr. Ankit Kansagra and his medical team at UT
Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas for their care compassion and
Top of Form
ADM Carlisle A. H. Trost
Carl was born on April 24, 1930, in Valmeyer, Ill., to Elmer H. and Luella
(Hoffmann) Trost. As a child growing up in rural Illinois, Carl didn’t
exactly dream about a life at sea. He spent summers helping out on his
grandparents’ farm and once built a house with his parents. Though he
enjoyed farming, Carl’s true passion was school. He worked several jobs to
pay his high school tuition and attended Washington University in St. Louis
on a one-year Army ROTC scholarship. At the end of that year, and uncertain
the scholarship would renew, Carl applied for an appointment to the U.S.
Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and entered the Academy in July 1949 as a
member of the USNA Class of 1953.
Entering the Naval Academy changed the trajectory of Carl’s life more
profoundly than he could have imagined. He excelled academically and
graduated first in his class, but, perhaps more importantly, he met the love
of his life. While serving as Brigade Commander, Carl fell in love with
Pauline Louise Haley of Cottage City, Md. They married in May 1954.
Together, Carl and Pauline embraced the many challenges of military and
family life, raising four children and building lifelong friendships as they
traveled around the world for Carl’s flourishing naval career. Of course,
Carl never lost his love of learning: he continued his studies in Germany at
the University of Freiburg in the first class of Olmsted Scholars and once
again graduated first in his class at both the Naval Submarine School and
the Advanced Naval Nuclear Power Course.
In his 37 years of commissioned service, Carl served as Commanding Officer
of the submarine USS Sam Rayburn (SSBN 635 Blue), Commander Submarine Group
Five, Deputy Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, Commander of the
Seventh Fleet, and Commander-in-Chief of the United States Atlantic
Fleet/Deputy Commander of the United States Atlantic Command. In 1986 he was
nominated by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the 23rd Chief of Naval
Operations, a position he held from 1986 until his retirement from the Navy
in 1990. To date, he is the only Chief of Naval Operations who also
graduated first in his class from the Naval Academy.
Carl remained involved in the Navy community following his retirement in
1990. In 2002, Carl was named as a Distinguished Graduate of the United
States Naval Academy. He served as Chairman of the USNA Alumni Association
and was an active member of the USNA Foundation, Naval Institute, USN
Submarine League, Military Order of the Carabao and several others. Outside
of the Navy, Carl was Chairman of the Olmsted Foundation, a member of the
National Eagle Scout Association, and on the boards of Lockheed Martin,
General Dynamics, LL&E and GPU, among others.
In the early 1990s, Carl helped Pauline bring to life her vision of helping
the families of injured and ill service members. The Fisher House Foundation
was established after a conversation with their friends Zachary and
Elizabeth Fisher, and over the past thirty years, it has provided more than
400,000 families with a “home away from home” near medical centers while
their loved ones heal.
Carl often said that he wished to be remembered as a good naval officer and,
more importantly, as a loving husband, father and friend. He was devoted to
his family and was happiest spending time with his children and
grandchildren at his Sandbridge, Va., beach house (when he wasn’t using the
house to party with the class of ‘53!). Carl impressed his family with his
dedication to the daily crossword and his perfect memory, often recalling
meetings with foreign dignitaries down to the exact names, dates, and even
times. When asked about his successes, Carl said, “I realized when I was
young that I could remember things I was interested in, and fortunately I
was interested in a lot of things.”
Carl is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Pauline, and his sister,
Mardelle Lou. He is survived by his four children, Carl Michael, Laura Lee
Carrico (John), Steve (Gail) and Kathleen, along with six grandchildren,
Scott Carrico, Megan Sugrue (Alexander), William Trost (Michelle), Justin
Carrico (Arielle), Haley Trost, and Alexa Trost.
