After 41 years with the American Legion, Robert "Bob" Nelson Ford III, the Legion's adjutant for Maryland since 1981, has decided it's time for him andd his wife, Roseanna, to move to Florida. But before all the fun in the sun, they have to sell their house and attend the going-away parties.
One such event, held at the American Legion Post No. 109 in Arbutus, was packed with hundreds of friends and well-wishers. Robert W. Spanogle, the national adjutant of the American Legion, which is the nation's largest veterans' group, came to town from Indianapolis to give the keynote speech. He was joined on the dais by Tom Davis, Maryland's newly elected adjutant.
Next on Mr. Ford's social calendar was an afternoon cruise of Baltimore Harbor aboard the charter boat Royal Blue. It stopped at Fort McHenry to pick up the 80 guests invited by the Patriots of Fort McHenry and the National Park Service to honor Mr. Ford, a longtime member of the Patriots.
Others on the farewell cruise were the hosts, John Tyler, National Park Service superintendent; WBAL's Alan Walden, president of the Patriots; and Patriots executive director Joe Ayd, brother of Frank Ayd, who co-owns with Bob Berman Baltimore Harbor Cruises, which donated its charter boat for the party. Other Patriots members on board were Jon Files of BGE; Biff Bartholomew of O'Conor Piper & Flynn; and Craig Stuart-Paul, owner of a recycling company.
The American Legion has always been generous in its support of Fort McHenry, and many of its members at the party traveled quite a distance to attend -- Department State Commander Robert M. Johnson, La Plata; Vice Commander Alex Ilczuk, Salisbury; Vice Commander William Proctor, Baltimore; Vice Commander Michael Riston, Beltsville; Alternate National Executive Committeeman R. Lee Fisher, Thurmont; and Adjutant Tom Davis, who was elected to take Mr. Ford's place on the Patriots board.
Mr. Tyler announced that a bronze plaque honoring the American Legion for its longtime support of Fort McHenry will be erected in the visitors' center during a formal ceremony this fall.
I hear N'Awlins night at Warfield's in the Towson Sheraton was a great way to spend the evening, thanks to the music of the Fallstaff 5 + 2 Dixieland Jazz Band, a k a the Dixieland Tax Notes.
The jazz group is directed by Paul Naden, a senior partner of Naden/Lean accounting firm, who also plays cornet. He's joined by oral surgeon Don Lurie on washboard; keyboardist Sig Seidman, owner of a chain of stop-smoking clinics; trombonist John Wessner, the head of the physics department at Towson State University; retired businessman Jimmy Riley on banjo; Dave Stambler, a music teacher at Friends School, on cornet; and, on tuba, Ed Goldstein, a member of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble.
The American Foundation for Urologic Disease and the Maryland Historical Society have been chosen as the beneficiaries of the Baltimore premiere of "The Stars Fell on Henrietta" at General Cinema Towson Commons 8 Sept. 21. Tickets for the show and reception are $50 for adults and $15 for children over 13. Call (410) 727-2908.
Call for events
In mid-September I plan to run a calendar of social events taking place in October, November and December. If you would like your event listed, please send a note, including date, time, cost, dress code, contact name and phone number, to my attention, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Or you may fax information to me at (410) 783-2519.