Fall 2015 Newsletter


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USS Franklin Newsletter Fall 2015


Darren Hamm

Save the Date – June 23-24-25, 2016


Save the Date – June 23-24-25, 2016

USS Franklin Reunion – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Nearest airports:

  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 50 miles – Harrisburg International Airport (airport code: MDT)
  • Baltimore, Maryland: 60 miles – Baltimore International Airport (airport code: BWI)
  • Washington, DC: 87 miles – Ronald Regan International Airport (airport code:DCA) and 80 miles – Washington Dulles International Airport (airport code: IAD)
  • (Amtrak goes to Harrisburg, then there’s a bus to Gettysburg, but the train does not go to Gettysburg.)


Hotel Accomodations: 1863 Inn of Gettysburg, right in the heart of downtown Gettysburg!

  • 516 Baltimore St. Gettysburg, PA 17325 | (717) 334-6211 – rooms will be held up to 45 days prior to the reunion and then they will open up to the public and the rooms WILL fill up, so make your room reservations asap! $125 – Thursday $145 – Friday and Saturday double bed rooms PARKING AND BREAKFAST INCLUDED!


Thursday, June 23 – check in and explore downtown Gettysburg

Friday, June 24

  • 3 hour bus battlefield tour with a Licensed Battlefield Guide
  • Visit Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center Civil War Museum, Film – “A New Birth of Freedom” and the Gettysburg Cyclorama
  • Box lunch provided
  • Optional evening “Ghost Tour”

Saturday, June 25

  • Eisenhower National Historic Site with National Park Service Ranger
  • Hall of Presidents and First Ladies – self guided tour
  • Gettysburg National Cemetery – self guided tour
  • Evening banquet with some special guests!

Want to brush up on Gettysburg?



Milwaukee 2015 USS Franklin reunion in the news



I would like to thank the USS Franklin family for coming to and helping out with a successful USS Franklin Reunion in Milwaukee Wi.  We got some news coverage below.  Links to the Fox 6, WISN12, and TMJ4 articles are posted below as well as a compilation posted to the USS Franklin YouTube Channel.




A special thank you to Ed Vesely and Jerry Scott for sharing the Commemorative Air Force SB2C Helldiver with the USS Franklin Veterans and their families.  Visit their website at http://www.sb2chelldiver.com/   to find out more about this remarkable plane.

Crew of the USS Franklin and SB2C Helldiver in Milwaukee Wisconsin 17 July 2015 at the annual reunion.  Left to Right  William SchauerF1/c E-Div. Bernard Groenwold AMM2/c V-2nd -Div. Ray C. Bailey S2/c 6th -Div. PH1/c Ret. Roy Malmquist Navy Veteran and Friend of Crew Harold E. Rausch PC3/c K-Div. Gilbert E. BacaS1/c K-Div. John C. (Jack) Hensel ARM3/c VT-5 Donald Conard F1/c B-Div.

Crew of the USS Franklin and SB2C Helldiver in Milwaukee Wisconsin 17 July 2015 at the annual reunion. From Left to Right-
William Schauer F1/c E-Div.
Bernard Groenwold AMM2/c V-2nd -Div.
Ray C. Bailey S2/c 6th -Div. PH1/c Ret.
Roy Malmquist Navy Veteran and Friend of Crew
Harold E. Rausch PC3/c K-Div.
Gilbert E. Baca S1/c K-Div.
John C. (Jack) Hensel ARM3/c VT-5
Donald Conard F1/c B-Div.

Front Row Left to Right Bernard Groenwold AMM2/c V-2nd -Div Ray C. Bailey S2/c 6th -Div. PH1/c Ret Harold E. Rausch PC3/c K-Div Michael Dacko S1/c 2nd -Div Gilbert E. BacaS1/c K-Div  Back Row Left to Right Roy Malmquist Navy Veteran and Friend of Crew Donald Conard F1/c B-Div Major David Baruch USAF Ret GM3/c 6th -Div William Schauer	F1/c E-Div. John C. (Jack) Hensel ARM3/c VT-5

Front Row Left to Right
Bernard Groenwold AMM2/c V-2nd -Div
Ray C. Bailey S2/c 6th -Div. PH1/c Ret
Harold E. Rausch PC3/c K-Div
Michael Dacko S1/c 2nd -Div
Gilbert E. Baca S1/c K-Div
Back Row Left to Right
Roy Malmquist Navy Veteran and Friend of Crew
Donald Conard F1/c B-Div
Major David Baruch USAF Ret GM3/c 6th -Div
William Schauer F1/c E-Div.
John C. (Jack) Hensel ARM3/c VT-5

Inscribed bricks offered at the USS Franklin Memorial in Stuart Florida


You may recall the USS Franklin’s own Sam Rhodes efforts to establish a USS Franklin Memorial in Stuart Florida published in an article on this site in November 2013.  See the article below.

