26 Nov 2010

The CHIPS Newsletter Editor received notification from Sue Martin,  the daughter of Joseph W. (Slick) Connolly, Jr., Radioman on CVE 21/106 that her dad had died on November 26th.

His obituary is below and website for the guest book:


Joseph W. Connolly Jr., 88, of Natick, died Friday, Nov. 26, 2010, at the Mary Ann Nursing Home. A Natick resident for 64 years, he was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of the late Joseph W. and Cecelia (Reilly) Connolly. Mr. Connolly and his brother, Jack, were the owners of Connolly Homes of Natick which they operated for 50 years until retirement in 1991. He enjoyed travel, especially trips to Ireland , reading military history of which he acquired an extensive collection, and made models of historic U.S. Navy ships. Mr. Connolly was a veteran of the United States Navy serving in World War II and Korea. During World War II, he was a survivor of two ships that were sunk by enemy fire, the USS Lexington in the Pacific, and the USS Block Island in the Atlantic. He was actively involved in each of the ship's naval reunion groups for many years and was a former member of the Natick Lions Club. He is survived by two daughters, Sherry Boudreau, Sue Martin; one brother, Jack Connolly; three sisters, Joan Daly, Janet Guinee, Doris Fair; six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren.  Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 9 a.m., at the John Everett and Sons Funeral Home, 4 Park St., at Natick Common, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at St. Patricks Church, at 10 a.m. Visiting hours are Monday, Nov. 29, from 5 to 8 p.m. Expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society , 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.



11 Nov 2010

The Webmaster received this message via our website:

“On this Veterans Days, I honor the memories of my beloved Daddy, Eldred E. Bair.  He served on the USS Block Island and was aboard the vessel when it went down.   He didn't discuss this with me until a few years before his death in 1995.  His love for his country and his firm faith in God  have led my paths thru-out my entire life.  He spoke of his fellow shipmates often & eventually told the me the story of his time on board this historic vessel. I would also like to thank each & everyone of you for your service to our country & helping to continue the great freedoms we as Americans enjoy everyday.



Lydia Bair Granger


If you remember Eldred and would like to email Lydia just send the email to Web.USSBI@gmail.com and I will forward the message to her.


30 Oct 2010

The CHIPS Newsletter Editor received a phone call from BI Member Paul Hoff that Rudy Bowling had passed away Tuesday, October 26th.  Rudy had been suffering from bone cancer.

At one time, Rudy was the USS Block Island Association's Chaplain.  In the Memories section of this website you will find Rudy’s personal story of the sinking of CVE 21.

LATONIA, KY. - Rudell Bowling, 90, of Latonia, Ky. died Tuesday, Oct. 26 at Hospice of St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood, Ky. Services were held Friday, Oct. 29 at Connley Brothers Funeral Home in Latonia, Ky.

Cards may be sent to Rudy's widow, Louise:  4713 Victory Avenue, Covington, KY  41015-1966


25 Oct 2010

Donald(Donnie) Axdahl, AN 1/C - CVE 106 Korea Era, 81, of Frazee, MN, died Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, in Fargo, N.D.

Donald Roy Axdahl was born June 23, 1929, the son of Oscar and Tura (Hansen) Axdahl in Mora, Minn. As a young man, Donnie entered the United States Navy and served on the USS Block Island Aircraft carrier during the Korean War.  On June 12, 1955, Donnie was united in marriage to Olive Stene at Wild Rice Lutheran Church near Twin Valley.  He was an over-the-road trucker, hauling mostly livestock for over 35 years until an accident forced him into retirement.

Donnie was a member of Wild Rice Lutheran Church, the USS Block Island Association, the Detroit Lakes VFW, the Detroit Lakes American Legion and the Eagles.

Donnie is survived by his wife of 55 years, Olive Axdahl; sons, Darwin, Orwin, and Ross, and a daughter, Glenda; a brother, Leo; sisters, Eleanor, and Kay; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Funeral Services were held Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010, in the Wild Rice Lutheran Church. 

Cards may be sent to his widow, Olive Roleen Axdahl, 511 West Birch Avenue, Frazee, MN  56544-4119.


24 Oct 2010

The CHIPS Newsletter Editor received a phone call from George Shepke, the Secretary for the USS Block Island Association to tell us that his wonderful spouse, Nancy Shepke, had passed away. Block Island members will remember her from the many reunions she attended. She will be missed by all.

Nancy was born in Baltimore, MD.  She has been a resident of Vero Beach, FL for the past 20 years, formerly of Bradenton, FL.

Prior to retirement, she worked for National Park Services for 31 years, retiring from DeSoto National Park, in Manatee County, FL. She was an associate member of the USS Block Island Association and the Red Hat Society. She was the treasurer of the social club at Lakewood Village and was a former member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Survivors include, husband of 56 years, George, daughters, Georgianna and Elizabeth and 2 grandchildren, Heather and Christopher.

