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Christmas Party

After taking 2020 off due to Covid restrictions the Atlanta Delta Golden Wings Holiday Party was once again held. We returned to the Atlanta Marriott at Perimeter Center on December 12th, 2021. We had 104 pilots and spouses in attendance for the party with a some of them spending the night at the hotel

We were joined by Honorary DGW member Doris Davidson. The oldest member attending was Mrs. Helen Layton, widow of Captain Roy Layton who retired in 1980. She was accompanied by her daughter Catherine and caretaker Nikki.

Joe and Edi Reid hosted a pre party for first time attendees of the party. The Delta Community Credit Union donated $500 to help offset our costs. Some of this money was used for refreshments and drinks in the hospitality suite. The hospitality suite was provided to us by the Marriott as part of our contract The contract also included free parking and a discounted hotel rate with breakfast for those staying the night.

A social hour started at 6:00 followed by dinner at 7:30. DGW Vice President Joe Reid made a few opening remarks welcoming everyone and Sid Linton gave the invocation.


Those in attendance included:

Bill and Edith Alexander

Charlie and Dottie Bethel

Mike Birdsong

Julian and Joan Black

Stan and Susan Collins

John ands Jane Cooper

Jay and Judy Coyle

Tom and Julia Day

Doris Davidson

John and Maddie Dearie

Dick Evelyn and Sheila Leonard

Fox and Kelly Ferrell

Dick Fonde and Shocky P’Pool

Ben and Sue Frankland

Jim Gardner and Marilyn Douglas

Roger and Missy Griffith

Ed Hibbard

Michael Hichak and Noreen Maricle-Hichak

Jim and Arlene Hoogerwerf

Jake and Susie Jacobs

Clint and Monty Johnson

Fritz and Judy Kuhn

Larry and Connie Lavine

Helen and Catherine Layton w/caregiver Nikki (widow of Roy)

Sid and Kenney Linton

Don and Mary-Ellen Mateyka

Austin Mayfield and Helen Brown

Dave Mattingly and Jayne Kloster

Roscoe and Melissa McMillan

Gene and Janette Mercer

Bob and Suzanne Minarcine

John and Linda Morgan

Dave and Jan Mullins

Al and Chris Nacke

Darryl and Babs Neidlinger

Joe and Gail Oliver

Ray Orrie

TR Parrish

Bob and Sammie Pfister

Jeff Pickett and Karen Adams

Abigail Pilger (widow of John) and Diane Norris (widow of Vernon)

Darwin “D” and Deanna Puls

Joe and Edi Reid

Dave and Lynne Roberts

Rodney and Donna Russell

Terry and Margaret Stent

Stan and Catherine Tommasello

David and Sharon Turner

Charlie and Susan Tutt

Paul and Milene Watkins

Tommy Webb

Bill and Ellen Wirth

Ken and Cathy Williams

Tom and Betty Wolfrom

The Fifth Annual Delta Golden Wings Fly-in/Drive-in May 16, 2018 Alexander Memorial Airport

Inclement weather challenged participation Only seven cars – No airplanes

The Fifth Annual Delta Golden Wings (DGW) Fly-in/Drive-in was held on May 16, 2018 at the Alexander Memorial Airport, Williamson, Georgia. The weather threatened all day so there were no aircraft and only seven cars to display. Jack Baker helped with the car parking. Attendance was respectable, considering the circumstances. The event opened at 10am with coffee and pastries available for early arrivals. A complete listing of the sixty-five participants can be found at the end of the article.

As guests entered the Candler Field museum lobby or hangar, they were directed to the registration table and welcomed by Anne Lindley, Carol Ballance and Becky Roberson. Everyone received a name tag, filled out a simple registration form, and was asked to donate five dollars to the Candler Field Youth Aviation Program (YAP). A beverage refreshment bar was available. A food line was operated by YAP serving hamburgers or hot dogs, chips, and drinks. Tables and chairs were arranged in the hangar. The proceeds help finance the education projects envisioned by Ron Alexander.

A total of $478 was donated at the registration desk and $519  raised at the food line. All the proceeds went directly to YAP. Use of the Museum facilities were generously provided by the Candler Field Museum. DGW shows it’s appreciation by maintaining an institutional membership with the museum. DGW members are encouraged to show their individual support by joining the museum.

The scheduled 11:30 Steerman fly-by was canceled. Never-the-less we appreciated the effort made by Jim Ratliff, Vic Syracues, Cal Tax, and  John Laughter.

