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Most Recent News

2024 GMSAA Reunion: The Thought Process Behind the New Schedule


From the Reunion Committee: After the new year the board organized a Reunion Committee to research what were the best options going forward. The Board members making up this committee were: Michael Crews (Association VP), Denton Staley (Association Sec), Steve Downer and Bear Baker.

On April 8, after discussion of their recommendations, it was unanimously agreed that the schedule now on the website be adopted for this upcoming 2024 GMSAA Reunion. If you have done so, please refer to the Reunion Schedule.

The rationale for the new reunion schedule is as follows. Concern was expressed at the elimination of the Saturday evening activities. Financial reports have shown that Saturday events have been our major expense in the past and is where we have the best opportunity to reduce costs. This proposal eliminates the need for the Student Center and another catered dinner. This also saves us the cost of hiring a group of musicians from outside the area, a cost that burdens the association’s members.

Attendance records show that the numbers have been declining at the Saturday Night Dinner Dance activity as expenses climb. It became obvious that this was the best place to cut expenses and still offer dancing at the Sharp center. To continue the Saturday evening activities and not dip into operating funds would require an increase in prices. This increase possibly could further lower the numbers willing to participate.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The GMSAA Board

GMSAA Board Update


Memorial Day, May 27, 2024
Greetings from Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

The board would like to give you a brief update of what has been going on since the October 2023 Reunion. We have met a few times via zoom to discuss various matters GMSAA will need to address in upcoming years.

What’s most likely on your mind is the reunion schedule, without further adieu here it is.

After the new year the board organized a Reunion Committee to research what are the best options going forward. The Board members making up this committee are: Michael Crews (Association VP), Denton Staley (Association Sec), Steve Downer and Bear Baker. On April 8, after discussion of their recommendations, it was unanimously agreed that the following schedule be adopted for this upcoming 2024 GMSAA Reunion.

1) Reunion Schedule

Schedule for Oct 2024 GMSAA Reunion
All Events at the Sharp Alumni Center unless noted otherwise.

Thursday, Oct 17, 
Registration 4-7 pm

Friday, Oct 18
Registration 9 am-7 pm

Golf @ Lewisburg CC: 9am-3pm

Flag Raising Ceremony: 9:30 a.m.

GMSAA Board Meeting 10am-12n

Retreat Formation, Front Court 3:30 
   Retreat Rehearsal: 3:30 pm
   Retreat: 5 pm
   Group Photo inside the Quad immediately after Retreat Formation

Catered Dinner Buffet 6 pm Sharp Center

Dance/Sock Hop 7:30-10 pm

Saturday Oct 19
Pre Meeting Beverages Coffee and Pastries 9:30
General Meeting: 10am-12n

12 noon: Dismiss the Corp, Free time.

The rest of the day open to do what ever you wish. Denton has been in contact with various restaurants around town to inquire about available private gatherings. Restaurant contacts coming soon.

Sunday, Oct 20 
Church at Old Stone Presbyterian: 11 am
NOTE: Registration window will be open as soon as final costs are determined.

Also, the DJ Denton has contacted will provide a website where you will be able to request songs of your era. That will be available soon.

From the Reunion Committee: The rationale for the new reunion schedule is as follows. Concern was expressed at the elimination of the Saturday evening activities. The financial reports have shown that Saturday events have been our major expense in the past and this is where we have the best opportunity to reduce costs. It was noted that Bobby Nichols, who we have used extensively over the past years, is spending more time in London with his son and is harder to get in contact with him. This proposal also eliminates the need for the Student Center and another catered dinner.

Attendance records show that the numbers have been declining at the Saturday Night Dinner Dance activity with expenses climbing. It became obvious that this was the best place to cut expenses and still offer dancing at the Sharp center. To continue the Saturday evening activities and not dip into operating funds would require an increase in prices. This increase possibly could further lower the numbers willing to participate.

Bill Stinnette recommended that the buffet be a little nicer with a second meat option and something for a vegan option. The DJ has agreed to furnish an email address where music requests can be sent and he will arrange to play that list plus the best dance tunes from your day.

2) GMSAA Awards. In the past GMSAA has bestowed awards to individuals who have met certain criteria that would merit him to receive special recognition. The Board would like to reinstate some of those awards. More information will be coming soon.

