I want to take this
opportunity to wish all my Bordentown Military Institute Brothers a very Happy
Reunion 2014 is in the books
and many, myself included, think it was the best
ever. The Bordentown Yacht Club is just the right size for us and
certainly has a uniquely charming ambience. The Scottish Rite is everything we look for in a banquet venue. The
food by Toscano's was superb as always. This is
a good time to thank my fellow Executive Board members for all their hard
work. Much goes on behind the scenes to plan and execute these reunions
and you guys are great.
As for this coming year, the
Executive Board has been working closely with administrators at BordentownRegionalHigh
provide scholarships to two graduating seniors. Raising awareness of BMI and preserving its memory is always our primary goal. We will
keep you updated on these scholarships.
Your Alumni Association is
looking forward to a happy, healthy and productive year for 2015.
Jack Harkins '67
REUNION 2014 REVISITED
After many months of planning, our Board of Directors declared Reunion 2014 the
"best one ever." Alumni who attended used that phrase many
times as they participated in the events of the weekend. Classes from
1947 to 1974 were represented, with the Class of 1966 winning with most
attendees this year.
ED FINKLE '61 organized a golf outing on Friday morning, October
17. The weather was good and alumni participation was great. It was
a fun time.
On Friday evening, alumni and friends gathered at the Bordentown Yacht Club for
cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Steve Libro,
faculty member and coach at BMI, attended this event and alumni were happy to see
Saturday's festivities began at when alumni who arrived early met
at the Town and Country Diner for lunch. At , they donned BMI caps and gathered to parade through
the streets of Bordentown to the cadet statue on Park Street. There, our president, JACK
HARKINS, welcomed the attendees and Rev. IvoMeilands offered a prayer especially remembering those
alumni who have passed on. JIM LYNCH '73, Deputy Mayor, brought
greetings from the City of Bordentown. After a brief ceremony,
alumni and friends dispersed and made their way to the Scottish Rite building in preparation for the evening's
festivities. At the dinner/dance, our own Archbishop ROBERT DUNCAN '66
offered the Invocation. This was followed by a buffet dinner catered by Toscano'sRistorante,
Bordentown's finest restaurant. Everyone praised the delicious
The highlight of our reunion is always the Old Boys' Drill during which alumni
march to commands given by several former cadet leaders. GARY WEISBERG
'69 gave commands although JOE VRABLIK '68 jokingly commented in one of his
letters that Gary was "never any good at marching."
Too bad Joe could not attend our reunion; he would have seen how wrong he
was. Gary did a splendid job! The former cadets did make
a few mistakes but that just added to the merriment.
The speeches were very brief so there was plenty of time for conversation,
something that alumni have always requested in the past. We also held an
election with the following results: President, Jack Harkins '67;
Vice-President, J. C. Platt '74; Treasurer, Bob Frisbie '61; Secretary, TersinaDiPietro.
Following dinner, alumni and their guests danced to music of our era (the
golden oldies). Judging from the many comments
we received, we can say that a great time was had by all who
participated. The next morning, several alumni met for breakfast before leaving
If you were there, it was good to see you. If you were not there, we
missed you and we hope to see you in 2016!
'40 We have added BENNIE REIGES to our
directory. Bennie resides in Coronado, CA.
was one of the "original seven" who were responsible for the rebirth
of the BMI Alumni Association. He recently wrote, "We
were thrilled when we were able to attend the first meeting of the BMI Alumni Association. We could not believe it had actually
happened. I, for one, am thrilled and happy and hope it continues for
many years. I was able to attend for several years, walked in the parade through Bordentown, and enjoyed meeting a number of
the men who had been my classmates. JERRY ROSSI '44 was a guy who
was among those who got together in the early days in Trenton. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago
and we miss him terribly. By the way, I would like to have a 1944
yearbook if one is available."
