Techno stuff – To allow more efficient computing at races and such, Dezso Vekassy has
procured a DSL router-switch-wireless-AP-firewall-combo-box. The wireless access is currently
working at the club without encryption. Dezso has put instructions up on the website. The page is
Vice Commodore Election – The crew elected Alexandra Harbold to serve for another year.
Long Needed Repairs -New upriver bay doors are being installed by handymen Dan Havens
and Jim Ross. The two have taken out the old, rotting walls and replaced them with new lumber.
In addition, they’ve rebuilt the door tracks and doors as well. Our clever locksmith Dan has made
some interesting new wooden locking mechanisms. Instructions how to use them can be found
written inside the doors. Also, Joe Lederle and his left hand man, Roy Jobber, have added
cinderblock bases to the walls
Docks Moved – The crew, organized by Commodore Mike Harbold, floated the docks down to
the Pentagon harbor for the winter. One brief freeze around Thanksgiving gave everyone pause,
but before we know it, it had thawed. The ducks are enjoying uninterrupted use.
Three 2003 Oyster Roasts! From 1 to 4 p.m. on
Sunday, January 26, February 23 & March 30th.
Come on down and enjoy! $15 per adult. $8 for kids.
Travelers – Another Harley rider? Glorriane Perrier is rumored to have traded in her kayak for
a Harley Davidson motocycle. Perhaps she will ride up and visit us when the weather improves.
Jackie Lebherr broke her collarbone when she fell off her mountain bike. The Club hopes she
has a full recovery and spends more time on the river in the future.
Don Garver reports in his Christmas letter that he is recuperating from his multiple surgeries.
He is grateful for the outpouring of support from Club members and friends.
Isabel and Dave Oppen, regular Sugar Islanders and occasional visitors to WCC, while visiting
their daughter in San Diego, took a tour of Lego-land. They found Lego replicas of New York
City and Washington, DC. After seeing the Lego Capitol and White House, Isabel commented
to Dave that the only thing missing was the Washington Canoe Club. She turned around to find
Georgetown, and the Club! She noticed the JL room was left off and a, gasp, motor launch was
tied out front. However, other details were flawless, right down to the emblem on the balcony.
No word on WCC getting royalties. Credit to Dave for the excellent photo.
Riverfront News Item:
Georgetown University rowing coach Tony Johnson and Senior Assistant Athletic Director Pat
Thomas were accompanied by Assistant Director of the National Capital Region John Parsons
and Deputy Sally Blumenthal at a Question and Answer session held at Washington Canoe Club.
Georgetown presented their proposed club and for the first time, a panoramic view from directly
across the river. Over 100 members attended. Among issues raised were the size differential
between the structures, the close proximity to WCC, concern about displaced wildlife and the
impact on the Capital Crescent Trail. Some expressed concern about losing 3-4 lanes from our
The planned structure can be seen at www.guhoyas.com. It appears to be 2 1/2 times the length,
2 times the height and 2 times the depth of WCC. Additionally a platform will be built over the
river to accommodate their docks which will extend 85' into the river.
The National Park Service also discussed the planned Georgetown Waterfront Park. This park
will eventually close Water street above 34th street. A 110 spot parking lot will be built. Mr.
Parsons indicated that WCC members will have vehicular access to the club and that parking at
the Club will still be permitted.
It appears that many decisions are currently being made. Additionally, it appears that public
comment on the planned structure may still be considered. Club members who live in
Georgetown are urged to take notice of news in the local papers and attend any related meetings.
SAD NEWS - Louis Gills lost his long-time love and companion Esther on January 2nd,
following complications from a stroke. Esther was often seen at WCC, squired by Lou for
canoeing, crab feasts and lively discussions with WCC friends such as Bob Westgate. In 1957,
Esther was crowned Queen of the WCC annual awards banquet and the young Queen was duped
by Frank Havens into smelling an old sweat sock filled with aged cheese. In recent times,
Esther's MS-related mobility problems spurred the completion of the WCC wheelchair ramp, a
project spearheaded by Jim Ross and his team so that Esther would be able to attend the big
fundraising banquet. Lou also fondly remembers an incident in recent years where "Handsome
(Mike) Harbold" bent over and lifted Esther out of her canoe with ease and agility.
Lou and Esther were married 47 years. He remembers meeting Esther in 1948 at a dance at the
Officer's Club in D.C.: "My first view of Esther was seeing those big beautiful dark eyes
bouncing around on the dance floor - that did it!" Esther's sparkle and adventurous spirit created
many a memorable moment: Lou recalls: "…on our first date, Esther met me at Haines Point for
tennis and surprised me with jujitsu hold and threw this unsuspecting country boy over her
shoulder. That's when I really fell for her".
A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 17th at 2:00 pm at Jefferson Memorial
Chapel in Alexandria, VA.
What is Charm? "She to Whom this Most Gracious Gift is Known Has Life's Great Potent Factor
for Her Own." Esther, crew queen, master of the quick quip, cheerful joke, always an asset to
any group, she was Lou's love, tandem partner, tennis friend, and camping companion. Lou's
great loss is also our loss, our lives have lost some of the glamour. - Dusty
Krazy Katfish Tales
Perhaps you have given it little thought, but we catfish and friends have been in the Potomac
River longer than almost everybody. We didn’t complain when Captain John Smith sailed up
our River past Analoston Island (now known as Theodore Roosevelt Island) in the beginning,
although the Indians frequented the banks and kept the water cleaner than it is at present. Note
the lovely Three Sisters (Indian gals) Island upriver. You know the legend about the sisters
waiting on the rocky island for their doomed lovers?
But now the new developments are out of hand. For years we have suffered the incursions of
beating oars from the 8-shells, the gigs, work boats of Potomac Boat Club, etc. Also the old
W.C.C. 3-mile swims and the pushy paddles of the pesky canoeists.
No complaints - but now the colleges have discovered the usefulness of Potomac waters.
Georgetown University, once a rowing great (and home of some lovely nurses who paddled,)
plans a huge boat house on our verdant river bank. It will house the “New Kid on the Block”
and add shells, six motor boats and extensive docks to the shores and River. What will the poor
turtles do to find sunny places to rest?
Besides putting up with all the sewage, garbage, and sludge allowed by the government, we are
being permitted even less water to exist in. We have suffered the constant drainage to supply
Maryland and the District of Columbia. Now the added woes.
The U.S. Supreme Court has butted in. The justices have recommended a special Master Plan to
grant Virginia expanded rights to Potomac water. Of course, the Virginians need more water but
they might have thought of that when they added immigrants to the Commonwealth and
permitted more condominiums and more roads to be built. What about all those malls? Of
course, they want more water. But what will they do when they run out of fish?
We need room to procreate. It’s mighty hard to raise healthy tadpoles in sludge and garbage with
no clean water in abundance. Enough is enough!
Centennial News 2003
Save the date, Saturday April 26, 2003 so that you may attend the 2003 WCC Auction to benefit
the efforts of the WCC Centennial Committee. The auction will once again be held at the Lab
School of Washington in N.W., DC. This will be the final auction for the club, prior to and
including the centennial year of 2004. During the centennial year the WCC will focus on
centennial events. Members who wish to assist in the planning or execution of the auction are
encouraged to do so by contacting Jim Ross or Mary Garland early in the New Year. Thanks!!
Awards Night - November 2, 2002
The American Canoe Association and the Washington Canoe Club, both venerable American
organizations, chose the identical evening to celebrate and present awards to the winners.
W.C.C., of course, held the great event at the historic Club house on the edge of the Potomac,
while the A. C.A. event took place in Virginia at the Hilton Hotel Mark Center in Alexandria.
The Hilton also served as the location for the Reception for Charlie Wilson as the new President
of the A.C.A. Dinner was served following an invocation by Past Commodore Dusty Rhodes.
Veteran Canoe Sailor Bob Halsey, with his wife Ada, drove from their home in Ohio to receive
Bob's award as the Old-Timer of the year. The Old-Timers Award is presented annually to an
A.C.A. member who demonstrated proficiency in canoes and affinity for campfires, outdoor
cooking and singing off-key. Bob has been a perennial Sugar Islander and is well known among
canoe sailors and kayakers along the St. Lawrence River in Canada. The new Executive Director
is Pamela Dillon who accepted the job relinquished by Jeff Yeager after an outstanding
performance for some 11 years. She adds an enthusiastic and feminine grace to the position - she
is an experienced canoeist and had a good paddling start under the guidance of Bob Halsey. A
fully equipped sailing canoe was set up. A new canoe with equipment raffled off and Ursula bid
for it, but so far she has not won.
Letter from Afar – Frequent Canadian visitor Gordon Dowsley wrote from Mongolia. He has
not noticed much canoeing going on there, but comments that English is getting much more
popular and Christmas decorations are abundant. He did not comment on Mongolian oysters or
Reminder from the House Committee – Especially in the winter months… remember to lock
the gate! Also, if you have a boat at the club, inside or out, make sure it has you name on it.
More Sad News…
Elizabeth Walker Hershey, mother of Susan Johnston, died on Christmas day at her home in
Virginia Beach after a long, valiant battle with cancer epitomized by grace under pressure.
Susan's sense of adventure and travel are attributable to her mother who spent her childhood in
Egypt and Europe as the daughter of missionaries and even in later life could not resist the road
wherever it might lead. She moved to France and later Italy with her three daughters to be with
her husband a distinguished WWII flier and Navy Captain. These years had a profound effect on
her as anyone who was privileged to enjoy her gracious manner, warm hospitality, and deep love
of music will attest.
The Washington Canoe Club
P.O. Box 25449
Washington D.C. 20007