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An Information Page of
of Range Rats Deaths
Reported during 2007 - 2008
(Page 2 of 3)

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    This new page was updated: 01 JUNE 2013
    (added all of the 2008 entrys to this page)

    If you worked down range, I would like to hear from you, especially if you know of any range rats who have passed on and not listed on Page 1 of the Death Pages, Where there is an alphabetical list (table listing) of all known range rats who have died, as reported by other range rats.

    If you are a new range rat who just found this particular page FIRST, be sure to check the Page 1 of these Range Rat deaths, (see link above).

    If you can provide any information about where they worked and what years, the year they died etc etc it would be helpful. You can see from many of the below entrys what type of information has been supplied.

    If you know any of the range rats listed on these page and want to send more information about them, you can do that too.

    Page THREE of Range Rat deaths covering the deaths reported in the year of 2005-06 can be found by clicking here.


    I first started listed Range Rat deaths in 2005 when my Range Rat Introduction page was first published, it was only one short page to start with, but after many years it became too long and so in 2007 I created a separate page listing just those who RRs who died and notes from other RRs who reported that info and now its been expanded to two pages.
    Please look over the names below, perhaps you knew some of these RRs or worked with them,
    If you have new information you can contact me by clicking
    Here to Send Email to Joe


    "One less Range Rat is not a good thing".

  • 22 DEC. 2008, FRIENDS REPORT DEATH OF TERRY HEIDBRIER.
    • The Dec. 18th issue of "FLORIDA TODAY" newspaper reported that "Tyrone B. Heidbrier, of Cape Canaveral FL passed away Monday, December 15, 2008. Terry was born in Detroit, MI on July 11, 1938."
      From the email I received I learned that Terry worked for RCA on the USNS Redstone and saw that he also worked at the Trinidad tracking station, by looking at Jack Tolman's website that lists a great number of Trinidad Range Rats.
      If anyone wants to provide more info. on Terry, I will report it here.

  • 21 DEC. 2008, GEORGE TAVLARIS NAME ADDED TO THE ABOVE LIST.
    • This Dec. 2008, I received an email from John Gladden, about George Tavlaris who was the Admin. Clerk & Base Accountant at Antigua for years. John also received info. from Bob Tucker, ex Pan Am Weather, that George had gone to Guam to work and that is where he suffered a heart attack and died. John thinks he died some time ago.
    • 22 JAN. 2009, Charlie Anderson, from Colorado Springs CO wrote: "I had the pleasure of working with George Tavlaris in the Seychelles and on Guam in the mid 80's.
    • If anyone had more info. about George Tavlaris that they want to share, about where he worked, what stations, where he went after the range, and when he died, etc, please email me so it can be reported here.

  • 21 DEC. 2008: MORE RANGE RAT DEATHS TO REPORT
    • I again did some super sluthing of old RCA Range Rat names, and these are confirmed deaths.

        21 DEC. 2008, names added to this large group.
      • Frank J. Blatnik, died May 1995, age 75, at Riverview FL
      • Bobby H. Boulineau, died 12 Jan. 2001, age 65, at Middleburg FL
      • James Brady, died 15 Aug. 2003, age 81, at Brick NJ
      • Johnny C. Brown, died 27 Apr. 1997, age 55 at Jacksonville FL.
        (I do remember Johnny who was our RCA clerk at GBI and later at ASC).
      • Harry E. Brownlee, died 22 Feb. 2000, age 62 at Tallahassee FL

      • 01 Sept. 2008, names added to this large group.
      • Jack M. Ake, died 17 Aug 2004, age 86, at Daytona Beach FL
      • Fred W. Arnold, died 11 May 2007, age 74, at Richmond VA
      • Richard Beben, died May 1987, age 56, at Biloxi MS
      • Valentine Bee, died Jan. 1985, age 61, at Cocoa Beach FL
      • Alvin Blakely, died June 1981, age 42, place of death unknown

    • I dont know most of these fellows listed above, but someone out there does, if you knew any of these RR's listed above, let me know what stations they worked and approx. what time period, etc. etc.

  • 12 DEC. 2008, RANGE RAT CEMETERY WEBPAGE.
    • In Sept. 2008 I heard from George Hilley with this message: "I started my own Range Rat Cemetery on the findagrave website. click here, this will show the 21 entries I have in it. As you can tell I got some entries from your site and some from information I had. I like the site because people can add comments and pictures like the one I added for Ottie Wayne Doyle. Let me know what you think of the site. I enjoyed looking thru your site."
    • I wrote back to George and I did find his webpage of interest and so I am mentioning it here and also added 4 RR deaths he had listed but have not appeared on this webpage:
      Curtis Chastain, who was a Unit Manager for the USNS Arnold for 24 years, George thinks he might have been the SIM; also
      Ottie Doyle, who was a CCO (Comm Center Operator) with RCA, George knew him in 1964 on Ascension Island; also
      Jack Hilley, who Fred Perkins said Jack was a Comm Center Leader on Trinidad when he worked there in 1963, and then went from there to GBI, from where he left the range. Jack apparently died in Atlanta; and lastly
      Eugene Zink who George said was the NASA Station Director on the USNS Vanguard when he knew him during 1973 to 1977.

  • 10 DEC. 2008, DEATH OF "JACK" VANCLEVE REPORTED.
    • Jack Tolman sent me an email of the death of John "Jack" VanCleve, as follows: "John (Jack) VanCleve of West Melbourne FL, age 86, peacefully went home to be with our Lord on Tuesday, December 2, 2008, while a patient in the William Childs Hospice House. He was preceeded in death by his son, John Price, and daughter, Michelle Lynn (Klein). Survivors include his wife of 50 years Lois; and son, Glenn VanCleve.
    • "VanCleve's" picture was sent in by Tolman, who I recognized seeing many times, he was an RCA radar manager for many years. Who can send info as to what stations he worked and the approximate time periods? Or any other info about him.