USS Franklin plaques to be dedicated in Memorial Park in Stuart Florida on Veterans Day.

Mr. Ed Maxwell of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1041 in Stuart Florida reports that their Memorial Brick Program is open to any and all veterans and is installing customized bricks in the Stuart Veterans Memorial Park.  Bricks can be customized for $25 and $75 dollars.  Make sure you mention your USS Franklin connection so the bricks can be located accordingly in the park.  Click the image of the brick below for an application.

Harry Smeltzer Brick USS Franklin Memorial Stuart Florida


You can also get a brick application at the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1041 website here:



Obituary, Arthur D. Gratnz

Grantz-ArthurArthur D. Gratnz, 90, of Jackson, passed away on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Sanford Jackson Medical Center. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, February 5, 2015 beginning at 2p.m. at the Osterberg Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Lance Isaacson officiating. Burial will take place immediately following the service at Riverside Cemetery.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, February 4th, from 5-7pm at the Osterberg Funeral Home, and on Thursday, one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

Arthur Duane Grantz, the son of George and Esther (Fisher) Grantz, was born on February 1, 1924 on the North Shore of Loon Lake in Middletown Township, Jackson County, Minnesota. In 1929 the family moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa before returning to Jackson in 1934. Art attended school in Spirit Lake and Jackson, later graduating from Jackson High School in June of 1943. On March 24, 1937, Art was baptized and confirmed at the First Presbyterian Church in Jackson; he also survived a bout with lockjaw in the same year. On July 4, 1943 Art entered the US Navy and served on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Franklin, until it was hit off the coast of Japan on March 19, 1945. After his honorable discharge on March 6, 1946, Art returned to Jackson and began working at the Farmers Exchange. On May 2, 1948 he was united in marriage to Beverly Ann Tweedt in Fairmont, Minnesota with the Reverend Walter Mondale, Sr. performing the marriage. After marriage Art became a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. Art continued to work at the Farmers Exchange until 1952 when he joined the Jackson Police Department. He served three years as Deputy Sherriff before returning to the Jackson Police Department, where he enjoyed working with the School Patrol. He retired from the Police Department in 1972, at which point he went to work for The First National Bank, now Bank Midwest, until his retirement in 1985. He enjoyed sports, fishing and gardening in his spare time. Art passed away at the Sanford Jackson Medical Center on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the age of 90 years, 11 months and 30 days.

Art is survived by his wife of 66 years, Beverly, a sister Betty, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Art was preceded in death by his parents, his four brothers, a sister, and an infant son.

Blessed be the memory of Arthur Duane Grantz.

Obituary, Eugene P. Higgins

HIGGINS – Eugene P., of Bay Shore, LI, on October 20, 2015 at the age of 94. Beloved husband of the late Margaret. Cherished father of Gregory (Linda) Higgins, Susan Hickey, Capt. Paul (Mary Liz) Higgins, U.S.N. and Matthew (Beth) Higgins. Cherished grandfather of nine and great grandfather of six. Eugene attended Manhattan College and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942. He earned his wings at Pensicola and joined the Fighting Squadron VF-13. He flew fighters from the deck of the USS Franklin and participated in battles from Guam to the Phillipines. He returned to Long Island and worked in Newsday’s Advertising Department for 36 years retiring as Vice President and Advertsing Director. He was a tutor and Vice President with Nassau Literacy Volunteers. Reposing at The Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons West Islip Funeral Home, 1225 Montauk Hwy. (1/4 mile west of the Robert Moses Cswy.). Celebration of the Liturgy of Christian Burial Saturday 8:45 AM at St. Patrick’s R.C. Church, Bay Shore, LI. Cremation is private. Visiting Friday 2:00 PM until 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM until 9:30 PM.

