View Issues‎ > ‎2016 Issues‎ > ‎1608 August 2016‎ > ‎

160815 August 15, 2016



Robert M. "Bob" Johnston
LHS '64
August 9, 1945 - July 5, 2016

        Robert M. "Bob" Johnston passed away on Tuesday afternoon, July 5th, at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Washington. A very aggressive Cancer took him within a month of the onset of symptoms.

        Born on August 9, 1945 in Charleston, WV, the first son of Robert P. and Margaret M. Johnston, Bob grew up all over the country, graduating from Lee High School in Huntsville, AL in 1964. Shortly thereafter, he entered the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1965 to 1969, first at Vandenberg AFB, CA, then at Fairchild AFB in Spokane. Upon completion of his military service, Bob returned to civilian life, moving around western and central Washington in sales, until meeting Linda Blaine of Yakima, in 1972.

        Bob and Linda married on February 8, 1974. They moved back to the Bellevue area, and Bob entered the real estate profession, a profession with which he was to remain associated for the remainder of his life.

        An avid hunter and golf enthusiast, Bob was always there with a smile, a funny story, or just a bad pun available on demand. 

        Bob is survived by Linda, his wife of 42 years, brothers Jim and Bill, "six" sisters-in-law, their assorted spouses, and enough cousins, nieces and nephews to fill Safeco Field (or at least section 118!).

        At Bob's request, no service will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests remembrances in his memory to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Also, for anyone wishing to view and/or post memories or reflections on Bob's life, you may do so online at CascadeMemorial. com or

             Memphis, TN - Big issue this week. Thanks to all who have helped. Our thoughts go out to the family of another classmate, Bob Johnson, who we lost last month but only found out about this week. It is very difficult to keep up with everyone when we are spread so far out these days.

        I guess I will always associate the hot August weather with the memories of the class reunions we held during this period in days gone by. It was a hot time, but in our lives of the time, it seemed we could only work it in between the end of the summer and the start of football season. And that's the way it is in the South!

        The following email addresses continue to be bounced back to me and so they have been deleted from the mailing list. If one of them is your's then please send me a correct one. Thanks.

Olympic Games Infection Control
John Drummond, MD
LHS '65 

        Shortly after being awarded the prize of hosting the Olympic Games in 1996, the city of Atlanta began the complex job of preparing for them.  One of the myriad of issues to be addressed was Infection Control – most importantly, the very worrisome concern with the problem of HIV/AIDS. With nearly 10,500 sexually active young adults coming to town and living in close quarters, the potential for casual romantic interludes was high.  There was also a great possibility of contact and exchange of blood by competitors in the boxing ring or wrestling mat, or even a basketball court.

        An Infection Control Committee for the Games was formed in 1994, consisting of the State Epidemiologist for Georgia, CDC doctors in the HIV/AIDS Section, and several staffers from ACOG (Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games). The group included three Infectious Disease Specialists, one a full-time professor on the faculty of Emory University School of Medicine, myself and another doctor who were in private practice in Atlanta.  In 1994, two years before the Games were to open, we began meeting every few months to discuss the issues.

        Today we know much more about how the virus is transmitted than we did 22 years ago.  In 1991, Magic Johnson announced he had "attained the HIV virus" via heterosexual intercourse and immediately retired from the NBA.  Although he returned to help the USA "Dream Team" win Gold at the Barcelona, Spain Games in 1992 and later returned briefly to the Lakers, but then he quickly retired again.  This was due to the fear expressed from NBA players about the potential risk of playing against an HIV-positive opponent.  Now, 25 years after becoming HIV-positive, Magic stands tall as a robust, healthy and very successful businessman.  Importantly, his wife Cookie and their children remain HIV-negative.

        Consequently, in 1994 our committee was faced with a wide range of options on how to handle the possible risk of HIV exposure during the Games.  One radical suggestion early on was to test every athlete for HIV as they entered the United States or Atlanta.  The Georgia Legislature had passed a law on July 1, 1988 making it an illegal to draw an HIV blood test on a person without that person's prior written consent.  To do so would be to commit battery.  Of the 10,500 young adults from all over the world, we expected a few would test positive for HIV.  What would happen then?  Would the athlete be banned from competition and sent home in shame and revulsion?  Doing so might ruin the athletes’ lives and humiliate their country.   There was also the problem of who would pay for those thousands of blood tests.  Could we be certain there was no cheating with test results, similar to that of athletes/teams taking PEDs, as in the current Russian track and field team banned from Rio?  We finally agreed that, to quote a line from one of the Jurassic Park films, this was "a really bad idea."

