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ACE Retiree Update

JULY 2016

Thank you, Bob

With the Memphis conference behind us, Bob Furbee transitioned to past ACE retiree director. And I have to say, that’s a scary thought. Bob has been looking out for new retirees, cleaning up the listserv and membership list and fighting the good fight for ACE retirees for three years. We all owe him our gratitude for his unfailing dedication and persistence. Thank you, Bob!

After a year of training, I’m ready to step up to retiree director with only a little apprehension. It’s a great opportunity to stay in touch with you, speak on your behalf at the board meetings and build your connections with each other through the newsletter, listserv and website.

This edition of the newsletter includes a summary of the Memphis meeting, notes from friends, a fascinating brush with fame and a request for your response to a question. So read all the way to the end so you don’t miss anything. 

The real essence of our retiree group came clear to me in reading the loving concern and support so many of you voiced on the listserv to the Cordell Hatch family as they face illness and loss. Friendships run deep in ACE. If I can help you connect with old friends in joy and sorrow, celebration and loss, that’s my job during my term. I look forward to serving you. 

Janet Rodekohr
ACE Retiree Director

In This Issue

Memphis on My Mind
Constitutional Change on Retiree Payments
Catching up with …
Remembering Morley Safer
Questions, corrections and comments
Calendar of Upcoming Events

Memphis on My Mind

The Memphis meeting is in the history books. You’ll be hearing more about it from President Steve Miller (Wyoming) and others. But I did want to highlight a few things just for retirees.

At our retirees reception, Bob and I welcomed Carol Sanders and Ned Browning. Carol became a life member in 2005 but somehow she was lost from the rolls for several years and discovered the error when she tried to register for the conference as a retiree. Welcome back, Carol! And Ned worked throughout the conference as the go-to AV guy. You can’t keep a good retiree down.

Bob and I also met with state reps to request the names of any ACE members retiring in their state in the coming year. By the end of the conference, I had more than a dozen names of future retirees. If you know anyone, please pass it along to me. We have 75 ACE retirees/life members but there’s always room for one more.


Several retirees were honored with certificates to commemorate their years in ACE. Congratulations! That’s a total of 385 years of dedication to ACE. Impressive!

30 years: Ellen Varley
35 years: Barbara Abbott
40 years: Ruth Caravelle and Lyn Jarvis
45 years: LaRae Donnellan and William Tedrick
50 years: Tom Bare, Donald Poucher and Brad Schneller.

Constitutional Change on Retiree Payments

At the conference, the board approved two recommendations from Bob and me to make a constitutional change in life membership.
  1. Remove the 10-year membership rule for eligibility for ACE life membership.
  2. Change the extended payment plan for retirees from five payments of $60 to three payments of $100 (one-time payment is still an option).
We want to remove the 10-year requirement because we don’t want anything to stand in the way if someone wants to become a life member. And we wanted to change the payment plan from five years to three years for several reasons. It will simplify the payment plan, shorten the time and help avoid problems if people forget or stop payment over five years. It should also cut down on confusing payment situations for the executive director, who tries to keep track of all those payments in process. By the way, this will not change anything for those currently paying over five years.

You will be asked to vote on these constitutional changes soon.

Catching Up with …

Nancy Peterson writes, “My family is well and I am grateful. I worked with the AARP Tax Aide program this year; am still active with scholarships, teach 4-H kids about buying fabric/sewing + leadership/citizenship, and manage finances for HOA, so it's not boring.”

Terry Day writes, “I retired in 2004. Built a new home in 2015. Am very busy writing, photographing, reading biographies of our founders and presidents, researching my family’s geneology, serving on the local cemetery commission, pursuing church work, arguing politics, and wallowing in the happiness of the 54th year of marriage to she without whom I would be Ruthless.”

Bob Ratcliff signed up shortly after the Memphis meeting as our newest retiree. He wrote, “I'll be spending more time with Linda, our children, grandchildren, our two dogs and the cat, if he gives his consent.” Tragically, it was not to be. Bob died Saturday, July 2, only days after his retirement. If you would like to send a note to his wife, Linda, her address is 101 Pointer Lane, Starkville, MS 39759-2644.

Remembering Morley Safer

Brad Schneller noted the retirement and passing of 60 Minutes investigative reporter Morley Safer with his own memories.