  • 13 NOV. 2008, CARL WHITE ADDED TO THIS DEATH PAGE.
    • In Sept. 2008 Dick Rettig inquired about Carl White (RCA), Dick said that in 1970 at Grand Turk Carl was his next door neighbor in one of the barracks and would like to know his whereabouts. I also knew Carl when I was at Turk in the 1960s, I think he was working on the Minitrack system. Rettig recalls Carl as "a remarkable man". I seemed to recall that Carl was pretty gung-ho on doing his job, even sleeping nites at his work station. So I asked for info. on the "Where Are These RR's Now" page about Carl, well it wasn't too long after that page was published that Bill Redman send me this email: "In regards to Dick Rettig inquiring about Carl White's whereabouts: Carl's been dead since the early 1980's. He took his own life. I don't have or remember a lot about the circumstances. I didn't know Carl that well, but do remember him as a very intelligent individual, and always willing to help a fellow tech out. He was working as a programmer at the Cape/Patrick just prior to his death. Working on communication protocol programs as I recall."
    • 12 MAR. 2012: FRED PERKINS PROVIDES INTERESTING BACKGROUND ON CARL WHITE:
      • Fred emailed me in Nov 2010 with the following: "Carl White was indeed as Dick Rettig said 'a remarkable man.' Carl was smuggled out of Czechoslovakia to England as a small child, and was raised and educated in England under the Czech refugee trust fund. He emigrated to the states as a teen ager to live with a relative. He earned his citizenship in part by joining the Air Force. The USAF educated him in electronics, which he learned extremely well. When the first RCA folks came to MTP (I believe in 1953) Carl taught them range instrumentation as an Air Force Electronics Instructor. RCA subsequently hired him. I first met him on GTK in 1958 where he was working at the Minitrack site. I later worked on Antigua in the late '60s with him where he also worked at the Minitrack site. Transferring Carl from station to station down range was a daunting task, as he had acquired over the years what surely must have been several hundred (maybe even thousand) of pounds of tools, all of which went with him from station to station. I last saw Carl in 1968 when I was assigned to GTK briefly as IM. He was working in Radar at the time. I believe he subsequently was transferred to Ascension where he spent many years before finally transferring to the Cape as a programmer. Carl was certainly one of the more unique individuals I encountered on the range."

  • 18 OCT. 2008, NEPHEW REPORTS DEATH OF ROBERT "BUTCH" FORADAS.
    • James Foradas, nephew of Robert "Butch" Foradas, wrote this October: "My Uncle was a 'Range Rat' as you call them, on Mayaguana in the 1950s. He passed away ten years ago. He had pictures of his days there but I'm not sure what became of them. He was a Greek-American guy in his early 30s back then. He also told me that one guy went swimming and was never seen again because of sharks. I was a teenager when I saw the photos and heard these stories. 'Butch' was an RCA/Philco Tech Rep. working missile tracking stations at the time. I wish I had those photos!
      If anyone remembers him please e-mail me at jforadas@gmail.com ."

  • 18 OCT. 2008, FOUR MORE DEATHS TO REPORT....

  • Jim Edwards wrote recently: "from time to time I remember more ex-range troops that have passed on , even though many years have passed for some of them".
    • Jim "Red" Damron: he was a vehicle mechanic with Pan Am in the early days of the Range, and worked at GBI, Ascension and Antigua and probably others. Retired at Antigua to a life of raising livestock and farming. Died 07 October 2008 at Antigua.
    • Warren Dutton: he was the last Pan Am Manager at Antigua before they lost the contract, and was on the staff of Range Bases before that.
    • Richard "Gunny" Russell: As the nickname implies , he was a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant. His retirement occupation of cook and later Commissary Supervisor at Antigua and Ascension seems odd considering his military career, but he did it with a definite flair.
    • Gene Bergeron: Construction and Facilities foreman at Antigua, and many years at Ascension.

  • 13 OCT. 2008, SON REPORTS DEATH OF FATHER.
    • Jim Griffith, the son of William "Bill" Griffith, wrote on 28 Sept.: "My father was a down range rat from the early 1960s on Grand Bahama Island and then Grand Turk Island. My father passed away suddenly on Sunday, 21 Sept 2008. He was so looking forward to the upcoming reunion and was preparing all his old photos. His obituary in the St. Petersburg Times recognized his time down range. I hope you will share this with everyone. I am so sorry he is unable to attend the reunion."

  • 18 SEPT. 2008, MANY FRIENDS REPORT DEATH OF DOMINIC MANCINI.
    • Gene Pugh, Jack Tolman, Bob Johnson, John Gladden all have sent me emails saying that Dominic Mancini had passed away. Dom who was 72, died 15 Sept 2008 and lived in Merritt Island FL. He worked downrange at Antigua 1962-66, and signed the Range Rat sign-in book on 01 Oct 2005.

  • 11 SEPT. 2008, FOUR MORE DEATHS TO REPORT....

