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1999 Robinson Reunion Memories

Clarion Riverview Hotel in Covington, KY

Glorious Fall weather, and friendly natives, blessed our 19th Robinson reunion at Covington's Clarion Riverview Hotel this last September. Our hospitality room, on the 16th deck of the Clarion, commanded an awesome view of the surrounding hills, the Ohio River, and the City of Cincinnati gracing its far shore. At night, the colored lights of Cincinnati, augmented by the brilliant stars overhead, cast a spell on balcony visitors enjoying a break from the serious business of fraternizing and rehashing shared experiences of long ago and far away.

Down the block and across the street from our hotel was the 8-block area set apart for the traditional Covington Oktoberfest (who ever heard of a Septemberfest?). There we reveled in 'brats' and 'kraut', beer and 'oom-pah', arts and krafts, imagining ourselves as carefree burghers von der Vaterland.

Some of us boarded a bus for a brief tour of Covington on the way to a brand new attraction in town - a world class aquarium. Along the way, we passed a long row of glorious old Victorian mansions hugging the south bank of the mighty Ohio River. Well preserved, these 19th century homes, we were told, were built by and for the old riverboat captains. That gave us sailors something to think about. 'They' don't revere or quarter nautical folks that way any more, alas!!

Attending the reunion were 51 crew members, accompanied by 46 'first mates' and guests. The crewmen:

Meredith Anderson
Eldon Bartlett
Joe Beard
Buck Bedford
Art Bowne
George Breeden
Ray Burras
Bud Carlson
Jim Chmielewski
John Conroy
Bill Creed
Bill Donahue
Bill Douras
Jim Ernsberger
Don Fahlberg
Bob Ferguson
Gene Ferguson
George Flege
Dick Gruny
Jerry Harshbarger
Don Hendrick
Bud Henry
Frank Hurley
Maurice Johnson
Ken Kuzenski
Joe Mariana
Pete Masella
Dave Miller
Ralph Moore
Junior Mustard
Roger Mustard
John Nash
Ray Querey
Cletis Reed
Buck Reynolds
Fred Robertson
Wilbur Rose
Bernie Schreiber
George Schureman
Frank Schwerin
Stan Seaman
Al Shippling
Nelson Snapp
Fred Souba
Ted Szczepkowski
Rich Tinker
Jim Tomkinson
Walt Vereecke
Tom Wilks
Howard Wise
Tom Womble
Covington Aquarium Mural with three Robbie sailors and first mates
The sailors are, left to right, Frank Schwerin, Jim Tompkinson and
Fred Souba, and first mates Maye Tompkinson, Joanne Schwerin, and
Joyce Souba.

The new Covington Aquarium is quite a showplace, ranking among the best of the big-city aquaria. Among its wonders are several huge murals. We show one in the adjacent photograph, now dubbed "The Great Fisherman in the Sky Shows off his Catch: Three Robbie Sailors and First Mates". The strangest fish of all were homo-finnius - wet-suit clad, scuba-breathing workers, putting the finishing touches on several of the filled show tanks.

Sea and war stories were retold and reinvigorated in our well-stocked hospitality room. Joe Hildabranski shared with us a VCR tape showing the Robbie in very rough seas heading for Japan. We wondered that our 'Little Robbie' was able to bring us through that frightfuladventure unscathed. Some recalled the several dogs (of the canine species) we had aboard, especially Pearl. Others remembered those fantail movies, populated by the likes of Alan Ladd, Jack Palance and Jean Arthur.

The Saturday evening banquet was well attended, and enjoyed. After dinner, our traditional raffle was held in the hospitality room. Top prize - repayment of reunion and hotel expenses - was won by Dick Gruny. Many shipmates donated prizes, some of them products of their own, or their mate's, labors. All were appreciated.

At our crew meeting we paused in remembrance of Vic Forys, Robbie's first engineering officer and a lifelong Navy booster. Vic died 17 November 1998, at the age of 84, of a stroke with complications. Our sympathy goes to his wife Ruth and their family.

