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HISTORY OF
HUGH T. GREGORY AMERICAN LEGION POST 63
WINTER GARDEN, FLORIDA 34787

 

 

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       The Winter Garden Post was granted a temporary charter dated April 26, 1920 with 15 charter members: Dr. C.I. Wheatley, Ralph U. Green, F.B. Register, Pierce Robertson, John C. Bowyer (First Commander), John E. Raden, William B. Burch (First Adjutant), Leo C. Borgard, T.C. Flynn, and Howard Bray, Hugh T. Gregory was chosen for the name of the Post, in memory of the Winter Garden resident who was killed in WW I Department Headquarters assigned 63 as its number indicating it was the 63rd Post to be organized in Florida.  None of the charter members are known to be surviving.  
        A permanent charger was issued on August 4, 1921 at which time 45 members had enrolled.  Officers were Sam T. Salisbury, Commander; W. B. Burch, Adjutant; Elwood M. Tanner, Treasure; Vance McLeod, Sergeant-at-Arms; Leonard M. Gaddy, Historian; Rev. H.D. Hardin, Chaplain; Joe McCarn, Athletic Officer.  Notes from the permanent charter: “Annual dues $1.00.  Are dues adequate to cover all Post Activities? NO.  Have any members withdrawn because of too high dues? NO.  We are going to start a campaign very soon for raising of sufficient funds to build a home for the Post.”
       
The post was without a building until 1926, when the present Post home at 271 West Plant Street was built, on a site donated by Morgan C. and Blanch Britt and B. H. and Charlotte Roper, developers of the Britt Roper Subdivision.  Records show that E. M. Tanner was commander and W. B. Burch was Adjutant at that period.  An interesting feature of the construction is the exteriors of split cypress, giving each course of siding a cambered appearance.  This has weathered its 77 years remarkable well.  Numerous pilau dinners were given at the post and for the most part financed the building.  Post 63 Home was placed on the Florida Historical Register in 1996 by Secretary of State of Florida. 
       
In the years from its beginning in 1920 until the Post home was built in 1926, meetings were held in a number of places in the downtown area of Winter Garden.  Some of the early meetings places were: Skating rink in the Bumby building (now Downtown Brown’s): up stairs in a garage building next door to Valbro Printing Company on North Main Street: theater building (now part of Pounds Motor Company buildings): skating rink North of Edgewater Hotel: over the old city hall on South Boyd Street: over Williams Department store on South Main Street: and a number of other places.

 

       The Legion building has been a useful community landmark.  A place where church congregations met in their early stages, among them being Calvary Baptist, now on South Dillard Street and Bible Chapel Church on Tidenville School Rood opposite Lakeview Middle School: dinner meetings for civil clubs- Lions and Rotary: homeowner associations meetings: and various other group meetings.  A really special use was in April 1977, when an HBO movie group used the Legion Home to shoot a segment of the 13-part movie “From the Earth to the Moon”, with actor director and executive producer Tom Hanks in the lead role.  The Post home was used on the first Saturday of each month for a dinner and dance for all members and war veterans in West Orange County for several years.  Bingo is presently held each Monday and Wednesday. 
      From its beginning in 1920 until the inauguration of the 2004 Officers, there have been 41 Commanders, with 16 serving multiple terms.  They are listed here in the chronological order of their first term.  The numbers in parentheses show the number of terms served by those with multiple terms. 
1920            John C Bowyer (4)   
1921            Sam T. Salisbury
                    
C I Wheatley MD 
                   
 J S Reddick                                                
                    
Gother Martin  
                    
W B Burch
                    
N E Dale 
                    
J J Kirkland
                    
L F Roper (4)
                    
Leslie E Sanders 
                    
Herbert Pounds
                    
A D Mims 
                    
George Walker                                             
                    
G B Merchant (2)
                    
V E Bourland (2) 
                    
Charles R Stevens
                    Albert B Valdes (2)
                    