  • Bill Redman wrote recently: "Here are names of four range rats that have gone to the big tracking site in the sky and I thought I would pass their names on in case there were any troops out there that had known them and/or worked with them, and were curious as to whatever happen to them. With the exception of Quentin Tallent, I'm unsure of exact dates of death and can only give a general time".
    • Quentin Tallent: "Q" as he was known to friends was a Telemetry engineer at Ascension and Pretoria, South Africa. I believe he served some time on one or more of the tracking ships also. Q died in an automobile accident in Pretoria the day before Thanksgiving 1965.
    • George Havermahl: George was a Telemetry technician, engineer and supervisor on the range. He was at GBI, Ascension, Pretoria, South Africa and I believe spent some time at Antigua. George's final RCA position was at Kirtland AFB, NM. When RCA lost the contract at Kirtland, George and his wife Greta emigrated to South Africa. This would have been roughly around 1976. George died, I believe from a heart attack approximately 8 years ago in South Africa.
    • James "Little Jimmy" Powers: Jim was a 4101 and 1206 computer technician at Ascension and Pretoria, South Africa. I believe he also spent a short time at Trinidad. Jim finished his career with RCA at BMEWS. Jim was killed in an ultralight plane crash near Daytona FL several years ago.
    • Tom Purdy Tom was a technician at the TPQ-18 radar at Ascension in the mid-1960's. Tom is to be remembered for convincing the powers-that-be to allow him to bring archery equipment to the island and to construct an archery range. Tom died from complications from an appendectomy operation, also in the mid-60's.

  • 01 SEPT. 2008, BOB BONNER REPORTS DEATH OF FRIEND.
    • Bob who lives in Spokane WA now, wrote "I want to report a death of a range rat friend of mine James A. "Jim" Bennett. I knew Jim well on the USNS H. H. Arnold, he was the supply supv for PanAm. Jim worked on the Coastal Sentry as well. Jim died in Aug of 1985 and I attended his funeral. Would like to see his name on the list of departed range rats."
  • 01 SEPT. 2008, NICK TAMIROFF DIED IN NOV 2007.
    • Another RR death that I failed to report when it was sent to me: Range Legend Nick Tamiroff died on 06 Nov 2007, as was reported in the newspaper. This info was sent in by Larry L. Smith, via Jack Tolman. Larry goes on to say: "Hadn't heard much of Nick in many years. Last time I saw him, Bill Redman and I were sipping a brew in a hole-in-the-wall beer joint south of Patrick AFB (not on Co. time, of course) and in came Sid Landau (then a juke box mogul) and Nick Tamiroff. Nick had a contract at the base to install tile in the bathrooms of the south housing quarters. That must have been 20 years ago. Nick was 68 at the time of his death. Tempus fugit."

  • 13 AUGUST 2008, IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT GERALD "JERRY" O'DONNELL HAS DIED.
    • Jerry died on Thursday 07 Aug. 2008, he was living in Savannah GA, this was reported to me by Vinicio Lembert of the Dominican Republic who worked with Gerald "Jerry" O'Donnell at the weather station near the Dom. Rep. tracking station. Jerry came to work at the weather station in May 1956 and I knew him when I started working at the station in Dec. 1956 and became good friends. We even roomed together. I've added at picture of Jerry on the DOM REP AAFB webpage, just Click Here.

  • 13 JUNE 2008, DEATH OF BENNIE LaROCHE REPORTED:
    • Jack Tolman forwarded me an email from "LL" that told of the death of Bennie LaRoche, as follows: "Any of you who ever worked on Ascension will remember Bennie. He and Tab Coleman were like part of the lavaworks down there and both wonderful characters. LL".
      Bennie's full name was Benjamin B. LaRoche III, and he passed away on 31 May 2008 at his home at Merritt Island. He was born in Merritt Island, FL and was a fuel mechanic manager for Pan Am Down Range. He was preceded in death by his wife, Elfreida.

  • 01 JUNE 2008, DEATH OF M.M. "MANNY" NORIEGA REPORTED
    • On 27 May, Glenn Brown has reported the death of M.M. "Manny" Noriega, saying he died of cancer about a month ago, which would make it sometime in April 08. Manny worked on the Apollo ships and Antigua radar, then to Ely, Nevada tracking station (radar) with RCA. He leaves behind his wife Gloria and two daughters.

  • 20 MAY 2008, RAY MILLER REPORTS DEATH OF RR FRIEND
    • Ray, located at Hanapepe HI, wrote today: "Jim Roberts passed away this past weekend. He was a tech onboard the American Mariner before he decided to come out to Hawaii and work at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. We will all miss him."

  • 14 MAY 2008, JIM EDWARDS REPORTS DEATH OF 4 MORE RANGE RATS.
    • Roy Smith: was a Pan Am maintenance/support superintendent downrange, notably GBI and Ascension. Originally from Texas, he had mastered the art of making great chili beans . Was also a great guy to be around.
      UPDATE ON ROY SMITH: 07 OCT. 2009: Debba Wainwright Smith who was a range rat in the 1960s, married another Range Rat: George Smith, the son of Roy Smith. Debba relates that Roy, who spent many years down range, was famous for "the Gulch" on Ascension!
    • Jack Steele: Radar manager, SOM on the ARIS ships. He eventually became manager of Range Ships.
    • Dick Stricker: started out on the FS boats, then went rapidly up the management ladder to eventually Pan Am Manager of Downrange . He left the range in 1968 to go with ITT and died by his own hand in late 1970.
    • Ed "Tiger" Jones: Pan Am manager at GBI in the late 50's. Later at Trinidad, I believe. Most remembered by those of us that worked for him for his obsession with security measures around the base.

  • 13 MAY 2008, RICHARD "DICK" REMSTEDT ADDED TO THE ABOVE LIST:
    • Jerry Blackerby emailed me about a friend of his saying in part: "Richard "Dick" Remstedt worked with me on an RCA contract in Oklahoma during 1956-1958. When RCA lost that contract we both accepted transfers to MTP. We ended up in the data-handling section at GBI in mid-1958. In late 1959, Dick transferred to the Cape and remained there for quite a while. I lost touch with him and recently did a google search for him and found him in the SSDI. He died in Brevard County in March, 2003.