3) Inventory of the GMSAA Archives. Denton, Michael Crews and Steve Downer have been working in Lewisburg going through the items in the archives to meet the legal requirement that all items in our care are inventoried for the eventual dissolution of GMSAA.

4) Members of the Board have represented GMSAA at various functions at WVSOM and at the two Greenbrier County High Schools. They have also met with WVSOM IT personnel to review security and received assurance the website will be maintained by WVSOM in the event of various scenarios that have been brought up by members of the association. Plus, Jim Dodway and Jackson Tully have also proudly represented GMSAA at various activities.

5) Michael Crews, Denton Staley and Steve Downer have been doing extraordinary duty for you, the members.

Respectfully, on behalf of the Board,
Mike Ruth

Your Stories Need to be Written


Good 1st Weekend of March to you:
Sorry for this long windy post.

I am an avid reader of WW2 personal histories and memoirs. My bookcase has more books that describe the stories of the men and women who struggled so valiantly to keep the world free, than novels. There is something in those books that provide me a grounding in my place in the world. We can learn a lot from reading about other people's stories.

Denton Staley and I were talking a few nights ago. Think about this fact, there are a lot of our comrades who were juniors at GMS when it closed, thereby missing out on the final tradition many of us enjoyed. We should do something to recognize them. Denton told about one cadet who wanted to write something about this but didn't know where to start. We should encourage those who want to write about this experience to do that. 

GMS closed 52 years ago and we still have attachments and strong memories of our time in Lewisburg. We really should hear from the Class of '73. As far as I know there has never been a recognition of what these guys went through. Can we encourage this for the next reunion? Perhaps have a program for these guys from what should have been the Class of '73, (an honorary diploma?). A few of them do show up each year. Plus, how did this closing impact the class of '72 being the last class?

My niece graduated high school in the spring of 2020. It was very traumatic for 2020 high school kids to graduate, yet not graduate like they were planning on. She wrote an editorial for the Columbus Dispatch which she has given permission to share and use as a template.

Another thing we were discussing was starting a column on our website we thought might be called "War Stories".   We would like to see stories of things that occured while we were at GMS. Everyone has something funny or not funny to share. I know I had my share of escapades. For example: Phil Fullerton (a roommate from 1967-68) and I strung over 300' of bell wire on the roof of D company to use as an antenna for my Hallicrafter multiband radio. The better story is how we got on the roof. (You know there was a lot of cadet activity on the roof of GMS, none of it authorized.)

Currently we have a space on the website which we call Greenbrier Remembrances, (http://www.gmsaa.org/cadets/remembrances). But rarely used. Perhaps we could rename that or start a new column altogether.  We would need help in promoting people into writing for it.  Could there be potential to compile those articles into a printed piece that we could offer for sale where profits could benefit scholarships.

Just some thoughts that have been on my mind. If you have any stories to share email them to me at: gms.mike.ruth@gmail.com

Mike Ruth, Class of 1969

Greenbrier Military School year end letter.


Hello, my name is Emmitt Denton Staley. I am a 1972 graduate of GMS and was recently elected to serve on your Alumni Association Board and subsequently have become your new Secretary. I would not say that I was elected Secretary but instead was the only person gullible enough to take on this task. In less than two months, I am overwhelmed at the discovery of the huge amount of work and time that Herb Pearis and Bob Boles have given our association over their course of service. I accept the office as my way to honor Herb, my teacher, advisor and dear friend. I have asked Bob to continue as my mentor as long as possible to lend continuity to this office at a time that will need someone with a grasp of our school history, a working knowledge of our Association processes, and a commitment to cementing our legacy through our scholarships at Greenbrier East and West, and at WVSOM. That is why I am communicating with you today.

Much has been said and written about how we are a “graying” group and in talking to our members, it is obvious that many of us are asking the question “how long will our association and/or our reunions continue?” That is a question asked not out of a morbid fascination but instead a real sense of responsibility to the association. A responsibility, I would point out, that we learned at GMS. The Board of Directors has approved a plan that will take us through the steps of closing the business side of the association when the time is right. This plan was created by your board several years ago as they looked down the road at our smaller membership numbers and shrinking resources. You could call it our estate planning document. But once the plan is initiated, it won’t mean we stop getting together in Lewisburg the third weekend in October. Yes, we are planning for the inevitable, but we will still be able to get together for years to come.

