FROM THE NATIONAL CHAPLAIN
BY REV. PHIL SALOIS, M.S.
Pechin, Vietnam Veterans of
America’s business manager for many years, died February 26 in
York, Pennsylvania, as a result of kidney failure related to
hepatitis C and diabetes. Pechin, 54, was a long - time veterans
advocate who served a 14 - month tour as a US Army helicopter
mechanic door gunner based in Nha Trang. Born and raised in
Lafayette, Indiana, Pechin earned a degree in business management
from Indiana State University. He was a founding member of Vietnam
Veterans Against the War in Indiana, and participated in Operation
Dewey Canyon III, the 1971 antiwar demonstration led by Vietnam
veterans in Washington, D.C. Pechin lived in California in the
early and mid - 1970s where he was a leading a number of Flower of
the Dragon, a Vietnam veterans support group in Santa Rosa, and a
founding member of Swords to Ploughshares, the San Francisco
veterans advocacy organization. In recognition of his work for
veterans with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Pechin
received the National Veteran Advocate of the Year Award in 1983
and certificates of appreciation from the White House Veterans
Coordination Committee and the White House Conference on Small
Business in 1980. In VVA’s early years, Pechin organized and
developed the organization’s business office, which he oversaw
until 1994. After leaving VVA, he owned and operated The Veterans
Thrift Store in York. Survivors include his mother, Loretta Pechin,
and three sisters, Sharla Gray, Theresa Kline, and Pam Van Laere.
Ronald Franklin Ceckowski
committed suicide on November 26, 2001, in Cass City, Michigan.
He suffered greatly from Post‑traumatic Stress Disorder, which
was exacerbated by the terrorist attacks of September 11. He was
born May 11, 1948, in Detroit to Virginia (Kapa) and Stephen
Ceckowski. He married Carole Trueman in 1986. In addition to his
mother and his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Loraine
Lorkowski; his son, Samuel; his stepdaughter and her husband,
Wendy and Van Hauswirth; two brothers and sisters‑in‑law, Leonard
and Ann, and Gerald and Denise; and his sister and brother‑in‑law,
Arlene and Mark Worl. Ceckowski served in the U.S. Army as an
infantryman in the Vietnam War from October 1968 to October 1970.
He served with Company B, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry at the rank
of Specialist Four. He retired as a Lieutenant from the Detroit
Fire Department after 28 years of service. He was a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑Detroit Chapter 9. Funeral services
were conducted in Kranz Funeral Home in Cass City, with interment
in Novesta Township Cemetery in Cass City.
“Dee” Burnett died October 16, 2001, in Reading, Ohio. Burnett was born April 5,
1930, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to James and Muriel Burnett. He is
survived by his wife, Ann; three sons, Derrick, Kevin, and Steven;
three daughters‑in‑law, Michele, Karen, and Cereta; and a brother,
Carl. Burnett served in the U.S. Army in Korea, Okinawa, and
Vietnam. He retired after 25 years of service at the rank of E‑8
Master Sergeant. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Uhlmansiek
Chapter 10 in Reading. Funeral services were conducted in the
Epworth United Methodist Chapel in Reading.
Albert J. Bandolyal died
October 14, 2000, at his home in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was born
June 9, 1935, in Irvington, New Jersey. He is survived by two
daughters, Gina La Mora and Lisa White; and a sister, Doris
Ronceray. Bandolyal served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. He
also served with the Peace Corps from 1982‑84. He was a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑New Brunswick (New Jersey) Chapter
233. Funeral services were conducted in the Opacity Funeral Home
in Kenilworth, Pennsylvania.
Charles P. Brennan died
October 24, 2001, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He was born June
7, 1947, in Lynn, Massachusetts, to Fredrick and Rita
Brennan. Brennan is survived by his wife, Anne; one son, Russell;
six daughters, Judy Lajoie, Rebecca, Lisa, Patricia, Crystal, and
Jennifer; and one brother, Frederick. He served in the U.S. Army
in the Vietnam War. He was a member of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Roman Catholic Church in Gardner. He was a member of Vietnam
Veterans of America‑Quabbin Valley Chapter 405 in Ware,
Massachusetts. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Our
Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, and interment was in Notre Dame
Cemetery in Gardner.
