James T. (Jim) Eyre (BA, 1975) grew up in Phoebus, graduated from Hampton High School in 1961, and attended CNC first in 1962-64. He has fond memories of those early years, when the College was located downtown on 32nd Street. He was on the staff of the student newspaper, Chris's Crier, both years and also recalls being elected to the Honor Council.
Like many young men at that time, his academic career was interrupted by the Vietnam War. In February of 1964 he joined the US Army. After completing Officers Candidate School (OCS), he was stationed for awhile at Fort Devens, MA, where, ironically, CNCclassmate Claude Stanley was also stationed. They traveled together on leaves to and from their parents' homes, since the Stanleys lived in Williamsburg and the Eyres in Phoebus.
Jim Eyre as a CNC student in 1964. 1964 TRIDENT, P.32
Jim's government ID photo
Jim with rescued Vietnamese child
While in the Army, Jim served in the Army Security Agency (ASA) and Army Intelligence and Security (AIS), including one tour in South Vietnam as First Lieutenant with the Mobile Riverine Force (9th Division) in the Mekong Delta. Of his time there Jim wrote:
One experience in Vietnam especially remains vivid in my memory.
We were on patrol, traveling a dirt road. Down the road, we spotted
a small child with some bags piled on the road. Knowing that the
Viet Cong often used small children as booby traps, we sent a team
of men around our right flank. They came on a group of VC lying in
ambush and soon scattered them. We found the child was indeed
sitting on a booby trap. After carefully defusing the bomb and him,
I interestingly interrogated him with the help of our interpreter. After
some amusing conversation, we returned him to his village. This event
is something I have never forgotten because it was a memorable
example of how cheaply life was valued in Vietnam.
He left Vietnam in April of 1967 and left the Army in November.
Mobile Riverside Force in the Mekong Delta
From late 1967 to 1973, Jim worked on the Peninsula in business and finance, married Mary Washington graduate Sarah Cross in 1973, and returned to CNC, which had become a four-year college. He was given full credit for his OCS courses. His experience teaching tennis and playing on an Army tennis team qualified him to play for CNC under Coach Jack Armistead from 1973 until receiving his BA in Business Administration on May 18, 1975.
Jim had a very successful business career. After working as a buyer at the Newport News Shipyard, he joined Eck Supply Co., a large wholesale distributor of electrical supplies, headquartered in Richmond. He was VP when he left Eck to join VBS Material Handling Equipment in 1989. Headquartered also in Richmond, VBS sells, services and repairs the Hyster line of fork lifts. As Executive VP, COO and CFO, Jim helped VBS, originally a small family business, expand its clientele and territory. The company now serves customers in VA, NC, WV and MD and provides all folk lifts used at the Newport News Shipyard and Smithfield Foods, just to name a few of its major customers.
Jim retired in 2006. He and Sarah, once math department chairman at York High, moved to Isle of Pines, SC, where they both play tennis as often as they can--sometimes with one or both of their married daughters: Kathleen (living now in China with her husband, Jim Swenson, and their three children) and Sally (an architect, living with her husband, Jamey Rock, in Raleigh, NC). Big fans of professional tennis, Jim and Sarah recently enjoyed having GalinaBoskoboeva of Kazakhstan stay at their home while she was competing in the Family Circle Cup Women's Tennis Tournament. Galina is number 51 in the world in the current listing of top players in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).
Jim with wife, Sarah, in 2006
Jim with WTA player Galina Boskoboeva
Jim with daughters, Sally & Kathleen and wife, Sarah
Jim in 2011
Throughout his career, Jim never forgot how important CNC was to him. He has spent much time serving his alma mater. His work on the CNUAlumni's Board of Directors (1995-98) and as Alumni President (1997-98) earned him CNU'sOutstanding Alumni Award in 1999. After serving nine years on the CNU Educational Foundation's Board of Trustees (1997-2006), he is currently serving a second term as VP of that organization. During Christopher Newport's 50th Anniversary weekend (September, 2011), Jim was honored at the Sunday Gala as one of the Top 50 Alumni. He is also one of four alumni serving on the Executive Committee for the Alumni House Building Campaign. He is, in short, dedicated to the institution which has been a part of his life since he began here as a First Decaderin 1962.
