Family & Friends
Willard “Will” Whipple, F15, who served as FMCA’s first national treasurer, passed away February 3, 2003, at the age of 78.
Mr. Whipple; his wife, Madora; and sons Larry, Dale, and Gary were among the 26 families that met in Hinckley, Maine, when FMCA was founded in July 1963.
Mr. Whipple was on the organizational committee that met two months later at Wolf Den State Park in Pomfret, Connecticut, to draft a constitution and bylaws for the new Family Motor Coach Association. He was also among the founders who signed the original legal agreement of association for FMCA. He served as the association’s treasurer from 1963 to 1965.
Mr. Whipple’s son, Dale, F15S, said that his father converted a GMC school bus around 1959, and it was in this vehicle that the family visited Hinckley. Dale recalled that his father converted a Fitzjohn bus and a Flxible bus in the 1960s, and then converted a step van for motorhome use. He later purchased production motorhomes, because the demands of his own businesses took up his time.
Mr. Whipple was born April 29, 1924, and grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. He served in the Army Signal Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and attended Youngstown University.
Mr. Whipple was employed in the field of printed circuit electronics for the Foxboro Company and the Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts. He began two of his own printed circuit companies in the 1970s and later started a company that made tooling for the jewelry industry. He sold that company a few years ago, prior to retirement.
Mr. Whipple was a resident of South Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Dale, who is currently converting his own MCI MC-9 bus, said that his father was a “strong influence” in terms of his own interest in buses. Of his father’s involvement with FMCA, he recalled, “He sat around the campfire with the guys comparing ideas and out-designing each other, while my mother did the detail work of the offices he held.”
Longtime FMCA member Dick Parece, F22, said that in addition to serving as FMCA’s first national treasurer, Mr. Whipple also was among the first members of the Northeastern chapter. “He was a quiet individual, very pleasant and very nice,” he recalled.
In addition to his wife and sons, Mr. Whipple is survived by five grandchildren, a sister-in-law, and three nephews. Memorial donations may be made to the Adventist Disaster and Relief Agency, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Springs, MD 20904.
Northwestern Chapter Celebrates 35 Years Of Fun “” Twice
By Kathy Maass, F265421
The 35th anniversary of FMCA’s Northwestern chapter merited not one party, but two. The chapter’s scope includes Washington, Oregon, and northwestern Idaho, and two favorite rally sites were chosen within this area for our fun-filled anniversary celebration.
Planning for the event began a year earlier when chapter president Donovan “Bud” Fouts, F143928, and his team of chapter officers voted to recognize the occasion with a steak dinner for members. By offering two separate dates and locations for the anniversary rally, planners knew that members would have a better opportunity to include at least one of the parties in their busy summer schedule.
The first celebration took place over the Fourth of July weekend at beautiful Rest-A-While RV Park just north of Hoodsport, Washington. This quaint location is tucked between the Northwest’s popular evergreen forests and the Hood Canal, where one can enjoy a stroll along the waterfront, pick oysters off the private beach, or crab from the dock.
We had 26 coaches in attendance (56 people, including two grandsons and two visiting couples as guests). A Wednesday night hors d’oeuvres potluck helped to kick off a weekend that was packed with socializing and activities. Although the ground was wet the next morning, spirits were not dampened, as early risers enjoyed the sunrise.
As the day progressed, members indulged in huge ice cream cones (as well as favorite seafood menu items) from the Honey Bee Drive-In located right in the park. Overcast skies prompted the scheduled hot dog roast to be held at the clubhouse. A cakewalk on Friday brought out the competitive spirit in those who eyed the more than a dozen cakes and pies that were contributed by members for this fun event. Those who didn’t participate in the cakewalk cheered on the contestants from the lawn.
On Saturday Bud Fouts prepared a full breakfast for rally attendees. As the day slipped toward evening, a grill-your-own steak dinner that included baked potatoes and salad was topped off with a beautifully decorated Fourth of July cake. Former chapter president Skeet Klaudt, F1360, a charter member, shared stories from the group’s 35 years.
In addition to Skeet’s walk down memory lane, much of the chapter’s early history can be found in old rosters, which many members found very interesting. One report chronicled the chapter’s inception in April 1967, when 22 coaches gathered for an organizational meeting at Paradise State Park in Woodland, Washington. Those at the gathering included 42 adults, 10 teenagers, 15 children, and numerous friends and family members.
The meeting was initiated by a group of motorhome owners interested in forming a Northwestern chapter. During the meeting a proposed constitution and bylaws were unanimously accepted and officers were elected. These included C. Roy Herlbert, F1158, as president; Cliff Doiron, F1555, as vice president; and Harold Beard, F196, as secretary-treasurer. Annual dues were set at $2. Of those in attendance, 11 were already members of FMCA, and five more joined at that meeting.