Maynard B Mann 
                    
Boyd Donahay
1956            Fred Gregory (2)
1957            W M Teal 
                    Hamilton Jones (6)
                    Cecil Dees 
                    Charles F Gregory 
                    Joseph S Hovsepain

                    Oscar Stine (3)
                    Fred H Bekemeyer
                    L C Clements

                    George M Parrott  
                    E M
Henderson (3)

                    Louie F Watson (6)
                    Fred W Huttel
                    Donald E  Ferguson
                    Philip E Spangenberg (6)
                    Julian L Revels (5)
                    John H Linebarier (2) 
                    Lindell Williams (2)
 
1999           Kathryn O Boyer (3) (First female commander)
 
2003           Bert Slayden (3 months-health)
 2003           Robert H Warren (9 months)
 2004           David A Boyer (8 months-personnal)
 2004           Glenn Humgerford (4 months) 
 2005-7        Ernest G Engelhardt IV
 
2008-17      Judd Kuneman

In the same time period, there have been 29 Adjutants (Executive Officer), listed here chronological in the order of their first term, numbers in parentheses show number of terms served, for those with multiple terms:


1920           W.B. Burch (4)
                   George Walker (5)
                   E. M. Tanner
                   O.I. Griffin
                   V. E. Bourland (3)
                   L. W. Iserman (4)
1937           John D. Green (2)
1945           J. E. Fairchild 
                   Charles R. Stevens (2)
                   Carl Kimmerman
                   W.F Cappleman Jr.
                   Fred H. Bekemeyer (4)
                   George Parrott
1955           L.C. Clements (3)
1958           Cecil Dees
                   Paul L Huntington
                   Robert Bodine
                   Thomas C. Hill
                   K.C. Tannery (14) 
                   John H. Linebarier (8)
1980           Joseph W. Henry
1981           John A Evans (2)
                   Samuel H Zeigler (3)
                   Fred W Huttel (5)
                   Bernard C Williams (4) 
                   Ernest E Hawk (3)
2002           Joe Briere
2003           Kathryn O. Boyer
2004-7        James R. Fleming Sr
2008           Angelia Taylor-Dean

2009           Jack Gordon
2010           Tom Brown
2010-17     Joan Bray-Taylor

 

 

 

NOTES OF HISTORICAL INTEREST

 

1939     68 Food baskets were distributed to needy families at Christmas.
 
 
 
1940     83 food baskets were distributed to needy families at Christmas.
 
 
 
1941     Winter Garden Air Warning Post Organized 8/3/41 tower built.  W.B. Burch of Post 63 was Chief Observer as of  
 
 
 
1942  The Post sends first delegates to Boys State – Fred Beyemeyer and Joe Burch. The Officers were: W. B. Burch, Commander; H.C. Stevens, 1st Vice Commander; Lewis Johnson, 2nd Vice Commander; John H. D. Grogan; Historian and Finance Officer; A. C. Peacock, Chaplain; Ralph Harrell, Sergeant-At-Arms; B.H. Henley, Service Officer; L.W. Iserman, Adjutant.
 
 
 
1943     Post membershis consist of 66 members: From Winter Garden – W.B. Burch, H.C. Stevens, Lewis Johnson, L.W. Iseman, John H.B. Grogan, Z.C. Stevens, Ralph Harrell, Hohn V. Curran, William Loppacher, Neil Dale, C.O. McRae, W. P. Booth, C.L. Eby, H.L. Tisdale, George Merchant, J.S. Reddick, Frank Roper, J.G. Shepherd, Dr. C.I. Wheatley, Henry Bekemeyer, E.M. Tanner, A.D. Mims, Elmer Crawford, L.A. Grimes, Paul Dooley, V.E. Bourland, J.F. Keller, Herman Driescherd, Warren Brown, Morgan Johnson, Charlie Peoples, Archie Gano, D. Fleming, J.W. Smith, William F. Fetner, L.N. Howell, E.L. Mott, Earnest A. Dodge, James F.Waterman, Jim E. Knight, W. H. Turner and Fred D. Gregory.
From Apopka – E.J. Daugherty
From Clermont – T.E. Schopmeyer
From Ferndale – Roy W. Owens, R.G. Turner, William H. Harden , Reuben Byrd and Luke K. Price
From Killarney – Hamiton Jones
From Oakland – L.R. Briley and J. G. Sadler
From Ocoee – V. R. Floyd, R. J. Mobley and William Marlett
From Orlando – L. C. Kent
From Baltimore, Maryland – George Walker (working in defense plant)
From Active Duty in Military Service – Captain Harry Austin and Lt. Colonel Sam T. Salisbury in Aiatic-Pacific Theater.
 