        One committee member offered a tongue-in-cheek suggestion of a far more simple solution, to just “put a ban on having sex” during the Games.  After we stopped laughing and faced the reality of raging hormones in the bedrooms of The Olympic Village, the committee decided that the most practical solution was to make condoms readily available to all athletes.  Glass bowls full of condoms were placed throughout the living and dining quarters allowing a person to grab a handful of condoms as easily as picking up a bottle of water.
         A nosebleed or minor cut acquired during competition was a possibility on a basketball court, in the pool playing water polo, or in combative sports such as boxing or wrestling.  Our solution was to do mandatory HIV blood testing of the bleeder immediately after the event.  If the HIV test result was negative, then there was no problem.  If it HIV-positive, then one of the three of us Infectious Disease Specialists would quietly and confidentially evaluate the athlete on a case-by-case basis.

        I personally attended the boxing venue, thinking that would be the most likely place that blood would be shed.  I was both happy, but also a bit disappointed; our meticulous and carefully laid-out plans were never needed there.  In professional boxing 16-ounce gloves are used, with no protective headgear, and the goal is to win by knocking out or out-hitting the opponent over 15 three-minute rounds.  In Olympic boxing, the gloves are lighter weight, protective headgear is worn, and matches are only three rounds.  The glove tips are white to make scoring of contacts by the referee easier.  Points are scored by making contact with the opponent and blocking contact from him.  So no blood was shed at the boxing venue.  To my knowledge the only HIV test performed at the 1996 Games was on a housekeeper/janitor who was injured while lifting a trash bag from one of the training rooms.  Someone had merely tossed a syringe and needle into a wastebasket instead of placing it into a special sharp objects container.  The janitor suffered what is called “a blind needle-stick" on the hand.

        To highlight our concern, in February 1996, a professional boxer named Tommy Morrison was scheduled to fight in Las Vegas.  He had won the WBO world heavyweight championship in 1993 by defeating George Foreman.  By Nevada law, every professional boxer was required to undergo an HIV blood test before a fight.  He tested HIV-positive, and was immediately banned from boxing for life.  Tommy Morrison was in total denial, famously claiming "I would rather trust a lawyer than a doctor" and continued to deny he was HIV-positive until his death at age 44 on September 1, 2013.  

        Because of the notoriety associated with HIV and boxing during February 1996, just five months before the Atlanta Summer Games, reporters asked ACOG officials if by any chance the issues regarding HIV had been addressed among other details of planning.  Their simple answer:  "We got it covered."

        Current knowledge of HIV/AIDS is light-years ahead of what we knew, or thought we knew, 20 years ago.  During the 1980s and 1990s it was a very scary time for not only gay people and IV drug abusers, hemophiliacs and surgical patients who required blood transfusions.  It was also a great concern for doctors, dentists, nurses (essentially all healthcare workers), and law enforcement personnel. 

        During competition in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, there are new worries about the Zika virus and environmental exposure to malicious bacteria and viruses at some of the venues.  Hopefully by the 2020 Summer Games, our knowledge of Zika will have greatly expanded, perhaps even to the point of having a vaccine available.  Between Dr. Anthony Fauci and his colleagues at the NIH, and the CDC here in Atlanta, I am optimistic that Zika may well be under control by then, if not totally eradicated similar to smallpox, which was eliminated from the face of the Earth in 1977.  

Wild Honey

Wild Honey - 1967 (Performed in 1972 in this video)

Moving Forward with the Beach Boys
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

        One of my most memorable Beach Boy concerts came on February 14, 1967, when I was still a junior at Memphis State. The journalism department was on the mailing list for several college newspapers and early in the morning on that date I was in the department and saw a copy of the Middle Tennessee State University’s school paper. In it was an announcement for a concert that night by the Beach Boys at the school auditorium. Around lunch time I was talking it over with a couple of my fraternity brothers and one of them remarked, “We need to go see them.” A quick discussion as to how we could make it in time hatched the idea of renting a plane and flying there. One of my brothers knew a charter pilot and a quick phone call revealed we could rent a plane (Beechcraft Bonanza) to go there and back for about $100 – which was a lot of money those days, but we all had jobs and it was a challenge. 

