2013 Reunion at the Rim - Band of Brothers - GE Class of 1965
2013 Reunion at the Rim - Band of Brothers (GE Class of 1965)
Band of Brothers:
Click below for pictures of the group of 6 and 8, and some pictures of
the trails we hiked in the canyon. A few days after we left the rim,
Hank Kehoe arrived in Prescott for a visit with Bill Jacobs and Joe
Chris Bradley [Click]
Tom Duncan [Click]
Bill Jacobs [Click]
Bill Murphy [Click]
Dean Duncan [Click]
Dave Parsons [Click]
Norm Birzer [Click]
Joe Holtey [Click]Chris Bradley Note
Seven of the Band gathered at the Grand Canyon beginning on Monday,
May 13, 2013 (we had an eighth - Dean Duncan brought his brother Tom
along). Tom is younger than Dean by 10 years. Hmm, stronger than us
by 10 years.... We might be older but not stupid; we adopted Tom as a
bro in a heartbeat. Ask Bill Murphy about how invaluable was the "in
better shape" and younger Tom Duncan. You see, Bill and Tom were the
only ones to - at 6:30AM Wednesday - begin the descent to the canyon
floor and return the same day - or, more accurately, way overtime at
night under a sliver of silver moon beam as one would have it. Those
of us awaiting their return took comfort in the fact that neither were
alone. Norm and Dean were at the Bright Angel trail head at the
expected time of arrival, only to nervously await as hours went by and
darkness overspread the canyon trail with nary a glimpse of Bill and
Tom. With growing concern Dave and I were waiting at the hotel, when
Tom managed to get a cell call to me that they were ok and on the way
up the trail - but not sure how much further away was the rim. With
that info relayed, Norm and Dean began descending Bright Angel,
wanting to get eyes on the wayward chicks. A good while passed before
Tom and Bill came around the bend and into sight. Around 9 PM, Norm
called my cell with the news that 'the chicks are in the nest'. Bill
and Tom were the conquering heroes of the trip; they beat the Grand
Canyon. Sore and walking funny, we ate dinner late that evening,
The day before, Tuesday, Bill Jacobs and Joe Holtey drove up from
Prescott, pretty much a 6 hour round trip, to spend breakfast and the
morning with us. Almost 50 years have passed since I last saw Joe
Holtey....the Band of Brothers is remarkable. I do not think we ever
ate lunch that week, for soon after Bill and Joe left for the return
trip to Prescott, we were off to our first visit at the canyon. Some
forgot water, or sun tan lotion, a hat, even a snack. Except for no
one having an extra hat and without having to ask, the guys shared
power bars, water and lotion to those who had none. I was so
impressed by these simple acts of generosity.
The week was a celebration of the friendship of men who share 50 or
more years of history. Jokes and laughter - guffaws breaking out at
the silliest of things - sapped our breath as we hiked around the
canyon's rim, or interrupted food or drink from reaching our gullets.
We hung out like family, eating and enjoying each day's adventures.
The only day, if I recall correctly, that we did not hang totally
together was, Wednesday, Grand Canyon Descent Day. Dave and I hiked
over a mile down the Bright Angel Trail; Norm and Dean hiked some of
the path that goes round the rim of the canyon; and Bill and Tom did
the full trek. On Thursday we all spent nearly the full day out in
the sun, taking in the sights from along the red route of the canyon
rim. Thursday night before we had to leave for home we gathered in
Norm and Dean's room to drink wine and....jokes were the topic of the
night. Tom told the most jokes, Bill told the longest jokes, so much
so that the devil in me complained, Dave told a joke, I don't recall
Norm's joke, Dean told a few; and since I knew none, I continued to
bust Bill - all red and blustery was he. Tell you this, though. No
one of us behaved like seniors of 60 and 70. We were out every day
acting like the kids at heart that we are. At quieter moments in the
hotel we found ourselves in hearty discussions which centered around
the country's ills and possible fixes. We spoke of family, future
plans for travel, possible residence changes, the timing for the next
reunion, life since we last met, and plans for the return trips to
Texas, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington. It was a very special
time; the only thing that could have added to the enjoyment would have
been more of our brothers sharing it with us. Until the next
Note from Tom Duncan
Wanted to thank you all and add my notes on the gathering.
I was amazed at how easy it was to fit into the group. Everyone had a
sick sense of humor and never had anything kind to say so I felt like
I fit right in. Whoever was talking was never listened to and as a
result no one ever figured out what anyone was talking about. When
Norm started talking about the jets he flew everyone started looking
into the air. When Bill started talking about his time in the
seminary everyone kept waiting for him to take a breath so they could
break in, which never happened. Chris usually spoke up when everyone
wasn't looking or when they finally figured out no one was listening.
Dave never did get a chance to say much and decided to give up. Dean
kept telling everyone about the benefits to rubbing buffalo pies on
his lips so all in all it was like being back in school again. You
just couldn't figure out who the professor was.
The reality was I had such a good time the days flew by and by the
time Friday came around I was wishing we could do it all over again.
Was impressed with how intelligent you each are and how good a sense
of humor you all have. You even laughed at my bad jokes and sick
sense of humor . Have to say by the time I came home I felt relaxed
and had some good stories to share with my friends. Doesn't get any
better than that.. Tom
Note from Bill Jacobs
Grand Canyon Mini-class Reunion
Joe Holtey and I were able to drive up from Prescott, AZ and visit
with our classmates on the morning of the first day of the Reunion.
Dave Parsons was waiting for us in the hotel restaurant. We chatted
for about 30 minutes and wondered why the other five were sleeping in.
After all, it was 11:00 AM EST! Taking a break to extinguish my
"coffee overflow" light, I found the "gang of five" sitting in the
lobby wondering why Dave was still asleep and where the heck were
those laggards driving up from Prescott. Hey, what do you expect from
a bunch of guys highly trained as philosophic thinkers and ill-trained
in the art of time management and planning.
