John Verner Jensen (USS Fletcher 1943 - 1945), beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend, passed away peacefully January 7, 2018. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 15, 1920 and immigrated to America with his mother, Emelie and brother, Eric in 1928 where he was reunited with four older brothers and lived with them following his mother's unexpected death. In 1935, he traveled extensively and worked at the Harvey House in Barstow where he developed a lifelong love for trains. The photographs he took during that time are now on display at the Route 66 Museum in Barstow. In 1941 he married Margaret Crabtree LaBau a divorcee with two young sons, Thomas and Kingdon. They were to have three more children, Jane, John and Linda. He joined the Navy in 1942, and served aboard the USS Fletcher (DD445) for the duration. He was quite proud of that time and was an active member of the Fletcher Reunion Group. After the war, he worked for the Post Office prior to joining Lucky Lager Brewing Company in Azusa in 1952. He spent his later years with Miller Brewing in Irwindale and retired in 1982. The family moved to Covina in 1951 where he was to live in the same home until his death. John and Margaret were married 66 years until her passing July 20, 2007. They loved to travel and made numerous road trips visiting friends and family with their travel trailer. He was preceded in death by his son, Kingdon and survived by Thomas, Jane, John (Cindy) and Linda (Michael Comstock), 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He was well loved by the many he knew and met. One of his favorite expressions was, "Thank you for your smile." He attended Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Covina. Obituary Link

Nelson redux

Nelson George Curtis Ferrill (USS Fletcher 1965 - 1968), passed away suddenly at his home in Kauai, Hawaii on Monday, January 1, 2018. He was born in Miami, Florida on September 20, 1947. Nelson is survived by his devoted sister, Maureen and brother-in-law William “Howard” Gregg; two nieces, Cathy and Eileen, a grandniece and 3 grandnephews. Nelson was a Vietnam veteran of the US Navy. An intimate celebration of life will be attended by Nelson’s family and friends before interment in the VA cemetery on Kauai. Obituary link

Joel "Jack” Mills (USS Fletcher 1943 - 1945), passed away peacefully in Elk Grove, CA on November 19, 2017. He was born in Rush Springs, OK on October 18, 1922 and was predeceased by his dear wife, Lillian, and son, Glenn Price (Bette). Jack is survived by his daughter, Jewel Michelson (Philip), his grandchildren, Corey and Douglas Price, Jennifer Eting (Jessie) and Kathleen Ursin (Derek), as well as great grandchildren, Emily and Eamon McNab (Carrie), Lillian and Kaitlyn Eting, Benjamin and Lucas Ursin, and great great grandchildren, Charlotte and Dominic McNab. Jack was one of six children of William T. "Tom" Mills and Minnie Lee Crow. Orphaned in 1938 at 16, he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps in Rush Springs before he joined the Navy and was a "Tin Can Sailor" who proudly served as a torpedoman aboard the USS Fletcher DD-445 in the Pacific during WWII. He married Lillian Smith in San Francisco in 1946 and lived there for 47 years before retiring to Sonoma. A nurseryman for most of his life, he joined Pat Casey at American Seed and Nursery Co. on 26th and Taraval, first as an employee and then owner until he retired in 1985. Jack was a loyal SF Giants fan throughout his life, not even missing televised games during the 2017 season. He and Lillian enjoyed many cruises and road trips with friends and often attended the annual Fletcher reunions where he served as Historian for many years. Jack will be missed by many and remembered for his wonderful sense of humor, which sustained him and entertained everyone he met during his long life. May he rest in peace. Interment was on Nov. 28th in Cypress Lawn Cemetery in San Francisco. Obituary Link

Arnold E. Beadles (USS Fletcher 1943-1945) passed away in Florida on August 21, 2017. Obituary Link


