Category Archives: Reunion

Jacksonville 2018: A Recap

We gathered at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel the last week of April to celebrate Conserver’s Sixth Annual Reunion. We have it on good authority that a good time was had by all!

Our hats off and a hearty BZ to our reunion hosts, Kevin and Renee Weaver and the reunion committee, Dale and Thayes Hower and Keith “Doc” Hansen.

The reunion got underway on April 26. However some of us arrived a few days early to get things set up and to go on a sunset river cruise on April 26th. The hospitality room was open every day and served as a meeting place for those attending.

Action in the hospitality room

First day activities included the sunset cruise on April 26 with entertainer Ashton Taylor, shown in the photograph below. And entertain us she did! This gal needs to be in Nashville! The cruise took us up and down the St. John’s River as Ashton entertained us with her amazing repertoire. We didn’t get to see the sunset due to low clouds, but the scenery and Jacksonville skyline was beautiful.

Ashton Taylor – We will hear from her again!

56 Crew Members and their guests attended (33 Crew Members and 23 guests). Of particular note is the fact that every decade was represented: 1940’s, 50’s. 60’s. 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The “bookends” were retired Florida Senator Dick Renick (1947) and Jim Walker (1992

Decade “bookends” – Senator Dick Renick (40s) and Jim Walker (90s)


Various awards recognizing shipmates were announced at the banquet on Saturday night. Recipients of the First Time Attendees award were:

  • Lou Cummings
  • Jim Walker
  • John Basso
  • Kurt Hearth
  • Skip and Jeanne Lash

The Perfect Attendance (6 reunions) award went to Lee Samuelson.

Attending Five Reunions awards went to:

  • John Ackerman
  • Kevin Weaver
  • Dale Hower
  • Craig Leonard
  • Ron Gitschier
  • Dave Griffin
  • Keith Hansen
  • Barry Wilk

The oldest attendee award went to senator Dick Renick. Dick also holds the honor of having served on Conserver the earliest (1947 – 1949). Jim Walker had the distinction of having served on Conserver the latest (1992-1994)

Our youngest attendee was Fred Stevens.

John Koontz travelled the farthest, coming from the great state of Washington.

Conserver’s traditional silent auction brought 59 items to the table and raised over $1000 for our reunion fund.

The 50/50 raffle raised $555; $275 for the reunion fund and $280 to winner Tim Oman

On Friday, April 28, we had the honor and pleasure of having Captain Colin Jones (ret) and his wife Judy pay us a brief visit. For those who may not recognize the name, Captain Jones was an Engineering Duty Officer and Diver who has served in many top positions in the diving and salvage navy, among them the Supervisor of Salvage. Captain Jones also headed salvage operations to clear the Suez Canal after the 1967 Israeli war with Egypt. He and Judy spent about three hours with us and it was great to see Colin reconnect with Conserver and Navy shipmates.

Captain Colin Jones (L) and shipmate Skip Lash – a war story for sure!

Captain Colin Jones (L) and shipmate Skip Lash – a war story for sure!

The order of the day for April 28 included our business meeting held just before the Farewell Banquet. At the business meeting, we listened to a presentation by the ARSASR Association’s Jim and Mary Neal regarding the possibility of Conserver joining their group for future reunions. The crew unanimously agreed, feeling that the Conserver Reunion would lose its identity if we joined the ARSASR group.

John Ackerman represented shipmate Pete Westbay, who had researched the possibility of our group sponsoring a memorial bench in Kinney Park at Shipyard Acres in Napa, California near Basalt Shipbuilding Corporation, where Conserver was built. The attending Crew Members authorized funding the bench and directed Pete to complete the project. The cost will be a one time donation of about $1300.00.

Future Conserver reunion locations were discussed. Barring any roadblocks, the 2019 reunion will be held in Branson, MO during the last week of April. Stay tuned for specific information.

Jeff Washburn volunteered to research the possibility of our 2020 reunion to be held in the Bay Area, preferably in or around Napa, CA. Again, more info will be coming.

Following the business meeting, the Farewell Banquet commenced. The bill of fare was a wonderful DoubleTree buffet that everyone appeared to enjoy. A cash bar was also available for those so inclined!

Our banquet table by DoubleTree

Notable events during the banquet were the award presentations and Senator Renick’s “replay” of that day back in 1947 when he reported aboard Conserver and, while onboard, obtained his G.E.D. high school diploma. He received a standing ovation. The “main event” was a naval history quiz put together and “administered” by Dale Geldert. Each table participated as the questions were put forward. The winning table was awarded the task of shaving the skipper’s beard, which did not happen! Those who participated discovered that some additional study may be required for the next quiz – and we have the feeling that there just might be one at our future reunions.

