Back History of the LST 793 Reunions
Ken Culver was working for C.B.S. Publications. One of his areas was the Minnesota Area. In 1982 he came to Minneapolis where he found Art Sivanich in the phone book. Ken called Art and they got together for dinner. They talked over old times and the subject of a reunion came up. They decided it would be a terrific idea. This was about June of 1982. Ken took the roster of the crew that was from 1945, composed a letter and mailed it to all the crew members at their 1945 addresses. They decided to have the first reunion in August of 1983 to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Letters started arriving from members of the crew, after 36 years. Many of the letters were returned with "no such address" or "no such town", but they had a good start. They found Captain Leavitt, Dennis, Dain and Emperic. Dennis was very ill and unable to attend.
While Ken was attending to the correspondence, Art met with Joe Holzinger and his wife Mary Jane. They went over the details. Joe had worked for Pepsi Cola for years and he was able to get the "pop" donated. Art had retired from the Minneapolis Police Department in 1980 and still had some good connections. Ken and his wife, Marge, were really doing great in locating members of the crew. They found around 75 out of over a hundred. Some were deceased, but the ones found were all for the reunion. Art was able to find a motel at a reasonable price. They had a huge hospitality room. The restaurant was closed but the motel let them use the walk-in cooler for food, "pop" and beer. Art knew a teacher at a cooking school. The teacher was a well-known chef and served as a Master Sergeant in the army as a head chef. He made up 10 trays of hors douerves. They were works of art. He surprised everyone by making a big batch of "S.O.S." from the service recipe. Art was able to attain all kinds of goodies, like maps, mugs, key chains, etc
Arts brother was working for a large printing company and he designed the booklet for the reunion and did it for 12 years before he retired. He also took the small snapshots of the crew and ship. He blew them up into huge pictures. He blew a picture of the ship up to 41" by 81" and mounted it on foam board. He also did one of the crew almost as big. These were given away as door prizes. Noble Roberts won the ship and Ken Culver the crew picture. The reunion was a big success due to the effort of Ken and Marge Culver, Joe and Mary Jane Holzinger, and Art and Lucille Sivanich.
Many crew members assisted by sending in names of crew members they could not find. Schofield, Jim Sansone, Sid Marlin and Dewey Teaque died just months before the first reunion. Raymond Rhodes wife, Rita, presented Art with a beautiful oil painting of a Louisiana Bayou, one that she painted for hosting the first reunion.
Since this first reunion, many crew members have hosted reunions until this day when we celebrate our 16th reunion. Over the years the crew members, wives, families and friends have formed a special bond that can only be described as "family" initiated by patriotism and courage.
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