  • 10 MAY 2008, WAYNE WITHAM REPORTS DEATH OF JAMEY DILL:
    • saying that Jamey Dill worked on ships for many years and gave me his wifes email address. Laura Dill then said Jamey Dill passed away Feb 1987 and spent his 25+ years with RCA. First on the USNS Twinfalls and then on the USNS Redstone.

  • 10 MAY 2008, 3 DEATHS REPORTED BY KATHRYN GILSON-JOHNSON:
    • Tom Armstrong was a chief Tech at GBI and Radar 12:15 on Ascension. when he retired he operated a bird sanctuary in Costa Rica. He died several years later of pneumonia.
      14 DEC 2009 UPDATE: It was originally reported that Tom Armstrong retired in 1981, however Michael Savinon from Melbourne FL sent in more info. on Tom, and said "I came on the Range in 1983 and I knew Tom personally afterwards on Ascension. He died sometime in the late 1990's or early 2000's. He was a very nice guy that loved his birds. The last time I saw Tom was around 1990 on Ascension. He retired afterwards and settled in Costa Rica where he passed on within the last 10 years.
    • Art Mobius was Radar Leader at Antigua and Ascension during the 1970's - 1980's. In the late 1980's he transferred to Patrick AFB, then passed away a few years later - 1 year after his wife's death.
    • Harry Smith was a Transmitter Engineer on Ascension Radar. He retired to Mississippi in the late 80's due to health problems, then passed away 2 years after that.

  • 10 MAY 2008, DEATH OF JOHN FARKAS REPORTED:
    • This death was reported to me in Oct 07, (but got lost in my emails until now!) by Ray Cartwright, St Augustine FL, who wrote that John Farkas, a programmer on Grand Turk ('77-'79) and Ascension ('79-'83) died of an apparent heart attack in Dec 2003.
    • I didnt know if Ray Cartwright was a Range Rat or not when he reported the above, however he finally signed the Range Rat Sign-In Book on 14 Jul 2009!
    • I do appreciate anyone reporting deaths of known range rats, even if they are not a range rat.

  • 12 APRIL 2008, DAVID T. DONALDSON ADDED TO ABOVE LIST:
    • UPDATE 10 MAY 2008: Mac Monroe send more info on David T. "Dave" Donaldson saying that he was a long time RCA/GE employee, known by many on the Eastern Range, and that his obituary was listed in the online version of the "Florida Today" newspaper for 10 May 2008.
    • Dwight "Speedy" Collier, has reported that Dave Donaldson, age 79, of merritt Island died on 04 April 2008. Speedy said that he worked with Dave at GBI and that he remembers that Dave replaced Jim Falkenstein as IM there, and that Dave flew his own plane.
    • Fred Perkins said that he relieved Dave Donaldson as IM at Pretoria in 1968. and believes Dave held IM positions at a number of other stations over the years.

  • 12 APRIL 2008, LARRY SCHWARTZ TELLS OF DEATH OF FRIEND IN 2007:
    • William "Bill" Daggett, 52, a Range Rat who once worked at GBI in the 80's died unexpectedly on 29 June 2007. Bill, at the time of his death, was a telemetry systems engineer for CSR at Jonathan Dickinson Missile Tracking Annex (JDMTA). Fellow employees said, "JDMTA and the Eastern Test Range has lost one its greatest assets and a vast storehouse of knowledge with the passing of Bill. He will be greatly missed by his coworkers, friends and extended family at JDMTA." Bill was born in Tampa and lived in Hobe Sound FL. He is survived by his wife Zita and other family members.

  • 05 APRIL 2008, NEPHEW REPORTS DEATH OF ROBERT E. SHEAN:
    • Stephen J. Shean wrote in the RR sign-in book on 27 March 08 that his uncle Robert E. Shean served for many years with pride on the USNS Redstone AGM-20. He goes on to say that Robert, who was 83 at the time of death, was a lifelong sailor, spending some 40 yrs at sea joining the Navy for WW2 and Korea, then sailing with the MSTS/MSC aboard the Redstone, and now Neptune has called him home. He will be missed.
      Anyone else who remembers Shean, please let me know what he did on the Redstone.

  • 24 MARCH 2008, DAVE ROEBUCK ADDED TO ABOVE LIST:
    • John Walker (who I knew at GBI in the early 70s) has reported that Dave Roebuck (who we both knew from GBI Telemetry) had died in the late 1970s.
    • UPDATE 17 JUNE 2009: Jack Tolman wrote me in MAR 09 that Dave Roebuck worked at Trinidad in the late 60s as a shift leader. Who can tell something more about Dave Roebuck, what his job titles were and what stations he worked at?

  • 24 MARCH 2008, R.N. RICHARDSON ADDED TO ABOVE LIST:
    • Arthur Newport, of Melbourne FL has reported that R.N. "Ritchie" Richardson died in the early 1990s (Aug 1989 to be exact), "Ritchie" was in Fire Security at ANT, ASC, TURK and probably other stations too.
    • UPDATE 11 JAN 2013: A few days ago I heard from Ruth Richardson, the wife of "Ritchie", who lives in Cocoa FL, she only now found my Range Rat pages, and supplied the first name of her husband as Robert (which is now corrected in the table on page 1), the date of his death, being Aug. 1989 and another two other places that he worked: Carter Cay and at the Tech Lab at Patrick AFB. She also called him "Rich".
    • If you too knew "Rich/Ritchie" Richardson and would like to add some info. about him, just send me an email.