The banquet ended with The crew and guests posing for the reunion’s official photographer, Renee Weaver.

Ladies of the Conserver Family

Front Row (L-R): Marla Schooltz, Jeanne Schlotzhauer, Thayes Hower, Terry Ackerman, Jean Lash, Vivienne WanDelken, Ann Marie Amato-Cloutier, Jeff Wasburn’s guest 2nd Row (L-R): Donna Thompson, Barbara Booth, Diane Oman, Renee Weaver, Marie Armstrong, Susan Carmichael, 3rd Row (L-R): Jennifer Simmen, Mykenah Gorkow-Mitchell, Darby Goodale, Alison King, Rosie Fernandez-Eubanks, Rita Geldert

Conservermen all

Front Row (L-R): John Eubanks, Jim Walker, John Koontz, John Basso, Keith Hansen, Kurt Hearth. 2nd Row (L-R): Craig Leonard, Dale Cloutier, Buzz Costa, Ken Cottle, Kevin Weaver, Skip Lash, Dave Griffin, 3rd Row (L-R): Lee Samuelson, John Hylton, James Thompson, Ed WanDelken, Lou Cummings, Greg Haines, 4th Row (L-R), Barry Schooltz, Barry Wilk, Dick Renick, Tim Omen, John Ackerman, Bob Carmichael, Dale Hower, Mark Goodale, Jeff Washburn, Ron Gitschier, Dale Geldert, Gary Schlotzhauer Not Shown: Fred Stevens

Check out our USS Conserver Facebook page for more stories and photos from Jacksonville.

Stay tuned for information on Branson 2019! Hope to see you all there!

That’s All Folks!!!

2017 Conserver Reunion — Things to do in San Diego


Balboa Park
Mission San Diego de Alcala
Torrey Pines
La Jolla Cove
Mission Beach Boardwalk
Old Town San Diego
Seaport Village
Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
Little Italy
Cabrillo National Monument
Point Loma, San Diego
La Jolla Shores, San Diego
Spanish Landing
Scripps Institute coastal reserve
Coronado Island visitor center, San Diego
Coronado Island Visitors Center
Coronado Beach


San Diego Zoo
Sea World
Birch Aquarium @ Scripps
Maritime Museum
Hotel del Coronado tour
Model Railroad museum
Sheriff’s Museum
Ruben H Fleet Science Center
Tuna Harbor Park/Bob Hope & Military Salute
San Diego Air & Space Museum
Point Loma Lighthouse, San Diego
Veteran Museum & Memorial Center


Seaforth Boat rentals
Coronado Ferry
San Diego Metro Transit System
Old Town Trolley
Biplane flights, San Diego
Balloon, Helicopter, Biplane flights, San Diego

Wineries & Breweries

Bernardo Winery
Vinavanti Urban Winery
San Pasqual Winery
Ballast Point Brewery & Spirits
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Mission Brewery
AleSmith Brewing Co.
PB Ale House
Societe Brewing Co.
Mike Hess Brewing
Rock Bottom Brewing
Fall Brewing
Rough Draft Brewing
Acoustic Ales Brewing
Kilowatt Brewing


The Islands Sushi Bar and Lounge (Inside Hotel)

Restaurants Near the Hotel

There are 3731 Restaurants in San Diego. Listed here are the ones rated 4.5 stars or above except where noted. Ratings are NOT always objective!

The Islands Sushi Bar & Lounge 4.3*
Amigo Spot 4.0*

La Piñata Mexican
Harney Sushi
Casa Guadalajara

Brooklyn Girl
Patio on Goldfinch
Farmer’s Bottega
The Red Door
Yoshinos Japanese 5.0*
Wine Vault & Bistro 5.0*

Bracero Cocina
Queenstown Public House

Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery
Rei Do Gado Brazilian Steakhouse

Brigantine Seafood
Il Fornaio Coronado

Island Prime Steakhouse

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern
Mitch’s Seafood
Point Loma Seafoods

The Patio Lamont Street

The Mission

BO-Beau Kitchen + Bar

Top 20 TripAdvisory Restaurants in San Diego 4.5*

1. The Taco Stand
2. A.R. Valentien at The Lodge @ Torrey Pines
3. Parma Cucina Italiana
4. Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen
5. Cottage
6. Trulick’s Seafood Steak & Crab-La Jolla
7. Sushi Ota
8. Snooze
9. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
10. Civico
11. Hodad’s
12. Piatti-La Jolla
13. Cucina Urbana
14. Blue Water Seafood
15. Hash House A Go Go
16. The Mission Restaurant
17. C-Level Lounge
18. Richard Walker’s Pancake House
19. Cody’s
20. Carnitas’ Snack Shack

2016 Reunion Recap

Click here for details on the upcoming 2017 Reunion

The 2016 Conserver reunion was held April 7–9 in San Antonio. In attendance were 28 shipmates and 21 guests who enjoyed the accommodations at El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel, visiting local attractions, reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and studying the great detail in the USS Conserver model — a project directed by James Richardson and unveiled at the reunion.