Appeared April 24 - 29, 2012
Gail Latta Pearce: A Busy People Person
by A. Jane Chambers
Gail Latta Pearce (66 Decader) is a people person who enjoys challenges. After editing the Senior Section of her 1964 Newport News High School Anchor, two years later she worked enthusiastically as Editor of CNC's third yearbook, the 1966Trident-- "an all new, larger yearbook with a new format" (p. 46). With high quality photography throughout, this yearbook remains today one of the best in theTrident series. Gail recalls that "It was difficult at times to get people to cooperate and get information to us," but "the staff was wonderful and it was an amazing experience for me." Her staff included (alphabetically) Dave Ahearn, Sheila BarbourDize (deceased), Diane BoudreauLoftus, Barbara HamelFlynn (deceased), Camile KroneWhite, Mike Loftus(deceased), Chip Rhody, and Charlie Snead. The faculty adviser was Graham Pillow. The green cover of thisTrident perhaps was meant to reflect CNC's status as a branch of William and Mary, and the three white stripes might have symbolized the three prongs of Neptune's trident.
Gail as 1966 Trident Editor. 1966 Trident, p. 46
Gail with some of her Trident staff. 1966 Trident, p. 47
Faculty Adviser Graham Pillow
Gail's career has been in hotel work, demanding constant interaction with people. She began as an executive secretary at the Hilton Hotel in Wilmington, NC, and then at the Sheraton Hotel in Hampton, but advanced to sales when management realized she had the ability and skills to succeed as a catering sales manager. Uncertain at first ("I didn't think this would be my type of work"), she quickly rose to the challenge ("I gave it a try and found my niche").
Gail's now in her nineteenth year with Point Plaza Suites in Newport News and loves what she does: planning events ranging from family reunions, birthday parties, and public and private school functions to political events. "However," she writes, "weddings are my specialty, my calling. Each and every bride holds a special place in my heart. So I take great care to listen to and advise brides on their special day. No detail is too small or extravagant."
Whatever the event to be catered, Gail strives "not only to meet but to exceed the clients' expectations...to help them see their visions [turn] into a reality and to have them leave knowing they could not have selected a better location."
Believing that "giving back to the community is very important," when Gail's not busy at Point Plaza, she spends much of her free time in voluntary service. A long-time member of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, she's worked at many fund-raising events, including the annual Seafest, which has benefited charities such as the Red Cross.
A member of the Virginia Peninsula Rotary Club since April, 1999, she has participated in numerous service events and also was Club President (2009-2010). A few years ago, she participated in a fact-finding mission undertaken by the Peninsula Rotary Club in conjunction with a Rotary club in Escazu,Costa Rica, to raise money through both clubs and obtain from the International Rotary Foundation a grant to help make the lives of school children in disadvantaged areas better and more sanitary. While visiting one school, where "children had to walk long distances" to get there, Gail found the experience "very humbling, because the children were so grateful for every little thing," such as school supplies, and "gave us pictures and sang songs for us and fed us lunch. It made me appreciate ever so much more all the things I had and took for granted. Although "Service Above Self" is their motto, the Rotarians also took a little time out to visit the rain forest, go white-water rafting, and enjoy zip lining in the Monteverde Mountains--an experience Gail found "a thrill of a life time."
Gail is also VP for the Newport News chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, an international women's social, cultural, and service organization that raises funds for medical research and treatment for children, and serves as City Council Representative for her chapter.
Serving on the Steering Committee for the 2011 Reunion of CNC's First Decaders goes on Gail Latta Pearce's list of community service too. She often arranged a meeting room for the committee at Point Plaza.