  • 04 MARCH 2008, BILL REDMAN TELLS OF DEATH OF FRIEND FRED LETH-STEENSEN:
    • Bill said recently: " I'm kind of surprised that this has not been brought to your site's attention before this, but Fred Leth-Steensen died in 2001 in New Mexico. Fred was a long time range rat. Fred started on the ETR as a technician and left as a manager. I know for a fact, that he was on Grand Turk, Antigua, South Africa, Ascension and GBI. He may have been on other stations also. I first met Fred when he came to Pretoria, South Africa as Radar Leader. Many an evening he was over my house in Pretoria, where we solved the world's problems over a bottle of brandy. The only problem was, that the next morning we couldn't remember the solutions we came up with! Fred left the ETR in 1972 as did I. We later joined up on the USNS Wheeling, a tracking ship on the Pacific Missile Range. We later worked together at the White Sands Missile Range. We parted again in 1977, when Fred went to Kwaljalein and I went to the Yuma Proving Grounds. Fred and his wife visited my wife and I a couple of times here in Florida. His wife, Alison is currently living in Dallas, Texas. I miss him".

  • 04 MARCH 2008, WILLIAM C. ROPER ADDED TO ABOVE LIST:
    • Richard E "Rick" Marshall, a Computer Operator / Programmer at MISTRAM, Eleuthera, 1965-67, signed the RR book, and reported that William C. "Sweet Old Bill" Roper, Data Analyst, died c2000.

  • 04 MARCH 2008, ADDED TO ABOVE LIST, THE RR'S WHO WORKED AT TRINIDAD:
    • A few years ago Scott Fetterman, (who recently died 05 Feb. 08) sent me a list of 176 Troops who were PCS at the Trinidad tracking station, today I went over the list and compared it to my list and have included the 9 he had listed as deceased that were not on my list. These were:
      Richard Banke;
      Dick Best (Programmer);
      Jim "Hymie" Burbage, TLM Engineer,
      who died at the age of 63 in 1997 in Satellite Beach FL);
      Ken Dunham;
      Jim Hatley;
      Ed Norton (CCO);
      Gene Pool;
      Bill Thomas (Photographer); and
      Ken Willoughby (Comm. Leader).


      Scott had Sam Currier listed as deceased, but new information as of 14 May 2008 confirms that Sam is alive and well in Oregon!
    • As an extra note, with the mention of Jim Burbage above, it reminded me, (the guy who keeps these pages up to date), that when I went to work at the Dominican Republic tracking station in 1956 (my first downrange station), Jim and Hector Trujillo were two people that I worked with in the Timing Section, two longtime friends.
    • I now add Hector Trujillo's name to the above list. He was treated like a VIP when he worked in the Dominican Republic as he had the same name as the president of the country!

  • 12 FEBRUARY 2008, DEATH OF JOHN BECK REPORTED:
    • Fred Perkins sent me this email yesterday: "Am reporting the death of John Beck today 11 FEB 2008. John was an RCA Resident Engineer on a number of stations including Antigua, Ascension and Mahe, I believe he also did brief stints at Pretoria and Eleuthera. He was an avid ham radio operator, and won first place in the world in a a couple of ham radio contests while operating his ham station at Ascension. John left the range for an assignment at RCA Alaskom in Anchorage Alaska, subsequently retiring from there to the Sebring FL area. When his health failed, he entered a nursing home in October 2004, and subsequently passed away there today."
    • 03 JAN. 2009, Fred Perkins later set up a tribute page about John Beck and his ham radio experiences, which can be viewed by clicking here.

  • 09 FEBRUARY 2008, GRANDDAUGHTER REPORTS DEATH OF DAVE STARK ON 07 FEB 08.
      Angelique Bedwell ( tazzywolfy@aol.com ) from Sherman, TX wrote: "I am the granddaughter to fellow range rat David Earl Stark. I wanted to let you know that David passed away today 07 FEB 2008, and his wife, my grandma Imelda Kamlan Stark passed in SEPT. 2007. If any one wants information on David or my father Ira Thomas Bedwell, another former fellow Range Rat, who passed in 2002 they can email me."

  • 07 FEBRUARY 2008, DEATH OF FRIEND AND FELLOW RANGE RAT:
    • Charlie Wright sent this info. yesterday: "Scott Fetterman, long-time range rat RCA radar troop died 05 Feb. 2008 at Melbourne FL. He was 64. There will be no services. Scott served (of the stations I know of) at ASI, POS, SJH, GBI and JDIF. He had been in ill health for some time and then got Red Tide toxins from eating seafood, which led to the loss of functions from the waist down, and that caused his death.
      So long, Scotty. I'm remembering all the good times we had on the range, and since retirement..."
    • 10 FEB 2008 Bill Bailey wrote "I knew Scott Fetterman too. I was on Ascension on radar haul job for CEMS. In one of those philosophical sessions that went into the early morning Scott mentioned he might like a transfer off ASC, I suggested KWAJ since they also had 1206 computers there. I told him that I could arrange an interview for him just now. He doubted I could do that, which led to a bet that I could, if he could get the PAFB operator. (I had been to KWAJ and had Caskey's phone #)I won that bet by calling Jim Caskey on KWAJ just before quitting time there,(12 hours difference from ASC) Don't think Scott went out there. Why trade one rock for another? I've got a lot of fond memories from those late night philosphical? discussions.
      Sorry to hear of Scott's passing: One less Range Rat is not a good thing."

  • 06 DECEMBER 2007, GRANDSON REPORTS DEATH OF BERNIE RYAN:
      I recently learned about the death of Bernard "Bernie" Ryan who was the Instrumentation Manager for RCA at many downrange stations such as Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Antigua and Grand Turk. This news was from his grandson, John Miele. John said Bernie, who was also a World War Two hero, died three years ago in 2004.