Clayton "Clay" Reed
This was received from his son via USS Von Steuben SSBN 632 Alumni Facebook
Clayton (Clay) Reed was a Nuke (PO2) assigned to the Von S Gold 1975-77. He
was on 2 patrols, one in 76 and the other sometime in 77, before he was
transferred to the Hunley before being discharged Nov. 1977. He beat Stage 4
colon cancer almost 20 years ago, but succumbed to metastatic lung cancer
this past Thursday, 13 Aug. He was proud of his service and we heard many
stories of Navy and sub life over the years.
Clay Reed, 68, of Russellville, was escorted to Heaven by God’s
ministering angels on Thursday, August 13, 2020. He is the loving husband of
Candy Reed and the son of Stanley and Dixie (Archer) Reed.
Clay was born on March 11, 1952, in Waco, TX. He loved growing up in
Texas and had many friends in Waco. At an early age, Clay developed his
faith with the help of his maternal grandparents and his mother. Clay would
continue to develop his faith and study God’s word throughout his life. Clay
developed his work ethic by watching his father work hard to provide for his
family, which Clay did, just as his father taught him. Clay was a loving
sibling to his brother Bruce and his sister Darlene.
In 1971, Clay proudly enlisted in the United States Navy. He served in
the nuclear navy aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Von Steuben. He
also served aboard the fleet oiler USS Nantahala and sub-tender USS Hunley.
During training, he was stationed in upstate New York where he met the love
of his life, Candy Boggs, at church. In 1975, Clay and Candy married and
began their life together, and in 1976 they welcomed a son, Trey. Throughout
the demands of Navy duty, Clay remained committed to his God and family.
After 6 years of defending our great nation, Clay decided to head in a
different direction and enroll at the Northeast School of Biblical Studies
in Clifton Park, NY, where he learned to preach the Word of God. While in
school, Clay and Candy welcomed their second son, Barry, in 1978. After
completing his studies in 1980, he received an offer to work at Arkansas
Nuclear One in Russellville, where he worked for 30-plus years. Clay
continued his ministry of preaching and teaching the Word of God for the
rest of his life.
During his 40 years in Russellville, Clay was a longtime member of the
West Side church of Christ, serving as a Sunday school teacher and preacher
when needed. He also had the honor to serve the Lord’s church as a Deacon
and later as a Shepherd. Clay lived his life with one thing in mind, living
a life for Christ. He lived by example and had a quiet demeanor that showed
many what a love for God looked like. Clay was not one to talk just to talk;
when Clay talked, people listened. Clay poured his heart into loving Candy,
showing his boys how a Christian man is supposed to treat his wife, and how
to live for God. Simply put, Clay’s family was his pride and joy.
In the early 2000’s, Clay and Candy became grandparents and Clay assumed
the title of Papaw, just as his father, Stanley, did with his grandchildren.
Clay loved being a grandpa and he would talk, play and enjoy being in the
presence of his 5 grandchildren.
Franklin Tarpley Jr.
Departed this life May 21, 2020. Franklin Tarpley Jr., age 60, of
Richmond, formerly of New York. He retired from the U. S.
Navy. He is survived by his father and mother, Franklin D.
Tarpley Sr and Carolyn Tarpley; three sisters, Teresa L.
Olson(Don), Debra A. Tarpley(Charles) and Linda Williams(Ron); a
host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins; and other
relatives and friends. Services rendered by Joseph Jenkins Jr.
Funeral Home, 2011 Grayland Avenue. Memorial services at a later date.
Phillip M. Odom
HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Phil Odom expected that he
wouldn’t survive his stay in the hospital and he didn’t. But he wanted his
death to mean something and it did.
He wanted his experience with the coronavirus to help doctors understand the
disease and how to treat it.
Phillip M. Odom grew up in Hartsville, graduated from Hartsville High School
in 1959 and joined the Navy. He served his country for more than 20 years in
submarine and surface fleets around the world.
He retired as a lieutenant
in the spring of 1980 and returned to his hometown, where he worked as an
engineer for Carolina Power and Light and Progress Energy. He retired from
the H.B. Robinson plant near Hartsville in 2003.
