Milwaukee 2015 Reunion Update!


The pins have arrived!

2015 Milwaukee Pin

In the  Franklin Newsletter Fall 2014 we announced that the 2015 Franklin Reunion will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 16-19.  I see that some of you have already made reservations at the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel (262) 364-1100  Make sure you mention the “USS Franklin Room Block” to get the special $109.00/ night room rate.  You can also reserve a room by following the link:

Weekend activities include exploring the Milwaukee lake shore.

Milwaukee Art Museum and War memorial

We will be mailing out the registration form in the spring newsletter.  We will also be posting it to this site so check back often.

We are looking forward to seeing you all in July!


Fall 2014 Newsletter


Hello Friends,

For those of you that did not receive the paper copy, the Fall 2014 USS Franklin Museum Association newsletter was delivered a few weeks back.  I am posting the electronic version at the link here:  Franklin Newsletter Fall 2014.  We did announce that the 2015 reunion will be held in Milwaukee Wisconsin the weekend of July 17,18, and 19th 2015.  I will post more information as it becomes available.


Darren Hamm

Welcome to


Welcome to  I invite you to leave USS Franklin comments below. I am also looking for people interested in contributing to this site.  Please contact me at with any information you may have.

Update Feb 2013, I have set up a “Forum” tab as a more appropriate place to leave comments for everybody to see.

The forum is here:

Thank You.

Obituary, Irving L. Kidwell

Irving L. Kidwell passed away April 26, 2013, at the Mandrin House in Annapolis, MD.

Mr. Kidwell served in the Navy on the USS Franklin, CV 13, in World War II, where he was awarded an Honorable Discharge and Bronze Star Metal from the United States Navy. He served in the Lions Club, State Roads Commission and Chamber of Commerce. He was a Banker, Real Estate Broker and a General Contractor.

Mr. Kidwell is survived by his wife of 53 years, Ida May Kidwell; a son, Leroy W. Kidwell and wife Karen; three daughters, Susan K. Kidwell, Laura F. Strickland and her husband Manning, Catherine L. Kidwell and her husband Mark Puleo; a stepdaughter, Blanche Radich, a stepson, Charles Sellner and his wife, Barbara; and one brother, Dellburt Kidwell and his wife Beverly; 15 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.

Obituary, Andre J. Vincent

MANCHESTER – Andre J. Vincent, 89, died Jan. 4, 2015 at Concord Hospital following a brief illness.

He was born in Manchester on Aug. 10, 1925, the son of William and Germaine (Belanger) Vincent and had been a lifelong resident of Manchester.

He served his country in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Franklin, which was dive bombed by the Japanese during World War II.

Prior to his retirement he was the owner and operator of Andre’s Hair Salon in Milford for more than 50 years.

Family members include two sisters, Carmen McInnis and Simone P. Richard, one sister-in-law, Theresa Vincent, all of Manchester, six nieces, Carol Scott, Janice Bantis, Priscilla Vincent, Diane McInnis, Diane Nascimento, Denise Dunham, two nephews, Alfred “Buster” McInnis, Greg McInnis, several great nieces, great nephews and several cousins.

He was predeceased by one brother, Conrad Vincent.


services: Calling hours will be on Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m. at J. N. Boufford & Sons Funeral Home, 110 Bridge St., Manchester.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday at 10 a.m. in St. Raphael Church, 103 Walker St., Manchester. Committal prayers and Entombment will follow in Mt. Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Brigham & Women’s Hospital to support pancreatic cancer research, 116 Huntington Ave., 3rd Floor, Boston MA. 02116.

For more information and online guestbook please visit
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Obituary, George William Rayhill

George William Rayhill
Bill Rayhill passed away comfortably November 24th. His family was ever present, especially in the last few months visiting with him to share thoughts and memories of a life well-lived. Bill was born in Moravia, Iowa on January 17th 1921 and settled in San Francisco after World War II.
Ever modest, Bill took little credit for his achievements. Bill graduated from Cornell College of Mt. Vernon Iowa in 1941 at the age of 20. He entered the Navy Aircorp in World War II as a lieutenant. While serving as a dive bomber in the Pacific Theatre, he was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic action on the U.S.S. Franklin. Bill returned home to start a family and launched a successful 46 year career in the insurance industry.
In 1946, Bill married Helen Loraine Bidelman and had three children, Sally Anne Rayhill, William Charles Rayhill and Robert Edward Rayhill. Bill is survived by Sally Rayhill Dellanini and William Charles Rayhill. Bill and Helen shared 28 years together raising a family and growing the family insurance business. Their spare time was spent almost exclusively in their shared love of golf. They were both members of local golf clubs.
Bill honored his father who was a Methodist Minister by serving the Methodist Church for over 40 years. His service included membership on the Board of Directors of the California and Nevada Methodist Homes.
In 1975, Bill married Vivian Bushnell. They shared a thirty-three year marriage enjoying world travel, golf, the San Francisco 49’ers and the San Francisco Giants. With his marriage Bill became part of a large extended family, with many children calling him “Grandpa”. Bill was loved by Vivian’s children and their spouses; Lee and Karen Bushnell, Kathy and Howard Langfelder, Andrea Bushnell and Hany Abdel Gawad, Patricia and Bruce Schafer. Bill will be missed by his grandchildren Michael Langfelder, Elise Saporta, Carla Saporta Cheng and Tarik Abdel Gawad.
Bill was a very intelligent person who pursued knowledge and understanding to succeed in life. He was extremely responsible and disciplined in all his endeavors.
Services will be private. Donations may be made to any preferred charity.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 28, 2014
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Obituary, John F. McAvoy

