2008 Beech Boulder Reunion

Linda Echo-Hawk
August 2008

The 2008 Beech Aircraft reunion was held on July 19 and it was hot, as usual. It was near the beginning of our 24-day streak of 90+ temperatures. I took some notes from the reunion and the people I talked to. The crowd was smaller this year. Billie Aragon, one of our chief organizers, wasn’t there. Nancy (Smith) Dobbins told me that Billie wasn’t doing well. Irv Kroenke said that Billie told him the turnout was 40 this year (plus me) and that the previous year’s turnout was 60.


Trudy Kahn & Les Campbell (left) and Deborah Wheeler & Granddaughter, Kymuri



Dick & Donna Hopkins With Sandy Pilkington (left) and Joe Hibl (right)

Jim Rodgers wasn’t there. Shirley Helart told me that his daughter was going to bring him if he was having a good day. Shirley was sitting with the Huslers. Shirley and Keith Helart, along with the Huslers, went to Evelyn Rodgers’ funeral in April. Evelyn had requested that everyone sing her favorite song at the end of the service, and Shirley said they all sang “You Are My Sunshine.” Shirley told me that Mr. Rodgers has Alzheimer’s, but that he recognized the Helarts and seemed fine at the funeral. Barbara Burkhart told me later that she learned in September that Mr. Rodgers died just a few days after the reunion. He will be dearly missed.

The Huslers, The Helarts and Audie Cupp

Caroll and Carole Allen were there. Carroll will be 79 later this year. He plays volleyball three times a week to keep in shape. He looked great and liked to say “I’m still above the grass.” Carroll and I were the only ones there from the Test Department.


Carroll Allen (left)  and Carole Allen with Sue Husler (right)

Irv Kroenke was there with his wife, Nel. Irv told me that he started working at Beech Aircraft in 1953. In 1965 they asked him if he would move to Boulder and so he did. He worked at Beech for 33 years. He was a principal designer of the PRSA cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen tanks. He still lives in Boulder and one of his daughters works at Ball.

Irv and Nel Kroenke

Lake and Nancy Dobbins are still working at Ball. They were part of the original group "sold" to Ball with the cryogenic program in 1987. 


Lake Dobbins (left) and Nancy and Lake with Audie Cupp (right)

Hopefully our reunion tradition will continue for many years to come, as we celebrate our Beech memories and honor the friends no longer with us.