1973 to ____
Bob consulted with other retirement groups, such as United and Eastern, to gain insight into the structure necessary for forming a retired pilots' association. He also consulted with RAPA (Retired Airline Pilots' Association) and enlisted their help. He was aided in these endeavors by Captain Vince Sproul and Captain Ed Mitchell. Membership was available to all Seaboard pilots age 55 or older.
The first newsletters were published in Green Valley, California, Bob's home at the time. They were typed by Bob's wife, Marge, and Captain Will Lancer who helped with the writing and related tasks. Captain Howard Schlag acted as treasurer.
The monies required to get the association started were paid for by Bob; it was some time before the dues covered the costs. After about five years as president, Bob thought it was time for more membership participation, with new officers and new ideas. New officers, all from the Connecticut area were elected. Captain Vince Sproul (President), Captain Wendell Hale (Vice President), and Captain Frank Umhoeffer, (Treasurer) became the new slate. From 1978 until 1991 they did a superb job of publishing the newsletters, and making dues collections, etc. It was during this time that members widows were given Associate status and non-pilot Seaboard personnel were invited to affiliate as Subscribers. Thus, SPAR became the Seaboard Family. The SPAR offices remained in the Connecticut area until Wendell Hale's untimely death during the year 1990.
After the death of Wendell Hale, elections for new officers were held in Nokomis, Florida, and in 1991 Captain Ed Mitchell (President), Captain Joseph Szaflarski (Vice President), Captain Warren (Pinky) Clark (Secretary), and Captain John Bilotta (Treasurer) were elected to be the slate of new officers. The newsletter was published in Rotunda, Florida. Gloria Mitchell (Ed's wife), was appointed Editor. SPAR's traditions were carried on by the new slate until mid 1995. Ed Mitchell's other pressing duties made it necessary for him to resign during the summer of 1995.
New elections were held at this time and Captain John Bilotta assumed the role of President, Editor, and continued the role of Treasurer, Captain Bill Hyatt (Vice President), and Captain Warren (Pinky) Clark continued his role as (Secretary). When Capt Bilotta stepped down, the printed newsletter was soon discontinued and e-mail and the Web site became the media for information and communication.
The next group of SPAR officers were Capt. Paul Jordan, President; Capt. Ed Bouvier, Vice-president, and Capt. Paul Cellecz; Treasurer. They served through the 2008 reunion, after which Capt. Jordan stepped down.
When Capt. Jordan stepped down and it appeared that SPAR would be disbanded, Capt. Lou Furlong volunteered to serve as President, and Capt. Ed Bouvier and Capt. Cellecz agreed to stay on as Vice-president and Treasurer respectively. It was solely due to their efforts, and those of their wives, that we enjoyed nine more reunions.
Captains Furlong and Cellecz stepped down after the 2017 reunion and Capt. Dan Duffy agreed to assume the presidency, ensuring that there would be at least one more reunion.
Although SPAR was created by pilots for pilots, it has come to welcome all members of the Seaboard family. In addition to flight crew members, our annual reunions have been attended by people from many departments, including crew scheduling, operations, and maintenance. Some come from overseas. Even Richard M. Jackson, the last CEO, attended one year.
To see the current staff, click here.
Capt. John Bilotta created and managed this Web site until early March, 2001, when I took over as Webmaster. He established the high standard I have tried to maintain. His contribution to this organization has been invaluable.