Morley Safer has been called “the best of the best.” I was fortunate to get to know Morley when he began his career as an reporter at the Sentinel-Review newspaper in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.

Let me recall some of those days back in 1953.

When I came to Woodstock in June 1953, I boarded at the home of Harper and Pearl Hammond at 32 Brock Street. The Hammond house was just two short blocks from where I began Extension work with the Ontario Department of Agriculture as Assistant Agricultural Representative for Oxford County. I had the larger front room upstairs and next to this and at the top of the stairs was a smaller room. At the time it was rented by a man who worked at the Sentinel-Review. Within a few weeks the room became vacant.

The next person to rent the room was Morley Safer. This was his first job. He had enrolled at the University of Western Ontario but quit after attending a few lectures.

It took some time to get to know Morley. Our work schedules differed. I was out most evenings at 4-H and other meetings and when he was in his room, his door was usually shut.

When we did get to talk we didn’t seem to have much in common to talk about. As a junior reporter, Morley was assigned the police, city hall and town meetings beat.

When we did get talking, I got the feeling that Morley felt out of place in Woodstock. He left the impression that the people were not as friendly as he expected. And the reporting tasks were, to him, a tad mundane. Not the headline grabbing stuff that he expected or considered capable of writing. I had heard that the editor of the Review was a bit of a taskmaster and often required writers to rewrite stories. 

We both recognized that the Sentinel-Review was in the chain of the Thomson Newspaper empire and the number of pages of each issue was determined by the lines of advertising and subscription numbers or sales. Canadian Press stories, local correspondents, PR stories, breaking local news – all came before the police-city hall reports.

To some local people, Morley didn’t seem to have the same accent. Even though he was from Toronto, they thought he had a Bronx-like accent. Strange.

Also, he may have felt prejudice.

I tried to console him by telling him that even though I was from a farm, and not that far away, that more than one farm person cautioned me that it would take maybe two or three years of hard proven work before I could be expected to be fully accepted by the farm people in Oxford County.

I did arrange for Morley and me to have an evening of double dating with two farm girls. To Morley, that was an evening to forget. Different chemistry!!

But after all these years, what remains indelible in my memory of Morley and would be ever a reminder of his incredible career as a journalist, was coming up the stairs of the Hammond home late one evening in the Fall of 1953. Likely after a 4-H meeting. Morley’s door was open. He was standing shirtless in front of the dresser mirror and he had his Star of David solidly crunched in his one hand. He had a look of anger.

I asked “What was wrong?”

His reply, “I’m going to be the best investigative reporter in the world.”

Alf Burman, the editor at the Review, had given him a rough time that day.

But you knew that Morley was a person with ambition.

After only a few months as a reporter at the Sentinel-Review, Morley left unannounced.

Every time I heard Morley’s voice on a radio report or saw him on TV reporting from London, Paris, Vietnam and, of course, the nearly 50 years with 60 Minutes, I reminded myself – and others – of that night at 32 Brock Street in Woodstock.

In the years since 1953 only once did I try to connect with Morley. That was in the 1980s. I wanted to have Morley speak at a Northeast AAACE regional meeting being held at Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.

The goal was to have him speak via telelecture on some aspects of investigative reporting. Sorry, was the reply from a secretary. “Mr Safer will be flying that day – returning from some assignment in Asia.” 

One week after the CBS 60 Minutes special on Morley’s life, he died on May 19, 2016 in New York City of pneumonia. He was 84.

Questions, Corrections and Comments

  • So what are you doing with yourself since you retired? Have you started a new career? Have you been fulfilling lifelong dreams? Have you discovered a talent you didn’t know you had? If you have found a new direction or made your dreams come true since retirement, drop me a few sentences about yourself.
  • Apologies to John Wozniak, whose name appeared in the previous newsletter as John Wozinski. The cardinal rule is never misspell someone’s name. So I guess we just gave John a brand new name instead. Sorry about that.
  • Bob and I prepared an application form for life membership status. Amazingly, there has never been one. It will soon be on the website so should help new retirees navigate their way through the process and give the executive director a paper trail to keep track of folks.
  • Story ideas? Questions? Concerns? Contact me at j.rodekohr@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Calendar – Upcoming ACE Meetings

October 25 — ACE Board of Directors meeting, New Orleans
2017—New Orleans, June 11-17
2018—Possibly meeting with Ag Media Summit in July

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