Irwin Boswell Fields died
October 14, 2001, in Elizabethton, Tennessee. He was born March 2,
1935, in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Samuel and Leila Bailey
Fields. He is survived by his wife, Mary; two daughters and a
son‑in‑law, Julia and Bill McDonald and Susan Fields; two sons and
a daughter‑in‑law, Robert, and Irwin and Melissa; and a sister,
Leila Jean Owens. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Korean
War and had two tours of duty in the Vietnam War. He retired from
the Marine Corps at the rank of First Sergeant. He was a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑Elizabethton Chapter 824. Funeral
Services were conducted at the Hathaway‑Percy Funeral Home‑Sunset
Chapel, with interment in the Happy Valley Memorial Park.
David L. Johnson died
October 7, 2001, in Bloomington, Minnesota. He was born
September 14, 1949, in Minneapolis. He is survived by his
parents, Leonard and Geraldine Johnson; four brothers, Steven,
Thomas, Daniel, and Donald; and three sisters and two
brothers‑in‑law, Kathryn and Richard Thompson, Mariann Johnson,
and Kristen and John Arehart. Johnson served in the U.S. Army in
Vietnam as a Combat Medic. He was an at‑large member of Vietnam
Veterans of America‑Minnesota. A Mass of Christian Burial was
celebrated in the Church of the Nativity of Mary in Bloomington,
with interment in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Leslie M. Lewis died
November 29, 2001, in Lompoc, California. Lewis was born
November 10, 1919, to George and Emma Lewis in Minnehaha County,
South Dakota. He grew up on the family farm in Larchwood, Iowa.
He married Zelda Johnson in 1946. In addition to his wife of 54
years, Lewis is survived by two daughters, Mary and Leslee; a son,
George; and a brother, Robert. He served in the U.S. Navy as a
mechanic and in the Army Air Corps as a bomber pilot in World War
II. He was recalled during the Korean War in the U.S. Air Force as
a weather and cargo pilot, missile maintenance officer. He was an
installation commander in the Vietnam War. He served a total of
32 years before retiring in 1972 at the rank of Lieutenant
Colonel. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Lompoc
Chapter 743. A memorial service was celebrated at the First
Presbyterian Church in Lompoc. He was buried in Oregon.
Robert David McCarthy
died November 7, 2001, in Pensacola, Florida. He was born June 6, 1949, in Waterbury,
Connecticut. He is survived by his son, Robert. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps
during the Vietnam War. He was an at‑large member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Florida. Funeral Services were conducted in Faith Chapel Funeral Home.
John Thomas Ramsey died
December 1, 2001, in Trenton, Florida. Ramsey was born January 11, 1950, in Miami.
He is survived by his wife Connie “Cricket” Ramsey. He served in the U.S. Army with
the 101st Airborne Division in the Vietnam War. He was a Life Member of Vietnam
Veterans of America‑Cape Coral Chapter 594. Funeral services were conducted in the
Priscilla Baptist Church, with interment in the Florida National Cemetery.
William D. Johnson II died
October 14, 2001, in Le Roy, New York. He was born October 14, 1931, in
Batavia, New York, to John and Louise Hackett Johnson. Johnson is survived by two sons
and daughters‑in‑law, John and Wendy, and Mark and Gail. Johnson served in the U.S. Army
in the Vietnam War. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Le Roy
Chapter 193. Funeral services were conducted at the Cameron, Brady and Steuber
Funeral Home in Batavia. Interment was in the Machpelah Cemetery.
Stephen W. Taylor died May
2, 2001, in Reading, Ohio, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was born May 28,
1947, in Cincinnati. Taylor is survived by his wife Carol; his son, Nick; and four
sisters, Elaine Bates, Norene Williams, Deborah Craig, and Kimberley Phillips. He served in
the U.S. Army in Vietnam with the First Air Cavalry Division. He was a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑Uhlmansieck Chapter 10 in Reading. A Mass of Christian
Burial was celebrated in St. Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church in Reading, with
interment in the St. Joseph Cemetery.
Thomas A. Baird died
February 6 at his home in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Baird was born May 24, 1952, to
Betty (Van Schoyck) and Robert Baird. In addition to his mother, Baird is survived by his
his wife, Pam; daughter, Jenny Rockwood; and his sister, Becky Bechtel. Baird served in
the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era from 1973‑76. Baird was a member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Monroe Chapter 142. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the St. Joseph
Roman Catholic Church in Monroe. Full military honors were provided by VVA Chapter 142 at
the burial in Roselawn Memorial Park.