At the reunion dinner Saturday night, shipmates were given a chance to take the microphone and relate their favorite memories. The highlight of the evening was hearing a recorded message by Senator Richard Renick who shared his humorous story about when he reported to Conserver — in 1947!

Silent Auction, Raffle and Donations

For the third consecutive year, a silent auction was held to benefit the Conserver reunion fund. Shipmates brought a variety of items for auction. Treasurer Dale Hower reports that 15 items were auctioned bringing in a total $710. The 50/50 raffle brought in an additional $190. Donations totaled $230.

Reunion Business Meeting

Shipmate Kevin Weaver led the reunion business meeting and provided these points about future reunions:

  • It was decided to keep the reunions annually in late April.
  • The next 2 reunions will be San Diego in 2017 and Jacksonville in 2018.
  • Three permanent committee members were selected: Kevin Weaver, Keith Hansen, and Dale Hower. Dale will remain as treasurer. Romondo Davis will continue to serve as communication coordinator. Thayes Hower (Dale’s wife), who is an events coordinator, and will handle the San Diego plans, and the Howers will act as hosts for the 2017 reunion. Kudos to Thayes for taking on this task.
  • Forming an association was voted down.
  • All future reunions will be three days in duration with discounted rooms available three days prior to and 3 days following the reunion.
  • Any scheduled events requiring advance reservations must be paid along with registration fees.
  • The cruise idea has been shelved for the near future until more information is available.
  • Piggy backing on the NAFTS and ARS/ASR reunions was discussed but no dates were available at the time of the meeting.
  • Kevin Weaver will be in Jacksonville, Florida in September for the USS Fulton (AS-11) reunion. While there, he will scout locations for the 2018 reunion.

Charleston Attractions

Great things to do in Charleston.

The reunion committee hopes for a large turnout. If you are planning to attend and haven’t submitted the official reunion registration form, click here now and get that done. Be sure to submit your registration fee and book your hotel room.

Looking east on Market Street towards Charleston Market image

Lee Samuelson image
Lee Samuelson, Reunion Host

We are fortunate to have a shipmate and committee member — Lee Samuelson — who lives in the Charleston area. As official reunion host, he will be able to answer questions and make suggestions about how to get the most out of your visit to Charleston.

The committee, with Lee’s direction, will compile and make available a comprehensive list of group and independent activities from which to choose. It will include some of what you see on post; I’m providing this as both a preview for those who have already registered for the reunion, and incentive for those who have not. I hope you will browse this page, make note of my insights into activities and attractions I enjoy, and share with shipmates who need a little extra push to convince them that the reunion will not only be fun, but that Charleston is a wonderful place to visit.

Lee's graduation from CSU image
Our youngest son graduated from Charleston Southern University in May of 2012

My responsibility as a member of the 2015 reunion committee is communication. I thought it appropriate to share some of what Charleston offers. I know a good amount about this wonderful southeast community because I’ve visited there a dozen times over the past six plus years; my youngest son attending college there and then settling down nearby with his South Carolina-born wife.

My wife and I love Charleston, and have taken advantage of our visits there to experience as much of the area as possible. This post will highlight some of our favorite places and activities in hopes that it help you get the most out of your visit. And if you’re on the fence about attending — if hanging out with a bunch of virtual shipmates isn’t enough — knowing a little about what Charleston has to offer could push you over the top.

Patriots Point

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point
Photo taken from a sailboat harbor tour described below.

Patriots Point is probably the biggest attraction for a group of old sailors. The reunion committee is organizing a visit as our main group activity on Friday, April 24. Plans for our visit are still being made, but I can tell you that we will have plenty of time to tour the ships, submarine and other exhibits, and we’ll eat lunch off metal trays in the USS Yorktown CPO Galley. Be sure to sign up for this outing in the reunion hospitality room.

Visit the Patriots Point website.