Published in Newsday from Oct. 21 to Oct. 22, 2015– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsday/obituary.aspx?n=eugene-p-higgins&pid=176174118&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.dI7S4rGw.dpuf

Obituary, George Harris

Geoorge was born on August 26, 1927 and passed away on Saturday, October 24, 2015.

George was a resident of Parkersburg, West Virginia at the time of his passing.

He served two years in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Franklin Aircraft Carrier.

He was married to Jacqueline.

Funeral services will be conducted at the convenience of the family with burial in the Mount Calvary Cemetery near Morgantown WV.

In lieu of flowers please contribute to the charity of choice.

Obituary, John T. Shelley Sr.

John T. Shelley Sr. passed away on November 8, 2015, at Marlborough Hills Healthcare Center, at the age of 89. He leaves his devoted wife of 64 years, Grace M. (Nathercote) Shelley; his two sons, Christopher P. Shelley of Springfield and John T. Shelley Jr. His daughter Maureen Sanchez died in 2005. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Megan Shelley, Kristen and Bobby Sanchez, Bridget and Nicholas Shelley; a great-granddaughter Kelsie; nieces and nephews. Born in East Boston, he was the son of John and Elizabeth (OConnell) Shelley; Mr. Shelley graduated from Wilmington High School in 1943 and attended Wentworth Institute in Boston. A U.S. Navy veteran during WW II, he served aboard the U.S.S. Franklin. John owned and operated Twin Brook Industrial Cleaning Inc. in Waltham for 45 years retiring in 1995. Dedicated to his business, John was hardworking man with a solid work ethic. He enjoyed sailing and skiing. After living in Waltham for 35 years, John and Grace moved to Northborough in 1996. They became members of St. Bernadette Parish. Calling hours will be held Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 4-6 p.m. in Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main St. Northborough. Johns Funeral Mass will take place on Thursday at 10 a.m. in St. Bernadette Church, 266 Main St. Northborough. Burial with military honors will follow in Howard St. Cemetery. To share a memory or to leave the family a condolence, please visit www.haysfuneral home.com.

Published in MetroWest Daily News on Nov. 10, 2015– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/metrowestdailynews/obituary.aspx?n=john-t-shelley&pid=176408159&fhid=3498&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.OcA02YNH.dpuf

Obituary, Robert Lee Tice

Robert Lee Tice

Robert Lee Tice, age 91, passed away July 30, 2015 in Bigfork, Montana where he had

made his home with his devoted wife Eve. Six days after Bob passed away Eve also

passed away in Bigfork. They were married May 22, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan. They

had been married for 72 wonderful years. They lived in southern California for many

years prior to moving to Montana.

Bob was born in Detroit on January 3, 1924. His wife, Eve Olkkonen, was born in Florida

Location, Michigan on August 7, 1924,

Bob was so proud of the United States Navy and of his service aboard the USS Franklin.

He spoke fondly of being a “Plank Owner” of the Franklin. He enjoyed the camaraderie

of his shipmates throughout the years after the war.

He owned many books and videos of the Navy and in particular the USS Franklin. He

was pleased to contribute his experiences in the book “Inferno” written by Joseph A.

Springer so that others would know of the ultimate sacrifice given by the sailors who

perished and of the heroism of those who remained to make the Franklin seaworthy and

sail her home.

May God Bless S1/c Robert Lee Tice.

Obituary, Herve E. Dionne

Herve E. Dionne, 90, of Warwick passed away on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at home. He was the beloved husband of Mary A. (Davey) Dionne. Born in Providence, he was a son of the late Eugene J. and Lillian (Ouellette) Dionne.

Mr. Dionne was a Foreman for Industrial Machine Corp. for 40 years until his retirement. He also served in The United States Navy during WW II. He was a member of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Warwick. Mr. Dionne was an avid golfer.

He was the loving father of Stephen M. Dionne and his wife Mary Pat of Cranston, David H. Dionne and his wife Kim Plumridge of Tuckahoe, NY and Kathleen A. Adamonis and her husband Vitold of Sutton, MA. Cherished grandfather of Kevin Dionne, Kristen Lukasevicz and David Adamonis and great-grandfather of seven. He was the brother of the late Theresa Teehan and Lillian Nadeau.