For many years, he owned
and operated The Plant House in Hartsville, where he was well-known for his
annual Christmas tree lot.
On Saturday, April 25, Phil
Odom died of the coronavirus.
Phil and Sara Odom were
married for nearly 58 years and have four children and 15 grandchildren.
Sara said they enjoyed each
other’s company and were each other’s best friend.
Sara chronicled much of
Phil’s journey with the coronavirus on Facebook for her friends and prayer
warriors. Parts of that narrative are included here.
About three or four weeks
ago, the couple went for a walk in the park, social distancing and doing all
that was recommended, when, Sara said, Phil turned to her and said he
couldn’t continue the walk, that they needed to turn around and go back
home. He was out of breath. Thinking it was due to a pre-existing condition,
Phil put off going to his doctor for about a week. Once Sara persuaded him
to go, he was tested for COVID-19, and the test came back positive.
Sara Odom said her husband
was in good physical condition when this virus attacked him.
“He went from being able to
breathe to several days later gasping for breath,” she said. “My husband had
a cough, ran a low-grade fever (99) and other risk factors included age (79)
heart (quadrupled bypass), and pulmonary fibrosis.”
Phil was admitted to the
Baptist Hospital in Columbia on Monday, April 13, with a severe case of
COVID-19. His health quickly declined and by Friday of that week he was put
on life support. His systems were shutting down. Even on life support, he
coded but was revived, she said.
“We were pursuing a plasma
donor, and he/we needed time,” Sara wrote on her Facebook page as she kept
her friends up to date on his condition. “It was/is a risk we were willing
to take for someone who under normal circumstances would not choose life
support. However, these are not normal times. The coronavirus is not your
typical virus. We have much to learn about it. Phil will help us learn. The
ventilator would buy Phil time for us/the medical team to ‘try’ the plasma
treatment which only recently was being touted as a possible treatment for
On Saturday afternoon,
April 18, he received the first of two plasma treatments.
The donation was from a
total stranger, a coronavirus survivor, Sara Odom said.
“The way this donor got in
touch with us is a ‘praise God’ story in itself,” she said.
She said her daughter made
a Facebook request for donors and that started many others sharing her post.
“This stranger got in touch
with Marla after receiving the post,” Odom said. “He gave his blood
immediately, designated Phil as the plasma recipient in one of what we think
is the earliest such direct to patient plasma donors in South Carolina.”
The plasma treatment wasn’t
able to save Phil Odom’s life, but Sara hopes the doctors were able to learn
On April 29, four days
after her husband’s death, Odom wrote once again to her friends and prayer
warriors — the rest of the story.
“One puzzle piece you were
missing is that about a year ago my husband found out that he had pulmonary
fibrosis, a terminal illness. Phil immediately began to put his affairs in
order. The attic was cleaned out; drawers were emptied; old files were
discarded. Throughout the year he continued to put affairs in order. In the
fall his diagnosis was reaffirmed, and it was slowly progressing. He did not
want to share this with anyone because he wanted to live as normal a life as
possible as long as he could. This was how he was, and he really was
physically doing seemingly well. When the virus hit our country, his
pulmonologist told us that this diagnosis coupled with his other at-risk
factors placed him squarely at the mercy of the coronavirus if he contracted
the disease. The virus would be fatal for him. Well, he did contract it, and
the rest has been recorded in our journey together.
”On Friday night before his
passing on Saturday morning, a second plasma treatment was infused to see if
Phil’s vital signs would reverse themselves. The plasma did reverse them for
a brief period, but his organs were already in a shutdown phase. In the
course of the evening, our son, Billy, who is a medical doctor, relayed to
Phil’s medical team that it was the family’s desire that they continue to
try every possible experimental technique on Phil in order to learn as much
as possible about the Coronavirus until he passed. Doctors need to see and
get firsthand knowledge on how each treatment impacts certain individual
risk factors. Who knows how a miracle occurs? On Saturday morning, a week
and a day after being placed on the ventilator, we received word that Phil
was leaving this world. Within minutes he did just that.”