 
 
1946     Post 63 sent 6 boys to Boys State.  Although there was only one allotted for Post 63, five additional boys went to Boys State from allotments not used by other Posts. 
 
 
 
1976     The Post and the Auxiliary Unit and guest held a chicken and ribs barbecue dinner at the Post Home, celebrating the U.S. Bicentennial, the founding of American Legion, and the beginning of the Hugh T. Gregory Post 63.  Commander Louie F.  Watson and Auxiliary Unit President Lutha Kilgore joined in cutting the huge birthday cake decorated with red, white and blue colors. History was the theme of the party.  The principal speaker was W.B. Burch, the only charter member of Post 63 living in the Winter Garden area, and probably the only survivor of the 15 charter members.  In addition, four other WW l members were present – William G. Davis, C.L. Edy, I.W. Iserman and K.G. Tannery.
Historian E.M Henderson presented a large map of the United States, showing the 13 original states and depicting each additional area added, to make the present form of the United States.  He also presented a sound film – “Our Flag”, showing its history, heritage, customs and courtesies, which traced the many flags and banners used in the early beginnings of our Nation.
 
 
 
1999     For the first time ever, Post 63 elected and installed a female Commander Kathryn O. Boyer, and Air Force veteran of the Vietnam era, took command in August 15, 1999.  Kathryn has been able and energetic, having led in several new initiatives.  Paid members were 64.

2000     Post 63 achieved 100% membership: presented ROTC Awards: Web Page and E-mail address: interior of Post painted; handicap ramp installed; blood bank account established; profession news letter established.  Paid members were 81, with 17 new members.

2003     Post conducted “I AM NOT A NUMBER PROGRAM” as requested by American Legion National Headquarters.  Forty veterans were contacted, Surveyed and 19 returned medical surveys.  Boys State Delegates were Raymond Daniel Flynn and Robert L. Loud III.  Three Elementary and one Middle School participated in School Award Medal Program: 12-5th Graders and 4-8th Graders received medals and certificates, Lt. Mike Reed, OFD, was nominee for Firefighter of the Year 2003.  Sergeant Charlie Brown, OPD was nominee for Law Officer of the Year for 2003.  Post 63 conducted a 9-11 Patriotic Flag Day, Dignified Disposal of Unserviceable Flags in Veteran’s Memorial Park on Flag Day . Post conducted Oratorical Contest.  Commander Bob Warren presented ROTC  Medals at West Orange High.  One member increased ADAHandicap parking spaces at local hospital from 27 spaces to 64 spaces.  New Members and transfers in are Hugh Barbour, Joseph Colepardi, Bernard H. Dalton, William H Flatt Sr.  Ron Hutchinson, Vernard R. Ireland, Raymond F. McGath, John A. Parkhurst, Charles B. Powell, John Ramey, Philip Simore, Richard C. Watson Jr, Jimmy N. Duncan, Loran B. Fleming, 6th gradson of 1921 commander, Cliffton E. Haney, Garland W. Harry Jr., Frankie L. Massey, Victor Mendez, Clarence W. Pierce, Clifford A. Radke, Richard R. Rozema, Sam T. Salisbury III (4th grandson & name sake of 1921 commander) Horace W. Sargent Jr., Larry Saucer, Clarence M. Spangler, James Ward, Keath A. Zarefoss, Samuel D. Brown, William R. Patterson, Ronald R. Buhman, Ellis E. Thompson, Charles E. Ek, Pedro J. Figueroa, James D. Hallisey, Machow W. Purrin, Lenny Stark, Albert Costantion, Thomas E. Reading, Glen E. Rust, Sherman R. Firden, John R. Mullins, Claude E. Blakehey (PUFL), for 43 additional members from Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec 31, 2003.