  • 24 NOVEMBER 2007, SON REPORTS DEATH OF FATHER:
      Rick Wirtz, son of Eugene Wirtz wrote in RR sign-in book that his father was stationed at Turk from 69 to 73 and passed in 1990.
    • If anyone else remembers Eugene Wirtz from the range you can send more info. about his other range experience etc, by sending me an email and it will be published here.

  • 24 NOVEMBER 2007, DEATH OF RCA EMPLOYEE ROLAND HOEPPNER REPORTED:
      Benny Juhl wrote recently: "Just want to report that Roland Hoeppner died 13 September 2007. He was an old friend who was on St Lucia, Fernando de Noronha, Antigua, GBI and worked at the Cape for years."
    • I personally knew Roland from GBI Telemetry when we worked together in the 1960's, he was a range old timer, a brown bagger and very likable guy and had a scraggly goatee when I knew him.

  • 24 NOVEMBER 2007, PHILL REICHERT REPORTS DEATH OF PAA EMPLOYEE:
      Stan Perkins, who was a Pan Am Weather troop and died about two years ago (2005?).
    • If anyone else remembers Stan Perkins from the range you can send more info. about his other range experience etc, by sending me an email.

  • 13 OCTOBER 2007, DAUGHTER REPORTS DEATH OF TOM HADDEN WHO WORKED AT THE DOM REP TRACKING STATION:
      I heard from Susan Hadden Ross last Aug 07 telling me that her father Tom Hadden died 27 Feb. 2006. Tom worked for PAA in security and you can see a picture of him on my #08 Dominican Republic AAFB Tracking Station Page.
    • If anyone else recalls Tom Hadden from the range and can send more info. about his other range experience etc, please send me an email.

  • 13 OCTOBER 2007, GLENN BROWN REPORTS OF TWO DEATHS:
      In Sept 07 Glenn wrote me that he "wasnt sure that Gerry Berube and M.A.J. Carter were ever 'assigned' downrange, but both spent much time downrange and on ships and both these gentlemen were my personal friends for years, and certainly considered themselves Range Rats. Either way, they're both on a different Range now". Glenn gave this info:
      Gerry Berube was in many management positions on the contract, and was Downrange Manager and also Ships Manager. He left the Range to become Project Manager on SURTASS Project out of VA. He retired as a Director with GE. He is well known by most people that were around in the latter years.
      M.A.J. Carter (3 given names, known by Maj) was leader of 1.16 Radar in the early days, and went with Berube when he took over the Downrange office, then the Ships Program, and then to SURTASS. He was Berube's "right hand man", and was in charge of Training, Quality Control, Recruting, and other assignments. In these positions, he made many extended trips downrange, and rode the ships many times, over a period of several years. Glenn wasn't sure when these two men died, anyone who knows, please let me know.

  • 18 SEPTEMBER 2007, JOHN ROBERT BERRY'S (DOM REP AAFB) DAUGHTER WROTE ME OF HIS DEATH:
      Deloris Berry sent an email in Aug '07 telling me that John Robert Berry died in 1987 in Collinwood, TN, John worked at the Dominican Republic base in the late 1950's. I remember him as I also worked there at the same time, John worked for PAA in security. See a picture of John Berry on my #08 Dominican Republic AAFB Tracking Station Page.
    • If anyone else recalls John Berry from the range and can send more info. about his other range experience etc, please send me an email.

  • 18 SEPTEMBER 2007, GENARO MUSI DEATH ADDED TO LIST ABOVE:
      Jim Edwards sent an email recently: "In viewing the list of Range Rats that have died I realized that Genaro Musi was not included. Geno was a weather troop that worked at Cape Weather before coming downrange about 1958. He worked at GBI, Ascension, and Antigua. He retired at Antigua, and died there about 10 years ago".

  • 07 SEPTEMBER 2007, RCA/CSR EMPLOYEE BOB FLOWERS DIES.:
    • Glenn Brown reported it to me yesterday and today Jack Tolman sent me this message from L.L. Smith: "Hello, Friends. Sad to report I just had a call from Joanie Flowers who informed me that Bobbie Flowers passed away yesterday, Wednesday 05 September 07 @ 1345. He had been suffering for some time with liver problems and had hopes of traveling to Shands in Gainsville FL for consultation toward a possible transplant. She indicated, as per Bobbie's wishes, there will be no services. Please pass to those on your email lists who may have known Bob. Will pass on any future info I receive."
    • 11 SEPTEMBER 2007, Since Bob did not sign the Range Rat Sign-In Book I asked for input from those who knew him.
      • John Gladden wrote this: "I met Bob Flowers when I was assigned to Mahe. The first words he spoke to me were in the Satellite Club Bar where he said "Give me a light before I kill you!". To which I replied, "Sure, I'll give you a light for that cigarette and let it kill you!" He then introduced himself to me and we became close friends. After he transferred to Pretoria, in 1971, I shipped his car, which he had left in my care, to Durbin for him. We were stationed together again at Antigua in 1974/75. I am not sure what his official title was at Mahe, whether it was Comm Manager or IM. He was the senior RCA rep on station, but all they had responsibility for was comm. At Antigua he was Instrumentation Manager and acting Telemetry Manager for Ascension. Go Figure. Some people might have a different opinion of Bob, but I found him to be one of the most straight forward people I met on the Range. He was strict on enforcing company policy and procedures but was very fair in dealing with individual employees as near as I could tell. I was the Supply Supervisor for Pan Am on both stations, so I dealt with Bob frequently business wise. If any business issues arose between our areas of responsibility, they were handled professionally without finger pointing and creating discontent. I believe he actually improved the Pan Am/RCA employee relationship on the stations where he was assigned.
      • Jim Edwards sent this info about Bob Flowers: "Bob served in the Air Force . Duty in the Middle East among other places, He was in Pretoria in 1966-67, in Trinidad in 1968, Ascension at least part of 1973, Antigua as IM 1977, GBI as IM 1980-81, TEL-IV after GBI and Later SRO at the Cape.
      • I remember Bob Flowers from Ascension when he was Telemetry Manager when I was stationed there 1971-72. Looks like us old timers remember different time periods of when we worked with Bob. No matter, it's just good that we can still remember!

