CLASS of 1953 SHIPMATE Jan-Feb 2022

Executive Committee

Chris Zirps (5), “I thank you all for agreeing to continue in year 2022 your duties on the Class of 1953 Executive Committee. [Al Glazier (15) Exec Pres, Art Bivens (22) Admin Pres, Darrell Dempster (16), Treasurer, Pete Walker (7), Secretary, Chuck Fellows (20), member, Earl Griggs (13), member]. We should all look forward to a COVID free 2022 and the continuation of our annual meetings and events.”



Andrew G. Merget, CAPT, USN (Ret) (14), died Sept 25, 2020 in Bothell, WA. Andy spent 28 years of active as active duty as a Surface Warfare Officer. Served six tours on six tours on destroyer types, a Vietnam tour, and several shore duty assignments including Naval War College. He retired in 1982 and settled in the Seattle area. He married Lucille in 1962. Survivors include Lucille and two sons….*

Melvin Sage Bassett, CDR, USN (Ret) (9) died August 16, 2021 in Silver Spring, MD. Sage completed flight training in 1955. Flew the fat Spad off the Randolph and Saratoga during his   first sea tour. Then back to USNA as a SEAMO Prof. Great duty. Back to the Fleet and Med cruise in the Sara. Next a staff with CINCLANTFLT. Thence an instructor tour in Cougars. Then PG School at Monterey. My final tour was flying Convairs for CNO out of Andrews AFB. After retirement in ’79, joined Flight Safety International as a Simulator Instructor. His wife, Lenore, is deceased. His daughter, Carolyn Banks, has connected with us….*

Clifford C. Thomas Jr. (21) died September 23, 2021 in Columbia, SC. After graduation, Cliff spent a year in USS Saipan before entering Flight Training. He received his wings in 1955, was assigned to VF-71 at Quonset Point, RI flying the F2H-4 Banshee. He resigned from active duty in 1959, and the next seven years worked for brokerage firms in New York and Connecticut. During the next 20 years he studied computer programming, lived in Hilton Head Island and ended in Columbia, SC where he worked with Salomon, Smith Barney for ten years before retiring in 2001. Cliff’s wife, Marie, died several years ago. They had one daughter, two sons, five grandchildren and one great-grand child….*

Howard J.  Larson, CDR, USNR (Ret) (24) died September 21, 2021 in Hilton Head Island, SC. Howard first served in a destroyer, then attended Submarine School and Nuclear Power Training School and served in the USS Halibut (SSG(N)-587. He was released from active duty in 1961, remained in the Naval Reserve. In the private sector Howard continued working in the nuclear industry and eventually retired from the U.S. Nuclear Energy Commission. Howard is survived by his wife Claire, and with their blended family, 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a stepson, granddaughter and great-daughter…..*

B. Shirley Paulsen, wife of CDR Raymond E. Paulsen, USN (Ret) (19), died September 25, 2021 in Deland, FL. Shirley was the second wife of Raymond for 22 blessed years. Survivors include Raymond, and her blended family….*

Nicholas Wallner (24) died September 25, 2021 in Portland, OR. Nick served in the USAF and flew as a fighter pilot, in a F-86 Sabre jet. After serving tours of duty in Japan and Northern California he resigned from the USAF. He married Sally Sullivan and they had four children. Nick then graduated with an MBA from U. Southern Cal. He then worked in the field of mergers and acquisitions for over 50 years, where he ultimately served as a President and CEO of several major conglomerates. Survivors include three children, five grandchildren, three great- grandchildren, and his second wife, Jeanette Guiloff. Sally preceded Nick in death…*        

Sara Zimolzak, widow of COL Frank Zimolzak, USMC (Ret) (3), died October 2, 2021 in Ponte Vedra, FL. They were happily married for 38 years prior to his death in 1993. She was at her home and surrounding by her family when she peacefully passed. Sara was born in Pelham, GA. She grew up Orlando, FL and attended Florida State College for Women (now FSU). She moved to Washington, D.C. where she met Frank. They were married at the Naval Academy Chapel in 1955. While Frank was stationed at the Naval Academy, as senior Marine, Sara worked with the Chapel Altar Guild and assisted with the numerous weddings during the 3-year tour. Sara is survived by 2 married daughters, 4 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. She will be interned with Frank at the Naval Academy Columbarium.          

