How Our Reunions Started

A bit of FAHSAA Reunion History

In 1983 Gary Sams’65 sent a letter to a few “found” FAHSers, classes of ’63-’66. It was self-deprecating: “doubt if you’ll remember me, but thought FAHS and its student were great, would love to have a reunion”. Military families began providing one clue after another. The roster began to grow.

I got mine addressed to my maiden name which I had given up back in ’68. Phones started ringing, the conversation always starting with: “doubt if…”

It took two years, then we met in Chicago, and Gary became our first President. I became VP because I had forked over $3.62 for an ad in the Virginia Pilot Newspaper’s weekly Personal Column. We were all about 35 years old and we figured some were on second marriages so under “hot chick looking for . . .” and above “straight male seeking . . .” sat “FAHS meeting in Chicago.”  Bob Lord ’66 was in Norfolk on business, his wife got caught in traffic in DC, so he began reading the newspaper he’d picked up. He called me from Reagan Airport, screaming over the phone. I got one! Terry Skelton ’65 created an incredible video from tapes and stills including our Principal Mr. Moore on camera. About 80 of us hugged, laughed, and danced with a few tears thrown in. Tony May showed up by chance at the hotel on a business trip and saw the FAHS sign and joined us for one fun night. Sue Harlan Alley’65 became Treasurer/Roster Keeper, Hal Corbin’65, our pro bono lawyer. As a nonprofit, we officers would have to meet once a year. DC seemed doable so we made plans. Many who showed up in Chicago said they were coming too. And so it began: every five years a reunion. We’ve met east coast, west coast, and down south trying to include as many FAHSers as possible, many alumni joining annually, no matter where we’ve gone.

Virginia Search Chessnoe’64 became our second Prez, me the third, Barb Motson Leiser ’65 the fourth, Fred Schloss ’64 fifth, and now we have Judy Kellond Bader’66. Many have been instrumental in keeping this group going. Al Macklin took over the roster for years, Frank Benton’66 was next, and now Charlene Gatewood ’66. Danny O’Connor ’66 can find nearly anyone, unfortunately finding way too many Fallen Eagles. Tony May’65 now coordinates our web site with the host. Leanne Corbin, an honorary Eaglet, (married our very own lawyer) did an incredible job coordinating reunion sites for many years as did other hosts and hostesses throughout the country for over 35 years. Treasurer Jan Surkin ‘65 kept us out of the red for over twenty-five years. This coming spring ‘23 Carol Danko ’66 is spearheading the first after Covid official reunion in Oklahoma City. There are many more who had a part in our history and have a place in our hearts.

We come from all walks of life, have gone our separate ways, but as Dick Bartelt ’65 once said: “This is our hometown”. It is mine. I haven’t lived in my home state of Illinois since I was eight, I have no relatives still there, and I’m not even an Army Brat.

In this crazy world, laughter is much needed, hugs a plus, and fond memories bring smiles. Hope to get a hug, laugh, and smile with you in ’23.

Susan Milstead Murphy’66

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