Donald Holmes (USS Fletcher 1942 - 1945) passed away on February 9, 2017 in New Prague, MN.  Services will be held on Monday, February 27, in Montgomery, MN, at 11 AM at St. John Lutheran Church with visitation 1 hour prior to service. Interment will be in St. John Lutheran Cemetery in Rural Montgomery. Donald was born on March 31, 1919 in Le Center to Grantley and Grace (Gambold) Holmes. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy for 8 years and served on USS Fletcher during WWII. Donald was united in marriage on December 31, 1952 to Hazel (nee, Squires) Novotny in Iowa. He worked as a groundskeeper for the MN State Hospital and was a member of the VFW and American Legion in Le Center and enjoyed fishing and hunting. Donald is survived by his children, Ellen (Ron) Dubbe of Waconia, Shirley Sautter of Le Center, Bob (Maureen) Holmes of Forest Lake, Renee (Mike) Holt of Brook Park, and Mark (Tina) Holmes of Port Orchard, WA; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great- great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Norita Holmes. Donald is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Hazel; daughter, Bonnie Stasney; son, John Novotny; sons-in-law, Sam Sautter and Clarence Stasney; and siblings. Military honors will be provided by the Le Center area Honor Guard. Arrangements are with the Schoenbauer Funeral Home in Montgomery. Obituary Link

James A. Brayton (USS Fletcher 1943 - 1945) passed away on January 4, 2017 in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was born in Great Falls, MT on June 4, 1925, to John M. and Ilo Brayton of Malta, MT. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and served as a signalman on Fletcher. After he came home at the end of the War, he married Elaine St. John of Malta, and started a family. He re-enlisted in the Korean War began and served as a signalman on the USS Frank E. Evans. Soon afterwards, he found his personal relationship with the Lord. Jim was a surveyor and then project engineer in the highway construction business for most of his working life, alternating between projects in northeastern Montana and in the Sierras of California, at first, then going to work for the Bureau of Public Roads in the Territory of Alaska. He and his family were at the big parade in Juneau, when Alaska became the 49th state. One of his more memorable projects, however, was a two year temporary assignment to build a 160 km road across a wild part of Ethiopia, during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. His family also adopted their second son, John, while there.  After returning to Alaska, Jim transferred over to the brand new Alaska Dept. of Highways and settled his family in Valdez, done with moving until the older children could finish high school. He even bought a house for the first time, and then six months later, the ‘64 earthquake hit. Eventually, the family resettled in the new Valdez town site. Jim worked on projects all over Southcentral District. According to some of his cohorts, he was particularly well known for running out of gas in his Highway Dept truck, and for making strong “Navy” coffee. Jim later worked in Anchorage, earned his professional engineering license the hard way, and then added his experience to the Headquarters office in Juneau, from where he eventually retired.  Afterward, Jim worked as a project engineer for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, then took an intensive Spanish language course in Mexico, and later served as an elder and pastor at Valley Chapel in Juneau. Throughout, he enjoyed the great outdoors and the company of many friends. Jim and Elaine spent the nearly 70 years together as best of friends.  They moved to their daughter’s house near Fairbanks in 2016, to be close to family. Jim is survived by his soulmate Elaine, his son “Pat” Brayton of Anchorage, and his daughter Barbara Tyndall, near Fairbanks. His son John passed away from a heart condition in 2015.  Jim was also proud of his 7 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Funeral services were held on January 21st at 1:00 pm, at Harvest Church in Fairbanks.