Cards and letters can be sent to George at:  1455 90th Avenue, Lot A5, Vero Beach, FL  32966-7512.


14 Aug 2010

Thomas R. Halliday, VC 55, AMM 2/C, CVE 21 passed away 12 Aug 2010. Tom had been living in Port Orange, FL, formerly of Shaler, PA.

Tom was the beloved husband of the late Doris C. Halliday; father of Douglas (Betsy) Halliday, of Shaler, Andrew (Susan) Halliday, of Richland, and Catherine (Charles) Goss, of McCandless; grandfather of Benjamin (Blanton) Halliday, Matthew Halliday, Leigh (Jay) Skaggs, Jessica (Craig Schuster) Halliday and Emily, Neil and Gregory Goss; great-grandfather of Morgan and Truman Skaggs. Also survived by nieces and nephews. He served in the Navy on the USS Block Island during World War II and was a wounded veteran. He retired after more than 40 years with Ingersoll Rand Co. where he worked as an office supervisor in New York, Alabama and Virginia.

Cards may be sent to his daughter, Mrs. Catherine Goss, 8035 Brittany Place, Pittsburgh, PA  15237. You may sign an online guestbook at:   www.livingtributes.com/cobr/pittsburglive/guestbook


30 Jul 2010

The CHIPS Newsletter Editor received the following via email:

I felt I had to write to you after 'stumbling' across your website today.


My father John Arthur Farmer known as Jack Farmer was liberated from Taiwan formally Formosa in 1945. 


Up until a couple of months ago I knew very little about my dad as he died when I was just 11 years old in 1969 as a direct result of his treatment in the camps.  Years later I regret bitterly not being of an age to discuss those dark times with him.  Therefore I have been trying to piece together his movements from leaving Britiain.  My journey lead me to Singapore, Changi then onto Taiwan where he suffered under the hands of the Japs until liberated.


I can't begin to imagine how happy the men were to see the American ships come in to take them away from the hell island that kept them captive.


I was looking through my attic today and found a little blue New Testament bible that was given to my Dad in 1945.  The inscription reads to John Farmer from Chaplain GA MacInnes of USS Block Island!  My father was not a religious man but something made him carry that little bible all the way home to England and to move it with him when he married my mum.  It must have been something very special to him.


I can only assume that he travelled to Manila on board this vessel.  Were these bibles given out onboard?  Was the chaplain any relation of yours?


I can't thank you enough for 'looking after' my dad, I believe like many he never spoke of his time as POW and its only the last few years that people are beginning to understand exactly what they went through.


Best Wishes 

Lin Mount


Lancashire, England


19 Jun 2010

Donald Van Sickle, (EM 3/C, CVE 21/106) died June 17, 2010 at the age of 85.  Don was raised in Detroit and joined the US Navy after Pearl Harbor. He served on the USS Block Island. He was injured in an accident aboard ship and was taken to Philadelphia Naval Hospital where he met his future wife, Florence Vandermark  They were married in Philadelphia on Jan. 10, 1945. They raised one son and four daughters. Don worked for the Michigan Bell Telephone Co and then AT&T until his retirement in 1983. Don was active in AT&T Pioneers and it's charitable activities. He was a ham radio operator , an active gardener, loved camping and enjoyed building model planes and trains. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Florence, his children, his brother, and many great grand children and grand children.

Cards may be sent to Mrs. Florence Van Sickle, 2595 Johnston Rd., Gowen, MI  49326-9304.


Memorial services will be held on Wednesday June 23, 2010 at 12 O'Clock Noon at First United Methodist Church Greenville  Memorial contributions may be given to Hospice of Michigan or the Lions Club of Greenville, MI.

You can sign the Guest Book at:



10 Jun 2010

The Webmaster received the following note via email:


      Thank you  for your website. It has provided me today with the pictures for the first time of my father's liberation from Formosa after, almost to the day, three and a half year's captivity.


When he left the POW camp, the Japanese were stacking up their swords, guns and flags in a large pile. After he arrived by train at the docks, he was very put out to find the US sailors were offering fifty bucks for a sword and more for a flag. "We could have made a fortune, had we known" he said.


He went aboard CVE106 weighing 64 pounds, but the care, compassion, and victuals he received aboard meant that by the time a photo was taken of him in Suez, Egypt, he looked like his old self.


When aboard, a cook asked him what he would like to eat, and being of a sweet tooth nature he said "Some ice cream". The cook astounded him by bringing a huge full tub, and he tucked into this unprecedented luxury with a diligence only those who have truly known what hunger is. It was, I'm sure, the best meal of his life. 


He was equally amazed by the generosity of the US Navy in giving him so much clothing and equipment, the black brass-buckled belt given him he wore for virtually the rest of his life. He saw that US sailors had plastic helmets, which one of them regularly used as a wash-bowl. He slung a hammock up on the stern transom area, and got used to unfamiliar rest and tranquility on that blissful voyage to Manila.