        I asked my future wife if she wanted to go with us. She was only a junior in high school and her mother hesitated a long while before she consented, but eventually gave in. This was is in spite of her sister being jealous and wanting to go herself and so she tried to persuade her mother it was unsafe. It worked out and late that afternoon we met at the Memphis airport and headed to Murfreesboro. We had to take a cab from the airstrip and bought our tickets at the door, but made it in time for the concert. The opening acts that evening were The Moody Blues (Nights in White Satin), Keith (98.6), and Question Mark and the Mysterians (96 Tears). The Beach Boys were next and put on their normal high-energy show. After the last curtain call, the auditorium started clearing out but my group hung around. In those early days, the Beach Boys did not have a big road crew and as they started packing up their own equipment we went up on stage and started talking to them. We got several of their autographs and finally had to head back to the airstrip and get home because we had classes the next day. It was a very impressive Valentine’s Day present I gave my future wife, and an unforgettable college road trip. It was less than eight hours from the time we first found out about the concert until we were sitting in the audience around 250 miles away.

        One month later they were back in Memphis and again, my crowd and I were sitting in the audience, singing along with them. Then came a long lull in personal attendance. Their popularity was decreasing and this is the time Brian Wilson was having his problems. It is also when I graduated from Memphis State, entered the Air Force, married Carol (first wife), and started moving around the county. I still remember listening to older Beach Boy music during my lonely times when I was deployed to Guam. Their sounds took me back to happier times.

        When looking at the music the Beach Boys started putting out, I can somehow understand the lull in their attraction to me. Good Vibrations on their Smiley Smile album was light-years away from songs about cars and surfing and schools and surf girls. The next album Wild Honey included more electronic music sounds and it was easy to see the Beach Boys were following in the footsteps of the Beatles in experimental music and no longer good old rock and roll. They started adding new musicians to the group too, and Brian quit touring with them.They were no longer the clean cut all-american beach boys - proven in the video above. Remember also, I was in the military, and lived in a conservative world from which they were straying - shown by the 1971 Rolling Stone cover below.

        It was ten years before I attended another live concert. It is easy to remember it for a couple of reasons. The day they performed in Fort Worth, I had just returned from the Air Force’s Special Survival School and I was not sure if I would make it home in time to get to go so we did not buy tickets in advance. We also did not bother to line up a baby sitter for our daughter, Tiffany, who was about three months old at the time. With no baby sitter there was no option except to take her with us, which we did, and which made the first concert in her life being the Beach Boys. With buying the tickets at the door with less than an hour before the concert started, we ended up with nosebleed seats again, and were sitting with a hip crowd who were smoking marijuana during the concert. I was scared as to how the second-hand smoke might affect an infant, but no harm resulted.

        The next year we moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and even though the Beach Boys put on 4th of July concerts there for many years while we lived there, we never attended any of them to my recollection. Again, almost another decade would pass before I saw them live again. (Continued)

My brother Don (back), my mother, and me and our TV on East Clinton Street.

The Vintage Television
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

Bat Masterson

Bat Masterson

    Bat Masterson is an American Western television series which showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life marshal/gambler/dandy Bat Masterson. The title character was played by Gene Barry and the half-hour black-and-white shows ran on NBC from 1958 to 1961. The show took a tongue-in-cheek outlook, with Barry's Masterson often dressed in expensive Eastern clothing and preferring to use his cane rather than a gun to get himself out of trouble, hence the nickname "Bat". Masterson was also portrayed as a ladies' man who traveled the West looking for women and adventure. The black derby, fancy vest, black jacket, and elegant cane were his trademarks. Miniaturized versions were marketed to children as tie-in products during the run of the show.



Click on  poster to get more information

If you are not already receiving email info & want to be on the email distribution list for activities related to the upcoming 50th reunion celebration for the class of 1966,
please send your email address and graduation year to:



From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Article in the Redstone Rocket About the Seaver Twins

Carolyn Taylor

LHS '64

Hi Tommy,

I thought you may like to see the article below in the Redstone Rocket today about the Seaver Twins.


Join the Mailing List to Receive Notification When New Issue is Available 


 Email Me