Robert J. Foss (USS Fletcher 1958 - 1960) passed away in Sterling, IL on January 6, 2017 following a battle with cancer. He was born on October 20, 1939 in San Francisco, CA and married Susan Unterzuber on December 25, 1977 at Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC. Robert and Susan met at Camp Darby, Livorno, Italy where he was an instructor of navigation at the Italian Naval Academy. After 26 years of Naval service he retired as a Senior Chief Petty Officer in February 1986. He and Susan returned to San Francisco where he went back to college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University in January 1990. Robert was an avid San Francisco 49ers and Giants fan. He enjoyed shooting skeet, and gardening for which he became a Master Gardener. He received a Mentor of the Year Award from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization for the tri city area of Virginia. He was a lifetime member of the VFW and a member of the Sterling American Legion Post 296. Robert was known as a hard worker and a caring man who always left you with a smile. Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Susan, of Sterling; his son, Michael (Anne) Foss, of Luthersville, MD; his daughter, Deborah Croft, of Edmond, OK; his grandchildren, Ryan (Alexandria) Croft, of Chicago, IL, Cayla Croft, of Los Angles, CA, Cathy Foss, of Luthersville, MD, a sister in law, Karen (Larry) Mewhirter, of Rock Falls, IL; a sister in law, Gail Keefer, of Rock Falls, IL; a sister in law, Annette Halliday, of Sterling, IL; and many nieces and nephews, including a special nephew, Jared Mewhirter, of Rock Falls; and his mother in law Marilyn Unterzuber of Rock Falls. He was preceded in death by his parents, his step father Herbert Canton, his two half brothers, Harold and Eugene Foss all of San Francisco. Funeral services were on  January 9, 2017 at McDonald Funeral Home, in Sterling, IL. Burial was at Oak Knoll Memorial Park in Sterling with full military honors provided by Sterling American Legion Post 296. Obituary Link


Larry Wasserfort (USS Fletcher 1963 - 1968) passed away on the morning of December 4, 2016 in Waterloo, Iowa. He was born December 22, 1944 in Waterloo, the son of Donald and Bernice (Clark) Wasserfort. He graduated from Cedar Falls High School with the class of 1963. Larry then joined the United States Navy, serving in Vietnam on USS Fletcher, stationed in Hawaii, for 5 years. On January 22, 1984, he married Joan Knight in Waterloo. Larry worked security at John Deere until 1981, later working in sales with City Builders retiring in 2003. He later worked in sales for Midwest Boats. Larry drove late model stock cars in the 70’s and 80’s. He also had an interest in horses and won the State Barrel Racing Championship in 78 and 79. Larry had numerous hobbies, which included, riding his Harleys, boating, playing golf, traveling in his motorhome, snowmobiling, corvettes and muscle cars.  He was the former Road Captain of the Harley Owners Group (HOGS) in Waterloo. Larry was also a member of the Cedar Falls AMVETS and a member of the Heartland Vineyard church. Larry is survived by his wife, Joani; a son, Lyle (Lena) Simmons of Cedar Falls; a daughter Sheri (Mark) Clayton of Paw Paw, Illinois and five grandchildren: Ashley, Zac, Elizabeth, Dylan and Andrew. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Larry will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved himObituary Link

CPO Ezra Nolan "Mitch" Mitchell, (USS Fletcher 1960 - 1962) U.S. Navy, Ret, of Oklahoma City passed away on Monday, November 7th, 2016 at the age of 89. He was on born January 25th, 1927 in a tent in Waxahachie, Texas. He was was a decorated veteran of three wars. He first joined the U.S. Army in 1945 and served as an MP in Germany during World War II. He later joined the U.S. Navy and was deployed aboard Navy Destroyers in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He was an active member of the Fleet Reserve as well as the VFW. He was interred in Binger, OK. Obituary Link


Larry Lee Wolford (USS Fletcher 1958 - 1966) passed away in the early morning hours of November 10, 2016, in Riverside, California. He was buried with full military honors at the Riverside National Cemetery in California on November 21, 2016.