Communication is key to a healthy association. As I see it, the board has worked hard to be as transparent as possible with the membership. We have a nice balance of new and seasoned board members working for our association. There are some tough decisions your board will need to make in the next few years, but with everyone working together, we will succeed.

One of the big decisions made last year was minimizing our mailings and changing how we will be communicating with you in the future. In the past, we have had at least 3 annual mailings go out to the membership. Producing these in the traditional way results in an expense of $1200 to $2500 per mailing. In the future, we will be using e-mail and our website as our main communication tools. We will also be providing a link in every Facebook post that will direct you to the website for more information. The board does not want this to be difficult for anyone or to lose our connection with you. If you really need conventional (snail) mail, contact me at the information below, and I will try my best to accommodate you.

A great way for you to help make this a successful transition is to help ensure your Cadet Database information is up-to-date. Also, I am as old school as any of you, but even I've managed to navigate our modern website to share a Greenbrier Remembrance – a chance for all of us to share our stories about “The Brier”. It's surprisingly simple, just head over to our Greenbrier Remembrances page, type out your story directly on the site and it will be instantly posted for all our alumni to see. If you're a registered user, you can edit or delete your post anytime – no need to call in your grandkids for tech support. Another option is to share your memories and media in our Official Group on Facebook. Make Col. Benjamin proud.

This is an exciting time for GMSAA. So that you will understand my commitment to you, I am adjusting my will so that our Scholarship Fund will be the recipient of a bequest from my estate and have instructed my lawyer to notify our association of that fact in writing. This is one example of how you can help fund our Scholarship program. Another option is to make a year-end gift. These contributions could be tax deductible because GMSAA is a 501C-3. Please note you are free to do both. Donate to the association in your lifetime and remember us in your last wishes. The amazing thing I have learned in the last few months is that we have alumni from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s that plan to be coming to Lewisburg for many years to come. I think there are quite a few of us that have our eye on that bottle of scotch in the GMS Museum.

Thank you for your time to read this. Please make sure we have your email and phone number so that we can keep in touch. You can update this info by using the “Request an Update” button on the upper-right of your online Cadet Database profiles, or by contacting us directly through our at Contact Form. We will be looking into another fundraising and bequest drive in the next few months with the goal of raising $250K to finish securing our Scholarship Fund into perpetuity. If you would like to start the ball rolling on our fundraising goals, by all means, push it off. Remember, our scholarship program is our legacy to the school.

E. Denton Staley
GMSAA Secretary, Class of ’72


Your support is vital to the continuation of our legacy. We invite you to make a tax-deductible donation to the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association. To contribute, you can mail your donation to the address below, or visit our online Donation Form and choose how you would like to allocate your donation:

  • The GMS Leadership Scholarship Fund
  • The WVSOM Scholarship Fund
  • The GMS Museum Fund
  • General Operating Fund

Truth • Duty • Honor

GMS Alumni Association
P.O. Box 922 Lewisburg, WV 24901

Recent Cadet Passings


It has recently been brought to our attention the following cadets have passed away. At this moment we have no further particulars. If any of you have any information on these alumni, could you forward those details to me at: GMS.Mike.Ruth@gmail.com

Fred F. McIntosh III, Class of ’45
Old Tappan, NJ
March 10, 2022

Dr. Robert Bell , Class of '52
San Antonio, TX
July 12, 2022

Robert Nelson, Class of '53
Lady Lake, FL
No Date Available

Barham Parker, Class of '57
Black Diamond WA
February7, 2021

Mike Amling, Class of ’69
London, OH
June 2022

Most Recent Cadet Obituaries

John Richard Todd


John Richard Todd died on Sunday, July 7,2024.

He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Susan Todd. His son Nick Todd and his wife Monica Todd and grandchildren Cole and Maci Todd. He also has special sons surviving, Mike Ferguson and Lester Abrahams and their families. His sister Ann Jones and several nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents Lee and Daisy Todd, a son Lee Todd and sister Jane Young.

John graduated from Greenbrier Military School and Lynchburg College where he received his degree in Medical Technology.

John was a member of Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Wytheville and the Wytheville Lions Club where he received the Melvin Jones Award. He was also a proud member of VFW and was a Boy Scout leader for 59 years.

John served in Vietnam with the United States Air Force.

John Todd was a pillar of his community and a father figure to multiple individuals. He was a devoted husband and father and will be missed by many.