The assembled crewmen also recognized those who brought the reunion into being, and those who created and nurtured our "RobbieSite" on the World Wide Web.


1998 Robinson Reunion Memories

Reunion attendees enjoyed side trips to Long Beach to see the Queen Mary, Capistrano to see the mission, and the many places visited by the San Diego trolley. Our planned tour to the Navy Base was voided by an edict placing military bases on special alert for terrorists, so we enjoyed a bus tour of San Diego and vicinity in its place.

Our bus stopped for lunch at the Bali Hai Restaurant on Harbor Island, a delightful spot with wide-angle views of San Diego Bay and Harbor. Continuing on to Coronado, we stopped along the beach for a "sandbox break", then on to Sea Park Village where Jerry Lewis' yacht was docked. (Is Art Bownes' new boat THAT big?)

Speaking of Art Bowne, did you see him dancing with one of the "senior" women? There was a New Orleans type band in this gazebo in one section of Sea Park Village where several "senior" ladies, dressed as flappers, were dancing/marching around to the tune of "good ole New Orleans" type music. The next thing we saw was one of those women out there on the pavement dancing with Art. Well, Art looked like a centipede, with those legs going every which way. Another "flapper" got Bob Ferguson, and around the gazebo they went. Bob had a lot of explaining to do about that woman. We reluctantly reboarded the bus to reurn to our hotel.

The Saturday evening banquet began with a prayer by George Breeden, and concluded with a surprise. We were entertained by the award-winning Sweet Adelines of San Diego. They favored us with their harmonius renditions of several old, and a few new songs - an outstanding performance.

Tex Anders, Ray Querey and Art Bowne
Tex Anders (left) recalls the days of the Yangtze "River Rats" with Ray Querey (center) and Art Bowne (right) at the 1998 Reunion in San Diego.

Thanks to Rich and Jerrie Johns for planning this event. Jerrie, incidentally, is a Sweet Adeline in her home state - Texas.

A special guest joined us this year, Commander Arthur (Tex) Anders, USN (Ret). He was introduced by his good friend Dave Miller, who explained why Tex felt an allegiance with the Robinson. Click here to read why.

We owe the success of our reunion to the hard work of the few individuals who dedicated their time and talents to its service. Aside from those already mentioned we thank: Fred and Lois Robertson for stocking and manning the hospitality room, the Allens, Ernsbergers, Fergusons, Grunys, Robertsons, Schuremans, Schwerins, and Tinkers for donating raffle gifts, and, last but far from least, our tireless board members and officers: Rich Gruny, Don Fahlberg, Rich Tinker, Ralph Moore, George Schureman, Bob Ferguson and Ray Querey.

Fifty two crew members attended, four for the first time:
William Allen
Meredith Anderson
Don Anspauch
Robert Archibald
John Balch
Eldon Bartlett
Joe Beard
Art Bowne
George Breeden
Frank Carey
Augie Carillo
John "Bud" Carlson
Floyd Clements
Ivan B. Cobb
Vernon Compton
William Creed
Elmer Deitte
Bill Donahue
William Douras
James Ernsburger
Bob Ferguson
Neal Grove
Norm Grove
Richard Gruny
Clayton Hart
Don Hendrick
Bud Henry
Frank Hurley
Rich Johns
Maurice Johnson
Richard Kirby
Bob Lozier
John Lucas
Dave Miller
Ralph Moore
John Nash
Ray Querey
Cletis Reed
Buck Reynolds
Gene Roberts
Fred Robertson
Bernard Schreiber
Art Schutze
George Schureman
Frank Schwerin
Joe Slatin
Nelson Snapp
D. V. Stevens
Robert Thomas
Richard Tinker
Jim Tompkinson
Walter Vereecke
First timers:
William Allen
Robert Archibald
John Balch
Neal Grove

