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All classmates and friends are invited to contribute to or join in the 5K charity run/walk to benefit the fight against Huntington’s Disease in which Dan’s 2 sons and ex-wife are participating this coming weekend.  They are running as “Team Matzke”, and they are trying to raise $2500 for Huntington’s Disease.  Details are below.  For any questions, please reach out to Simms Duncan.  For other events honoring classmates, please send Angela Orlando the details for publishing for the class.

Please join us or donate in Dan’s honor for the 13th Annual ‘Heroes Vs. Villains’ Denver, CO Team Hope Walk & 5K Run on Saturday, September 9th, 2017 to benefit the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). 
Event Details

Where Stapleton Central Park
Denver, CO
Starts 09/09/2017 @ 9:00 AM MDT
Ends 11:00 AM MDT
Check-in Time 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM MDT
Registration Cutoff 09/08/2017 @ 4:00 PM MDT
Donation Cutoff 12/31/2017 @ 12:00 PM MST
You may join our team (Team Dan Matzke) and walk or run the 5K with us for a $25.00 entrance fee and/or you may donate to our team’s fundraising efforts via the link below.  Please feel free to share the link with other friends and family.   Thank you for your support!  


Email sent 9/5/2017

Class of ’85,

I am proud to announce that we are on track for a great tailgate this Saturday for the game against Tulane. The game kickoff is at 3:30 pm and the tailgate kicks off at 11:30 am. We are expecting at least a 100 people this Saturday and I have ordered catering from Bo Brooks for that many. We will have Beat Army Lager from the Chesapeake Brewing Co. on tap, wine and non-alcoholic beverages available. This will be the debut of our new Class of ’85 tent that many of you helped to fund. We will also unveil our new Class of ’85 tailgate trailer along with live TV at the tailgate for the first time.

I want to thank Frank Proctor, Marty Medve and several other classmates who are putting on a Memorial Golf Tournament in honor of fallen Classmate Kevin Bianchi this Friday. This is a charity event raising money for the Bianchi Family and for other military families who have lost a spouse/parent. Many of our 40 plus classmates participating in the golf tournament will be attending the tailgate this weekend and I ask you to thank them for all they have done in putting on this event. I have attached a flyer for this event for you to see what they have done and perhaps support this event. We stand by all our fallen classmates like Kevin and his family and always will; something ’85 takes pride and honor in doing.

Looking ahead, I have asked Dave and Carolyn Marquis to open up their Brewpub, The Chesapeake Brewing Company in Annapolis, the evening of October 20th from 6:00-9:00 pm so we can have an official Class of ’85 32nd Reunion party on Homecoming weekend. I will soon post a link for registering for this event on the class website and we will use that to get a count of those attending both the Friday night event and Saturday tailgate. I hope for a good turnout for this Friday evening event as well as for our catered tailgate the next day at the UCF game. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details as we get closer to that event. For now, come and join us this Saturday, please be generous in helping me support class tailgating by donating to the Class of ’85 tailgate fund donation box. Come ready to see Navy kick some Green Wave butt this weekend and Go Navy!!  Regards,  Bob Smith ’85

Sent  8/9/2017

Class of ’85,

I received some sad news from classmate Duncan Simms regarding our classmate and his 32nd company mate Dan Matzke. Here is the email that Duncan sent to me:

32nd Company Classmates,

Over the weekend I received news from Dan’s ex-wife Angela.  I am sad to convey the news that Danny passed away peacefully this past Saturday morning around 4:30am.  As many of you know, Dan was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease approximately 10 years ago.  Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that causes both physical and mental deterioration over time.  At the time, Dan was given approximately 5 years – he stuck it out for 10.

I (among others) had been keeping in touch with Danny through the years, and I tried to visit him in Denver when I could.  My most recent visit was in May of this year.  Despite his condition, Dan always had a terrific outlook on life.  He introduced me around to his various caretakers, and he talked about how good the food was at his living facility.  We went to a Colorado Rockies game along with his 2 sons.  He seemed remarkably content.   I didn’t notice any significant change in his condition as compared to the previous couple of years.  Shortly after I was there Dan caught a bad flu which ultimately pulled him down.  He was in hospice care and had sufficient pain medication to keep him comfortable during his final days.

I don’t have many details from Angela, but here’s what I know:  Danny’s body will be cremated and his family will spread the ashes in either Annapolis or San Diego.  There will be no funeral.  Angela is going to organize a small celebration of life ceremony, but it sounds like attendance will be for family only.  The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society is organizing its 13th annual ‘Heroes Vs. Villains’ Team Hope Walk & 5K on Saturday, September 9th.  Angela has created a “Team Dan Matzke” in this event to raise money in Dan’s name for the fight against HD.  I will pass along a link to a website where donations can be made in Danny’s name as soon as I receive it from Angela.