Robert Lee Sinclair (USS Fletcher 1964 - 1966), was born in San Antonio, TX and passed away on May 20, 2016, in Carmichael, CA surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by wife Anna Jo of 60 years, son Rodney & daughter-in-law Susan. He was preceded in death by son Robert, Jr on 12-12-2012. He was a 22 year Navy veteran & served in World War II (at Iwo Jima), Korea and Vietnam. He then worked and retired from McClellan AFB in Electronics for 20 years. He was a member of Fleet Reserve and an amateur radio operator, K6EYP. He will be remembered & missed by family & friends for his stories, sense of humor & smile. Services were held at Price Funeral Home in Citrus Heights, CA on May 25th. He was buried in Dallas, TX at a military cemetery. Obituary Link

photo 202813 2decd452237e4ac89c77dd2fc82a 1 8af1ff35d2839b1309458724ff43 20160624

James "Jim" Frank Setter, 96 (USS Fletcher 1942 - 1945), of Fayetteville, AR, passed away on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Jim was born on Oct. 12, 1919 and Oh what a life he led! From the wheat fields of Kansas to the mountains of Alaska. Jim, at the age of 22, joined the Navy and was a plankowner on Fletcher in World War II, serving as a machinist mate. Jim found his passion in the Navy and made a career working with thermal power. When the war ended, Jim made his way to Alaska, to begin a job on Elmendorf Air Force Base Power Plant. Jim retired and moved his family to Fayetteville in 1975. Burial was with military honors at the Fayetteville National Cemetery on Monday, June 27, 2016. He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed. Obituary Link

mns018907-1 20160131

Glen Edward Carter (USS Fletcher 1966-1968), surrounded by his family, passed from this life to his Heavenly Reward on January 30, 2016, in Ruston, LA. Funeral services were held February 2, 2016 at First Baptist Church, Ruston and interment was at the Fellowship Baptist Church Cemetery in Columbia, Louisiana.

Glen was born on February 2, 1947 in Hodge, Louisiana. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Kitty Whitlock Carter, two sons, Eric Carter and wife Janet and Brandon (B J) Carter. Glen had 9 wonderful grandchildren and numerous loving nieces and nephews and in-laws.

Glen served in the US Navy and was a Vietnam veteran. He loved all sports but especially high school football. He had attended every Super Dome Football State Championship for the past 28 years. Being able to attend these games last year, even though very ill, meant the world to him. He was also an avid Louisiana Tech University Fan. Before his retirement, Glen loved his work as a field inspector for Meyer, Meyer, Lacroix & Hixon and Ron Riley and Associates Engineering. He was a long time member and deacon at First Baptist Church in Ruston. Obituary Link

photo 040001 C0A801801dbd731EEBEUJ450EB28 1 cbbc6ded169c215e533839a895a13a9b 20151225

Steve Mroz (Mrozowski) 91, (USS Fletcher 1943-1946) of Charlotte, NC passed on December 17, 2015. He was born October 30, 1924, in Chicago, IL to Peter and Emilia Mrozowski. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Helen Mroz, and seven siblings. Steve leaves to cherish his memory: sons, Gary (Lynn), Glen (Stefania), Gregory (Marci), Gordon (Mary); grandchildren, Marcus (Heather), Lucas (Sarah), Alissa, Stacy, Jessica, Becca, Alexandra, Katrina; great-grandchildren, Wren, Z, Fox, Zachary and Brenna. Obituary Link

JerryGardner2011Jerry Gardner, (USS Fletcher 1958-1960) of Eden Prairie, MN passed away on November 7, 2015. Jerry was our Assistant Vice Commodore West for several years and attended many reunions. He will be sorely missed. At this time we don't have information on where he was laid to rest.