As busy as she is, "Family is a top priority for me," she says. "I enjoy spending time with my daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons"--shown with her in this last photo.
Gail zip lining in Costa Rica
Family time with grandsons Bradley and baby Aiden
Appeared March 2 - 5, 2012
MEET FIRST DECADER...
Sonny Short: Technician, Skier, Volunteer
by A. Jane Chambers
When Nasawaddox, Virginia, native Ceylon C. (Sonny) Short, Jr. moved with his family to Hampton at age 15, he experienced a cultural shock when he enrolled as a sophomore in Hampton High School. It was quite a change from the one-building school he had attended on the Eastern Shore for 9 years. But he quickly adjusted to his new environment and fulfilled two major goals: earning his Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scout Troop 56 in Hampton (December 1961) and earning his high school diploma at HHS (June 1962).
These achievements were followed by two years at CNC(1962-64), then four years (1964-68) at NASA Langley Research Center Apprentice School, where he regularly made the Dean's List. After graduating as an Experimental Metalworker, Sonny worked primarily at two places: Modern Machine and Tool Company and NASA Langley Research Center. He was with Modern Machine and Tool as Wind Tunnel Instrument Calibration Technician and Strain Gage Technician from 1970-76, and again as Engineering Technician in that same department from 1991 to his retirement in 2011. In between these times, he was reemployed at NASA Langley Research Center as an Engineering Technician in the Instrument Research Division.
Sonny the Eagle Scout, Dec. 1961
Sonny the NASA Graduate, Oct. 1968
While at the Apprentice School, the Eastern Shore youth discovered that he loved mountains, especially snow-covered ones, and he learned to snow ski. He joined the Peninsula Ski Club in 1967 and became a dedicated skier. Since that time, he writes:
I have skied in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York,
Vermont, Maine, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Idaho, British
Columbia (Canada), Sarajevo (then Yugoslavia), Bormio (Italy) and
Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) over the past 45 years.
Beginning in 1997, the Peninsula Ski Club has held an annual ski week at Mt. Snow, Vermont, during which time club members hold ski races among themselves and award prizes--"not trophies," Sonny says, "which are just things you have to dust, but useful things--ski gloves and other pieces of ski equipment." Over the years, he has won enough such prizes "to completely outfit myself," he says. To the right is a photo of Sonny racing at Mt. Snow in February of 2004, when he was 60. If you want the story behind this photo's appearance on the cover of SKI magazine, contact Sonny!
This year's ski week in Vermont (February 13-17) was rather disappointing, however; Sonny says that because of the unusually warm winter, there was not enough snow there for skiing! The Peninsula Ski Club has also enjoyed annual ski weeks in America's western mountains. Sonny has been the group's Trip Captain for Western US ski trips since 2009. He also served as the club's president in 2006-2007.
Sonny on the cover of SKI magazine, Feb., 2004, at age 60.
Sonny has always been active also in community service groups. When he was a member of the Hampton Roads Jaycees (1971-81), he was Chapter President in 1967-77. Because of this service and his other volunteer work during his years in the Jaycees, he was awarded both Life Membership in the Virginia Jaycees and JCI Senatorship, which is Life Membership in Jaycees International. After leaving the Jaycees, Sonny also served for 10 seasons (1980-89) as a Certified High School Football Official (referee) for the Virginia High School League. After his retirement from Modern Machine and Tool Company (April of 2011), he joined the Oyster Point Rotary Club (June of 2011) and is currently serving as that club's webmaster.
And when the call went out for volunteers to serve on the Steering Committee for the 2011 Reunion of CNC's First Decaders, one of the first to volunteer was ... of course, Ceylon C. (Sonny) Short, Jr
Sonny at Pinehurst in Easter, 2010
Ron Lowder: Computer Man and Music Man Extraordinaire
by A. Jane Chambers
Ronald L. (Ron) Lowder, Sr., of Newport News, our webmaster, has always divided his time between working with computers and making music. He spent 34 years working for the Federal Government, primarily with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, where he worked as an Executive Director for their Chesapeake/Norfolk center and later retired as Chief of Operations of their Systems Engineering component. But he also spent those years and more making and recording music.