Odom said to receive the
plasma they had to sign for Phil to be a part of a clinical trial. She said
her husband signed the form himself.
”I think we were on the
cutting edge of giving plasma,” Odom said. We felt like it would benefit
other people. In his case we waited too long. I think he would like that the
doctors said they have learned from his case.”
The family was joined by
their church congregation in celebrating Phil’s life on a live stream
funeral service on Facebook and YouTube as the interment was taking place in
the Fort Jackson National Cemetery.
“It was a novel experience
for us all, and the labor of love that our church ministry team provided to
bring this to pass was incredible,” Odom wrote on Facebook. “To our family
it was amazingly perfect in every Godly way. As individual families living
in different places, we were not able to hug, or embrace in any way during
this time. As our dear church staff and Pastor Carl were conducting this
service from Hartsville, the family were listening in and watching the
burial of our husband, father, and Pop in Columbia. The congregation were
singing ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ and we were singing along as a family at
the grave site. It was a moving experience for us.”
Odom said they were the
last scheduled funeral of the day, and the director allowed 10 of them to
socially distance themselves from each other, a requirement for even within
family units, and they were able to stand closer to the site than they had
thought would be allowed.
Odom said each of us is
going through our own personal journeys of uncertainty at this time. Many
have lost their jobs and don’t know how they are going to make ends meet.
Many are struggling with terminal illnesses. Some are struggling with mental
issues. Many are struggling with the isolation we find ourselves in.
Odom said so many people
took the time to engage in their journey.
“We had so many friend
requests from people we didn’t even know,” Odom said. “My daughter had over
a 100 requests. Certainly, this has been an overwhelming response.”
Odom said her daughter said
so many people are suffering and are looking for a miracle. They were hoping
the Odoms would get their miracle.
“We want people to know in
our minds and hearts a miracle did exist.”
While God’s plan did not
include a recovery from the coronavirus for Phil Odom, Sara said, they did
experience a miracle — at least three miracles.
She said through the power
and grace of God, Phil was greeted “by our Lord and Savior.” He was spared
the suffering and painful ordeal of the slow progression of pulmonary
fibrosis over the next two or three years; and “doctors tell us that they
learned valuable information about the coronavirus through their treatments
on Phil which will help future patients.”
Odom said it has been
difficult. She said from the day she loaded Phil in the car to go to the
hospital, he knew. As they left the house, her husband said, “This is
She said Phil has been
taking care of her since she was 19 years old and even after his death he
continues to do so.
“I think as I am going
through these days after his death, I am so appreciative that he had the
forethought to plan for these days,” Odom said.
On his desk, she said, he
had laid out folders, taking care of business, and labeling each one,
telling her what to do first.
“I’ll be 77 on my birthday
and my husband is still taking care of me,” Odom said.
Odom also took the test for
COVID-19 at the same time as her husband, and she, too, tested positive.
“I am waiting until the
28th day (after her diagnosis) to volunteer to give blood plasma,” Odom
Odom said if you are a
coronavirus survivor, donate. She said that “all over the state doctors are
begging for plasma to use as an option for their critically ill coronavirus
patients. The process takes time, but it may very well save a life. The
medical teams are learning daily how to treat this virus. Fill the blood
banks so they have a supply on hand when needed. Time is of the essence.”
Hannah R Williams to USS
Von Steuben (SSBN 632) Alumni
April 14 at 8:15 PM ·
Though I did not serve with you all this amazing man
did he is my uncle lieutenant Thomas E. O'Connor Jr. & our family just
recently lost him on April the 6th. So any of you all who remember him,
please feel free to post any stories you might have. My family would greatly
appreciate hearing them no matter how raunchy they may be.
Joseph B. McCracken Ridgeville, SC - Joseph B.