Relatives and friends are invited to Visitation on Friday, October 2, 2015 from 9:00-10:30 am in THE URQUHART-MURPHY FUNERAL HOME, 800 Greenwich Avenue, Route 5, Warwick (Exit 12A on I-95) followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am in St. Catherine of Siena Church, 3252 Post Road, Warwick. Burial in RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Assn. RI Chapter, 245 Waterman St., Suite 306, Providence, RI 02906 would be appreciated.

Click Here To View Condolence Messages
Urquhart – Murphy Funeral Home
800-812 Greenwich Avenue
Warwick, Rhode Island 02886

Obituary, Richard Clement Fink

Richard Clement Fink, 90

Muncie – Richard Clement Fink, age 90, of Muncie, went to Heaven to be with the Lord, on Saturday, August 22, 2015 at Morrison Woods Healthcare Campus, Muncie.

Born on April 17, 1925 in Licking County, Ohio, he was the son of H. Russell and Helen (Loughman) Fink. Richard has been a Delaware County resident since 1941, when he moved here with his family, at age fourteen.

Richard attended Harrison Township High School and graduated with the Class of 1947, after having served in the U.S. Navy during WW II from September 1943 to May of 1946, when he was honorably discharged.

Richard was recalled to active duty in September of 1951 during the Korean Conflict, and served at Great Lakes, Illinois, until October of 1952, when he was honorably discharged again from the Navy. He served in the South Pacific on the U.S.S. Franklin CV-13 and was a plank owner. He also served on the U.S.S. Lexington CV-16 and was in Tokyo Bay on August 7, 1945 when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Richard worked as a manufacturing engineer at Borg Warner Automotive for forty-one years, until his retirement in 1994.

His memberships include Warner Gear Sympathy Club and Ball Memorial Hospital Volunteer, where he accumulated over 15,000 hours of service. He also attended North Side Church of the Nazarene in Muncie.

Richard and his wife Wanda were presented with the VIVA award in 2015. He also went on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with his son Bill in April of 2015.

Survivors include his loving wife of sixty-six years, Wanda E. Fink of Muncie; a son, William (Gale) Fink of Yorktown; daughters, Gloria Randall of Sevierville, TN and Brenda Webster of Muncie; ten grandchildren; twenty-one great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Richard Russell Fink; grandson, Allen Webster; brothers, Kenneth and Robert Fink; and sons-in-law, Jim Webster and James Randall.

Friends may call on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Garden View Funeral Home, 10501 N. Indiana 3, Muncie.

Funeral services for Richard will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at the funeral home with calling one hour prior to service.

Burial will follow in the Gardens of Memory Cemetery, Muncie, with military graveside rites conducted by the Delaware County Honor Guard and U.S. Navy.

Memorial contributions in memory of Richard may be made to I.U. Health Ball Memorial Cardiac Unit or to North Side Church of the Nazarene.

Online condolences may be made at www.gardenviewfuneralhome.com. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestarpress/obituary.aspx?n=richard-clement-fink&pid=175565158&fhid=14521&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.2LKI1rg6.dpuf

Obituary, Otis W. “Pete” Pickett

Otis W. “Pete” Pickett

94, passed away in Bradenton, Florida on Monday, August 24, 2015, where he had resided since 2006. Otis was born and raised in the Indianapolis area. During WWII, Otis proudly served his country in the US Navy. He served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13) and was aboard during the kamikaze attack of March 19, 1945.

In 1959, Pete founded Precision Balancing Company in Indianapolis. The company would later be owned and operated by his son, Robert Pickett, and currently by the third generation of the Pickett family, his grandson, Joseph Pickett.

Otis is survived by his son, Robert (Sandra) Pickett of Indianapolis; his daughter, Patricia Pickett Lindstrand; 3 grandchildren, Steven (Mary) Pickett, Joseph (Lisa) Pickett and Charlene (Richard) Jones; and 6 great-grandchildren. Otis was preceded in death by the love of his life, his wife of 70 years, Julia Plew Pickett.

Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 29, 2015, at Kercheval Funeral Home, 306 E. 10th Street, Sheridan, Indiana 46069, with visitation from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service. Burial with military honors will follow at Crown View Cemetery in Sheridan.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be presented to The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. www.allchildrenfirst.org – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/indystar/obituary.aspx?n=otis-w-pickett-pete&pid=175649717&fhid=14553&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.dz5URXcl.dpuf