DICK ROCKWELL, also one of the "original seven,"wrote,
"Am in great health for 88 years. Still in touch with GEORGE RAY, my old roommate. I visited him at his home in Connecticut. He's still going to work every day....what a
'45HERB GARTEN wrote,
"I just returned a call from ARNOLD WOLFE who has been retired for
many years and lives six months of the year in Florida. He was surprised to know I am still
working. I told him lawyers are able to continue working and, like wine,
improve with age - at least I feel I do. The years at BMI are continually among my most pleasant memories. I was video
interviewed recently and attributed much of my success to my attendance at BMI, the values that were instilled in us, and the relationships we were
able to develop (and continue post-BMI for many years) with people like Dean Harold M. Smith and Morris
'46 JULIAN (JAY) BERMANsent greetings from Walnut Creek, CA. He added, "My days at BMI are still warm memories after all these years. Would like to
hear from any classmates still around."
FRANK DUMONT has been in touch with GENE GUAZZO '47
via the computer. They reminisced about their BMI days and brought one another up to date on what has happened in their
lives. Gene said, "I really miss medical practice, especially in
this rural area where everybody knows everybody and really means it when they
say, 'Hello, Dr. Guazzo. We miss you.'
Last week I was in a checkout line at True Value Hardware and this lady in line
turned around and began giving me the latest news. She realized I did not
remember her. She said, 'Dr. Guazzo! You
do not remember me. I can tell!' Lost for words and embarrassed before
all the onlookers, I replied, 'I am sorry. You are right. Take off
your clothes. Maybe I'll remember.' The crowd erupted."
(Ed. Note: More from these two next time.)
TOM ECCLES sent
a letter stating, "It is always such fun to receive The Skirmisher
and all the fond memories it recalls. I have been curious over the years
never to have seen any mention of Sgt. Clifford Marshall who, I believe, during my five years was one of the most important
character-building influences at BMI. He taught us close order drill, weapons, integrity,
loyalty. From day one roll call through graduation he was a guiding
mentor. I am happy I did get to one reunion several years ago.
Unfortunately, distance and failing health preclude a return trip."
'47BERNARD FEATHERMAN was
not able to attend our reunion. His doctors have advised him to cut back
on travel activities because of recent heart surgery. He goes on to say,
"I do not believe you have to stop work at 65 because I have flunked
retirement three times. Since last March, I was elected to another
three-year term as Mayor of the Town of Highland Beach, FL. On July 1, I
was elected President of the Rotary Club in Boca Raton, FL. Two great honors but it all started at BMI. I still remember the motto on the side wall to the entrance to BMI's study hall, the word OTHERS. It has been a lifelong
inspiration to use that example of serving others. I am sure many of you
have done the same for others. When you visit Florida, come on down and say hello when you are in my
area. E-mail is Bernard@featherman.com or phone 215-744-9300."
We received a letter from ANTHONY FERRIGNO. He wrote, "At 85
years old, I still remember so well my four years at BMI. I still remember Dean Smith and his many talks during our
evening chapel. We were so fortunate to have a person such as Dean
Smith. He inspired so many of us and molded character into us. He
was the greatest in shaping a young man's future. After he spoke, you
went away motivated. You felt you could rise to any occasion and conquer
any goal. It was an honor and a blessing during our formative years at BMI to be under his guidance. He will always be remembered not only
by me but by anyone who had the privilege to be in his company."
'48EDWARD BAPTISTE wrote,
"As a declining number of the Class of
1948, I wish everyone well. We live in Lenox,
MA, and witnessed the demise of BMI. The ending Vietnam war was not conducive to growing enrollment
for BMI but when combined with the fact that the Bordentown
campus could not sell as the 1973 period was next to the second worst recession
since the 1930s....this was the unfortunate nail that did it!"
HENRY ALLEN GRACEY moved to the Resort-style Continuing Care Retirement
Community in West
JOHN SODERBERG wrote, "During the last few years of The
Skirmisher, RUSSELL LORD '47
advised us that he was planning to visit the biennial
gathering of former BMI cadets. Was that all big talk or did he
actually get to a gathering? (An attempt at humor.)
Russ was one of the good guys at BMI."
wrote, "I live on beautiful Cape
Cod and would love to show
any of you around should you be lucky enough to find the Cape
in your travels."
CHARLES DOUGLAS SLADE lives in The Villages, FL. His son said his
dad speaks frequently about how much he enjoyed his time at BMI.
from MARK MILLER who promised that he would attend Reunion 2014 and we
are happy to say that he was here. He wrote, "At my age, 79, who
knows how many more chances I will have to attend. I have been in touch
with SAUL BENDAYAN who sees JOSE MIZRAHI and ALEJANDRO CANDAMO."