McCracken, 79, of Ridgeville, husband of the late Cary Jane, passed away on
Monday, July 1, 2019. Born Clearfield, PA, March 31, 1940. Son of Earl and
Blanche McCracken. Survived by sister Nancy Wilenzik of Doylestown, PA and
Roger Winter, grandson of the late Jane McCracken. Preceded in death by one
brother David of Mahaffey, PA. Also survived by numerous nephews and nieces.
Graduated from Curwensville, PA high school, attended
Penn State University; Served in
U.S. Navy, Atomic Submarine Service; Retired from General Electric.
Funeral services will be private. A memorial may be written to the family by
visiting our website at
www.jamesadyal.com. ARRANGEMENTS BY JAMES A. DYAL FUNERAL HOME, 303
SOUTH MAIN STREET, SUMMERVILLE, SC 29483 (843)873-4040. Visit our guestbook
Michael Arthur Connor, formerly of Hookstown, Pennsylvania, passed away at
his residence in Goose Creek, S.C., on July 6, 2017.
He was born in
Sewickley, Pennsylvania, on July 24, 1954, to Arthur “Red” Connor and the late
Regina Theil Sluka. Michael attended and graduated from South Side Schools in
Hookstown, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he joined the United States Navy in
1973, where he served for 24 years. During his Naval Career, he served on
several submarines including the Nathan Hale, James Monroe, James K Polk, Von
Steuben, and the Newport News as well as a year of recruiting duty in Findlay,
Ohio, and 4 years at MEPS in Lansing, Michigan. At the time of retirement in
1998, he was a Machinist Mate (Chief).
After his military service, he worked in Public Safety at the Citadel until
his retirement in July 2016. He was always proud of how many tickets he issued
as well as how many boots he put on. Michael enjoyed his model trains (various
scales), his collection of Monopoly games from all over the world, and
watching movies from his private library. He loved the quiet times at home
with Janice and spending time with his children when they would come home for
visits. A visit home for them was never complete without a visit to the
His family meant the world to him. He truly loved his wife and deeply loved
and was extremely proud of his children as he spoke about them regularly to
those he knew.
Michael was preceded in death by his mother, Regina; his step-father, Frank
Sluka, and all four grandparents.
He is survived by his wife, Janice of 9 years; his children, Stephanie and
her husband Steven Greenwalt of Missouri, Stephen and his wife Mara Connor of
Ohio, Sarah Connor of South Carolina, and Matthew Carrico of Pennsylvania; his
grandchildren, Chuck and his wife Ana Wheeler of California, Sierra Wheeler
and Kevin Wheeler of Ohio, DJ Wilbanks of South Carolina, and Hunter, Forest,
and Wyatt Greenwalt of Missouri; his father, Arthur Connor; his brothers and
sisters, Bob and his wife Deb Connor, Tom Connor, Betsy Connor, Donna and her
husband Danny Halstead, Frank Sluka, Dawn Flinn, and Mikki and her husband
Brad Gilson; several nieces and nephews; his former wife and lifelong friend,
Linda Connor and her parents, Marlene and Randy Snoke and his close friend,
Family and friends are welcome to call at the MCCONNELL FUNERAL HOME, 447
Pine St., Hookstown, PA 15050, Friday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. where
services will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Eric Edwards
He will be laid to rest with military honors in the Mill Creek Hill
DONALD E. OLDHAM, Sr.
My name is Donna Kranik and I am the daughter of
Donald E. Oldham, Sr. Dad was a plank owner and COB of the blue crew
until 1968 (I’m pretty sure that was the year).
Dad passed away this past Friday, Jan 4, 2018. He was
living in Longview, WA at the time.
Dad loved the navy and he absolutely loved this ship.
Mom passed away five years ago, and their ashes will
be interred at Willamette National Cemetery.
Robert L. Ruppel
Robert L. Ruppel, 75, of Evansville passed away at 4:23 p.m. Monday, December 5,
2016, at home surrounded by his loved ones.
