2005 Cleveland

By Jan Riddling

Cleveland 2005

Sunshine and warm weather replaced cold and rainy days over Cleveland as our 100th veterans and families arrived for the reopening of the 100th Bomb Group Restaurant.

Several years in the making, May 3rd and 4th once again found the 100th roaming the halls of the nearly completed restaurant. Everywhere you turn, the eye finds our history living on the walls and in the beautifully created banquet rooms named for our veterans.

The Irv Waterbury Room will be a loving place for small gatherings where the warmth and love that Irv and Clara always radiated from them, permeate this room as well.

The Harry Crosby Room is friendly and comforting with the golden glow of it’s paneled walls and crown molding. This room will be perfect for many happy occasions that will take place there for many years to come. Four perfectly framed WWII photos of Harry line one wall and depicts the day by day life of our handsome navigator. In one photo, Harry is standing there with Robert Rosenthal and Fred Sutterlin in front of a jeep, it is a peaceful moment in a hectic war. Facing the airport runways one wall is all of glass and has a beautiful view of aircraft landing and taking-off.

Across the hall from Harry’s room is the Churchill Room with a magnificent portrait of Sir Winston Churchill. His drive and determination still etched on his stoic face evoke memories of his many speeches that held his island together in the face of the enemy. There is a thought provoking photo of Winston with Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph "Uncle Joe" Stalin. Lord Charles Spence Churchill represented the family.

The Robert Rosenthal Room completes this end of the restaurant. A large room with a dance floor in the center that got much use after the dinner. The walls are of white stone with large windows over looking the breath taking view of the always busy runways on one side and several large windows opposite which enhance the ambience of the room.

As you walk toward the Tom Jeffrey room at the other end of the restaurant, you pass the special booths, each with large beautifully framed photos, featuring the following veterans: Neil "Chick" Harding, John "Bucky" Egan, Gale "Bucky" Cleven, John Kidd, Everett Blakely, Owen D. "Cowboy" Roane, John Bennett, Sammy Barr, Sumner Reeder, John P. Gibbons, Robert Wolff, Thomas E. Murphy, Charles "Hong Kong" Wilson/Billy Bittle, Eugene "Butch" Rovegno, and John Wallace/Harry Cruver.

Earlier on Wednesday, three vans from the Hilton Garden Inn took thirty-seven people, including twelve veterans, out to see the B-17 flown in for the opening. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed being near the Flying Fortress. I even thought I saw a glint of pride in the 17’s windshield as her "boys" drew near. As always she stood proud awaiting orders to start engines! No such luck today girl, the skies would remain silent. We are very grateful to Tony Mazzolini, Continental Airlines Regional Manager for arranging our visit. His many months of hard work are very appreciated and will long be remembered. In fact, the City of Cleveland worked tirelessly to get us open in time. I am sorry I was unable to thank in person all the people who helped. Here are some of the people I met at the dinner, Mayor Jane L. Campbell, Councilman Martin J. Sweeney, Councilman Merle Gorden and Councilman Jay Westbrook. There were over ninety people from the Cleveland area, including many City Officials who’s help was critical to getting us up and running. Also airport personnel, former employees and several hotel managers and staff including George Innacone and Dianne Palombo from the Hilton Garden Inn, our headquarters hotel. The Hilton also provided shuttles for all our transportation needs (and we had plenty!) Dianne was the very best to work with and this event was all the better because of her and her wonderful staff.

Speaking of wonderful staff, those dedicated workers who pulled together the restaurant opening deserve a huge pat on the back. Penny Nemeth, who’s step-dad is in the 100th told me how proud she is to work at the restaurant. Joy Cartwright and Julie Karam in the catering and banquet office were helpful above and beyond words and gave their all as did the landscapers, construction guys, and the restaurant staff that did any and every job that needed to be done. Also the guys putting up displays and hundreds of photos as fast as Historian & Photo Archivist Mike Faley could get the history text and photos ready. We are also grateful to the servers and chiefs, who’s fine dinner of prime beef was perfect and perfectly served. I salute all of the hundreds of people that made our evening one to remember!