Visitation will be held from 1-3pm on July 27th at the Grubb Funeral Home Chapel. A funeral will be held immediately following visitation at the funeral home. At the close of the funeral a reception will be held in the parlor of Saint John’s Episcopal Church. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.grubbfuneralhome.com
Grubb Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Moffette David Sensabaugh, Jr.


Moffette David "Sonny" Sensabaugh Jr.

January 30, 1938 - July 5, 2024

Moffette David "Sonny" Sensabaugh Jr. was born on January 30, 1938. He died in his home with his loving wife and her daughters on the evening of Friday, July 5, 2024, at 86 years of age.

He was preceded in death by his father, Moffette David "Pete" Sensabaugh Sr.; his mother, Virginia Elizabeth "Jennie" Agnor; brother-in-law, Jim Sherrill; son-in-law, Robert Turpin; and his dogs, Little Bit and Marco.

Born in Lexington, Virginia, he demonstrated a strong work ethic even as a young boy. He held a paper route and worked with his cousins on the Carter Farm. As a teen he worked often for his father who owned Pete's Taxi & Bus Service. His father, Pete, influenced his values and ethics, and Sonny emulated those standards that he so admired throughout his adulthood.

Sonny was a 1956 graduate of Greenbrier Military School (GMS) in Lewisburg, W.Va. For both years at GMS, he made the Owls Club which was the honor military and academic organization. He was Editor-in-Chief of the GMS newspaper during his senior year. He was also a member of the Quill and Scroll, Greenbrier's Chapter of the International Honor Society for High School Journalists.

Sonny was proud of his military service, calling it an honor and privilege to serve. He jumped out of perfectly good planes; he would say ironically and with pride when he talked of his time as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne 325 Division. He served a term as Chairman of the Roanoke Valley All Airborne Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association and was proud to be part of the initiative to recognize National Airborne Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

As a young man, Sonny was interested in pursuing a law degree and was a student at W&L from 1956-1958. Thinking it would be a temporary job before returning to college, Sonny began working as a Timekeeper in 1961 at Adams Construction Company, one of the oldest asphalt paving firms in Virginia. He worked the gamut of positions from Equipment Operator to Vice President and retired after 52 years. His father, Pete, his daughter, Desi and her husband, Kirk, worked with him at Adams. He often said he enjoyed what he did, or he wouldn't have done it for so long.

His work in asphalt paved the way for his marriage to Faye in 1997 after meeting her at a work event. Sonny and Faye were married for 27 years at the time of his death. Pictured are the two of them on the night they met, surprisingly color-coordinated with each other and clearly destined to be together.

Sonny was a long-time member of Mountain City Lodge No. 67, having completed over 50 years of Membership in the Masonic Fraternity. He was also a member of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons in Virginia, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and Moomaw Commandery No. 27 Knights Templar.

His hobbies included target shooting, preferably with grandchildren Gage or David, playing volleyball, roller skating, and driving so fast that no one wanted to passenger with him a second time – although he was an extremely skilled driver. He was an avid reader, and his librarian daughter, Elizabeth, happily kept him supplied with books.

Sonny possessed great humor, wit, and sarcasm. If you knew him, you knew when he was joking or when you were in trouble. He regularly wore cowboy boots, large belt buckles, and either a cowboy or baseball hat. He exuded class, charisma and charm.

He had an unyielding sweet tooth and an affinity for any pies or cakes baked by 'Jane Jane', his mother-in-law. He appreciated a good stereo system with ample volume to share tunes by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Meatloaf, and many others. He once won a dance contest with his daughter, Marisa. He loved music, and the sound system was the only thing to wear out on his cherished Marauder.

He is survived by his wife, Faye Bowles Sensabaugh; daughters, Virginia "Desi" Rumburg (Kirk), Marisa Turpin, and Elizabeth Sensabaugh; stepdaughters, Kristy Groff and Kim Greer (Jay); grandchildren, David Turpin, Gage Hubbard, Josh Taylor (Lindsay), Lindsey Hudson, Cassie Wood (Stephen); great-grandchildren, JJ Manning, Dylan Lee and Lottie Wood; sisters, Roberta Sherrill and Sue Quirouette (Ed); brother, Charlie Sensabaugh and wife, Alexis; mother-in-law, Janie Bowles; brother-in-law, Keith Bowles; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by Hank, the most recent dog rescue, who stayed on guard from beneath Sonny's hospital bed at home.