OTHER PAST REUNIONS

Crew members from Korea plus years at 1990 reunion
Crew members from the "Korea plus" (1951-64) years
of the Robinson at the 1990 South Bend reunion:

Seated, left to right: Al Shippling, Buck Reynolds, Bill Grove, Rich Johns, Don Lukanen.
Standing-1st row, left to right: Wilbur Rose, Junior Mustard, John Conroy
Standing-2nd row, left to right: Roger Mustard, Frank Schwerin, Bud Henry, Howard Wise, Rich Tinker, Jim Tomkinson, Bud Carlson
Standing-3rd row, left to right: Robert St George, Stan Seaman, Art Schuetze, Gene Ferguson, Bob Ferguson


Crew members from WW2 group at 1990 reunion
Crew members from the WW2 group of the Robinson
at the 1990 South Bend reunion:

1st row, left to right: Gene Roberts, Clayton Hart, D. Martin, Don Anspauch, Vic Forys, Bill Callahan, Eldon Bartlett, Don Fahlberg & Charlie Robinson
2nd row, left to right: Fred Satterly, Ray Fields, George Breeden, Tony Duran & John Harvey
3rd row, left to right: Bob Heick, Jim Heineke, John Cain, Bill Creed, Arnold Seastedt, Ray Burras, Greg Inman & Cesar Cesarini
4th row, left to right: Andy Anderson, Paul Holloway, G. Vradenburg, Red Halley, Paul Jones & D. Stevens
5th row, left to right: Ralph Moore, Elmer Deitte, Buck Bedford,Thomas Chaput & Bill Matson


Don Fahlberg, Bud and Mouza Zumwalt at 1995 reunion
Don Fahlberg, and Bud and Mouza Zumwalt chat with shipmates and guests at the 1995 Robinson Reunion in Covington, Kentucky.

Back in 1945 at war's end, Lt. Zumwalt was our Ship's Evaluator when the Robinson was assigned to the Yangtze Patrol Force. Through an unlikely series of events on entering China via the Yangtze River, he was detached from the Robinson to take command of the Ataka, a prize Japanese gunboat, which he subsequently delivered into the hands of ComNavGroupChina in Shanghai.

While attending a dinner party there he met a stunning young French lady, Mouza Coutelais-du-Rouche, and almost immediately fell in love with her. On October 22, 1945, just five weeks after their first meeting, Bud and Mouza were married in a Russian Orthodox Church in Shanghai. Participating in the ceremony as honor guard were many crew members of the Robinson, enjoying one of their earliest Shanghai liberties.

At the Covington reunion in 1995, Bud and Mouza were just weeks short of their 50th wedding anniversary, and looking toward it with great anticipation. As we all know, Bud managed in those intervening years a meteoric climb to the top of the Navy heap, being named CNO in 1970, the youngest person to hold that exalted position.


Here's where we were in past Robbie reunions. Where were you?

1981 South Bend, IN
1982 St. Louis, MO
1983 Denver, CO
1984 St. Louis, MO
1985 Seattle, WA
1986 Baltimore, MD
1987 New Orleans, LA
1988 San Diego, CA
1989 Dallas, TX
1990 South Bend, IN
1991 Post Falls, ID
1992 Charleston, SC
1993 St. Louis, MO
1994 Denver, CO
1995 Covington, KY
1996 Myrtle Beach, SC
1997 Harrisburg, PA

1998 San Diego, CA
1999 Covington, KY
2000 Daytona Beach, FL
2001 Peoria, IL
2002 Gulf Breeze, FL
2003 Buffalo, NY
2004 Baton Rouge, LA
2005 South Portland, ME
2006 San Antonio, TX
2007 Branson, MO
2008 Boston, MA
2009 Newport News, VA
2010 Branson, MO
2011 Myrtle Beach, SC
2012 Nashville, TN
2013 Waterloo, IA
2014 Savannah, GA


Send us your comments and contributions!
Send them to Tom Clegg at
tomcleg@yahoo.com

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