Wendell C. McKee

  • XO Wendell C. McKeeNEWS-HERALD Lake Havasu, AZ · Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - WENDELL C. McKEE - WWII PT Boat Skipper

    Wendell C. McKee passed away Sunday, Aug. 25, 2002, in Lake Havasu City. He had been in declining health the past two years and suffered a severe stroke Saturday morning, Aug. 17.

    Wendell had been a resident of Prestige Assisted Living for the past nine months, and a resident of Lake Havasu City for 25 years. He was 86 years old.

    Wendell was born near Fredericktown, Ohio, in 1916, and was a graduate of Fredericktown High School. After graduation from Ohio University in Athens, he was a high school athletics coach and teacher at West Lafayette, Ohio. Wendell was instrumental in expanding and developing strong athletic programs that were well supported by students and community and highly respected throughout the state.

    As a young man, Wendell McKee was a well-known champion softball pitcher in central Ohio. In the early 1940's, the Zone Cabs of Mt. Vernon, with Wendell's exceptionally fast and controlled pitching, beat a team whose pitcher, Smittie Truss, was touted as the best in the eastern U.S. Wendell also pitched softball for an Elk's team in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, where he was initiated into the order; he remained a member of the BPOE Elks for 65 years, and was a member of the Lake Havasu City Elks Lodge at the time of his passing.

    World War II interrupted his chosen career, and Wendell served his country as the skipper of a U.S. Navy Patrol-Torpedo (PT) Boat, which saw combat in the liberation of the Philippines. He returned to his beloved coaching and teaching at the end of the war.

    Once again his career was interrupted, this time by the Korean War. Recalled to duty as executive officer of the Destroyer USS Mansfield, his ship was engaged in heavy, close-in live-fire in the invasion of Inchon. During a later rescue mission, the ship was almost lost when struck by a powerful floating mine. His other assignments included naval intelligence and the command of Naval Reserve Training Centers; he was Executive Officer of the San Diego Naval Training Center's Camp Elliott Annex, out on Kearny Mesa, in 1951-1952. LCDR McKee retired in 1968.

    Wendell McKee is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mildred, who resides in Lake Havasu City; three children, Marilyn Robertson of Fullerton, Calif., Stephen McKee of Phoenix and Wally Baker of Woodland Hills, Calif; one brother, Merrill McKee of Fredericktown, Ohio; eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

    Visitation will be held frm 9-10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 at Lietz-Fraze Chapel, 21 Riviera Blvd., followed by funeral services at 10 a.m.

    Internment will be in Lake Havasu Memorial Gardens.

    Arrangements were made by Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home.

Erich H. Ashburn

  • LTjg Erich AshburnFrom the Waterville Morning Sentinel Online, Sunday, October 12, 2002:

    Erich H. Ashburn 1940-2002

    ORRS ISLAND - Erich H. Ashburn, 61, of Route 24, passed away quietly at his home after a courageous battle with prostate cancer, with his wife and sister by his side, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002. He was born in Kearney, Neb., Oct. 19, 1940, the son of Joseph and Vera Ashburn. He grew up in Gibbon and North Platte, Neb., and joined the Navy after graduation in 1958. He served as an enlisted electronics technician before being accepted in the NESEP program. He then attended the University of Colorado, earning his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master of science in June 1965.

    After graduating from Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy. He proudly served his country in Vietnam aboard the USS Mansfield DD-728 and taught at the U.S. Naval Academy; he also participated in the development of the Navy Hydrofoil program aboard the USS Pegasus. After serving as the officer in charge of fleet introduction team at Bath, he retired with the rank of commander in August 1983.

    Erich worked as office director at Technical Management and Analysis in Bath until September 2002. Erich's humor, intelligence, practicality and friendliness are what endeared him to his family, friends and co-workers.

    He was predeceased by his father.

    Erich is survived by his wife, Barbara (Stutheit) Ashburn of Orrs Island; mother, Vera Ashburn of Waterville; sister, Jo Ashburn of Waterville; and many extended family and friends. Interment will take place at Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, Neb., at the convenience of the family. In Erich's memory, donations may be made to the charity of one's choice or the Orrs and Bailey Islands Fire Volunteer Department, P.O. Box 177, Orrs Island 04066. Condolences may be expressed at Arrangements are under the care of Kincer Funeral Home, 14 South Pleasant St., Richmond.

  • "Dear friends,

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of my former shipmates. The experiences enjoyed on the USS Mansfield were most special, and I am forever indebted to and have a special affection for each of you.

    Lois and I received the sad news today from Barb Ashburn that Eric passed away on October 12 at his home in Orrs Island, ME after a prolonged and courageous battle with prostrate cancer. Eric would have been age 61 on 10/19.