After a year at CNC (1964-65), Ron pleased both Uncle Sam and his own soul by playing clarinet and saxophone in the Army Band at Ft. Eustis, 1966-68. After that, and further academic studies (1969-73) at CNC and TNCC, including an AAS degree from TNCC in 1971, he began that computer career. But all along, he was also still studying and making music and learning more about sound systems. He performed with a number of bands, playing sax, piano, oboe and bass guitar.Those groups included Sunny Days Revue,Bill Deal and the Rhondels, Fat Ammons Band, The Sheepherders and the Royale VIIto name a few.
Ron now co-owns Lowder Enterprises LLC (with his son, Ron Jr.) with locations in the Port Warwick development in Newport News and in Virginia Beach. His son operates The Academy of Rock music (AoRM) at these locations and Ron Sr. operates their recording studio at the Port Warwick location 3 days a week. Ron is also a partner in a songwriting team with Jimmy Crank (owner of JSC Insurance in Hampton) and a CNC Decader also. Jimmy writes the lyrics and Ron puts those lyrics to music. Information about their albums can be found under The Ship's Store tab of this website.
Below, Ron talks about the excitement of performing in the 1970s with the show group Sunny Days Revue,where he learned techniques that he was able to apply to his careers in both government and music.
Ron performing at the Hampton Roads Coliseum - 1977
Ron performing at Norfolk Yacht Club - New Years Eve - 2007
The 1970s were a great time for live music. Almost all notable hotels and clubs had live music. I performed with the group Sunny Days Revue, playing six nights a week all over the country. The usual format was Dinner Set, Show set, Dance Set, Show, Dance Set. We had eight different outfits and would change before each show set.
The shows were elaborate productions based on Broadway musicals, 50s and 60s music, and/or specific genres of music and included theatrical lighting, props--all the trappings of authentic "show business." We had a producer/arranger from New York by the name of Jimmy LaMonica, who brought that "New York" feel to our shows and provided much of the show material we used. The group also had a vocal coach named Marty Lawrence, who also taught many famous groups such as Earth, Wind and Fire. I'm just a "fair" vocalist, but Marty taught me many important aspects of singing such as how to properly warm up and how to extend my singing range. All in all, working with these professionals was a great experience for me.
The real value from my months with this group was learning how to capture the attention of an audience, the importance of lighting, the importance of where things are placed on a stage and learning the art of appealing to the emotions of an audience. The techniques I used then transferred well into my later positions in the computer software industry and contributed to my effectiveness in positions such as Executive Director and Chief of Operations. The showmanship I learned during my Sunny Days Revue time got me through many difficult high level meetings successfully.
In the fall of 1976, I performed with the group at a venue called "The Wishing Well" in Towson, Maryland. One evening I brought a simple $29 portable audio cassette tape recorder with me, sat it on the floor behind some equipment and recorded a few of our show sets in order to evaluate my own performance. As it turned out, that live recording some how turned out pretty good and I kept it through the years and recently converted a brief segment of one show for website listening. It is the only live recording that I know of for this (then) very popular group. You can hear what the group sounded like by clicking on the sound icon below. I hope itbrings backa few good 1970's memories for you !!!
NOTE: This Sound File might take as much as a minute to load before it starts playing.
Appeared February 2 - 13, 2012
PATTY LOTTINVILLE KIPPS: QUIET LADY WITH A BUSY LIFE
By A. Jane Chambers
Patricia Ann (Patty) Lottinville Kipps tends to be modest about her achievements, both at CNC and afterwards. Her freshman year (1961-62), Patty was one of only 7 students who made the first Dean's List. Her sophomore year, while continuing to excel academically, she also served on the Honor Council and worked as a student assistant for librarian Bette Mosteller. After completing her AA degree (June, 1963), Patty then earned herABin Psychology at William in Mary (1966). While daughters Kathy and Mary Anne were growing up, she held several part-time jobs, including working as a Laboratory research assistant for a biology professor at W&M and working for the U.S. Postal Service.
