Marlan Downey 1931-2017

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IMG 0347Following the 7.0 earthquake in Anchorage November 30, and the 1,800  aftershocks in the following days, our members in Anchorage, Homer and Valdez shared their experiences. 

With 166 members living in Alaska, 142 in Anchorage and the others everywhere from Eagle River and Wasilla to Homer and Juneau, here are some of the stories.

Robin Child perhaps captured best what so many of you shared when she emailed: “The best thing was hearing from family, friends and neighbors. Everyone checking to make sure all was okay and offers of help. Even the Costco pharmacy gal asked how we had fared; it’s a bond of a community. Strangers finding a commonality and helping each other by being a bit more friendly. We are at our best when we all give a little, even if it’s just a smile and a shared story,” said Robin.

"My panic," said Kathleen Gray, "is that I was here in the 1964 earthquake (age 11) so my flashback meter is over the top. The continuing aftershocks just keep me on edge, but 'I will survive'," she said.

My panic is that I was here in the 1964 earthquake so my flashback meter is over the top

Kathleen Gray

"Broken trinkets are sad," emailed Delia Brown, "but to not have any loss of life is nothing short of a miracle." The best invention says Delia is "the flashlight on our cell phones and cell chargers!"

To not have any loss of life is nothing short of a miracle

Delia Brown

In addition to comments about the community coming together and gratefulness there was no loss of life, there has been a lot of humor. Whether talking about ‘drinks being served’ or ‘rockin and rollin’, the quake was met with equanimity.

“I was driving, so it wasn’t super exciting,” shared Susan Jakonis. “My car shook like crazy & I pulled over. The aftershocks were horrible for the first few days. I wonder how many people outside of Alaska know it was pitch dark when it happened and for over an hour?”

As of December 9 the city was still having aftershocks. Scott Digert said they had 5 Sunday morning, December 9, and poor Rosie their Retriever has been a bit traumatized. Tina and Gerry Suellentrop and Scott and Barbara Digert commented on how sound structural construction meant good news for many. 

IMG 1383“After a total of almost 24 years in Alaska and 4 years in LA, this was certainly the biggest quake we’ve been in,” said Scott. “At BP we had a lot of equipment knocked over, ceiling tiles and lights down, and some minor structural damage with wall cracks and broken pipes, but the building stayed well within design specs. We got everyone evacuated ok and then closed the building for the past week to allow the crews to do repairs without people underfoot, and also to let parents work from home while their kids were out with all the schools also closed. Most of us go back to school and work on Monday, and people will have lots of stories to tell! Our home came through just fine; we had books knocked off shelves and plants toppled over, but remarkably little breakage. All of the Anchorage building codes and inspections that made our builder swear when we built the house in 2000 worked as needed, and we feel very fortunate.”

Scott also said there was a lot of infrastructure damage in the Anchorage bowl. “Road crews swung straight into action and had temporary paved repairs in place within 72 hours, which is particularly remarkable given that all the asphalt plants had been shut down for the winter, and they’ve never laid asphalt this late in the year,” he said. “If we’re going to be in a big quake there’s no community better prepared for it than Anchorage,” believes Scott. 

If we're going to be in a big quake there's no community better prepared for it than Anchorage

Scott Digert

Adriana Contreras seconded Delia Brown, saying “everyone alive and well and very happy. More importantly than broken knick knacks -- THANK YOU for simply checking in,” she said.

Micky Becker shares that she climbed under the kitchen counter and rode it out. She said it was terrifying, and seemed to last forever. Micky also mentioned that strict earthquake building codes saved Anchorage and prevented loss of life.

Robin Childs said she thought they had faired extremely well until she investigated the top floor. “It was shocking at first but a few days later, with the help of my children, we had everything back in order. My children helped to put all of our bathroom and dresser mirrors up with new stronger anchors. We also added a top hold on tall dressers. It was a good reminder along with an opportunity to clean out old clothes from the back of the drawers,” she concluded.

IMG 1376Rob Endebrok returned from Thailand to find minor things knocked off the shelves and a couple doors needing adjusting.

Denis Allen lives in Valdez and said when the earthquake first started it was swaying which intensified gradually. Bottles and glasses started moving, the weights in a wall clock started banging the glass sides of the clock case.

Jack and Cindy Walker reported there were no gas leaks, no water leaks, no power loss, no broken windows, and no apparent structural damage in Stuckagain - they felt pretty lucky. In addition to broken items and minor cracks in dry wall, the well water had a brownish tint, but cleared up after a day or two. They also said there was no road damage in their area. Best of all? “Less than one full dump run!”