We were glad that Saul was able to attend Reunion 2014. We will be
looking for Jose and Alejandro next time.
'56 We received a note from JOHN BERISH stating
that he and his wife are now in their new home after they lost their previous
house when a serious storm hit the New Jersey shore area. It was good to
see John and Merlinda at Reunion 2014.
'57 DOMINIC RUGGERIO wrote,"I have reconnected with Dr. JOHN FINNERAN and
his brother Joe (we were roommates). John is in Punta Gorda, FL, and I expect to see him while I am in Florida this month through March."
ED TRIEFLER phoned to say he could not attend the Reunion but he sent regards to all of his former classmates. Ed said,
"I remember Dr. Smith as a person who understood young boys and treated
them almost as a father would." Ed mentioned two former classmates
for whom he has the highest regard, ANGELO CANDELORI '56 and FRANK
GIOVE '56. Ed told a rather bizarre story. He suffered from
some sort of lung disease back in the 1980s. Apparently there was a
class-action suit against a tobacco company. However, in order to benefit
from the suit, Ed would have to prove that he smoked although by that time he
had given up the habit. His niece was going through an old desk in the
office that Ed had occupied in his father's business. In the desk she
found a wallet and in the wallet was a BMI smoking permission slip that cadets who smoked were required to carry
when they smoked. So....Ed did profit from the class action suit thanks
to the BMI permission slip. (Ed. Note: I wonder
how many alumni still have their smoking permission slip.)
'58 We heard from (The Rev.) RICHARD
BOULTER stating that he was not able to attend this year's reunion because
it was the same weekend as his Diocese's convention and clergy are required to
attend. He sent best wishes to all of his classmates.
'60 LOU SHAPIRO
is a healthcare architect in practice in northeastern Pennsylvania. He wrote, "I am now mostly retired but am
working as a consultant to my firm on a very reduced
schedule (and loving it!). I was looking through the IN MEMORIAM section
(on the Web site) and was saddened to learn that one of my roommates, DAN
WOEHRLE, passed away. He and I were in touch on and off over the
'61 In a note from CHET DERR, he wrote, "What a
wonderful homecoming schedule! Although I have a conflict this year, it
has been my desire to be able to attend a reunion one year."
ED FINKLE organized a golf outing in conjunction with Reunion
2014. He wrote, "I am well and working hard. I work for a
large travel and transportation company in upstate New York. We are locating our new bus/cruise center in
the area of The Villages in Florida. If there are any cadets living in that area,
please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org."
ROBERT LOW checked in. He wrote, "Sorry to see some
of the guys I knew back then have headed for that last roll call in the sky.
Wife Ann and I recently moved to Ellijay, GA, in the southern foothills of the Appalachians. New home was a Fannie Mae foreclosure on 6.5
fairly heavily forested acres...deer all over the place. Just finished putting in a sauna that I vented to the outside to
drain off the heat because it was close to my wine cellar. I have
become quite a wine aficionado. I love German wines but will drink from
any bottle that has a cork in the neck. If any guys from 1959-60 school year are ever in the northern Georgia area, give me a call (706-635-3505) and let's set up
a dinner date."
JACK RUFFING found us. Jack resides in Scottsdale, AZ.
WALTER "LEN" VANDIVERE sent an e-mail stating, "What a shame it is that BMI has gone out of existence. BMI has definitely affected my life in a very positive way."
Len has been trying to contact some of his classmates. If anyone has
contact information for JAMES RICH and JOSÉ CARRIDI, please get
in touch with Len at email@example.com. He added, "I was on a
flight in Europe recently and met a congress person from Colombia who indicated that she knew the Carridi
family very well so I guess José is still there." Len lives in Virginia Beach, VA.
'63 In an e-mail from DON BROWNE, we
learned that he attended FLOYD LITTLE'sinduction
into the NFL Hall of Fame. He added, "We both reminisced about how
important BMI was to our professional and life success. I
played on BMI's '61 and '62 undefeated football teams. Went
on to be a journalist and TV executive and am in the Broadcast and Cable Hall
of Fame." Don lives in Miami Beach, FL.
