“We had a great time!”   “Best reunion ever!”  “Keep in touch!”  “Good food, fun people!”  “What else could we want?”  “Great weather.”  “Nice hotel, good staff.”  “Let us know when and where the next reunion will be.” “It’s so good to be together again!”  These were just some of the comments that were made by the attendees during the 24th reunion of the USS Fred T. Berry DD/DDE-858.  Approximately 120 attended; the largest gathering yet.

The reunion opened Thursday, September 23, 2009 with registration and a gathering of shipmates and their families.  Sea stories were shared and friends brought each other up to date with what had happened in their lives.

Friday morning the group traveled to Kennebunkport and shopped and toured the area which included driving by the Bush home and learning that the Bush family was very accessible and friendly when they were “out and about” in Kennebunkport.  Dinner was held at “Foster’s Down East Clambake” where clams were served first and then lobsters were plopped on plates with steamed corn, potatoes and steamed onion.  I’m sure the people who had enjoyed clambakes in the past were amused by the amateurs who fought their lobsters for a few good bites.  Chicken and eggplant parmesan were available for non lobster eaters. 

When we returned to the hotel, a membership meeting was held in the hospitality room.  Everyone was asked to give feed back to John Titsworth so that a decision could be made concerning the next reunion location and 2011’s as well.  Everyone was reminded that ten years ago Dennis Jordan died a mainstay and organizer who loved the Fred T. Berry and worked diligently toward the reunions.  John and Toni have been organizing these reunions since that time and would really like for the shipmates to give them feedback concerning what they would like to do at future reunions. John made the announcements concerning the rest of the reunion schedule. Pictures were to be taken at 6:00 pm on Saturday by Dick Enright. The cocktail hour was to be from 6:00 pm; the banquet at 7:00; and the raffle and a short meeting after the banquet. We were all reminded to bring a new raffle gift. Donna Enright did another amazing job of putting together our reunion memories book. We were reminded to send her our pictures for this year’s book. We all thank her and Dick for this enormous job as well as running the Ship’s Store. What a wonderful couple!

Saturday included a tour of the Maine Maritime Museum, the Bath Iron Works (where ships are constructed, the latest being a destroyer, the Momsen, DDG 92) and shopping at Freeport and DeLorme Map Headquarters. Many of us saw the two moose that died with their antlers locked.  L. L. Bean paid more than $50,000 for the taxidermy and decided to dedicate the display because it was so symbolic of these wild beings in this area. Elaine Brothers, Valerie Patti and John Titsworth kept all of us on schedule and out of trouble on our tours. We are grateful for their help in monitoring and herding us to where we needed to be.

The final banquet was great fun.  We began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Titsworth grandchildren.  Elaine Brothers again outdid herself in ticket sales for the raffle; approximately $1,200 was collected.  John Titsworth sadly shared the list of shipmates that had passed on this year:  Jerry Cook, Billy Drake, Leon Taisy, Cliff Neubauer, Leonard Young, and Richard Trott.   We were delighted to have Jerry’s wife Glenda with us. Family members and other visitors were welcomed and introduced. The runners for the raffle were the late Scotty Frasers’ grandchildren and John and Toni Titsworth’s Grandchildren.  They did an excellent job. Eileen Trueman called the numbers and Steve and Leslie Greensberg and Val Patti assisted. The grand prizes:  a wonderful quilt that Shirley Fritz made as well as a beautiful carved duck by Dick Enright. Captain Tiny Atkinson told us how much he enjoyed the love of our group and our wonderful gatherings, even though it required much travel to get to the East Coast. We were delighted that Anna, his wife, and his daughter accompanied him. Ed Teagle made a presentation to Ron Fritz for all his hard work on developing the web site and presented Shirley Fritz with a plaque for Ron’s and Shirley’s son in appreciation for all his hard work to get the web site going. Ed and David Fickle, new webmasters, are accumulating email addresses from the shipmates so that mailings can be sent via computer and money can be saved in mailings.  Ed has also requested that someone volunteer to be a writer for the web site.

On Sunday morning from 7:00 until 9:00 am shipmates, spouses and friends enjoyed a buffet breakfast and sadly said our goodbyes, with promises to stay in touch. 

We are all eagerly awaiting news about the location and the dates for 2010’s reunion.

Meanwhile, fair seas and smooth sailing. . .

Meg Peeler

Meg is the wife of Jim Peeler. Jim served aboard the Fred T Berry in 1966 and 1967 as Chief Hospital Corpsman. They have been coming to reunions since 2000.


Photos from Don Gubrandsen:

                                  Donna And Dick Enright

       Ed Teagle presents a plaque to Ron Fritz for his Website!

                                                                                               Shipmates of the 50’S

                                  Gene and Clair Inkpen

                            John Straniero and Gene Inkpen

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