    I always held Eric with the utmost respect and regard. He seemed to be the first bonafide genius I met. He had that solid, yet modest character of the Midwest, and had a real zest for life. I fondly recall our chats on the bridge, recounting the parallels between the ficitious characters in Catch 22 and our own experiences with the US Navy. I've always described Eric as a guy that, when you asked him what time it was, would not only provide the requested time, but would also describe how the time piece worked. He was a great shipmate.

    Donations in Eric's memory may be made to the charity of one's choice, or to the Orrs and Bailey Islands Fire Volunteer Department, PO Box 177, Orrs Island, ME 04066.

    Barb would surely appreciate a word from you. She may be reached at:

    Barbara A. Ashburn
    1539 Harpswell Island Rd.
    Orrs Island, ME 04066

    I will be thinking of each of you during this season of thanksgiving.

    Warm regards,
    Rodney" - Rodney Lanthorne

  • November 26, 2002 - "I was deeply saddened today to learn of Eric's passing in October. The last time I saw Eric was at Rod Lanthorne's wedding in the late 70's. Eric was then doing great things for the Navy as C.O. of Pegasis. He still retained his special charm and allowed me to pick-up a relationship that had experienced a 10 year hiatus.

    Eric was a special man, friend, shipmate, and superior officer. His unbelievable intellect was housed in a mind that did suffer fools, average intelligence, and genius with equal respect and friendliness. I have not met another human that came close to Eric's unique ability to communicate with all people.

    I always loved standing watches with Eric on the Mansfield. Watches with Eric always resulted in stimulating conversations, new perspectives, and definite enlightenment on some topic. Eric's impact on others will allow elements of his being to continue on earth. My wife and children, who never met Eric, know who Eric Ashburn was through the stories they have heard from me over the years. Eric's loss is large because he was a part of so many people's lives and memories. He made a difference in my life and I have passed his attributes along through stories to my children." - Gary Bullington · LTjg - USS MANSFIELD (1967 - 1969)

  • "I was really shocked to learn of Eric Ashburn's passing. He was the new EMO when I reported on board MANSFIELD in January 1966. On my first full day on board (January 1st), he asked me to climb up the mast and adjust the ship's TV antenna (yes, we had one) so the ward room could watch TV. I asked him which way to point it and he said to try pointing it toward Mount Fuji. Until that moment, I hadn't realized we could see the famous mountain. In the clear holiday air, it was quite a sight and Ens. Ashburn appreciated it as much as I did. In any case, pointing the antenna at Mount Fuji was the wrong way but no one really wanted to watch TV anyway.

    The last time I saw Lt. Ashburn was even more unique. I was in Long Beach putting the USS RICHARD S. EDWARDS (DD-950) back in commission. I saw MANSFIELD sitting pier side with several old squadron mates outboard. She had already been decommissioned and there was no one on the quarterdeck. I went to the old ET shop, went up to radio and the bridge - the ship looked ready for sea. I went aft through officers country and saw someone in the Ops O's stateroom. I knocked on the door and Eric turned to me. He got a big grin on his face as he recognized me. Besides myself, he was the only man on the ship (shipyard people were all at lunch). We talked a little about old times. I'd made ET1 by then and he'd made full Lieutenant. He told me the ship was being given to Argentina. We reminisced some more and then it was time for both of us to get back to work. He was a good man and a good officer and is missed." - J.J. Marold · ETN2 - USS MANSFIELD (1966-68)

Ronald E. Beatty

  • GMG1 Ronald Beatty Ronald E. "Gunner" Beatty, 66, of Lancaster, OH, died Thursday, Dec. 19, 2002, at Ohio State University East.

    He was a retired U.S. Navy veteran with 20 years of service, serving in Vietnam where he received the Vietnam Service Metal with three Bronze Stars. He was a member of the VFW Post 1380.

    He is survived by aunt Lavada, three sons and daughters-in-law, Ronald K. and Tracy Beatty of Columbus, William J. and Chery Beatty of TX and Darren C. and Gaylen Beatty of Portland, OR; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; brother and sister-in-law, Robert A. and Barbara Beatty of Lancaster; sister-in-law, Barbara L. Beatty of Lancaster; several nieces and nephews.

    He was preceded in death by his parents, William Ellis and Lyndell Beatty; brother, Ralph Beatty.

    Funeral service will be held Monday at 10:30 a.m. in the Frank E. Smith Funeral Home Chapel, Lancaster, Oh. with the Rev. Sam Halverson officiating.

    Burial to follow in Hamburg Cemetery with the Lancaster Veterans Burial Squad conducting military rites at the cemetery.

    The honorary casket bears will be John Rockwood, Phillip Rockwood, and Peter Rockwood.

    Friends may visit Sunday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

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