It was great to visit with everyone once again, Chris, Joe, Dave,
Norm, Bill, Dean, and Dean's brother, Tom. These reunions are forever
reminding us the best group of friends we have is our Maryknoll
classmates. We were sorry we could not spend more time together. From
all accounts it was a memorable gathering. According to rumors, Bill
Murphy experimented with the old mantra, what does not kill you, makes
you better! The event planners deserve much credit for selecting such
a scenic location for the Reunion.
A little anecdote, Joe and I meet every month or two for breakfast to
solve the world's problems. A few weeks ago Joe mentioned he was part
of a small group of GE ham radio enthusiasts. While the rest of us
were getting into trouble on Chicago Days, the "radio" gang was
seeking out radio stations asking for private tours. Joe wondered what
happened to these guys, particularly Harvey Cox who wanted to become a
radio broadcaster. As fate would have it, when I was stationed near
Norfolk in 1969, the local TV news broadcaster WAS Harvey. As for the
other guy in the GE "radio" group, Joe would eventually find out what
happened to him. He (Bill Murphy) was sitting right at the restaurant table with us
in the Grand Canyon.
Note from Bill Murphy
Just a few thoughts about the "reunion at the rim" a few of us had May
13th through 17th at the Grand Canyon this month. It was truly a fine
time. Dean Duncan, his brother Tom, Chris Bradley, Dave Parsons, Norm
Birzer (from the Hingham class of'65) and I met in Tusayan Arizona,
just outside the entrance to the canyon. The first night we all met
in the hotel bar at 6 pm and talked and joked and reminisced about our
lives and what we've done over the past several years. We finaly
closed the restaurant around 11 pm. It's amazing how much we all
still have in common after all these years. (Don't worry guys,we only
had positive things to say about you all!!)
The next morning we were joined at breakfast by Bill Jacobs and Joe
Holtey who had come up to the hotel to visit. They could only stay
for half a day. They both live in Prescott Arizona which is about a
three hour drive away. Again we all just kept on talking, finally
closing the dining room by noon. It was great to see them; we just
wished they could have stayed.
Then it was on to the Canyon. If any of you haven't seen the Canyon,
it's one of the most magnificent sights you'll ever see. Please put
it on your bucket lists. (Actually, at our age any list we make is
probably a bucket list!!). The rest of Tuesday was spent walking the
rim trails and visiting the museums along the top. Wednesday the
intrepid Band walked the trails. As we said we would do, we went on
several varying lengths of trail, depending on what we wanted to do.
Tom Duncan and I chose to walk down to the Colorado River and back.
We left early and got back very late but it was an unforgettable
experience. Also it left us hobbling around and quite sore for the
next several days!! But we loved It!
Thursday we got a chance to see the western part of the rim, which
gives you a whole diffferent view of the Canyon, then it was back to
the hotel and another round of dinner at the Mexican restaurant where
we ate much of the week. We've all become big fans of Mexican food!
Then back to the hotel for even more talking!! I'm telling you those
guys would make Mother Teresa tell them to shut up!!
I have to say that this was one of the best times I've ever had and
can only say that if any group of any size of The Band can get
together even if for just a short visit you will be surprised at how
much those Maryknoll friendships from so long ago are still strong.
The term Band Of Brothers is absolutely the right one to describe us.
Bye for now.Bill M
Note from Dean Duncan
Reunion at the Rim
What a perfect mix of friendship and nature! It was wonderful the
experience the awesome beauty of the Grand Canyon with such grand
group of old friends. It always amazes me that even 47 years can't
dim the close bond established so many years ago. It was most
enjoyable to catch up and hear the stories of where our different life
paths had taken us. So glad I had this opportunity. I especially
appreciated Bill Jacobs and Joe Holtey taking time out to drive up and
spend the morning with us. What's next ?
Note from Dave Parsons
With the backdrop of one of America's most spectacular natural wonders
it was a pleasure to get reacquainted with some of the mates and
reminisce about the old days. And yes, for all of those who could not
attend, we DID talk about you, and probably tarnished your reputations
somewhat. Norm says that lies were told, and we fraternally accept
his self-confession. For the rest of us, however, I'm sure we would
agree that only the absolute truth escaped our lips. Great
get-together and I hope it won't be too long before we meet and visit
Note from Norm Birzer
Brothers at Grand Canyon
It was 47 years ago that we had a transforming experience at Hingham,
Mass., then dispersed. Seven of us came together again at the South
Rim of the Grand Canyon last week.
Recollections, dissections, criticisms, exaggerations, and other lies
competed for attention in our non-stop dialogue.
Friendship, courtesy and respect prevailed. Only the briefest foray
into politics revealed the astounding: most of us leaned to the
right!! Who would have thought?
Meanwhile, we enjoyed the wonders of nature at it's best, in perfect
weather conditions. What a trip!
Note from Joe Holtey
A few words regarding a get together of the Glen Ellen crowd at the
Grand Canyon on 14 may.. Thanks to our coordinator Chris Bradley,
eight of us met at the Grand Canyon and had a long breakfast and spoke
of events that had occurred in each of our lives since most of us had
last seen each other almost 50 years ago. Because the time was short
for Bill Jacobs and myself who had driven up from Prescott for the
meeting I was not able to speak at length with anyone except those
seated near me. I enjoyed my chat with Dean Duncan and Norm Birzer
and spoke for a while with Bill Murphy. It is a shame we all live so
far apart for we would be close friends and confidants if we lived
closer to each other. My warmest regards to all who were present.
Through the marvel of modern technology I was able to dictate this
entire text through the use of my Dragon voice recognition software.
Signed Joe Holtey