Once the girls were adults, Patty had a "mid-life crisis," resulting in an exciting adventure: a solitary 6-weeks' camping trip through New England and part of Canada. "I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life," she says. Here's what happened, she wrote:
I started on July 4, 1986, 42 years old, single for a year, both daughters in college, and wondering where my future would be. I began by visiting my sister in Maryland, then going north from there. I had my truck with a camper cab on the back, a cook stove, a foam pad and sleeping bag, an ice chest, and various foods. I cooked for myself almost all the time. I went north to New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and over into Canada. I had only a general itinerary and camped at campgrounds only, never just beside the road. The only big wild animals I saw were moose. I was scared a few times, mostly when the campground I had picked was deserted, or almost, because having others around felt safer.
I climbed the high mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire, and Mt. Katahdin in Maine [5267 ft. See photo at end]. I visited many state parks, hiked quite a bit in the Adirondacks (including a visit with a fire lookout ranger who was on duty) and stood on the most eastern point in the USA, Quoddy Point in Maine [See lighthouse photo at end]. On my return, I went through Pennsylvania, then down to visit friends in Maryland. I called home frequently to let family know I was safe.
Asked if she would undertake such a solitary trip again, Patty replied, "Absolutely, if I were 42 again, or even 52. But not at my present age. I do have the urge sometimes to go back to more basic camping. But probably not alone.
When she returned from that grand adventure, she launched into another: graduate studies at VCU. She and her elder daughter graduated togetherin 1987---Kathy with a Bachelor's degree and Patty with an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling. She then spent the next 20 years as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, primarily working in Williamsburg. She retired in 2007.
Patty's H.S. Senior photo, 1961
Patty with her camper truck
"I live a quiet life" now, she says. Well, I don't think so! When she's not hiking with the East Coast Hikers in such places as the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, camping with her husband, John Greenman, reading a serious book, or doing needlework (including quilting and knitting), Patty stays busy with various kinds of volunteer work. She's worked with Red Cross Disaster Services and the United Way, where she's a Community Resource Assistant. She's also taught English as a Second Language and plans to do that again.
Perhaps most interesting, however, is the volunteer work she and John do at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail in Williamsburg. Here's her account of that:
John and I joined a study group called All Together, a conversational and learning experience with people of different ages and races. As our time ended with this group, several of us wanted to continue the experience by doing a project in our local community. We finally settled on assisting the families of persons incarcerated in our local Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail. As we worked with local probation people and jail staff to set this up, we kept hearing that the inmates really needed our assistance with the practical matters of how to adjust to life after incarceration. We called our group Williamsburg Walks the Talk (WWTT), and the jail began to refer to us interested inmates for mentoring by some in our group.
We meet the inmate about 2-3 months prior to release, enter into a voluntary relationship, assist him or her to make a plan for post-release, and then help with carrying out that plan. We do such things as assisting with a ride on release day, taking the former inmates to their probation officers (if needed), helping with getting food, bus tickets, clothing, picture ID, and in some cases a place to live temporarily (if there is nowhere else to go on release). We give them a backpack and hygiene packet (toiletries) if they want them, and can help them find AA or NA meetings or job leads if they wish. We just offer support and, sometimes, friendship.
Our group has survived for 7 years now. WWTT is a unique group of people that have developed into a dedicated, fun-loving, and cohesive fellowship with a common purpose. We have since added more people to our group, either as mentors, or in other capacities. A couple of our members are ex-inmates themselves, and one is the grandmother of a long-term inmate. Several are retired ministers. We are growing and developing this year by joining with another group called Fresh Start, which has been operating in Newport News and Hampton for a few years with good success at helping former inmates get jobs. We are hoping this will help our success rate with our former inmates, since finding an employer who is willing to hire them, particularly if they have felony convictions, is harder than ever, especially in the present job market. Being a part of this group sure beats playing golf for a retirement activity!