JOHN F. McAVOY passed away on 12/16/2014 at age 91. He was born on 8/1/23 in Everett, MA. He was a long time resident of Riverside, CA. He passed away at home with his wife and family by his side. John and Helen were in their 70th year of marriage. John was a 52 year member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 1638, having served in local and state offices. He was also a 50 year parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, serving in many capacities. John is survived by his loving wife, Helen Virginia Reaver McAvoy of Riverside, CA, daughters Virginia M. Blumenthal, Esq (Lathell) of Riverside, CA, and Lesley M. Baptiste, Ph. D (Prentice) of League City, TX. , sister Lois O’Connell of Everett, MA. Papa John had a special bond with his 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren and is also survived by many nieces and nephews. John is predeceased by his parents John F McAvoy, Sr. and Jennie C. Gerrish, sisters Jeanette McAvoy and Mary Theresa Petersen. John was a proud veteran of WWII and Korean Conflict, having served in the Navy and Air Force for a total of 21 years, 6 months, 12 days. He survived action on the USS Franklin CV13 during WWII, where approximately 950 men were killed about 50 miles off Japan on 3/19/1945. Services will be held on Friday December 26 at 10 am at St Francis de Sales Catholic Church. Burial following mass at 12 noon, located at Riverside National Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to St. Francis de Sales School, John and Helen McAvoy Technology Fund, 4205 Mulberry St., Riverside CA 92501. “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant!” PRESTON & SIMONS MORTUARY, Funeral Directors 951-683-7410 – See more at:

Obituary, Gerard T. Gillis

Gerard T. Gillis
3/6/1926 – 11/15/2014

Gerard T. Gillis, 88 of Roseville, Calif., passed away on November 15, 2014 of natural causes. He was born on March 6, 1926 to Anthony and Lydia Gills, both deceased. He leaves behind his wife of 58 years, Marie Gillis.

He first served in the U.S. Navy on the U.S.S. Franklin in World War II. He then joined the Army during the Korean Conflict. He later joined Army Special Forces, “The Green Berets” and did two tours in Vietnam. He retired from military service in 1971. He started his own pest control company and was a part of many organizations to include; Chamber of Commerce, PTA, Veterans of Foreign Wars and many church organizations most notably the Knights of Columbus where he held many positions.

He is survived by his wife Marie Gillis of Roseville, Calif., daughters Sandy Militello of Folsom, Calif., Raven and Mary Gillis both of Roseville, Calif., granddaughters Sarah Chang of San Jose, Calif., Danielle Gonsalves of Reno, Nev., and Anastasia Hoang of Citrus Heights, Calif., and great-grandson Tolby Hoang also of Citrus Heights, Calif.

Visitation is November 24, 2014 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., A Rosary from 7:00 to 7:30 pm at St. Clare’s Church in Roseville. Funeral Mass will be November 25, 2014 at 10:30 am at St. Clare’s Church. Burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery at 2:00 p.m.
Funeral Services taken care of by Lambert Funeral Home in Roseville, Calif.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on Nov. 21, 2014
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USS Franklin Store


Just in time for the gift buying season, you will notice that a link has been added to the top of the website for the USS Franklin Store.  The link is located just below the banner photo at the top of the page.  We currently have items with the two designs you see here posted for sale on Cafe Press.  20 percent of the proceeds will go to offsetting the costs of the upcoming Milwaukee Wi and future reunions.  Put a USS Franklin Tee or Mug under your tree this year!uss_franklin_1_tshirt