Chip Landmesser says "we were rockin' and rollin' pretty good down here in Homer too. We are all doing fine and no significant property damage." Chip said his family living in Eagle River faces cleanup and repairs in the weeks ahead, but what is important is everyone is ok. 

We were rockin and rollin pretty good down here in Homer too

Chip Landmesser

Dave Marquez moved from Anchorage to Juneau a couple of years ago, and has a daughter and her family and many friends in Anchorage. He also felt blessed there were no fatalities with an earthquake of this magnitude.

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greg sanders 2Greg Sanders retired from his career in the oil industry in 2017. He and his wife Lisa, split their time between Anchorage and Anthem, Arizona.

Greg was with ARCO Alaska from 1986-2000, then he worked for ConocoPhillips, Pioneer and Caelus Energy before retiring to focus on golf. From all accounts, Greg made a great decision, as he is winning tournaments around the country. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Alaska Golf Association and volunteers for the United States Golf Association.

Most recently, Greg took the lead with an Eagle on the 9th Hole at the Alaska State Amateur Golf tournament on the same day as the ARCO Alumni networking event in Anchorage. Two days later, Greg earned his sixth Alaska State Amateur Golf tournament win at Anchorage Golf Course for his 7th State Amateur title.

Greg earned his sixth Alaska State Amateur Golf tournament win at Anchorage Golf Course for his 7th State Amateur title.

It’s been a good golf year for Greg, he also won the State Match Play tournament at Settlers Bay. 

In 2017, golf took Greg from Anchorage to the Pacific Northwest, and east to Atlanta. Greg took the title of low amateur in the Arizona Senior Open at Wickenburg Ranch Golf Club. Greg finished in sixth place with a 36-hole total of 141.

In September 2017, Greg fired a 4-under par 68 to take the first round lead at the 33rd Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship. Being at the top of a leaderboard is familiar territory for Greg, who earlier that summer was on the verge of making it to the final match of the PNGA Master-40 Amateur when he had to concede his semifinal match on the last hole because of a prior family commitment.

Greg and his wife Lisa will be travelling this coming year, visiting their first grandchild, playing more tournament golf as a first year senior amateur player, and spending some time away from the Alaska cold winter in the warm Arizona sun. Next year's goal may be to win the Alaska Senior Amateur and Alaska State Amateur in the same year. Good luck Greg.

william lafayette William Lafayette Gray
February 13, 1947 - June 28, 2018

William Lafayette Gray passed away on June 28, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Corbin Gray, sons & daughters in law: Bernard Keith & Devona Kay Gray and Byron Heath Gray & Natasha Robinson; granddaughter: Paige Alexandria Gray; brother & sister in law: Robert & Regina Gray; sister: Carolyn Gray and a host of nieces and nephews.

Louisa Meyer kindly shared that William died unexpectedly Wednesday morning. William was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, had a successful procedure, but had an adverse reaction to a medication.

After ARCO, William taught in Dallas ISD where he and Louisa reconnected. “We stayed in touch via Facebook and had a long lunch together last year. We laughed a lot and, as you know, he was always full of wisdom. I especially liked learning about his fraternity’s mentoring program,” emailed Louisa.

You may write his family at: 1908 Windmill Hill Ln DeSoto, Texas 75115.

The family will receive friends at the Friendship West Baptist Church, 2020 W. Wheatland Rd., Dallas, TX 75232 on Tuesday - July 3, 2018 from 10:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. with the Funeral Service beginning at 11:00 A.M. with Reverand Claude Bradshaw, officiating. Interment will follow in Holy Redeemer Cemetery, DeSoto, Texas.

Read the full obituary here.

dallas event blog 2018 houstonJamie Robertson, Salt Creek Petroleum, Tim Seidel, L48; Richard Payne, Foundation Energy Company, and David Nicklin, Salt Creek Petroleum

Berryhill Baja Grill, Houston
We planned our Houston happy hour to coincide with NAPE and were pleased that Joe Sinner, Rick Payne, Christy Smith, David Nicklin and Jamie Robertson came to the happy hour following NAPE activities. Other new faces included John Bridges, Executive Director, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, Wyn Michals who has her own company, PetroPure. Wyn caught up with several friends including David Dubois and Janeen Judah whom she first met at Super School. Wyn shared that she worked in gas marketing for Dan McGinnis in Plano. Joan Kennedy who is looking for her next career opportunity, came along for her first ARCO Alumni happy hour.