The immediate task of the new officers was to petition FMCA’s national office for a formal charter. They did that, and three months later the Herlberts and the Beards made their way to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for FMCA’s fourth annual convention where the chapter received its charter.
A second Northwestern chapter rally was held September 16 and 17 that year at Columbia Park in Kennewick, Washington. A third rally was held in December at Fort Stevens State Park in Astoria, Oregon, with 16 coaches present despite the cold, blustery weather.
By the end of the first year, the Northwestern chapter numbered 60 members, including 26 charter members.
With the first half of our anniversary celebration a success, a second group (which included several members who were at the first gathering) traveled to the Yakama Nation Resort RV Park in Toppenish, Washington, on Labor Day weekend. Fifty-nine people, including a few guests and family members, attended part two of the celebration. Toppenish, another favorite location for annual rallies, is just south of Yakima, and the RV park is conveniently located near a casino. The days were filled with visits to the town of Toppenish; area flea markets; and fresh produce stands. Horse and wagon tours were available through downtown Toppenish, where much of the town’s history is preserved on outdoor murals painted on the walls of businesses.
The weekend shifted into high gear for the Saturday night party when Bud Fouts welcomed five past chapter presidents. They included Pinky Middlebrooks, L13193 (1976-1981); Roque Ybarra, F31950 (1983-1984); King deBord, F16686 (1984-1985); John Partridge, F79129 (1994-1997); and Bill Gessitz, F132002 (1998-2000). That night members came together for an evening of fun that started with a grill-your-own steak dinner and an anniversary cake. This time the cake was appropriately topped with a miniature toy motorhome.
Following Sunday breakfast, Bud Fouts chaired the chapter’s business meeting and annual election of officers. The business aspect soon shifted from serious to enthusiastic when Northwest Area vice president Jim Phillips, F158824, presented the chapter with a certificate and a check on behalf of its anniversary.
Through the years the chapter has seen many changes, such as when it was incorporated in 1994. Today the chapter includes nearly 130 members and holds annual elections for its officers at a rally on or around Labor Day weekend each year. The chapter plans a minimum of four rallies each year; gatherings are scheduled in partnership with other chapters; and impromptu rallies are added along the way. Rally locations vary from year to year, but some of our favorite meeting places continue to be the two mentioned in this article, as well as the Bonney Lake RV Resort near Puyallup, Washington, and the Puyallup Fairgrounds, where an annual holiday bazaar is held. The chapter’s annual dues have increased from the original $2 to $10 to cover costs of mailings and managing the chapter’s business.
In addition to hosting the chapter rallies, members also volunteer at FMCA’s area rallies and conventions. Last year the Northwestern chapter provided the leadership and volunteers to organize and park more than 800 motor coaches that attended the Northwest Area Rally in Moses Lake, Washington, in early June. This was one more great memory to include in our history of time spent with friends.
New members are always welcome, and anyone interested in joining can contact chapter secretary Kathy Maass at [email protected] for more information or an application.
Swinging Golfers Shoot For Good Times
If you enjoy playing golf while traveling and are looking for a chapter that does more than eat and socialize, FMCA’s Swinging Golfers International chapter is for you. Members of the Swinging Golfers experience the fun and fellowship of an FMCA chapter while pursuing a few rounds of their favorite pastime.
An example of one such gathering was our rally in Garden City, Kansas, September 16 through 20, 2002, prior to FMCA’s international convention in Hutchinson. A total of 15 family members camped at the Finney County Fairgrounds for five fun-filled days of golf and entertainment.
During the welcome party on Monday, members enjoyed the stand-up comedy routine of Miss Kitty. She and her cancan girls perform at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas, during the summer months. Also that night, the Garden City Community College Latin Heat dance club demonstrated Latin and Laotian dancing, and actually coaxed several members to join in the fun.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, playing members teed off at the beautiful, but challenging, Buffalo Dunes Municipal Golf Course. Tuesday’s winning foursome included Fred Gharis, F104281; Paul Shafer, F178429; Barb Mills, F89637; and Ron Cain, F72400. Wednesday’s winners were Dee Salsbury, F196216; Clair Mickelson, F217024; Jerry Hulin, F306557; and Paul McGhee, F11595. During Friday’s individual championship round, Paul Shafer and Wes Adams, F75031, tied for low net with a score of 70 and Jim Mills, F89637, won low gross by posting an 86. On the women’s side, Barb Mills captured low net with a 75 while Opal Ingram, F282880, grabbed low gross honors with an 83.
On Tuesday evening, attendees enjoyed a barbecue dinner and a murder mystery skit that included Bob and Opal Ingram as participants. Opal, playing the part of mail-order bride Sally Forth, was found to be guilty when the mystery was finally solved. We also enjoyed the performance of Randy Fisher, a local cowboy poet and Willie Nelson impersonator.