  • 14 AUGUST 2007, DEATH OF ART RAMSDELL REPORTED BY HIS SISTER:
    • I received this email below, maybe someone can help her: "Art Ramsdell, who is pictured on your USNS Coastal Sentry photo, died July 31, 2007. I have been attempting to find Ed J. Gallagher to notify him and any of Art's other downrange friends. I am Art's sister. Anyone who would like information on Art's death and can identify himself as a friend, can contact me at this email address: myrt@copper.net . I have a copy of one of Ed's poems, he'll know which one. Signed Myrt Townsend (myrt@copper.net) from Lewisville,Texas."

  • 05 JULY 2007: ED BINGHAM (RCA), AGE 71 OF MORGANVILLE NJ DIED JUNE 28, 2007 :
    • "Speedy" Collier sent me an email with details about the death of Ed Bingham, which was in an online newspaper. It was a memorial page that had more details about his life, and had his picture and a guest book that you could sign. The link in no longer available but if you email me I can send you the text.
      Ed's wife Kathy signed the Range Rat sign-in book for him on 28 Aug. 2006 with these comments: "Ed Bingham, was down range from 1963-1969, as an RCA radar tech. He started out on GBI for a few months, then was sent to Ascension for a year. We were newly-married then, and I stayed in Recife for several months, where he was able to spend a couple of days every couple of weeks. He got a transfer to Grand Turk, where we remained for a year. (I was a volunteer x-ray tech at the local hospital for the base medic and the local British Dr. - Dr. Elizabeth Johnson). The Grand Turk technician was on strike!) Ed was then transferred to Antigua, where we spent our final 4 years downrange. Our second child was born there. Ed transferred to RCA's computer division in NY in 1969 and we moved to NJ, where we have resided ever since. Ed retired in 1999 from Hitachi Data Systems.

  • 03 JUNE 2007, DEATH OF ROLIN EBANKS (PAA, CSR) REPORTED BY JIM EDWARDS:
    • In an email received today Jim said: "I report with great sadness the death of Rolin Ebanks in Jacksonville FL on June 1st. Rolin was a maintenance/support supt downrange for many years with Pan Am, and CSR. At various times he was at GBI, Eleuthera, Grand Turk, Antigua and Ascension. I understand from his family that there was a memorial service on 17 June in Jax."

  • 13 JUNE 2007, JERRY DUFOUR (RCA) DEATH REPORT :
    • Jack Tolman forwarded me an email from Larry L. Smith with this news (edited slightly) as follows:
      "Sorry to be the perennial bearer of ill tidings, but there was a death notice in the 02 June 2007 Florida Today paper for our good friend, Jerome E. "Jerry" Dufour, age 71, who died Wednesday, 28 May 2007. I had seen Jerry a few months ago here on Merritt Island and did not suspect he was having any health issues. His wife, Emi said it all started with Jerry’s car being rear-ended on his way home from work Friday, 28 May. The impact drove his car into a vehicle in front of him with enough force to break the seatback. Later at home he collapsed and was taken to the hospital with kidney problems and subsequently succumbed to a heart attack.
      Jerry was a top notch RCA Range Rat and was respected and liked by all who knew him. He spent the majority of his time downrange at Grand Turk & Antigua working in the MIPIR Radar section and enjoying life with friends and a “Crown and Ginger.” Along with his wife, Emi, he was a longtime saloon keeper in Cocoa at the Big Que Tavern where many happy hours were enjoyed by many people, Range Rats and the “normal” populace. Emi is understandably devastated by this sudden and tragic loss. A Jerry Dufour Memorial get together was planned for 17 June 2007 at the Big Que Tavern in Cocoa on Dixon Blvd."

  • 15 MAY 2007, ONE MORE RANGE RAT DEATH TO REPORT :
    • Jack Tolman wrote me in Feb. '07 that Walter R. Falk of Augusta GA had passed on, Jack doesnt know what islands he worked on or if he was just an uprange PAA employee, Falk retired after 40 years with Pan Am Airways and Johnson Controls at Cape Canaveral, FL.
    • If you knew Walt Falk and can remembers working with him and where, please send me your input.

  • 07 MAY 2007, WHILE SEARCHING THE WEB RECENTLY ...I LEARNED THE DEATH OF ANOTHER RANGE RAT:
    • John Handschin who lived in Fort Pierce FL died on 13 April 2007. John worked for Pan American World Airways as supervisor of Meterology aboard the tracking ship USNS SWORDKNOT, and at the downrange station of Ascension Island. He also worked at Swan Island (Honduras) weather station, worked with the US Coast Guard North Atlantic Weather Patrol for several years acting as supervisor aboard the USNS SAMPAN HITCH and also aboard the Coast Guard Cutter, YAKUTAT, on ocean station "Bravo". In later years he was a science teacher at Crosby Junior High School, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

    • 14 MAY 2007, Bob Baker from Crestview,FL knew John "Jack" Handschin and he provides this info: "He was Wx Supv on the Sword Knot when I came aboard as SOM in Jan 61, and I believe he was still there when I left in Aug 61. I had lost track of him until I read of his death in your 07 May 07 notice. He did a good job, and had a very "wry, dry" sense of humor. He seldom failed to refer to Pan Am Division Meteorologist Gerry Finger as "Ferry Ginger". His Wx Obs team consisted of Phil Reichert and Karl Doughty for most of that tour."
    • If you knew Handschin and can remembers working with him and what year(s) they were please send your input.