Obituary, Berdel Edwin Winke

MARCH 30, 1925 – NOVEMBER 6, 2014
Berdel Edwin (Del) Winke, 89 years old, was born March 30, 1925 in San Diego, California to Dorothy Marie (Berdel) Winke and Edwin Holter Winke. He was preceded in death by both parents.
Berdel is survived by his wife of fifty years, Dorothy Candlish Winke and three daughters, Rena Cecelia Childs-Weatherford and her husband Keith Weatherford of Modesto, Kara Lynn-Marie Winke of Vancouver, WA and Laura Louise Morgan of Mukilteo, WA. Three grandchildren, Laura Lynn Childs and Paul Matthew Childs of Modesto and Jade Elise Morgan of Mukilteo,  WA. Five great grandchildren, Willow Paige Sedore, Tristen Wade Scott, Eric Richard Scott, Raelyn Marie Scott and Joeb Matthew Childs, all of Modesto.
Berdel graduated from Hoover High School in San Diego in January of 1944 and immediately joined the Marine Corps. He served as gunner and mechanic with the Marine 3rd Air Wing in the South Pacific. He was stationed in Hawaii and aboard the air craft carriers USS Hancock  and USS Franklin.
After discharge in 1946 he went to college for two years and then to work for Electrical Supplies Distributors in San Diego until 1964. He then worked with Bryant Electric as a manufactures representative, until moving to Modesto in 1966 to operate Winke’s Liquors in Ceres and Sav-On  Liquors on Paradise Road in Modesto. In 1978 the family moved to Vancouver, WA. where Del worked for Consolidated Electrical Distributors of Portland, OR. Later he was the manager of  the CED Vancouver store. After his retirement in 1990, he and Dorothy moved back to Modesto.  Berdel had a mischievous sense of humor, a quick wit and a nickname for just about everyone.  He treasured his friends and kept in touch with his high school chums till they passed. He called  favored ex co-workers on their birthdays even after twenty five years of retirement. Del had the pleasure of attending his 70th high school reunion in September.
His interests included camping, hunting, fishing, bowling, soft ball and traveling. Berdel  particularly enjoyed twice touring in Alaska and the Yukon and a three week stay in Washington  D.C. visiting all the museums and the World War 11 Memorial. Several trips with a 5th Wheel  trailer covered most of the states west of the Mississippi, he was especially fond of the red rock country of the Southwest.
Berdel was a former member of the Modesto Elks Lodge and SIRS.
As per his wishes, there will not be a funeral, a ‘celebration of life’ will be held at a later date..  Remembrances may be made to the American

or donor’s favorite charity.
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Read more here:

Obituary, Ridgley Radney

Ridgley Dexter Radney, age 93, passed away on November 1, 2014, at his home in Dickinson, Texas. He was born October 21, 1921 in Roswell, New Mexico and graduated from Gladewater High School in 1939. He attended Kilgore Junior College for several years after high school completing his basic studies.
After World War II broke out, Ridgley joined the Navy in 1941 and entered flight school in Corpus Christi, Texas where he earned his wings. Just after this, he would marry the love of his life, JoAnn Carlton. With the war effort requiring his presence, he was then assigned to the carriers U.S.S. Franklin and later the U.S.S. Yorktown to fly the SBD Douglas Dauntless dive-bomber as a part of Bombing Squadron Five (VB-5) in the Pacific. He would earn the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal and two Air Medals for his heroic achievements as a pilot. He was discharged from the Navy as Lieutenant Commander in July 1947. Over the next 50 years, he and JoAnn would very much enjoy their association with other retired military personnel at the “Squadron Reunions” held all across the United States.
Ridge, as he was called by his friends, would reenter college after the war at Southern Methodist University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Radio Television. He finished his training at the New York School of Broadcasting where he learned the practical aspects of television direction and production. After graduation, he was hired by WFAA in Dallas as a television director. He would later accept the position of Production Manager at KPRC in Houston and later still the same position at KHFI in Austin. It was during these time periods that he and JoAnn would raise their family as loving parents. Ridge had a special place in his heart for his family and enjoyed activities together such as sports, carpentry, traveling and church. He had a love for coaching little league football where he used motivation and hard work as a coaching technique to develop an almost undefeated record. He had a special love for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loved to talk about them with anyone that would listen. He was a member of the Clear Lake Masonic Lodge No. 1417 and was very proud of his association with this service organization and its members who befriended him in the later years of life. He was very active in the Methodist Church as a church trustee, stewardship committees, usher and various mission projects. His relationship with our savior Jesus Christ was a close one which gave him a great deal of joy and comfort during his lifetime and in his final days. His family will remember him as a loving husband, father and grandfather who had a kind and gentle soul with a good sense of humor and a joy for helping others.
Ridge is survived by JoAnn, his loving wife of 67 years; by his brother, Hugh Radney and his wife Keechie Radney; by his son, Larry Radney and his wife Lou Radney; his grandchildren, Travis Radney, Erin Radney and her husband, Ben Gaete; Derek Radney and his wife, Sally; Kenneth Priesmeyer and Logan Shannon; his great-grandchildren, Evelyn Radney, Calvin Radney, Owen Gaete and Rhett Gaete. He is preceded in death by his parents; James Pearson Radney and Lola White Radney; by his son, James Radney; by his daughter, Kelly Radney.
The Radney family wishes to extend their gratitude to pastors, Tony McCollum and Paula Kirby, many members of Seabrook United Methodist church and caregivers, AnnMarie and Jeri for all their prayers and support.
A Life Celebration Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at Crowder Funeral Home, 111 E. Medical Center Blvd, Webster, Texas. A private family burial service will be held in Austin on Veteran’s Day November 11, 2014.
Any desired donations can be made to the Building Fund at Seabrook United Methodist Church, 3300 Lakeside Drive, Seabrook, Texas 77586. – See more at: