Asheville, NC REPA Convention Report

What Happened in Asheville
(or at least most of what happened!)

The 2016 REPA Convention started at the Doubletree Hilton Biltmore on September 6th with the Welcoming Cocktail Party that evening… Most of the 93 attendees had already arrived, including our newest Affiliate Member; former Chicago based Flight Attendant Alexandra Kiefer and her husband, John… Also at the Banquet were Dale and Vi Campbell with their sons, Jeff and Scott (with his wife, Janice)… More on Jeff and Janice later!!!!

Another new REPA Member making his first REPA Convention appearance was John Shearer, who was accompanied by his lady, Eia Weiler… And another fellow we have not seen in ages was there, Bob Thomas… Bob’s wife, Kristie, was able to make it, arriving just in time for the Biltmore Tour and Banquet that night…

September 7th was busy too! Starting with the Annual REPA Business Meeting… Among items discussed were our financial state (fine!), plans for the new Atlanta Bronze Memorial (Memorial Committee awaiting 501(c) (3) approval), location for the 2017 REPA Convention (either Charleston, SC or Calloway Gardens, GA) and Approval of a Resolution (passed unanimously) honoring retired Eastern Captain Robert M. (Bob) Wilbur, Jr., to be presented at the 2nd Annual Eastern Airlines Pioneer Reunion and Celebration to be held later this month in Fort Lauderdale, FL…

As all will recall, back in 1970 Bob was the Captain on the Eastern Shuttle DC-9 that had the attempted hijacking, resulting in First Officer Jim Hartley being fatally shot and Bob being severely wounded...

Per the REPA Bylaws the final item of Business was the election of Officers for 2017…

President, Johnny Steinmetz
Vice President, Bud Robbins
Secretary, Jim Gardner
Treasurer, Jerry Frost,
Director at Large, Jim Holder

The Ladies Luncheon on the 7th had a Guest Speaker, Debra Roberts, aka The Bee Lady… She made an A/V Presentation on the life and times of honey bees… Quite interesting, so much so that more than a few of the guys sat in at the back of the room…

That afternoon we had scheduled a 90 minute Trolley Tour of Asheville, departing at 2:00 PM… However it only held 29 folks and since well over 50 wanted to go they had to set up another one at 3:45 PM… Same driver for both and that fellow alone was worth the $26.00 fee… How Uncle Ted managed to squeeze that Trolley into those narrow and hilly streets, while entertaining us with his commentaries on state and city history, SEC Football, WWII, local politics and most of the more famous sons, daughters and visitors of Asheville, is beyond belief!

That evening we had another Cocktail Party followed by a Buffet and then almost three straight hours of music and dancing, once again to the tunes of Savannah Steve, world’s greatest DJ!!!

The third day (8th) was a “do it yourself” when most chose to go on the Biltmore Tour… It was a long one, 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and included a stop in Antler Village and Biltmore Winery…
During the convention many of us visited Biltmore Village, just a few blocks from the Doubletree… The homes there, originally built to house the workers and their families who cleared the land, started the farm, built the dairy and, of course, over the years, constructed the All Saints Church and Biltmore House…They have evolved into a wonderful place to shop and dine…

That night, another Cocktail Party! Then our Banquet and a series of highly entertaining videos on a wide screen, highlighted by Skies of Eastern, a 20 minute computer generated show of Eastern Airplanes, created by Jerry Frost...

Well, we did have, as usual, a Raffle ($1200.00 in tickets were sold) and a Blind Auction of donated items, which were displayed by the table where tickets were sold…

Blind Auction

Beverlee Graybill donated the following:

     Box of Eastern model airplanes, won by Norm Morse
     Warbird Portfolio, won by Marlene Teel
     Green Eastern Jacket with hood, won by Ned Derhammer
     Engineering Drawings, won by O. A. Fish

Jim Duncan donated a Black Leather Jacket with Eastern 757 on back, won by Jennifer Teel


$400.00….. Janice Campbell
$300.00….. John Billings
$200.00….. Jim Holder
$100.00….. Larry Dunwoody
$100.00….. Dan Frisch
$100.00….. Jeff Campbell (Note: both Jeff and Janice gave their winnings to Dale Campbell!)

Large Jim Whitlock Print (Captain Eddie) donated by Jim Holder, won by Steve Harney
Large Jim Whitlock Print (Ten Eastern A/C) donated by Jim Holder, won by Jon McClure
WW I Spad painting donated by Beverlee Graybill, won by Diane Cosgrove

Free Room Night (drawn from first 25 to register for the convention) $180.00, won by Ed Buntin

Live Auction

Three Free Passes for the Biltmore Tour (good for two years), won by Mary Harney

We had another wonderful Convention and it would not have been possible without the many hours of very hard work by President Jim Gardner and First Lady Pam Davis, ably assisted again (and again and again and again) by Su Reeves and Michele Tully!

Jim Holder

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