Despite the ugly, debilitating effects of his disease, Danny had an unfailingly positive attitude.  He always impressed me with his joyfulness and embrace of life.  He never stopped loving a beautiful day, an action movie, a baseball game, and his 2 sons.  He looked back fondly on his time at the Naval Academy and the friends that he made there including all of you.  Attached is the most recent photo I have of him.  I will miss him.

I thought it was appropriate to notify this group first of Danny’s passing.  Please pass this news along to the other 32nd company classmates who are not copied here.  Later this evening I will post a notice to the Class of ’85 page on the USNA Alumni Association website.

I regret to have to pass this sad news along at the beginning of a new week.  I hope you are all doing well in your lives, families, and careers.

Fair winds and following seas to Danny.  Best wishes to you all.

The Class of ’85 will support his family in any way we can and I ask all of you to keep Dan and his family in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. Thanks very much.  Bob Smith ’85

Sent 3/20/2017


I must first admit that I screwed up. I was given this information in February about the passing of Ron Zaleski, 34th Company, and since the USNAA Website was down, I tabled this information and forgot to timely pass it on when my mass email capability was turned back on. All I can say is: “No Excuse Sir”. We have always and WILL always support our own as our primary mission and I will be asking for someone to run as my Class Secretary this Spring who I can rely on for these matters. In any case, we are all saddened to report that Ron passed on February 15th. He is remembered as a great classmate and member of the Navy Football Team,  a member of the 34th Company and a loyal Marine. Here is a link to his obituary and I hope those of you who knew him might reach out to his family in support as I have, and all of us say a prayer for Ron and his family: http://www.cressfuneralservice.com/obituary/178523/Ronald-Zaleski/.

My next email will be to outline procedures for the upcoming class election. If you are interested in running, I will have more information on the offices (including mine, although I would be honored to remain as your president) in emails and on the class website. Thanks to Brian McDonald for pointing Ron’s passing out to me. If anyone ever knows of a classmate in “distress” or who needs help or who passes, please feel free to reach out to me so we can rally support behind that person. Go Navy and my regards and apology,  Bob Smith ’85

Email Blast Nov 2, 2016


I am proud to announce that the Class of ’85 will be honoring the memory of fallen Classmate Kevin Bianchi at our final home tailgate on November 12th against Tulsa. We are hosting Kevin’s wife Barrie, son Chris (a USNA youngster), son Kevin and daughter Julia and several other family members. The game starts at 1200 and the tailgate kicks off at 1000 that day and will go until after the game. Please bring food to share for this tailgate and our class will provide Chesapeake Brewing Co. beer, red and white wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Just about everyone knew Kevin (or Block as many of us knew him) and we can all say that he was “That Guy”. The one who made you laugh out loud and always made you feel good just being in the same room. We lost him in July of 2003 in a helicopter crash in the Med and still remember him fondly. Here is a link to Kevin’s obituary to help you recall: https://www.maplewoodonline.com/matters/bianchi/.

Please join us at our final home tailgate of the season to cheer Navy to a win over Tulsa and to help us honor one of our fallen heroes. If you have a picture of Kevin you want to share, please bring it to share on our memorial table that day. USNA will honor the Bianchi Family during the game and at a private ceremony and the Class of ’85 is proud to do the rest.

I am currently down in Jacksonville today and putting the final touches on our 31st Class Reunion. We will kick off the weekend with a Class of ’85 Meet and Greet at Alice and Pete’s Pub inside the Marriott Sawgrass at 1900 on Thursday (I am arriving at 2000, but sure the party can get started without Sherry and I for an hour or so). I have contacted all the golfers for Friday morning and we are all set to go. The Friday Dinner kicks off at 1800 at the Lagoon Poolside with a FREE Happy hour from 1800-1900 (this was given us by the hotel since their beach Cabana Club was blown away by the hurricane) and then dinner and cash bar to follow. For guys, dress slacks or khakis and a golf or collared shirt is appropriate attire and for ladies, a sun dress or equivalent (it may be a cool evening, so bring a wrap). Get there EARLY to enjoy FREE beer and wine! On Saturday, those riding the motor coaches we will meet at the front entrance to the Marriott Conference Center at 0845 SHARP for a 0900 SHARP departure. There will be staff to help direct you to our Academy Bus Co. busses and transport you to our tailgate by 0930 as we open the doors. For those driving or coming via other means, here are the coordinates of our tailgate parking lot: https://www.google.com/maps?q=717+Lafayette+st,+Jacksonville,+FL+32202,+USA&sa=X&oi=map&ct=image

The Bloody Mary Bar opens at 0930 and the tailgate will go for about 2 hours after game ending time and our Barb B Q buffet will be served post game with Cheese and fruit before the game. The weather looks great for fall football, dress appropriately. If you need tickets, please check Facebook as classmates have tickets for sale.