BERNARD SANSARICQ wrote, "BMI was the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me what I
am today and that tradition also includes other generations because my youngest
daughter is today a USAF Captain. BMI to me was not only the wonderful staff of the
school, but also all you guys that were the real life of the school
during my time there. I have such nice memories of our BMI years: MIKE ARONSON at
the Y-Hut listening to 'Moon River' on the juke box; the always happy face and
good humor of DUTCH WALDHEIM; the handsome and sympathetic late STEVE
CRIST, our BC in 1961-62; ROB CHISHOLM, my first platoon leader; ED
PRINTZ '62 as my first Company Commander; JAVIER SOLA, my roommate
in 1961-62; JOSE GONZALES '62; SKOLNIK, WOODSIDE,MIKE JOYCE,STEVE
SAGAL, the unforgettable TIM PENNYPACKER '64; and so many other
cadets and staff members that made the BMI experience a very positive and unforgettable one for me. Later
on I met others that had attended BMI before me and they, too, became brothers: the late JERRY
KRAWITZ '61; AL ZARROLI '61; BOB FRISBIE '61; the late HOWARD
SHERMAN '50; RAY APY '50; GEORGE
ODELL '57...such a great fraternity!"
'66WESHAND traveled from Cabo San
Lucas to attend our reunion festivities. Wes says he has been in regular
contact with PHIL GAFFNEY who also was present at the reunion.
We received an e-mail from WILLIAM MORRIS. He wrote, "I am a
citizen of Liberia. I attended BMI for five years and I make mention of that fact quite often. To
this day, I am proud of that. At that age, it was my wish to attend a
military school and my parents agreed. I made many good friends."
JEFF NISSIM was attending a gathering at the home of friends and it so happened that DON SCHAEFFER '63 was
one of the guests there.
'68 JOE VRABLIK
missed our reunion due to the fact that his youngest son was having some
complicated knee surgery at that time "and Mom and Dad needed to assist
him and his wife." He added, "We are all in good shape
generally. I retired in 2012 and Gayle and I spend most of our time now
with the boys, travel and at our home in St. Croix. Along with that, church and my wilderness foundation for
fathers and sons take most of our time." (Ed. Note: Joe
sent a sizeable contribution to help with reunion expenses. Many
'72 BRUCE THOMPSON
is trying to locate a means of obtaining a new BMI diploma or a transcript of his grades while a student there. He
wrote, "I attended BMI from 1969 to 1972 and was the Battalion Commander in
my graduating year. (Ed. Note: If anyone has been successful in
obtaining BMI transcripts, please contact Bruce at
firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at email@example.com. Thanks.)
The officers and members of the Executive Board join
with the entire membership of the BMI ALUMNI ASSOCIATION in extending sincere sympathy to the families of:
CHARLES V. CODLING '63
RONALD DiSABATO '66
RONALD FORMELLA '68
RICHARD K. GAINES '21
ROBERT L. GOLDBERG '66
LEE SHARTLE HARFORD, JR. '40
SFC WALTER L. LEDBETTER - ROTC
JAMES McILWAIN '56
JOHN "JACK" PEOPLES '56
ALLEN E. REED, JR. '52
WILLIAM WITTNEBERT '43
GORDON YOUNGS '40
Several of the above have
been deceased for some time. However, we recently learned of their passing
and believe they deserve mention in this column.
TRIBUTE TO ALBERT VERDEL
byDR. EUGENE GUAZZO '47
was BMI 's wrestling coach and the year is 1945 or '46. We
are reporting for our first training session to Coach Verdel.
He outlines our various responsibilities, workout times, matches, etc. and
finally ends his remarks with an announcement (and requirement) that shocks
us. "I expect and require that all of you will start running.
You can either use the track or the athletic fields, but starting this week you
will commence cross country running, either at specified times or on your own
time. This will be a regular part of your training." We all
looked at one another...aghast! Finally, after a long silence, someone
asked, "Why running? That's for the cross-country guys."