Charleston Historic City Market

Sweetgrass Basket Vendor at Charleston City Market imageThe photo at the right shows one of several vendors that sell intricate and artistic baskets woven from sweetgrass. You’ll also find some of these sweetgrass artisans along nearby streets if you venture out beyond the historic district and into the residential neighborhood just a few blocks to the south.

But in the market, besides sweetgrass baskets, you’ll find a wide variety of shops and kiosks selling everything from t-shirts, to jams, to jewelry and more. The three block long market is packed at peak hours with tourists looking for bargains on low-country souvenirs. This is an especially unique shopping experience.

Visit the Charleston Historic City Market website.

Horse-drawn Carriage Tour

Charleston Carriage Tours imageI never took one of these tours because I’ve had some pretty knowledgable personal guides with me. I can tell you that the self-guided walking tours are a good way to do it if you have the time and energy, but if you prefer to learn about the history of this beautiful and historic city in comfort, you’ll get it more efficiently if you go on one of these horse-drawn tours.

The tour guides know their stuff and treat their passengers to the highlights of the city’s history as well as humor and interesting trivia.

Visit the Palmetto Carriage Tours or the Old South Carriage Tours website.

The Battery and White Point Gardens

On the way to Battery Park imageWith a history that includes the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and pirates, The Battery and White Point Gardens, also known as The Battery, is a great destination by car, but is even better by foot. Starting at the west end of Charleston City Market, walk straight south on Meeting Street to the park. The less-than-one mile walk takes you through a great neighborhood of beautiful, well-kept southern-style homes.

Charleston Waterfront Park imageThe park features cannons from the Civil War artillery battery and a wonderful panorama of the south and east areas of the harbor. And to make your walk even better, I recommend returning to the market via the shore, heading north on East Battery Street, which turns in to East Bay Street, and turning right on East Adgers Wharf through Waterfront Park. I estimate the round trip to be 2 miles, exercise I will surely need after so much reunion revelry.

Deb and I will probably include this in our Saturday free time activities in downtown Charleston; if you’re interested, let me know and we’ll be glad to take you along.

Visit the White Point Gardens website and The Battery on Wikipedia.

College of Charleston

College of Charleston imageAbout a half mile walk from Charleston City Market is the beautiful campus of the College of Charleston, the oldest college in South Carolina. Unlike almost every other college or university campus you’ve seen, this one retains the old southern charm it must have had when it was founded in 1770. The buildings, many of them resembling large residences, and the ample shade trees draped with Spanish moss, make a stroll through the campus a visual pleasure.

On your walk from the market to the college, you’ll pass through the retail district of downtown Charleston, where you’ll find numerous stores, shops and restaurants.

Visit the College of Charleston website.

Blue Horizon Harbor Yacht Tour

Blue Horizon Harbor Yacht Tour imageShipmate Jim Richardson has offered to provide a day of bareboat sailing on Saturday, April 24th. He will be recruiting sailors among us to crew this craft, hopefully a Bavaria 39 foot. A signup form will be provided on this website beginning in March.

With that said, if you prefer not to be a part of this salty crew, but have interest in enjoying on a more leisurely guided tour, I suggest the Blue Horizon. I discovered this option when my son treated Deb and me to it as his Father’s Day gift in 2012. Captain Paul Mitchell and his wife provided a grand tour of the harbor, pointing out significant Charleston landmarks and offered insights in Charleston’s nautical history.


South Carolina Aquarium imageI visited the South Carolina Aquarium on my very first visit to Charleston, a trip dedicated to registering my youngest in college. He chose Charleston Southern University because of their biology program; he had set his sights on majoring in marine biology. (He ended up earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Theatre.)

We found this aquarium’s 60 unique habitats and 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank to be as enjoyable as what we saw at the world famous Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Visit the South Carolina Aquarium website.

Lianos Dos Palmas Cigar Shop

Lianos Dos Palmas Cigar Shop imageI don’t buy a lot of cigars, but when I do, I buy them at Lianos Dos Palmas in downtown Charleston. If you’ve ever been in a cigar shop, the first thing you notice is the cigar smoke. Not so much here; because they roll them fresh on the premises, the smell of fresh tobacco is prevalent. Walk in and watch the expert roller at work. The cigars they sell are high quality and very reasonably priced. Let me know if you’re interested when we’re in downtown Charleston and I’ll take you there. Otherwise, check their website for a map. It’s just a few blocks from City Market.
Visit the Lianos Dos Palmas Cigar Shop website.

Charleston Area Beaches

Isle of Palms Beach imageThe weather is not likely to be anything like it was when I took this photo at Isle of Palms in June, 2012. We were in Charleston for my son’s graduation from Charleston Southern University. If you’re inclined to visit the beach, even if it’s just to take off your shoes and walk along the sand, there are two beaches within 20 miles of downtown Charleston.