Jim Hoogerwerf welcomed everyone and invited us to share a moment of silence in memory of our departed colleagues, friends and family. He then introduced the organizing committee: Julian Black, Bob Lindley, Harry Ballance, Jack Baker, Leo Roberson, Jim Ratliff, Connie Bowlin, Jim Hoak and Amy King. A special note of appreciation acknowledged the contributions of all volunteers and the grill masters, especially the help of YAP members who assisted with the food service! At this time the food line was opened.

Keven Sasser and his wife, Linda, are the new owners of the airport property and restaurant. They share Ron’s vision and passion and intend to grow the airport, upgrade the infrastructure and continue to run a fine restaurant. The Candler Field Museum’s vision and the Sasser’s vision are closely aligned.  The museum will continue to occupy the current hangar for the time being, and the youth program will continue its work in the Doug Davis hangar, inspiring young people’s interest in aviation. Keven introduced Cayla McLeod  and Bayley Kanavas, both Youth Aviation Program (YAP) participants. Cayla has earned her private pilot license and Bayley recently soloed.

Jim Sells spoke representing the Candler Field Museum. In the last year, there has been much change.  Although we lost our founder Ron Alexander, he left us with a wonderful vision for the museum, the airport and the youth program – which we intend to follow. Our plans include constructing our own museum building (on airport property that the museum already owns), creating a permanent endowment for the youth program so it remains financially viable and finally to expand the museum collections to represent the era of flight Ron was dedicated to preserving.

A short presentation was planned during the lunch period but due to the inclement weather, the presentation was extended to include additional speakers.

Ted Towne and Chris Clark gave a short overview of the benefits and plans for the Insurance Trust for Delta Retirees (“the Trust”). “‘The Trust’ is a non-profit organization with 24,000 policy holders, providing the best in group retiree medical, prescription drug, dental, and vision benefits to retirees, spouses, and survivors of Delta retirees who are 65 years of age or over (including pre-merger retirees such as Northwest). Benefits included with our Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans are a Silver Sneakers fitness program membership, travel assistance, hearing aid services, and much more. The Trust offers the financial security of stable group premiums that do not vary by age or state. Call a Personal Health Advocate at 1-877-325-7265, Option 2, who will, at no cost, compare the Trust Plan to any other you are considering.  www.itdr.com

Jeff Pickett represented the Delta Golden Wings. DGW is a  fraternal organization of retired Delta Pilots (and spouses) and active Delta Pilots who have reached the age of 50.  Annual events include the May  Fly-in/Drive-in; a Fall Reunion and Membership Meeting in a different city each year; and an annual Christmas party held in Dunwoody, Georgia.

Paul Talbott brought the attractions of the Delta Flight Museum, at the  Hartsfield Atlanta airport, to the attention of the audience. It is important

to check ahead for the hours as the museum may be closed for a private event.

Bill Alexander DGW

Sam Alexander DGW

Harry and Carol Ballance DGW, 1965 Thunderbird (original owner)

Jack Baker DGW

Julian Black DGW

Sam Bass DGW

Rocky Bailey

Camille C. Bell DGW, Clipped Wings

Connie Bowlin DGW

Allen (James A.) Campbell DGW

Chris Clark Guest (Insurance Trust Delta Retirees)

Bob and Sallie Costilow DGW

Thomas and Joan Couch Clipped Wings, 1971 Mercedes 250 (bought new in Germany)

John and Barbara Ellington DGW

Bill Fowler

Ben Frankland

Dwight Grandia DGW

Mal Harper DGW

Mike and Heidi Hein

Jim Hoak (Youth Program manager)

Dave Holec (Youth Program shop manager/A&P mechanic)

James Hoogerwerf DGW, Pioneers 1966 Mustang Coup

Ryan Hunt (Youth Program)

Cliff Judkins

Bayley Kanavas (Youth Program)

Amy and Jeff King (Candler Field Museum)

Fritz Kuhn DGW

Bob and Anne Lindley DGW

Andre and Margaret Lovas DGW

Tony Manzo DGW

Glen and Diane Marsh DGW

Dave and Lyn Matthews

Dave Mattingly DGW

Cayla McLeod (Youth Program)

Tom Morris

Max Parham

Don Pence DGW

Jeff and Karen Pickett DGW

Edi and Joe Reid DGW

Doug Riffey DGW

Leo and Becky Roberson DGW

Pete Saker Guest

Keven Sasser (Alexnader Memorial Airport owner)