As reservation coordinator, I would like to thank all that contacted me with your RSVP’s. It was a pleasure to be in touch will all of you and as I said, you were missed!

Here is the list of those in attendance:

Bruce & Shirley Alshouse and Gary & Susan Alshouse; Dick & Judy Ames; Tom & Anita Barrett; The Sam Barr family: Lynn Barr, George Barr, Victoria Love, Matt Love & Heather Gilmore; Nelson & Helen Berger; Don Bradley; Cass Cassimatis & Gregory Cassimatis; Harry Crosby and Becky Hutchinson; Bill Cully and Bart Cully; John & Fern Darr; Bob & Claudia Dell and Terry & Niclole Lepisto; The Nephew’s of Ralph DeLong: Jeffrey & Dale DeLong; Edward & Adeline and Barbara & Eric Janoscrat; Mike Faley; Gene & Ruth Fellmeth; Dale & Mary Ellen Francis; William Funtig; John P. Gibbons; Charles & Jean Hacker; Karl Hauffe; Hal & Trudie Higgs; Ken Hoelscher; Peach Janssen and Olaf & Delores Nielson; Dick & Apple Johnson; Russell & Gladys Kendig; Vern & Bea Keiholtz; George & Judy Klare; Leroy & Willi Koharik; John Lucarelli; Ray & Ron Miller; The Family of Thomas & Ruth Hooper: Marcy & Richard Novak, Nancy Putnam; Jan Riddling; The Family of Owen D. Roane: Mrs. Betty Roane, Martha Reedy and Carol Roane; Robert & Phillis Rosenthal; The Family of Glenn Rojohn: Mrs. Jane Rojohn & Cynthia Rojohn; Leonard & Peg Rondeau and Chuck, Mary Lou, Tom, Scott, Barb & Bryan Rondeau (Barb and Bryan flew in to surprise Leonard and Peg!); The Brothers of George Rupnick: Andrew & William Rupnick; John & Nancy Scharding; Joseph & Edith Schwab; Richard Shandor and Jeremy Glass, George Shaner; George Shelvin; Dave & Carol Tallichet; Carl Thorkelson, Shirley Michels, Mark Thorkelson and Gabrielle Hawkins; The Family of Irv Waterbury, Jr.: Mrs. Clara Waterbury, Marsha, Irving Waterbury, Donald & Glenda Holmok, Laura & Don Took, Ernie & Gale Willgren and Judi Wiseman; Milton & Joan Warner; Fred & Clymena Wagner; Charlie "Hong Kong" Wilson, Curtis & Cary Wilson; Arnold & Jackie Wimer; Robert & Barbara Wolff; The Family of Dr. Richard Wynn: Mrs. Joanne Wynn and Rachel Wynn.

A few "honorable mentions" that were unable to attend at the last minute: Jim & Lorraine Bain; The Barack Family: William & Katherine and William N. & Susan Barack; Dr.Gayle "Bucky" Cleven; Charles Cruikshank; Deloris DeLong; Eric Janssen; Norman & Vera Miller and Susan Smilnak and Colleen King; The Family of Floyd Seaman: Mrs. Roberta Seaman, Debra Racey, Angela, Matt, Morgan, Mary Clark and Andrew Davis; The Family of Fred Sutterlin: Fred & Lucy Sutterlin.

After the wonderful dinner, dancing was the order of the day. The group moved down to the Robert Rosenthal room on the other end of the building. Familiar tunes greeted you in the wall way and lured in. A band played our wonderful songs and couples danced and danced.

Many stopped me and expressed gratitude for the wonderful evening, which I passed on to Dave and Carol Tallichet.

Thank you Dave and Carol, you made it a perfect evening!!!