 

2004     Post 63 achieved 106.07% membership with 192 members, conducted post everlasting ceremonies for Robert F. Moore ID # 201110661. Dominick Vicenti Id#202629689. Conducted open post fro Memorial Day’s WW II Monument Dedication Conducted dignified disposal of unserviceable flag on flag day 6/14/2004 11am Veteran’s Memoral Park.  School award medal program was conducted with 8 schools invited. 7 schools participated (total of 10 classes) 20 school medals were presented.  20 framed school awards certificates, 20 framed certificates of honorable mention were presented to 28 – 5th grade and 12 – 8th grade students by commander Glenn Hungerford and Adjutant James Fleming.  AFJROTC Awards were presented on Thur. 4/22/04, West Orange 9th grade center by Commander Hungerford, Medal for Scholastic
 Excellence was presented to Tyler Reed and Medal for Military Excellence was presented to Paul Revera. Law Officer of the Year for nominee of Officer Jeff Dyer of Ocoee Department, Officer Dyer, CIT Officer verbally disarmed a mentally ill person with a handgun to his head and took him to a hospital for medical treatment.  ALA Unit 63 conducted a poppy sale through mailings and Memorial Day weekend.  Post 63 memberships are 192 members on July 1, 2004, with one new member pending and one PUFL Transfer in process.

 

2005     Conducted Post Everlasting for : Arthur Shaw Id #201288590 on Mrs. Diana A Shaw received Post Everlasting Resolution, continuous 10 Years service certificate, Arthur’s 2005 membership card, George A Whiteside ID # 100910351 on TBD Mrs. Whiteside received a Post everlasting resolution a 15 Year continuous service certificate.  Whiteford McRae “Duck” Teal received a Post everlasting on TBD Evektb Teal received a Post everlasting resolution a 55 Year continuous service certificate, Duck Teal was Post Commander in 1957.  Boy State 2005 Post sent four delegates to FSU and referred one boy to Post 109 for their delegate, Delegate from 109 was Steven Cruadell POST EVERLASTING CEREMONY

 

 

Post Ever Lasting Ceremonies were conducted for the following Comrades:
October 19, 2001        William V. Mitchell                               PEC 1/5/2006
January 5, 2002            Hayward H. Hays
March 18, 2002           Imre Szabo
April 14, 2002              Melna M. D’ortona
May 28, 2002              Edward A. Beldin
June 21, 2002              Franklin Cappleman
August 2, 2002          I. Leonard Mann
September 2002           David H. Granade
October 2002              Irving C. McLeod
February 2003             Robert L. Hawk
March 12, 2003           Dominick P. Vicenti                              PEC 4/8/2004
May 5, 2003                Clarence Mike Spangler                       PEC 6/25/2003
November 13, 2003     Robert F. Moore Sr.                            PEC 1/3/2004
November 16, 2003     George A. Whiteside 8/2/04                 PEC 1/6/2005
December 29, 2003     Robert C. Drake                                  PEC 1/6/2005
July 31, 2004               Arthur F. Shaw                                      PEC 1/6/2005
September 8, 2004       Whiteford McRae “Duck” Teal             PEC 1/6/2005
November 18, 2004     Bert “smoke” E. Slayden                      PEC 1/6/2005   
April 30, 2005              Bobby Allen                                         PEC
July 15, 2005               James F. Holland                                  PEC
August 8, 2005            Clyde E. Roberson                               PEC

 

 

 

 


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