Ronnie R. Buchholz, 70 a native of Tripp, SD died Monday, September 7, 2015 at Dow Rummel Village Assisted Living. Burial was at the Danzig Cemetery, rural Avon, SD on Sunday, September 20, 2015, with Military Honors. He served on Fletcher as a radarman from 1965 to 1968. He was born on December 9, 1944, at Parkston, SD to Albert and Sarola (Giedd) Buchholz. He grew up in Tripp where he graduated from Tripp High School in 1964. He served in the US Navy for 4 years and upon his discharge, moved to Boise, ID where he owned and operated Ron's Cabinet Shop for over 25 years. He lived in Las Vegas, NV and Long Beach, CA before retiring and moving back to South Dakota in 2008.  Obituary Link

1896922 561662363975541 1201434023312304679 nJames Oscar Guthrie, 84, (USS Fletcher 1949) of Lynn Haven, FL passed away Saturday, October. 3, 2015, in a local hospital. He was born May 19, 1931, in Athens, AL. He was a retired mechanist where he worked for Reynolds Aluminum. He served in the United States Navy. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Florence, AL. He had been a resident of Lynn Haven for 11 years, moving here from Florence, AL. He was the last of 11 children of Joe and Gertrude Guthrie. He is survived by his wife, Gustava Guthrie; two daughters, Jamye Hotalen (Chester) and Bonya Guthrie; step-son, Mike Murks (Denise); three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and his beloved dog, Precious. Obituary Link


Brown County, Texas Sheriff Bobby Rex Grubbs, (MM3 USS Fletcher 1966-1968), passed away on September 3, 2015, in Brownwood, TX.  Obituary Link

Bobby went to be with his Savior on September 3, 2015 after a short hospital stay surrounded by family and friends.

He was born on June 18, 1945 in Sweetwater, TX. where he attended public schools. After graduation he enlisted in the Navy, beginning his service to our country, and served aboard the destroyer USS Fletcher DD-445 during the Vietnam War. After his time in the Navy, he continued his service and love of country with the Department of Public Safety as a State Trooper in Denton County. Bobby then became one of our state's elite Texas Rangers, stationed in Midland and later in Brownwood where he retired after 19 years as a Texas Ranger and a total of 34 years and 6 months with the D.P.S. His passion for public service and law enforcement compelled him to run for Brown County Sheriff, and he was serving his third consecutive term at the time of his death.

Sheriff Bobby Grubbs will be the provider of countless memories, be deeply missed, and continue to inspire us all because he will forever occupy a special place in our hearts.


Hazel E. Holmes, wife of Don Holmes (MM1, USS Fletcher 1942-1945) passed away on July 7,  2015 in Montgomery MN. Obituary link
Hazel E. Holmes, age 95 of Montgomery, MN passed away on July 7, 2015. She was born on November 9, 1919 in Cordova Twsp, LeSueur County to Lloyd and Lillie (Preble) Squires. Hazel graduated from Sherman High in Montgomery, Class of 1936. She attended Teachers training and Mankato State University. Hazel entered the Prior Lake School System in 1955 teaching 1st grade. She received her Master's degree from Mankato State College in 1966 in Special Ed. She then initiated the Special Ed program at Prior Lake. In 1962 she accepted the position of Principal at the newly constructed Westwood Elementary School in Prior Lake. She held that position until her retirement in 1978. She enjoyed quilting with the West Area Quilters and fishing with her family on Mille Lacs Lake. Preceded in death by her parents, first husband, John B. Novotny, daughter Bonnie (Novotny) Stasney and son John L. Novotny, son-in-laws Clarence Stasney and Clair 'Sam' Sautter.Survived by husband Donald Holmes, children Ellen (Ron) Dubbe, Shirley Sautter, Robert (Maureen) Holmes, Renee (Mike) Holt, and Mark (Tina) Holmes; Numerous Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren and Great-Great Grandchildren.


Walter Stanley Smudzin, a Fletcher WWII veteran, plankowner and long time member of the USS Fletcher Reunion Group, passed away in Prescott, AZ on the morning of May 11, 2015. He was born on September 30, 1918, in Shamokin, PA.
Walter Stanley Smudzin was born in Shamokin, Pa., during the deadly world 1918 flu epidemic.  So many people died that year they did not take time to count births. No one really knows his exact birthday. A priest, his elder sisters and mother created his birth certificate so he could go into the Navy. 