Visit the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Isle of Palms page or Folly Beach page.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Old Sheldon Church Ruins imageDeb and I visited this site on one of our southeast road trips on our way back from visiting friends in Hilton Head. It’s over an hour away from the hotel, but if you appreciate pre-independence history and architecture, you’ll enjoy visiting these ruins. The church was built between 1745 and 1753; the walls and columns still stand. The original church was burned by the British during the Revolutionary War and rebuilt in 1826. It was burned again in 1865 by General Sherman in his march from Georgia to South Carolina.

The grounds and the ruins are one of the most picturesque scenes I’ve seen in my many travels to South Carolina and Georgia. I rank this site right up there with God’s beautiful sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean. Be sure to take your camera if you visit the Old Sheldon Church Ruins.

Visit the South Carolina Information Highway website.

Angel Oak

Angel Oak Tree imageJust 11 miles from the hotel and approximately half way between the hotel and the Charleston Tea Plantation, Angel Oak helps make the drive worth it. This tree is estimated to be over 1,500 years old and its canopy covers 17,000 square feet. It’s pretty amazing.

Visit the Charleston Parks Conservancy Angel Oak page website.

Charleston Tea Plantation

Charleston Tea Plantation imageNow, my wife had to drag me on this one. So guys, if you owe your wife a favor, consider the Charleston Tea Plantation.

The 20-mile drive from the Holiday Inn Riverview takes you through the typical low country terrain and scenery, something you should experience if you are from west of the Great Smokies. The plantation is owned by the Bigelow Tea Company and is the only working tea plantation in the United States. Your visit includes a guided trolley ride through the 127 acre farm, a visit to their high tech propagation farm (my horticulturist wife was really excited about this attraction) and a chance to see the extensive tea processing plant. The tour ends in the visitors center where you can shop teas to please any taste.

Visit the Charleston Tea Plantation website.

Registration is Open for the Conserver Reunion

We’re only five months away from the third annual USS Conserver Reunion — in Charleston, South Carolina this coming April, 23 – 26.

The reunion will be held in the beautiful Holiday Inn Riverview, overlooking the Ashley River and located just 1.5 miles from the Historic District of Downtown Charleston. Activities include a tour of Patriot’s Point, the home of the USS Yorktown and other ships and exhibits, as well as a boat trip to Fort Sumpter, known as the place the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

A hospitality room will be available for getting caught up with former shipmates and meeting new ones, and we’re planning a sit-down dinner for Saturday night.

Please register now! The reunion committee needs to know who be attending and how many guests we’ll have. We’ve provided a registration form on the Conserver website. Even if you’ve already told us you’ll be attending via the website or Facebook, this registration is the official form.

With your registration, we require payment of a fee of $50 per person to cover the cost of food for the hospitality room, the Saturday night meal and a few other expenses needed to make the reunion special.

Click here to register!

If you have questions, reply to this email message or call Kevin Weaver at (610) 780-5484.

Also of interest:

USS Conserver 26-inch Scale Model:
The reunion committee has commissioned the production of a high-quality model for display at our reunions. To fund the building of the model, we’re selling ownership in the form of contributions that make you a plankowner.

Click here to purchase your plank.

USS Conserver Challenge Coin:
We’re taking pre-orders for this beautiful challenge coin.
The coins are 2″ in diameter, 1/8” thick and weigh 2 ounces.
Antique gold finish on the front (ship photo side) of the coin and a three color (green, blue and black) emblem on an antique gold background on the back of the coin.

Click here to pre-order your Challenge Coins.

USS Conserver Patch:
Get your 4” USS Conserver patch before Christmas.
4 inch diameter
Anchor chain encircling a Mark V diving helmet
Rescue — Salvage label
Serveron 5 label

Click here to order your Conserver patch.

USS Conserver Hats and Shirt:
See the high-quality cap and a variety of shirt styles in the USS Conserver Ship’s Store.

Click here to shop at the Ship’s Store.

The Clock is Ticking

The clock starts now to tell us what you think of the reunion committee idea or throw your name in the hat for the committee. Those of you who have already volunteered don’t need to do it again; we have your name in the hat already!

The deadline for comments is Saturday, 27 July. If the consensus for the committee is favorable (and so far it has been), we will publish the list of nominees/volunteers and conduct the election on the website. If you haven’t registered on the site, now would be a great time to do so.

This should be our first step towards getting the “2nd Annual Reunion of Conserver Sailors” rolling!