  • NEWS MAY 2007: CHARLIE WRIGHT REPORTS OF TWO DEATHS:
      Charlie Wright signed the RR Sign-in book 28 Mar. 2007 and said
      "Bob Shaffer died in N.Y. in the '80's and
      Bob Husby died at Freeport GBI in '92. They were true Range Rats, the likes of which I still miss".

  • 12 APRIL 2007, ONE MORE RANGE RAT DEATH TO REPORT :
    • Jim Edwards writes: "Just learned recently of the march 22 2005 death of Jim Whimore (aka "Lurch") from brain cancer. Jim was a Comm Troop on the ships in the 60's. He worked for me on the Sword Knot and also the Vandenberg. A real nice guy and a good worker."

  • 6 APRIL 2007, ANOTHER RANGE RAT DEATH TO REPORT :
    • Don Smith, a relative of Terry Smith emailed me that "Terry passed away on March 10th, 2007 after a quick bout with Pancreatic Cancer. Terry worked on all the ships as well as down range sites". Terry signed the Range Rat sign-in book in Dec 2005 with a comment that he worked at "Cape Timing & Firing, Tel-4, DLM engineer".
    • 6 APRIL 2007, AN EMAIL LETTER FROM KENNETH SMITH JR, BROTHER OF TERRY SMITH: Kenneth writes: "I, sir, am the youngest brother of Terry Smith who as you know is no longer with us. I miss him a great deal. I am also a historian and I teach high school which is only relevent in that what I am proposing is going to take years. In memory of my brother and in honor of all of the rest of The infamous Boys from RCA I would like to write your stories. Please contact me if you are interested in sharing your stories". His email address is kensmith0130@comcast.net

  • MARCH 2007, JACK TOLMAN FORWARDED AN EMAIL FROM SOMEONE WHO NOTIFIED HIM OF YET ANOTHER RR DEATH:
    • Thaddeus "Thad" John Linder died 08 March '07. Thad was born in Dayton Oh and came to Brevard County in 1956 with his family. He was a graduate of Satellite High School and was employed as a radar technician for 30 years for RCA and CSR. Tolman's friend had this to say about Thad: "We just learned of Thad Linder's death after a battle with cancer. Thad came down Range in the early 70's when so many young family members hired on to be Radar Operators. Thad appeared as the poster child for the Endless Summer and introduced surfing to the Range. He was a super quick learner and one of the few guys to actually complete a CREI course with honors. As he matured at the Radars uprange he became a real outdoorsman and enjoyed his pair of Rotweilers, SUV with balloon tires and Budweiser. He was a good troop and mastered the mystery of the MOTR (Multiple Object Tracking Radar AN/MPS-39) operation and was working at the Merritt Island MIPIR at the end. Some oldtimers will remember his father, Tom, as a real gentleman and as Pan Am Data Handling Engineering Manager left his imprint on all the Range computer/DHS systems. Regards, LL"

  • MARCH 2007, FRED PERKINS EMAILS ME OF ANOTHER RR DEATH:
    • Jack Ryals, whose full name was Andrew Jack Ryals, passed away 07 March '07. Fred worked with Jack at Ascension and Antigua and think he may well have worked at other stations also. Jack was a communications technician.

  • 26 FEB. 2007, JOHN GLADDEN REPORTS DEATH OF WIFE OF FRANK MAHONE:
    • Violet Mahone passed away 23 Feb 07. John says: Frank was Comm Manager on Antigua when he was there in 1974 and that Frank passed away some time ago. Some of the other Range Rats might want to know about Violets passing, since she was down range with Frank and many of them knew her."
    • You can see her obituary by clicking here.

  • 11 FEB. 2007, FRED PERKINS TELLS OF TWO NEW DEATHS:
    • Ed Munger passed away sometime in Jan 07. Fred knew Ed at Trinidad in 1963, and that he served earlier on the Globetrotter Van in Chile, and pretty sure at other range bases, but am not sure which ones.
    • Lou Holtkamp passed away the morning of 04 Feb 07. News was received from Bruce Watson. Lou was PAA Weather Supervisor on Antigua and Ascension, and served earlier on Eleuthera, possibly other bases. He later moved to the Cape as Weather Supervisor, and Fred believes he retired from that position.

  • NEWS FROM 24 MARCH 2007: DALE BEADLE REPORTS DEATH OF HIS FATHER-IN-LAW:
      Dale Beadle of Louisville KY, who signed the RR Sign-in book in 2006 said that Herb La Loge, his father-in-law had passed away a few years ago. Herb worked for RCA at GBI in the 70's and worked for RCA approx 6 years. (Herbs full name was Herbert F. La Loge, and from the SS records his death was on 05 April 1999),

  • NEWS FROM 24 MAR. 2007: FAMILY SIGNS IN FOR FATHER WHO WORKED DOWN RANGE:
    • Read the RR sign-in book entrys of Dec 19, 2005 made by Blair Simpkins for father Jerry Simpkins who died in 2003 and the entry Jason Simpkins signed in for his father on Sept 29, 2006. Relatives are invited to sign the RR book when a range rat has died. These were interesting reads, especially since both sons spent some time downrange too.
    End of Range Rat Deaths reported in 2007 & 2008.

    Click here to go to PAGE ONE: Alphabetical list of Deaths and Notes from 2009-13.
    Click here to go to PAGE THREE: Death Notes from 2005-06.

  • Click here to go to:
    Range Rat General Introduction Page.


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