Robert was born April 20, 1941, in Iona, Ind., the son of the late Christopher
and Vera "Nadine" (Catt) Ruppel and was a 1959 graduate of Central Catholic High
School in Vincennes, Ind. He proudly served in the
United States Navy
for 11 years in active duty and nine years in the Naval Reserve. During his time
in the Navy, Robert served aboard four different submarines. During the Cuban
Missile Crisis, he served on the U.S.S. Red Fin which participated in the Cuban
Blockade. Robert retired from Alcoa in 2009, after 38 years of service. He
attended Nativity Catholic Church. When his children were younger, Robert
coached Evansville South Youth League Baseball.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Judith (Bauer) Ruppel, of
Evansville; sons, Brad Ruppel (Cathy), of Newburgh, Ind., Brian Ruppel, of Los
Angeles, Calif., and Brent Ruppel (Tara), of Evansville; sisters, Judith Cooper
and Barbara Deal (Robert), both of Vincennes, Ind.; grandchildren, Leda and
Drake Ruppel, Madison Castle, Vaughn and Pierce Ruppel; and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Michael Ruppel.
Mass of a Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 10, 2016,
at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 1303 S. Green River Rd., Evansville, with Father
Bernie Etienne officiating. Burial will be in Park Lawn Cemetery where the
Vanderburgh County Retired Veterans Memorial Club will render full military
Friends may visit from 2 until 8 p.m. Friday, December 9, 2016, at Boone Funeral
Home East Chapel-A Family Tradition Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Ave.,
Evansville where a prayer service will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Memorial Contributions may be made to
, 701 N Weinbach Ave #510, Evansville, IN 47711.
Condolences may be made to the family online at
Courier Press on Dec. 7, 2016
Larry "Yogi" Yeager RM '67-'73 B has
dies. No other information at this time.
Eduardo "Eddie" Fernandez Villanueva, 78, of Ladson,
passed away, Thursday, July 14, 2016, surrounded by his family and friends.
Eddie was born December 21, 1937, to the late Leon and
Dorotea Villanueva in San Manuel, Pangasinan, Philippines. He attended the
Philippines College of Business before joining the United States Navy. Eddie
served his country in the Navy for twenty four years, before retiring as a Chief
Interior Communications Electrician. He graduated from Nielson College with an
associate’s degree in Electronic Technology. He worked for the Veteran Affairs
in Charleston as a Computer Hardware Specialist for fifteen years, before
retiring for a final time to pursue traveling and spending time with family and
friends. He was active in and proud of his Filipino community, and he was a
member of the Pangasinan Association and the Filipino Community Center.
Eddie is survived by his wife of 47 years, Tessie;
daughter, Dorothy Joyce Lewis and her husband James of Columbia, SC; son, Mark
and his wife Dawn of Jacksonville FL; siblings, Hilda Moraño of Flushing, NY and
Benjamin Villanueva of the Philippines; grandchildren, Eddie and Trey Lewis; and
many loving nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, July 20,
2016 from 6:00 p.m.
until 8:00 p.m. at McALISTER-SMITH FUNERAL HOME, GOOSE
A prayer service will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held, Thursday, July
21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Goose Creek.
Burial will follow at Plantation Memorial Gardens, Moncks Corner, SC.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made
to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
510 St James Ave, Goose Creek, SC 29445
RADM Jeffrey Caswell Jr. Ret.