He, Harry Bugg, a private in the British Reconnaissance Corps, sent belatedly to Singapore in February 1942, passed away in 1986, but I would like to pass on to the members of your Association his eternal gratitude to them for giving him back his dignity, his well-being, and his freedom. 


Yours very sincerely,

John Bugg



31 May 2010

rice J. (Moe) Proulx passed away Tuesday, May 25, 2010.
He was born May 29, 1926, in Exeter, NH the son of the late Joseph A. and Helen L. (Filion) Proulx.

Maurice was raised in Newmarket and was a graduate of Newmarket High School, Class of 1943.
Maurice joined the United States Navy in 1943 and served in the Pacific Theatre on the USS Block Island(CVE 106) as a Machinist Mate during WWII. He attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham after World War II.

In 1949 Moe married the former M. Jacqueline (Jackie) Bernier. Maurice was the founder and Chairman of the Board of Proulx Oil and Propane, which remains a family owned business today. Moe was a member of St. Joseph Church in Epping, a member of the Exeter Knights of Columbus Council #2179, was active in the Exeter Rotary Club, and was a member of the American Legion Post #67. He coached youth sports teams and was a past president of the Exeter Blue Hawk Boosters Club.

Family members include six sons, one daughter, 10 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Sympathy cards may be sent to:  Mrs. Jacqueline Proulx, 153A Pickpocket Rd. Brentwood, NH  03833-6406

Online guest book:  http://www.legacy.com/gb2/default.aspx?bookid=9530675558980



20 Mar 2010

Marvin W. Smith (CVE 106, Korea Era, AG3c) age 79, of Littleton, CO, died in his sleep from a heart attack on March 5th. Dale Smith, son of Judy & Marvin Smith, notified the editor of the the sad news about Marvin. 

Marvin was lifetime member of B P O Elks Lodge #492 in Ouray, The US Naval Institute, Disabled American Veterans, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants, The Tailhook Association and the University of Colorado Alumni Association. Marvin is survived by his wife, Judy, his sons Kenneth and Dale, four granddaughters, and a brother Robert.

You may sign his guest book at www.legacy.com.  In the search, type in Marvin W. Smith - there are a few Marvin Smith's, so be careful...Marvin lived in Littleton, CO.  Judy and Marvin attended several BI Reunions.


Judy Smith's address:  7244 W. Walden Drive, Littleton, CO  80128-5427.


17 Feb 2010

Dalesandry, Joseph G. (Radio Operator aboard the USS Barr, DE 576) age 84, of Columbus, died Friday, January 29, 2010 at his home. Joe was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.  He was a graduate of Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, the University of Detroit and Wayne University. He was a retired sales representative. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Elsie; son and daughters-in-law, Paul and Janis Dalesandry, of Castle Rock, CO and Christina Dalesandry, Athens, OH.  Joe was a member of Disabled American Veterans (he was injured 5/29/44 when the USS Barr was torpedoed), Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA.  Sympathy cards may be sent to Mrs. Elsie Dalesandry at 1344 Brookridge Drive, Columbus, OH  43235-4006.

You can sign the Guest Book by clicking on the following link:



7 Feb 2010

Harry B. Jones, DE686 USS Elmore, passed away on February 1, 2010 at the age of 96.   Mrs. Jean Jones contacted us about her husband’s passing. If you would like to send her a sympathy card her address is:  42 Jericho Road, Weston, MA  02493-1220. 

You may sign the guest book by clicking on the following link to the website: 



15 Jan 2010

Don Hamrick, SF 2/C, CVE 21/106, died January 13th.  We were told that he had a bout of cancer; he was kept comfortable from the pain.  His service will be Monday, January 18 at Purdy & Walters at Floral Hills, 409 Filbert Road, Lynnwood, Washington. 

Sympathy cards may be sent to his daughter and son-in-law, Eddie & Marjorie Brown, 3861 Aerial Way, Eugene, OR  97402-8750.

Don was at our last reunion in Spokane with his daughter and son-in-law and enjoyed attending as many reunions as he could.


1 Jan 2010

The next USS Block Island Association Annual Reunion is scheduled for the week of May 24-27, 2010 at the Isle of Capri Hotel in Bettendorf, IA. Your hosts are Bob & Martha Border. The hotel has multiple restaurants and nearby there many more. Your hosts are planning several tours and a possible Mississippi River cruise. The airport is the Quad City International in Moline, IL and is served by several airlines. A free airport shuttle is available.

Tentative Schedule:

Monday, May 24th - Registration; Buffet Dinner

Tuesday, May 25th - Tour of Rock Island Arsenal

Wednesday, May 25th - Tour of John Deere

Thursday, May 26th - Mississippi River Cruise; Lunch at Golf Club

Friday, May 27th - Business Meeting; Banquet

Please check the CHIPS Newsletter and this website for additional information as it becomes available.