John Joseph Betz died
January 27 in Philadelphia. He was born May 18, 1945, to Vernon and Dorothy Betz. In
addition to his father, Betz is survived by his daughter, Dorothy
“Missy” Perez; and two brothers and one sister‑in‑law, William and
Mary Ann and Jack Gatto. Betz served in the U.S. Army from 1963 to
1966 with service in Vietnam. He was the first Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Liberty Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia to die.
William Bickerstaff died
January 15 in Chester, New York. He was born May 30, 1944. He was a veteran of
the Vietnam War and a member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Pleasantville Chapter 49.
Robert M. Chapman
died October 19, 2001, in Celina, Ohio. He was born September 14, 1947. Among his
survivors is his sister, Phyllis. Chapman served in the U.S. Army with the 123rd
Transportation Company during the Vietnam War, just outside Cam Ranh Bay. He was a Charter
Member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Grand Lake Chapter 783 in Celina. Chapman
was interred in the family plot in Jerome, Ohio.
Donald P. Cochran died
September 28, 2001, in Southern California. A veteran of the Vietnam War, he had
volunteered more than 10,000 hours at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach,
California. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Long
Beach Chapter 756.
Clarence Covington died
recently in the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia. Covington was
born on November 7, 1939. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He was
an incarcerated member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Blackstone
Thomas Allen Creel died
October 2, 2001, in Greenville, North Carolina. He was born January 3, 1940. He was
a veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Greenville Chapter 272.
Anthony C. DeSaro died
February 17 at his home in Somerville, New Jersey. DeSaro was born in 1945 in Jersey
City, New Jersey. He is survived by his wife, Carol; two sons, Dean and Michael; two
daughters, Kasey and Danielle; his mother, Evelyn; and two brothers, Robert and Gary. DeSaro served in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans
of America‑Flemington Chapter 452. A Mass for Christian Burial was celebrated
in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Somerville.
Louis J. D'Onofrio died
February 1 in New Rochelle, New York. He was born October 29, 1945, in New Rochelle
to Joseph and Antoinette D'Onofrio. In addition to his father, D'Onofrio is survived
by his wife, Susan; a daughter, Michelle Hennessy; a son, Louis, Jr.; a sister, Joann D'Orio; and a brother, Carl. D'Onofrio served in the U.S. Army in
Vietnam. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Pleasantville Chapter 49. A Mass of Christian Burial was
celebrated at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in New
Rochelle. Interment was in Beechwood Cemetery.
John S. Duff died December
4, 2001, in the West Roxbury Division of the VA Boston Healthcare System in
Massachusetts. He died after a long battle with multiple myeloma. He was born October 10,
1940, in Webster, Massachusetts, to George and Rosalind (Murray) Duff. He is
survived by his wife, Marjorie; a son, Robert; a daughter, Cynthia Osper; a brother, James;
and three sisters, Jean Berry, Janet Alfieri, and Jill Phinney. Duff served 33 years in the U.S.
Army, retiring as a Colonel in 1991. He served in Vietnam with the 199th Light Infantry
Brigade. He was an activist for veterans rights. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Auburn Chapter 554. He was instrumental in preserving almost a thousand
acres of open space in the Blackstone Valley and was an organizer in creating the Lake Manchaug
Greenway and Wildlife Corridor. A memorial service was conducted in the First
Congregational Church. Interment was in the West Sutton Cemetery.
Leroy R. Garrison died
recently in New Orleans. He was born July 1, 1949. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War
and a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑New Orleans
Frederick Nathan Gott died
October 9, 2001, in Charleston, South Carolina. Gott was a resident of Ella Bell,
Georgia. He was born July 8, 1938, in Bar Harbor, Maine. He is survived by his wife, Mary;
a daughter, Bonnie; two sons, Chris and Fred, Jr.; his mother, Celia Mary Cousen; a
stepdaughter, Shirley Loveday; a stepson, Gerald Smith; four sisters, Marie Totan, Pearl
Jorda, Mary Jane Ash, and Louise Miller; and a brother, Richard. Gott served in the U.S.
Air Force, U.S. Navy, and the Air National Guard. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He
was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Savannah Chapter 671. He was a member of
the Trinity Baptist Church in Ella Bell where his funeral service was celebrated.
Interment was in the Ash Branch Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery.