Eugene C. Matheson, LCDR USN (Ret) (8) died October 26, 2021 in Ashburn, VA. Gene was the oldest member of our Class. Gene’s first assignments after graduation was in USS Lewis Hancock (DSD-675). Destroyer Division-staff on USS McGowan (DD-678), Navigator in USS Hermitage (LSD-34), A shore tour Recruiting in Oklahoma City, two more surface ship tours, first of Chief Engineer in USS Arnold J. Isbell (DD-869) and as XO in USS Shadwell (LSD-154). After Headquarters Washington, returned to sea as XO in USS Allagash (AO-97). There was a several shore tours including NATO Rep to SAC in Omaha. And final assignment at Navy Receiving Station, Philadelphia as Personnel Officer. After retiring to Navy in 1973 he held various sales positions and 21 years retiring again. Survivors include his wife, Ruth, 5 children, and 2 grandchildren ….*

*See 50th Year Legacy Book


Carl Trost’s Memorial

Chris Zirps sent this paragraph for the SHIPMATE. “The Memorial Service for Carl Trost was held at the Academy Chapel on 20 September 2021. Carl was memorialized by his children, grandchildren, the Superintendent, and Navy retirees. Earl Griggs and Chuck Fellows spoke on remembrances for our Class of 1953. Other Class of 1953 attendees were Mary Lou Griggs, Alix Fellows and son Andy, George Barthelenghi, Patricia Maher, Dorothy Hoch, Judy Ostronic and son Tom. Carl was a big part of our Class and will be missed by all.”  


Earl Griggs remembrance comments: 

“I served with Carl on the USS Scorpion where I had been since shipbuilding days at Electric Boat and was then a department head. Carl was Scorpion’s third Executive Officer. He was soon the Exec and of course, the ship excelled.

Carl had a piercing intellect and near-perfect memory. He admitted he could remember things he is interested in, and fortunately he was interested in a lot of things!

The New York Times called Carl a military leader who avoided the public spotlight and tended to measure success by how few times his name was mentioned in the media.

It is well known that Carl was first in everything (except a grade school he skipped) Our CNO has epitomized Carl for his gracious spirit, stout heart, and life of selfless service to others, his family and his country.

I have no doubt that Carl was greeted by the Heavenly Angels caroling “Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant”


Chuck Fellows remembrance comments:

“I am a good friend of Carl, Pauline and their wonderful family. As Carl began and continued his own Star Trek, he did not leave his close friends in his wake. Those included some of we smoke eating, battery acid drinking, work hard and play hard, diesel boat sailors.

I remember after an Army/Navy game, walking with Carl back to the Army Chief of Staff’s train car, for Carl to present him with the traditional Naval Academy bathrobe, after losing to Army. I was struck by the silence in the Army car compared to the noisy Navy car. All the Army officers were hunkered down, in their briefcase foxholes, working away. On the way back to our Navy car, we wondered, what would it be like in there had they lost? We hated to lose an Army/Navy game, but as I am sure you know, the Navy always won the party.

I worked for Carl on ComSubLant staff when he was N1 and I was N10, Force Personnel Officer. He essentially said ‘You got it. Keep the Force fully manned.’ No micromanagement. He was a perfect boss.

On Veterans Day last year Adm. Gilday sent a message to the entire naval establishment citing the personal qualities that members of that organization should have. He identified Carl by name  as possessing each of those qualities and asked all to emulate him, for the good of themselves and the United States Navy.

As we know, Carl had many firsts. At the top of the list was his family. Carl openly demonstrated his love for Pauline, and his love for, and great pride in each of their children, wives, husbands, and grandchildren.

In summary, Carl epitomized the appellation “An Officer and a Gentleman”


Mail Bag

 Darrell Dempster (16) “attended all the home football games this year, Navy has played some good football vs Houston, but they cannot put it all together at any one time. Our parking is different. NAAA has taken away our tailgate area. It is now for the Admiral’s Club. I faked it and parked there three times. The other side of the stadium from where our seats are. This worked fine with me. I ride in a battery operated ‘Zommer’ chair. It works great. Darrell wanted us to know that ‘I am the Last Man Standing (or sitting)”(Photo to be supplied).


Jim Westermeier (24) sent a newspaper piece about himself who became an actor and enacted James Saner, the 11th sheriff in Kendall County in Texas, who kept law and order during the early 20th century. Jim visited with guests and talked about his character and his terms as sheriff. There was a dozen of other actors who portrayed deceased characters, other sheriffs, noted pioneers, from the Kendall County Genealogy Society.


Marcy and Art are still in the Greenspring retirement community this Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2021. We are both still walking at 92 years old. We were able to go to dining restaurants without face masks and bring family members. Our older daughter Chrissy and her daughter Elizabeth came to dine with us. We are all vaccinated including booster shots for Marcy and me, Art. Also, Marcy and I had our 67th wedding anniversary November 27, 2021. Finally, my deadline date is November 29, 2021, for SHIPMATE Jan-Feb 2022…Happy New Year!....ACB             

Photo Captions: (53#1) Darrell Dempster

                           (53#2) Jim Westermeier