News From Fort Schuyler

May 25, 2009 - Volume 9, No. 23

ANCHORS AWEIGH -A tradition continued with the departure of TSES EMPIRE STATE VI for its 60 day 2009 Summer Training Cruise to European ports. According to the college webpage, "With Captain RICK SMITH '81 at the helm, the ship left on schedule at 10:00 on Monday, May 18th. Close to 600 cadets were on board along with a full complement of faculty and staff..." ( You can check the college website for regular "Summer Sea Term 2009 Updates." Several of these text and photo updates have already been posted.

For another treat go to the Parents' Association website ( and click "Track the EMPIRE" (right above the picture) to get the ship's latest longitude and latitude. Paste that data into your Google Earth search box and voila - you fly right there!

Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day_ay_ay_ay.
Through our last night ashore, drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more
Here's wishing you a happy voyage home!

CLASS ACT - The Class of 1968 has produced two professional actors, NED CRAY, who is new to the game (See NFFS, May 18) and STAN ABRAHAMSEN, a seasoned performer who has recently retired from a 30-year acting career with roles in television shows and films ranging from Little House on the Prairie to Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Although Stan acted in high school plays, he was not involved in theater at Fort Schuyler and he "...shipped out the day after graduation and stayed at it for a few years, usually as 2nd A/E aboard mostly break bulk and container ships. I've since gotten my limited tonnage Master's license and frequently skipper Catalina-bound ferries as well as other harbor/near coastal ships in my off hours." Stan got involved in professional acting when he came ashore to management jobs in California and then as a ship surveyor when "...the acting bug hit me again so I started doing regional theatre here in Southern California and Long Beach. I also attended every acting class I could find in Hollywood. I didn't have any connections or an agent, so I figured the best way to show my stuff and get an agent was to get among the professional actors. There were a lot of name actors in those class so it worked. Just like in the maritime industry, you don't do anything professionally here in Hollywood without an agent or belonging to the unions."

The rest is history ( Stan got his agents and qualified to join the Screen Actors Guild. "I had never worked a television show before, but my theatrical agent, knowing that I was also a self-taught rodeo cowboy [a typical Brooklyn boy!] and had horses, got me an audition (along with about 200 others actors in Hollywood) to read for the plum role of the 'new Pa' on the Little House on the Prairie." There were to be four more auditions over the next month until Stan learned that he had won the role of John Carter, the new Pa. "One of my most memorable times in my life was when I walked out of [producer/writer/director Michael Landon's] office and called my parents in NY from a pay phone in the studio (MGM) to break the good news to them. They had no idea I was even auditioning for Little House on the Prairie, let alone a major role.....I quit my surveying job the next day and have had a great time as an actor. My stage name is Stan Ivar."

But there is more! "I don't work too much as an actor anymore since I'm now busy building up my bio-remediation business - NCI Green LLC - We can remediate over 100 contaminates, but I'm most proud of the fact that we're the only company that we know of that can remediate salt-contaminated soils within a few days (See the pdf presentation on the first page of his "under-construction website "

PAUL HOPSON '70, who sent the heads up on Stan's acting career ("Yes- He was trained as an Engineer, but he crossed over to 'the other side') also notes that: "Ned Cray looks the same as in his cadet days down on the waterfront." Stan concludes his letter: "At our last reunion, the 40th, I had a great discussion with Ned, he's embarking on his acting career - 'break-a leg,' Ned."

IN MEMORIAM - During a tour of Lower Manhattan this weekend, the editor came across this plaque affixed to the former US Customs House at 1 Bowling Green: "This tablet is dedicated to the memory of the men of the American Merchant Marine who gave their lives in the World War that liberty should perpetually endure. 'These men rendered one of the greatest services that could have been done for our nation and civilization's cause. Hundreds of precious lives were lost - a loss that can never be made up by their country.' Warren G. Harding." For a Canadian Celtic band's tribute to WWII merchant mariners go to this YouTube link forwarded by GEORGE MORTENSEN '38 (

EBB TIDE - The death of HAL ZIMMERMAN '53 was reported in the Greensboro News & Record. Hal, the twin brother of BOB ZIMMERMAN '52 (a broken leg delayed Hal's graduation) served in the Navy after graduation where "... he served as the Chief Engineer of the USS BALDUCK in the Pacific theater until 1955. Harold worked as an engineer for Riley Stoker Corporation and later joined General Dynamics Corporation (Electric Boat) in Groton, CT, retiring in 1992 after 29 years." Hal is survived by his wife, Barbara, two daughters and two granddaughters and "...his twin brother and "other half", Robert, of Williamsburg, Virginia, as well as an extended family of nieces and nephews who will always cherish memories of his sparkling blue eyes, laughter and jokes." [This information was provided by JOHN INGRAHAM '52 who wrote that Hal had suffered a massive stroke on 19 April and passed away on 21 May at a hospice home.]