Paul Schmoker DGW

Jim Sells (Candler Field Museum, BOD)

Pete Smart DGW

“Chick” Smith DGW

Paul Talbott Pioneers Museum of flight

Ted Towne Guest (Insurance Trust Delta Retirees)

David Turner DGW

Bill Voight DGW, Pioneers

Bob Wallace

The Denver Reunion

Decent weather and excellent camaraderie were most prevalent at the DGW Annual Reunion in Denver, Colorado, September 27-30, 2018

Members and guests were registered by our friendly greeters, Joni Baird, Marlyn Dvoracek, Francis Steele, Margaret Powell, and Edi Reid. Since the check-in table was directly in front of the hospitality room, attendees were motivated to quickly stow their luggage and find complimentary beverages and snacks to help them recover from the trek to Denver.

By 6pm everyone had migrated to the Colorado Room for a cocktail hour followed by a buffet dinner. This Welcome Dinner provided a warm atmosphere for all to reacquaint and meet new members and guests. Following the dinner, the hospitality room again was open for attendees to continue to socialize and hydrate. (A must in Denver’s dry climate)

The next morning, most attended the complimentary breakfast buffet before boarding the bus for a city tour. The State Capital Building was our first stop where on-site tour guides provided us with a comprehensive tour of the historic building. Factoids about the design and construction of the building plus information about how the state government functions were facilitated by these tour guides. Many also paused to have their picture taken at the official, “Mile High,” Marker on the Capital steps. Then it was back on the bus to tour Millionaires’ Row, Maggie (aka Molly) Brown’s house and the downtown area. We were then dropped off on the well known Sixteenth Street Mall for lunch of our choosing. The rest of the tour consisted of LoDo (Lower Downtown) Coors Field, and a drive by of the Denver Nuggets Arena, the Denver Bronco’s Stadium and other landmarks such as the Brown Hotel and the Ghost Church. When the tour ended the hospitality room was the natural place to gather before dinner. The convenient location of the hospitality room made it impossible to get on the elevator without hearing the laughter and energetic conversation emanating from the room. It also made it more peaceful for our officers since it wasn’t in their living room.

Day 2 of touring almost required a hearty breakfast as we were headed for the Rocky Mountains. On our way we were educated on the difference between hills and mountains, flora and fauna to expect, etc, by our tour guide. We did a brief tour of the Colorado University in Boulder before passing through Lyons on our way to Estes Park. There we made a rest stop and picked up our box lunches. We settled back into our seats to eat our lunches and continue into Rocky Mountain National Park. In our drive up to Trail Ridge we were blessed with good weather and visibility making it possible to take full advantage of the breath taking overlooks and vistas. Wildlife, including elk and moose, were also spotted by our steely-eyed retired pilots and their companions. The highest elevation obtained by the group was about 11,960 feet, but some decided to walk a path that put them above 12,000 feet. The end game of the drive back was the hospitality room and it was all down hill. Almost all attendees stopped for some refreshments before heading out to dinner, but there are rumors that some never made it out of the hospitality room until it closed later that evening. (Is it just me or do the stories get more exaggerated each year. Who can remember?)

There was plenty of down time on our final day for people to do as they wished before the annual business meeting. The meeting was fairly short and succinct. In addition to the usual business the By-Laws were amended (copy of the new By-Laws attached), the annual dues was reduced from $40 to $20 ($10 for surviving spouses), and President, Al Dvoracek; Vice President, Joe Reid; Treasurer, Jim Baird; and Membership Chairman Julian Black were all re-elected for another term. In addition the board reported that they have committed DGW to sponsor an annual scholarship for the youth aviation program at Peach State Airport. This program helps young aviation enthusiasts peruse their passion for aviation by working on and around airplanes at Peach State. The program was the vision of the late retired Delta Pilot, Ron Alexander. DGW’s commitment to this program will help continue the program and insure our access to Peach State for our Annual Fly-in/Drive-in.

The meeting was followed by a cocktail party and plated dinner of choice in the Skyline      Ballroom. There we all enjoyed drink, food, fellowship, some of Al Dvoracek’s favorite music, panoramic views of the city, and a beautiful sunset on the Rocky Mountains.

As the festivities ended, attendees reluctantly said goodbye to each other with wishes of safe travel. A good time was had by all!

All DGW members are hereby summoned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, next fall for our next annual reunion and business meeting!