2/11/1925 - 4/17/2016
Metzel Jr. passed away peacefully from heart failure in his sleep, in Huntington
Beach, CA, April 17, 2016. Jeff was 90 years old. Jeff ("Mike" to close family)
was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, as was his
father and grandfather. Jeff's class was very accomplished, with fellow
graduates President Jimmy Carter, CIA head Stansfield Turner, Joint Services
Chief William Crowe, ADM James Stockdale, Capt. Thomas Hudner, and many others
that uphold the great tradition of the Naval Academy. Jeff became a Submariner
and was picked for ADM Rickover's Nuclear Power program. He was very proud of
being part of this new technology and the people associated with it. Jeff served
aboard several Nuclear Submarines. But, his favorite assignment was as Commander
of the Nautilus, the first Nuclear Submarine and the first practical use of
Nuclear Power. After helping to develop the Mark-48 Torpedo and serving as a
project manager on the Trident Submarine program, Jeff retired from the Navy as
a Rear Admiral, in 1979. Jeff married Jean Roberta Balcome in Las Vegas, in
1952, he said it was the best gamble of his life! They were together 62 years
until, Jean passed away in 2014. They had four children, Bill, Bob, Nancy and
Mimi. Jeff and Jean had seven grandchildren and so far, four great
grandchildren! Jeff is survived by his three younger siblings, brother Bill
Metzel, and sisters Martha (Patty) Mohler and Mary Popper. He had a long and
wonderful life and felt very lucky for all his experiences. He was deeply loved
by all and will be sorely missed. A Memorial Service will be held May 7, 2016 at
10:00 AM, at The
Submarine Memorial located at 800 Seal Beach Blvd. in Seal Beach. Instead of
flowers, Jeff would appreciate a donation to the Navy - Marine Corp Relief
Published in Orange County Register on Apr. 21, 2016 - See more at: http://obits.ocregister.com/obituaries/orangecounty/obituary.aspx?n=jeffrey-c-metzel&pid=179699525&eid=sp_ommatch&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.zMnnOt1m.dpuf
I received word via Legacy.com that CDR
Robert J. Lauderdale, the Decommissioning XO died on Jan. 23, 2016.
I received word from John Fairey that Jim
Bergmann died on January 20, 2016 as the result of severe lung disease.
I received word that Ludovico Alahambra, a
MS, passed away on May 11, 2015.
Donald William “Mac” McClure, Jr.
Mr. Donald William “Mac” McClure, Jr., 68, of Greenville, loving husband of Mary
Sue Preston McClure, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at
Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
Mac was born in Ottumwa, Iowa on October 10, 1946 to the late Donald William,
Sr. and Alverta Halosis Andrews McClure. He received his Bachelor’s degree from
Charleston Southern University. Mac had many hobbies, which included camping,
gardening, working on computers and traveling. He also enjoyed square dancing,
and along with his wife, were the chairmen of the South Carolina Square and
Round Dance Federation. They were also twice president of the Piedmont Square
Dance Association, and were current members of the Thunderbird Square Dance
Club. In 2002, they were awarded the Distinguished Service award by the State
Federation. Mac was a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Easley, where
he was a member of the Men’s Club. Additionally, he was a member and past Master
of the Dunean Masonic Lodge #359, and a past member and past Master of the
Truman Durham Masonic Lodge #424. He was currently the President of the Past
Master’s Club, and was also a member of the Hejaz Shrine Temple in Greenville.
He was a U.S. Navy Veteran, serving 26 years on the Nuclear Submarine Force as a
Senior Chief Electronics Technician until his retirement. He was awarded the
Navy Achievement Medal twice and the Navy Commendation Medal. After his
retirement, Mac worked for the Michelin Corporation for 17 years as an
electromechanical technician at US-1.
In addition to his loving wife of 47 years, Mac is survived by two sons; Michael
Patrick McClure (Rebecca), of Charleston, SC, and Scott Edward McClure
(Tiffany), of Pensacola, Florida; two brothers; David Paul McClure of Luray,
Virginia, and David Scott McClure of Fresno, Texas; and a sister; Pamela Diane
McClure Batley, of Reisel, Texas. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews,
great-nieces and great-nephews.
Funeral Services will be held at 1 O’Clock in the afternoon on Friday, October
9, 2015 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 1200 Powdersville Road, Easley, SC
29642, conducted by Father Lee Dudley. Interment will follow at Robinson
The family will receive friends on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 6 O’Clock
until 8 O’Clock in the evening at Robinson Funeral Home – Powdersville Road,
1425 Powdersville Road, Easley, SC 29642.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the
Shriner’s Hospital for Children; 950 West Faris Road, Greenville, 29605.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.robinsonfuneralhomes.com or in person
at Robinson Funeral Home – Powdersville Road, which is assisting the family.