And this, folks, is what Patty Lottinville Kipps calls her "quiet life."
Patty hiking in New England
Patty and John in Canada
Appeared January 27 - 30, 2012
MEET FIRST DECADER BOB WEATHERMAN: Retired HPD Sergeant with a Colorful Career
by A. Jane Chambers
Robert A. (Bob) Weatherman of Hampton attended CNC 1961-62. He then began a 28-year law enforcement career with the Hampton Police Department (HPD), briefly interrupted by 2 years (1965-67) in the Army, including voluntary service in Vietnam as a combat engineer in Cam Rahn Bay. After his honorable discharge, he returned to HPD, attended ODC part-time, and earned an AA in Law Enforcement with a 3.7 GPA in 1973.
Bob held several important positions in HPD, but serving undercover in the department's first Vice Squad in the early 1970s was one duty he remembers as particularly exciting, though also sometimes dangerous.
He went undercover first as a biker with a full beard, long hair, and the street name "Red Baron." He worked his way into a motorcycle gang from New Jersey that settled in the Buckroe area. Often arrested in Hampton or Newport News along with the gang's drug pushers, he would be released after a little time in lockup. This assignment ended when, in Bob's words, "my cover was blown. A $5,000 contract was taken out on me. They hired a biker out of Jersey to track me down and kill me." The hit man was caught and is still in prison, but the word was out and more hit men signed contracts to kill him, so Bob's days as "Red Baron" ended.
Bob's second Vice Squad assignment demanded a totally new persona. He dyed every hair on his body jet back, cut his hair shorter, trimmed his beard, changed his clothing, turned in his motorcycle for an all white (inside and out) Cadillac convertible, and posed as a pimp. "Five of my loveliest female informants volunteered to become my Ladies of the Evening," he recalls. "I actually bought drugs from people who had known me as 'Red Baron' and didn't recognize me. Oh, the stories I could tell you!"
Bob as the "Red Baron"
Bob with dyed black hair
Bob also often used "Red" in his Vice Squad work, which he proudly describes as "my first NEW car, a 1968 Chevy Camero V-8 327 automatic convertible, red body with white stripe around the nose, black top and interior" that "worked as a great distraction when I approached suspected drug pushers." When shows such as the Grateful Dead played at the Coliseum, he drove "his little girl," Red, around in the parking lot, with the top down, and made many arrests. "When I saw open use of drugs and alcohol," Bob says, "I stopped and users flew to her like bees to honey. I would volunteer to take them for a ride, picking those holding drugs and booze. I drove them around so others could see us, then to the rear of the coliseum where the paddy wagon waited. Her highest arrest count for one night's work was 34 arrests, her least 19."
He has kept Red in excellent shape for 43 years and the Camero has over 260,000 miles on its original engine. He still drives it "on rare special occasions" and "it has been appraised for $50,000 because of the great shape it is in." Because the black top and seats were too hot during the summer, he replaced them with white ones--the only change he's made. Like many automobiles of the 1960s, Red, he says, was "built to last and last forever with a little TLC."
Sgt. Weatherman retired from HPD in 1991 but has continued to have adventures--although much tamer ones now. He and life partner Carolyn Mingee have enjoyed cruises to destinations from Alaska to Panama and plan next to cruise to Russia and Finland.
Bob's also remained active in Hampton's Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Lodge 26, of which he was a charter member, and has served six terms as president. His career honors include co-authoring, in 1974, the Police Officers Bill of Rights, now Virginia law, and being voted Police Officer of the Year in 1975 by the Knights of Columbus.
Bob Weatherman in 2010
Bob Weatherman's 1968 Camero now. RAW is Bob's initials.