For those who do not know this, there is a beach front Airshow on Jacksonville Beach this weekend featuring the Blue Angels. Here is some info if you might like to take in the Friday practice or the Airshow’s Sunday performance: http://www.makeascenedowntown.com/Events/Jacksonville-Sea-Sky-Spectacular-(1)

Finally, we have put the Bear Army Class of ’85 Indoor tailgate up on our website for registration. This event is Pre-game on Saturday December 10th at Pickles Pub from 1130-1430 with a 1530 game kickoff. The cost is $40 and our class has a private room upstairs at the pub. See the Class website for details and to register, payment is via cash at the door that day. Here is our link: http://1985.usnaclasses.net/2016/10/23/army-navy-2016-tailgate/ If you are bringing more than 4 adults, please add that as a note for my head count.

Okay, lots of pertinent info in this blast. I will only be doing Facebook updates going forward for this weekend, so watch our ’85 group page. As always, my cell is: 502-432-6185 and you know my email. I am excited to see many of you this weekend and take in a great victory over Notre Dame and some nice Florida weather. Go Navy and Beat the Irish (revenge for Dublin would be sweet).

Regards,  Bob Smith ’85

As I was reading through the Facebook posts today, Joel Hanson’s post to the group hit a chord.  I thought it would be appropriate to repost here:

Joel Hanson USNA 85 Facebook Post 30 May 2016

As I made the changes to our fallen classmates cover photo to include Joe & Robin, I was struck with an additional thought beyond my constant thoughts for the families of our classmates who have passed in our 31 years since graduation. My thanks for their service are never and will never be enough.

But my second thought was to our classmates who have lost men or women under their command during their careers. In my service time, I never felt the loss of someone in my command as an outcome of difficult command decisions. I can’t imagine the burden which will surface more prominently on this hallowed day. To those classmates, my thoughts are with you as well as the unending thanks to those men and women who you lost. God bless you all!

I will reuse Vic Otero’s words:  “This is destiny and fate working together. Who can doubt that Kevin was with his kid during that climb. 1200 plus plebes and little “block” gets to the top. All of 1985 has a special place in our heart for Chris Bianchi, we will always watch over him.”

Maybe Kevin and the rest of our classmates up there knew we were nuts to try climbing Herndon again and gave us truly one heck of a reminder.  Who better than an ’85 offspring to succeed!  A hearty congratulations to Chris.

Read the Navy Times article here.

Time to catch up on happenings over the last few months.  Even though one may consider it “old” news, the information should be acknowledged by all.

The Good – Promotions and Assignments

Congratulations go out to our classmates selected for their second star – Tim Syzmanski, Stuart Munsch, Jim Lobelein, and Kyle Cozad!  In addition, a big Bravo Zulu to Ski taking the reigns of the Naval Special Warfare Command and our other class flag officers in the news.  Please send in information and photos on change of commands, retirements, events, and more so we can show how 85 is continuing to make a mark on today’s Navy and Marine Corps.

The Sad – Passing of a Classmate

It is with great sadness we report the passing of our classmate Roberta (Robin) McKinney, 28th Co, on April 27, 2016  Please keep her and her family as well as all of our other fallen classmates in your prayers.  Her obituary may be found here.

The Gouge

It is less than six months away from the Navy-Notre Dame weekend in Jacksonville.  Stay tuned for updates over the next few weeks.  As a heads up, we will be holding class elections in the next couple of months.  More detail to follow.  If you’re interested in running for any of our class offices, please reach out to Bob Smith.  We will also be enhancing the website over the next few months.  Any ideas/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  Please send them to Angela Orlando.

Another glorious day for ’85!  The weather didn’t stop us from starting with the morning memorial service to the re-climb of Herndon to lunch get together and finally the reunion dinner!

Over $2000 was raised for Luke’s Wings charity.  Thank you for participating in the raffle and supporting a good cause.

More classmates checked in today and continued to make the weekend great!

Tomorrow – it’s tailgate time!

Get ready to show the ’85 spirit!

Go Navy!  Beat Air Force!



The Class of ’85 turned out strong to say farewell to Joe Fordham as he was laid to rest at the USNA Cemetery Columbarium on 27 July 2015. Many of us did not know Joe well, but we learned a lot more as the stories were told!


As PSA (Public Service Announcement), please remember to get screened for colon, breast, prostrate, skin and any other cancer possible.  The earlier it is caught, the better the prognosis.

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