Coach Verdel went on. "Wrestlers need
stamina. Matches are often won by a combination of skill and staying
power. You will learn your skills here on the mat. But stamina is
strictly up to you, and long distance running builds staying power."
After he left, we all agreed that he was "off his rocker." Cross-country
running was for the cross-country guys, not for us. In those days, 1940s
and 1950s, nobody ran for exercise except cross-country athletes and maybe
He was the coach, and if we wanted to be on the team, we had to run. A
few decided that wrestling was not for them and decided on another sport.
Well, for me, a strange thing transpired. After I had run several times
and my stamina began to improve, I found I liked it! Incredibly, simply,
I liked running! And do you know what? I'm still running.
Coach Verdel, thank you. I am in my 80s and
still have the joy of feeling my body stressed with running. Over the
years, even aboard ships when I was in the Navy and four-corners of the world,
wherever I happened to be...in med school the running kept me sane and kept my
brain refreshed for memorizing the multitudinous things required...in medical
practice trying to tell patients what I learned from Coach Verdel.
Thank you --- Essequamvideri! (Ed. Note: It's
Latin....look it up.)
THE ORIGINAL SEVEN
It is appropriate that we not forget the "original seven" - the
alumni who years ago were instrumental in the rebirth of the Bordentown
Military Institute Alumni Association. To them we owe a debt of
SID BENJAMIN '44
*PETER HORVATH '44
*CHARLES KUSKI '44
*BILL PIZZINI '43
DICK ROCKWELL '44
*JERRY ROSSI '44
*STEVE SABO '45
Ms. Arlene Bice, writer-lecturer-artist, has recently
published a Bordentown Postcard Book that includes several BMI postcards and pictures of cadet residences. If you would like to
purchase a copy, let us know.
We have the following yearbooks available: 1948, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960
If you are interested, please
send a check for $6.00 to cover costs to BMI Alumni Association, P. O. Box 91, Bordentown, NJ08505. Also, if you have a 1944 yearbook that you
would like to donate, let us know.
Dues cards will be mailed out in early 2015. Please note: Dues
and other contributions, although much appreciated, are not tax
deductible. Thank you for your support.
The local newspaper, BORDENTOWN CURRENT, recently published an article by Lexie Yearly with the heading, "Gone, not
forgotten" and a sub-heading, "Alumni cherish memories of Bordentown
Military Institute." We have included it on our Web site. If
you do not have a computer but would like a copy of the article, drop us a line
and we will send a copy to you. We believe it is worth reading. An
excerpt of that article follows:
"Much has changed in Bordentown City since the Bordentown Military Institute
closed its doors for good in 1973, nearly 100 years after it opened. Only
a tiny corner of BMI still remains on Park Street: a square of land
designated as a mini-park, located at what used to be the entrance to the Old
Main building on campus. Now, the space features a cadet statue as a
tribute to the school.
"Every two years, BMI alumni gather in town and march down Farnsworth
Avenue, just as they used to when they were students at the school. These
days, they end their march at that special memorial. The BMI Alumni Association has organized the biennial reunions since the late
1980s with the next reunion scheduled for Oct. 18. It is a time when
alumni can share the stories of their experiences at the military school,
reconnect with old classmates, and, most importantly, keep the memory of the
"BMI left a lasting impression on its alumni, one that
most alumni recall with fond, clear memories of the teachers, the campus, the
athletics, and the town.
"On Sundays, it was common to see cadets marching down the city streets,
each to his respective house of worship. Daily at 6 a.m., the sounds of
Reveille echoed throughout the sprawling campus, rousing the BMI cadets who woke to brush their teeth, straighten their uniforms, and
attend the military formations before breakfast in the mess hall and a day full
of academic study, military training, and athletics. Cadets were required
to have their shoes shined and their uniforms neat. If rules weren't
followed, there were no detentions. There were penalty tours. One
penalty tour lasted one hour--one hour a cadet spent carrying a rifle and
marching outside Old Main.
"Some of the stories alumni tell now happened more than 50 years
ago. But the memories of a military lifestyle, school pride and athletic
triumphs pour out of former BMI students
as if those events happened just yesterday."
N.B. If you have moved, please send us your new
address. If your e-mail address has changed, we would like to know that