With oil at $65 a barrel, the mood was positive at NAPE, with investment bankers keen to find opportunities.

Career moves are fewer, but continue. John Gillespie moved from Chevron to WT Offshore, Tim Seidel who is with the BP L48 group, shared that they had moved back into their offices that week, and the first floor was still under construction following Hurricane Harvey. Doug Peck and Bob Kramm are both with BHP and Prabodh Pathak is with ExxonMobil. Craig Mosely does both freelance photography and work for the Houston Chronicle. Brad Berg and Wes Peirce drove in from The Woodlands.

Retirees included Mike McKee and Janeen Judah. Janeen shared that she will retire from Chevron in April.

As our evening drew to a close, Jennifer Bell, with Advancial drew two names for raffle prizes which were awarded to Joe Sinner, Legacy Reserves and Mark Landt, Stellar Oil and Gas.

dallas event blog 2018 houstonGerry Suellentrop, Caelus Energy; Anil Chopra, PetroTel; Dianne and Phil Lowry; Steve Saleh

Bent Tree Country Club, Dallas
Thanks to Steve Suellentrop for making the Bent Tree Country Club available for our ARCO Alumni. The Dallas networking happy hour was sponsored by Advancial and Contek Solutions. We appreciate the continued support of our sponsors who enable us to get together as we approach twenty years since ARCO was acquired. Jim Johnstone, President, Contek Solutions, had flown in from Minneapolis the evening before the happy hour and due to lightning and thunder, was diverted to Lubbock. The flight landed in Dallas at 3a.m. and we are grateful Jim had the energy to attend!

In addition to our Dallas residents, Bab Anderson drove in from Houston and Pat and Ken Thompson and Gerry Suellentrop were in town from Anchorage. Jamie Robertson, Salt Creek Petroleum and Mark Landt, Stellar Oil and Gas attended both our Houston and Dallas happy hours. Mark's Houston home was impacted by Hurricane Harvey and they are living in Plano.

Carolyn Hunter Hale framed a picture of Harold Inman and set up a memorial including balloons and a candle.

Carolyn also was able to catch up with Ian Hogg, Carolyn Howington, and Gary McKiddy who worked in the Internal Auditing Department together at ARCO. Carolyn Howington is at CIGNA, Carolyn Hunter Hale is with Reef Exploration, Ian is consulting through his company ERK solutions, Gary is CFO at Premier Nationwide Lending.

Ken had spent the day at the Pioneer board meeting and he and Pat celebrated their son’s birthday later that evening. Mike Camara and Steve Sinclair work at Pioneer Natural Resources. Gerry is working for Caelus and has the unenviable commute between Dallas and Anchorage. On the positive side, he sees more of his brother Steve and sister-in-law, gourmet chef, Betty. Steve retired from Hunt Oil in January and he and Betty are enjoying skiing, seeing their children and grandchildren and an upcoming trip to Spring Training. Martin Wouch, also with Hunt, attended. Jocelyn Spellman, Cynthia Thomas, SandDollar Financial; James Doyle, IBM, are among our regular attendees along with Carlton and Mary Karlik. Carlton is with Contek Solutions, our event sponsor.

New faces included Melinda Wright, TPG Global; Steve Saleh, Nancy Collum, Kenneth and Barbara Dickerson, and Mike and Gail Seward who met at ARCO in the 1980s.

Chris Moore, Moyes & Company, shared he has always been out of town and was thrilled to finally attend an ARCO alumni gathering.

This was also Mary Sculley’s first ARCO gathering; Mary runs The Exercise Coach with her husband Pat.

Raju Checka, Anil Chopra, PetroTel; Hoyt Taylor II, Larry Asbury, and Suzanne Larsen all attended with their spouses, making for a nice evening.

A number of our alumni are retired or consulting, thereby enabling them to travel to visit children, grandchildren and explore new areas.

We had a record number of Anchorage residents at our Dallas happy hour.

Ian Hogg and Diane Camara won Advancial branded prizes. Thank you Natalie Storrs, our Advancial sponsor, whose charm and warmth added to our annual Dallas event.

Members who updated their information or joined recently whom we hope to see next time include Ruth Ann Meek, Cindy Daniels, and Tom Schmitt. Log on to read what members are doing.

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