Robert Charles Hall died
January 12 at his residence in Lawton, Oklahoma, as a result of colonic adenocarcinoma
with metastases. The cause of death is believed to be Agent‑Orange‑related. Hall was
born August 8, 1932, in Buffalo, New York, to Daniel and Margrett Hall. In addition
to his wife, Janice, he is survived by three daughters, Tonya Briere, Teresa Sappoff, and
Tina Benton; and one sister, Margaret Cornell. Hall served in the U.S. Army with tours of duty
in Korea and in Vietnam. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑Lawton Chapter 751.
Jack Allan “Tunnel Rat” Henshaw
died February 28 at his home in Las Vegas. Henshaw was born in 1942. He is
survived by his wife, Joanna. Henshaw served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years
with service in Vietnam. His awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star with V Device,
two Purple Hearts, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Commendation Medal for Valor, and
two Good Conduct Medals. Henshaw earned the nickname "Tunnel Rat" for
crawling through Viet Cong tunnels with a .45 pistol. In 1993, Henshaw cofounded The
National Veterans Organization of America to assist veterans who were having problems
with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Las Vegas Chapter 17. Henshaw was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on
Donald R. Heslip, Sr.,
died July 31, 2001, in Escanaba, Michigan. He was born April 30, 1941, in Escanaba. He
is survived by his wife, Gert. Heslip served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Vietnam
War and was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Escanaba Chapter 345.
Woody Hoffman died December
15, 2001, in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. He was born September 21, 1946, in White
Plains, New York. He is survived by his wife, Chris. He served in the U.S. Navy from
1966‑68 in Vietnam. He was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Hyannis
Bruce D. Howard died
September 6, 2001, in Yspilanti, Michigan. Howard was born February 27, 1956. He was a
veteran of the Armed Forces and an incarcerated member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Jackson Chapter 657.
Vernita Jefford died
January 28 in Bettendorf, Iowa. Jefford was born May 15, 1945. Jefford was a Life Member
of Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Bettendorf Chapter
Dennis W. Kramer
died August 6, 1998, in Michigan. Kramer was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑Grand Rapids Chapter 18.
William J. Lucas
died March 7 in Frederick, Maryland, after a long battle with lung cancer. Lucas served in the
U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. He served 29 years as a Maryland State Trooper and was
Barracks Commander in Hagerstown, Maryland. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans
of America‑Frederick Chapter 304. Funeral services were conducted at the Stauffer
Funeral Home in Frederick on March 9.
Joseph R. Lunghofer died
recently in Billings, Montana. Lunghofer was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a
Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America‑Havre Chapter 420.
Eugene Bruce Mapp, 66,
died when struck by a reckless driver while taking a walk on August 13, 2001, in
Machipongo, Virginia. Mapp was born in Cheriton, Virginia, to Maurice and Zerra
Mapp. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; and a daughter and son‑in‑law, Lisa and Calvin
Hagan. Mapp retired from the U.S. Army with service in Vietnam. He was a member of Vietnam
Veterans of America‑Onley Chapter 614. Graveside services were conducted in Belle Haven
Joseph S. Novajosky died
recently in Linden, New Jersey. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑Flemington Chapter 452.
Gerald B. Popen
died January 2 in Rochester, New York, due to complications related to Parkinson's Disease.
He was born to Rose and Stanley Popen. In addition to his mother, Popen is survived by
his wife Alice; two daughters, Tammy and Kim; two brothers and a sister‑in‑law,
Stanley and Jean, and Wayne; and a sister and brother‑in‑law,
Patricia and Kenneth Wamey. Popen was a Vietnam veteran and a
member of Vietnam Veterans of
America‑Rochester Chapter 20. Funeral services were celebrated in the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Rochester. Interment was in White Haven Memorial Park.
Joseph E. Schifley died
February 23 in Manchester, Connecticut. A resident of Tolland, Connecticut, he was born
December 19, 1936, in Olean, New York, to Charles and Frances (Kessler) Schifley.
He is survived by his wife, Prudence; a daughter, Rebecca; two sons and
daughters‑in‑law, Peter and Michelle, and Chris and Tiffany; and a
brother, Charles, Jr. He served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years with
service in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. He was a member of
Vietnam Veterans of America‑East Hartford Chapter 120. His wife is also a member of the VVA
Chapter 120 and is a veteran service officer. A memorial service with full military honors
was celebrated at the Holmes Funeral Home in Manchester.