During our day off on Thursday, we toured the Finney Game Refuge. The 3,670-acre project is home to the oldest publicly owned bison herd, which was established in 1924. On Friday evening, everyone gathered at the Southwind County Club ballroom for a farewell banquet.
While most members headed home on Saturday morning, nine coaches made the trip to Dodge City. During our two-day stay there we ate at Casey’s Cowtown Club, visited the Boot Hill Museum, and traveled outside the town to view buffalo.
A big thank-you goes out to the Finney County Convention and Tourism Bureau, the local chamber of commerce, and the fairgrounds. All three groups went out of their way to make this a successful rally. Also, thanks to Swinging Golfers national director Bud Salsbury, F196216, and his wife, Dee, who organized such a fun event.
The Swinging Golfers International chapter was created in 1985 to support and promote FMCA and to bring the game of golf and the joy of motorhoming together in one chapter for all FMCA members. Members of the Swinging Golfers chapter live throughout the United States.
The Swinging Golfers currently has 127 member families, and we are always looking for new golfers to join us. The chapter includes players of all skill levels, so you don’t have to be a great golfer to join. Handicaps run from 40 on down, and playing groups are balanced with golfers of all abilities. This makes it possible for everyone, no matter how they play, to enjoy the game from a competitive standpoint.
Chapter members who do not share their partner’s enthusiasm for golf still have a good time when we get together. The non-playing spouses often take tours in the rally area and have lunch together. The non-golfers have visited many interesting places, including a dulcimer factory, an herb farm, a cattle ranch, and the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Johnson City, Texas, to name just a few.
The remaining 2003 rally schedule includes outings in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, May 5 through 9; Saratoga Springs, New York, July 23 through 27 (immediately after FMCA’s international convention in Buffalo); and Disney World in Orlando, Florida, October 5 through 9.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Swinging Golfers may contact chapter president Jim Mills at 6431 Layton Road, Fowlerville, MI 48836; (517) 223-8174; or visit www.swinginggolfers.com. Dues are only $15 per year and membership badges cost $8.50 per person.
California Chapter Celebrates Autumn
By Sheila Donigan, F5564
The California chapter celebrated its 27th annual Autumnfest rally October 3 through 6, 2002, at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, California.
With 100 coaches and more than 200 individuals in attendance, rally trailbosses Bruce and Sue Hicks, F153504, and Rick and Jan Ricordati, F173709, and their volunteers were kept busy throughout the weekend. Even so, rally-goers were impressed with the smiles and camaraderie that were evident throughout the event.
Starting on Thursday, early arrivals were treated to coffee and doughnuts by coffee captain Cleo Hamilton, F67442, and his crew. Cleo has spoiled California chapter members for years with his steaming-hot fresh brew every morning. It is rumored that when the last of the night owls finally go to bed, Cleo is up and starting his first pot for the early, early birds.
After a very informational seminar on fire safety issues later that day, members enjoyed a fantastic lasagna dinner with all the fixings served family-style. A rousing game of bingo followed.
On Friday morning the chapter was treated to a presentation by a representative from the Ronald McDonald House. Chapter members Claude and Eileen Miller, F121417, have worked tirelessly over the years collecting pull tabs, soup can labels, and other items to support this worthwhile charity and have been honored repeatedly for their unselfish efforts. The representative talked to rally attendees about the mission of the Ronald McDonald House and what this organization does for the families of sick children.
That afternoon was filled with the traditional hot dog feast and excellent entertainment by the Exit West Band in the outdoor pavilion. Scrapbooks were on display to help rekindle memories of past rallies. After a seminar about highway rules and regulations conducted by an officer from the California Highway Patrol, the group had a fabulous chicken dinner. The family-style meals at the rally help bring members together, as everyone pitches in and has plenty of fun. Dinner was followed by a night of dancing and good conversation.
On Saturday morning many of us went to the local fire station for the fireman’s breakfast. The chapter has supported the local fire department’s fund-raising efforts for several years. After breakfast, those involved in the traditional chili cook-off began building their booths for the contest. The costumes were as hot as the chili, and laughter was the rule of the day.
After a fabulous lunch of chili and judging, members and guests were treated to an unusual fashion show from “Nerdstroms.” Several men paraded across the stage in fashions that you had to see to believe. The hilarious outfits did not leave much to the imagination, and raucous laughter prevailed. Everyone agreed that the Nordstrom department stores were not getting any competition from us. This wonderful skit was followed by a pet show that had numerous entries, and everyone went home happy. Later that day, the ice cream social was followed by the traditional pot roast dinner and entertainment.
On Sunday the chapter held its general meeting and installed new officers; then it was time to break camp for home.
This rally is always a popular event, and the chapter would like to invite more members of FMCA to attend next year. For more information, visit www.ccfmca.org or check the “Association Calendar” in FMC magazine. You will be pleasantly entertained and have a great time.