He was the youngest child of 15 born to Ursula Racilla and Antony Zmudzjin, Polish immigrants, who met in America after coming through.  His father was a tough man who worked in the coal mines and drank hard at the expense of his family.  He adored his mother and spoke of her kindness throughout his life. 

Walter was a kindhearted, intelligent, inquisitive, mischievous, athletic kid.  He played pinochle with old timers before he was school age. Had a sincere interest in everything and everybody.  He excelled at school and in everything he tried.  He was sending love, kindness and inspiration to all he met for his entire life. Even at 96, with Alzheimer’s he was cheering up the people around him.

After the war he was walking in San Diego and saw an older woman in a dress, with no shoes or teeth who reminded him of his mother so he stopped to chat.  She immediately introduced hin to her daughter, Terry, and he looked at her and said, "That's for me."  They were engaged 3 weeks later.  A daughter, Sandra Sue, soon joined them.

He went to college on the GI bill and became a teacher, a dream of his since he was a child.  He taught 21 years and spent time gardening and loving his wife and daughter.

As most of you know his World War II years were spent on the destroyer, Fletcher.  Because you are in the Fletcher family, as I now am the one representing him, you know his heart. --Sandra Oyas--


Gerald "Jerry" L. Richey, 70, of Pendleton, Indiana passed away April 23, 2015 at his residence following an extended illness. He was born Oct. 19, 1944, in Muncie, the son of the late Darrel and Carlena (Osborn) Richey.

Gerald retired from Delco-Remy as a skilled tradesman. He was a Navy veteran and was a member of the American Legion Post #117 of Pendleton, Moose Lodge #150 of Anderson, Masonic Lodge #235 of Alexandria and AMVETS Post #26 in Pendleton.

He is survived by his children, Tina Phipps of Pendleton, Darrell (Becky) Richey of Logansport; grandchildren, April (Jeffrey) Smith, Tyler Richey, Josie Richey, Destini Lanning, and Preston Lanning; great grandchildren, Uriah Smith, Izabella Smith and Maelee Lanning; brothers and sister; Ronald (Kay) Richey, of Anderson, Kharon Steele of Anderson and Dennis (Debbie) Richey of Hamilton, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his wife, Gloria (Kissack) Richey.
Gerald was a BT3 on Fletcher from 1963-1965Obituary link


Lillian Doss Allen, 92, of Hurricane, formerly of Nitro passed away Wednesday, February 25, 2015, at Hubbard Hospice House West, South Charleston, WV.

Born April 26, 1922 in Greenville, WV (Boone County), she was a daughter of the late Sullivan Doss and Ruth Green Doss Briscoe. She was also preceded in death by her step-father, William Briscoe; brother, Charles S. Doss; sister, Dorothy Doss Hoy as well as her beloved husband, Dr. Roy V. Allen, DDS, a well-known and well-respected Nitro Dentist, in early 1993.

Lil was a member of the First Baptist Church of Nitro for over 70 years. In her early life, she was very active with the Nitro Woman’s Club and the Nitro Lions Club. Always involved with young people, she organized many dances for the teenagers of Nitro. She also enjoyed playing golf with family and friends at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club. Lil Allen was a passionate woman about many things. A very active member of the Democratic Party, Lil was a recipient of Putnam County’s Democrat of the Year. 

Surviving are her daughter, Laura Brown of Hurricane; her grandson, Matthew Brown (Kristy) of Nitro; sister, Sherry Doss York of Rock Hill, SC; sisters-in-law, Myrtle Boggess of Eleanor, WV, Linda Harris of Eleanor, Ruth Gray of Dunbar and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Lil’s life was held at 2:30pm Friday, February 27, 2015 at Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane with Pastor Paul Boggess officiating. Burial was in Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans, WV.

Lil is the USS Fletcher Reunion Group's matriarch. Read a poem about her written by Buck Locke in 2004.

This page was last updated on:

Copyright © 2018 USS Fletcher Reunion Group