"Dutch" Wieland SUMMERVILLE - Mr. Ralph "Dutch" Wieland of Summerville, SC,
passed away on Monday, March 23, 2015 at the age of 81. Dutch was born on March
6, 1934 in Mt. Vernon, NY to Ralph and Dorothy Wieland. He entered the US Navy
in 1950. He spent most of his 32 year career on Submarines. Dutch was in Food
Management with a passion for the culinary arts. His Food Management Team was
instrumental in getting the Johnson & Wales College in Charleston, SC. Dutch
continued to teach Food Management for 12 years after his retirement. Dutch
retired from the US Navy in 1983 as Command Master Chief. Dutch is survived by
his wife, Betty Jean Wieland; daughters, Mickey Januszkiewicz, Lynnette Bible
and Christine Wieland; stepdaughter, Wanda Turner and stepson, Dale Turner; 10
grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his son,
Skipper Wieland and stepdaughter, Vickie Bryant. A memorial service is scheduled
for 4:00 p.m. on March 28, 2015 at the Metro North Church, 109 Central Avenue,
Goose Creek, SC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be offered to the Alzheimer's
Association . Visit our guestbook at www.legacy.com/obituaries/ charleston
Received from Wendell Koerner
Bill Drummond passed
away on May 28, 2013, in Jacksonville, FL. He was a plank owner and Blue Crew
engineering officer. He was survived by a daughter, Sara (Mrs. Ben Vaughn, 308
Halifax Dr., Greenville, SC 29615, and a son William King Drummond, Jr.).
were handled by Hardage-Giddens Chapel Hills Funeral Home, 850 St. Johns Bluff
Rd. N., Jacksonville, FL 32225. Telephone number 904-641-9755.
Received from Linda Smearden:
This is to inform you
that my husband Robert J. Smearden who was on the USS Von Steuben SSBN
632 when it was commission has passed away on June 3, 2014. He fought a
cancer called Multiple Myeloma for 2 1/2 years. He was so proud to be
part of all of you serving on the Von Steuben. I will miss him so much
and I know you will too.
Hugs to you all,
Lina Smearden (wife of 49 years)
Received from George Scharf:
Allen Shane Foraker 2/17/2014
Lester Franks 3/10/2014
Received the following from John Fairey:
Comments: Best cook and baker on the
commissioning crew (gold) - Left a wife Barbara and 2 daughters Lynn and
Andria - Now residing in Beaverdale Memorial Park in New Haven,
Connecticut. Was best man at my wedding. - Just recently went searching
for him and found he has passed.
Romeo Oscar Collazo TM 1963 -
? BLUE December 18, 2014 San Antonio, TX
James Edward Bender, beloved husband, father, and grandfather,
who sailed on his Eternal Patrol Monday, 5 January 2015, from his home
in Raleigh. He was 80 years old and was executive officer on the
submarine USS ATULE (SS-403) with SubVet John Rupertus of Concord. He
also served aboard the submarines USS SEA CAT (SS-399), USS NATHAN HALE
(SSBN-623), and USS TRUMPETFISH (SS-425).
native of Meadville, PA, Jim graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in
1957. He served honorably in the U.S. Navy for 26 years as a
submariner and then at the Pentagon. He retired as a Captain in 1983
and then began a second career in the defense industry with General
Dynamics and then Hughes Missile Systems. He retired in 1997.
is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Deanne Page Ecton, formerly
of Key West, FL; sons David, Stephen, and Christopher; three daughters
in law; and five grandchildren.
memorial service and funeral will be held at Arlington National Cemetery
on a date to be determined. Locally, his family is being served by
Brown-Wynne Funeral Home of Raleigh.