By Susy Mansfield (written for 2005 Boat News)


Pelican Reunion was born in a boozy haze. The Whits (Steve and Edie Whitney) had drinks with (legendary former head bellhop Steve) Honer (now deceased) and somehow the idea of a reunion at the island came up. Honer phoned me at the SIC office and invited me to lunch. After a convivial lunch, I promised to bring the idea to the SIC Board.


This was in the spring of 1981 when I was busy with plans for the Shoals Reunion Conference. This one-time gathering of former YPRUers (details can be found in Fred McGill’s Chapter 6 of “Something Like a Star”) was held during the week after Labor Day and served to launch what we called the Post-Season Season. It was the first of the September Limited Services conferences. The idea of some Old Pelicans wanting to hold a Reunion over Labor Day fit right in and the Board approved an overnight conference on the Saturday/Sunday. Pete Mercer was Manager and I was Executive Secretary. Charles Case was Treasurer and Dickie Case and Faith Kimball Russell were on the Board as well. It felt like the inmates were running the asylum and we were looking forward to the softball game in particular.


Meanwhile the Whitneys and Steve Honer put together a Conference Committee that included Bob Lightfoot (former Pelican Club treasurer, of course), Larry Garland, and others from the 1966-69 seasons. We scoured our address books and created a List of the Lost to track people down. About 100 showed up for the weekend and you never saw such grins. Bobby Whittaker took a night off on island with us. The conference committee members met us on the pier wearing their old work uniforms.


That first overnight was worse than Laity Weekend. We crammed everything into 30 hours – fire & water, softball, lobster, Pelican Show put on by us for them, and even Sunday Dinner according to Lenny’s menu. Nick Page was Music Director and rehearsed and conducted both Madrigals and Chorus in the Show. John Leehman, in his best Pel Show preacher presentation style, told us again about his brother Esau. There were Pelican Papers featuring write-ups and photos.


The Softball Game was of particular interest to the current Pelicans and to us too I believe. Who had the Home Team advantage? Holtsy (Bob Holt, Rozzie’s son) was captain and some of the old 1960’s baseball T-shirts showed up. When the Old Farts took the field for practice, the Young Farts were dismayed that we could play the graveyard and flagpole with ease. We won, 17-1.


For the first three years the original Pelican Reunion Committee managed everything. In 1982 the conference was given the entire Labor Day weekend, preceding the first Midweek Retreat Conference and Elderhostel group. By 1984 there were enough children among the group that we needed structure for them. I had left the employ of the Corporation in 1983 and was therefore eligible to be pressed into service. Tom (Mansfield) and I were drafted to chair that year (ably backstopped by our buddies on the Committee) and we invented the PIT Crew to train up our offspring for future duty as Pelicans. Ruth Koe coordinated the PIT Crew and John & Margret (Kolbjornsen) – my folks – came on as afternoon and evening babysitters.


In 1985 the Paul and MaryJane Ohlson chaired. Since then our family has come every year (I missed 2002 caring at home for my Dad) and we have cherished our growing families and lengthening friendships. Here’s to 25 more years at least!




Past Pelican Reunion Chairpeople


1981/82 Steve Honer
1983 Steve and Edie Whitney and Larry Garland
1984 Tom and Susy Mansfield
1985 Paul and Mary Jane Ohlson
1986 Peter Kolbjornsen
1987 Anne Fenn, Laura Fredericks and Susie Phoenix
1988 Ted and Carol Lylis
1989 Arlyn Weeks
1990 John and Leslie Lintner
1991 Debbie Weiner
1992 Nate and Stephanie Hubbard
1993 Jenny Easter
1994 Jane and Marc Soule
1995 Ann and Scott Stewart
1996/97 Bob Frye and Jane Lentz (1996 cancelled due to Hurricane Edouard)
1998 Carey Kasky
1999 Mark and Kyle Adams
2000 Nancy Meyer
2001 Lexi Bernd and Paul Dowd
2002 Liz Erickson and Erik Mercer
2003 Lisa Phoenix and Chris Harris
2004 Sean and Melanie Elliot
2005 Brad and Catherine Greeley
2006 Joanne Bulley and Buffy Bierman Carson (cancelled due to Hurricane Ernesto)
2007 Rebecca Emerson and Jonathan Brown
2008 Laurie Lentz-Marino and family
2009 Bruce and Carole Parsons
2010 Kris LoFrumento and Sue Flynn (delayed by Hurricane Earl)
2011 Nancy Meyer and Melanie Elliot
2012 Nancy Meyer and the Steering Committee
2013 Phyllis and Chris Carleen
2014 Diane Parsons and Miriam Coe
2015 (announced at the conference!)