Carilion Clinic Hospice provided quality and compassionate care during the last weeks of his life. His caregivers, Jordan, Caroline and Jasmine were not only a comfort to Sonny but also to Faye.

'Hank the Tank,' as Caroline called him, was always happy to see them, knowing he would get lots of belly rubs. A very special thanks to Josh and Lindsay for taking such good care of Hank while Faye stayed with Sonny in hospital and to Charlie, Alexis and Gage for helping to care for Sonny after he came home.

Sonny's absence is devastating despite his reassurance that he was ready to go. His sound advice, unflagging logic and loving encouragement are just a few of his many memorable graces. We thought him invincible, and still believe that to be true. He was greatly loved and will be forever deeply missed.

A memorial service will be held later. If you wish to honor Sonny's memory, please consider a donation to the Roanoke Valley SPCA or to the Franklin County Humane Society. Condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.Oakeys.com.

Oakey's Funeral Service, East Chapel

Roanoke, VA (540) 977-3909

Lovell Brown, Jr.


Lovell "Buddy" Brown, Jr., aged 83, of Charleston, WV, passed away on June 22, 2024.

Born on May 20, 1941, in Gordon, WV, he was the beloved son of the late Lovell H.Brown, Sr. and Kathryn Farrell-Brown, and the husband of the late JoAnn Greenlee-Brown. Buddy was preceded in death by his grandparents, Everett E. and Dona G. Brown, and Ira O. and Mary M. Farrell.

Buddy was a graduate of the Greenbrier Military School, and he went on to further his education by graduating from Morris Harvey college and WV State University. He honorably served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve for six years, dedicating himself to his country with commitment and valor.

Professionally, Buddy had a diverse career. He worked at Pratt & Whitney and Montclair Builders, and retired from the Dept. of Environmental Protection. He was also involved in family-owned businesses, including a restaurant, boarding house, car wash, and laundromat. His entrepreneurial spirit continued as he opened multiple motorcycle shops in southern WV alongside his father, Lovell H. Brown, Sr.

Buddy was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, and he always enjoyed community and social engagements. His personal life was filled with outdoor activities such as camping, canoeing, and fishing. A travel enthusiast and avid "foodie," Buddy loved exploring new and interesting places throughout the East coast.

He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer L. Cadle, son-in-law, Robert E. Cadle, granddaughter, McKenna R. Vance of Charleston, WV, and his former spouse, Pamela J. Snider-Brown, of Madison, WV. Buddy's life was marked by his kindness and generosity, and the love and laughter that he faithfully shared with his family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions in memory of Buddy may be made to the American Heart Association and the National Kidney Foundation. Handley Funeral Home in Danville, WV is assisting the family with arrangements. Buddy's legacy of love, service, and communlty will be remembered by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Graveside services were held Saturday, June 29, 2024 at Memory Gardens, Low Gap Road, Madison, WV.

To order memorial trees in memory of Lovell Brown, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Phyllis Jean Stinnette


Phyllis Jean (Kinnison) Stinnette, 86 of Scott Depot, passed away on June 21, 2024 after a short illness. She is now in the loving hands of our Heavenly Father.

She was born February 27, 1938 in Lobelia, WV to the late W.W. (Bus) and Nellie Kinnison.

Phyllis is survived by her loving husband of 59 years William (Bill) E. Stinnette Jr.; daughters: Patricia (Fred) Andrews of Hampstead, NC and Pamela (Chris) Childers of Scott Depot, WV; grandchildren: Elizabeth Andrews, Tiffany Childers, Melissa Andrews, and Jeffrey Childers; sister, Lois (George) DeBell of Poinciana, FL, and several nieces, great nieces and nephews.

She was a graduate from South Charleston High in 1956, and the Charleston School of Business. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi sorority for 60 plus years and a member of Winfield United Methodist Church where she acted as financial secretary for many years. She worked for the State Board of Education and then Terminix. Between her two stints of employment she was a house wife and stay at home mom where she filled her time actively participating in PTA, homeroom mothers, Girl Scout Leader, and band booster.

Funeral service for Phyllis were Thursday June 27, 2024 at Chapman Funeral Home in Winfield, WV with Rev. Charlie Mays officiating.

Anyone wishing to leave an online memory may do so by visiting her tribute page at: www.chapmanfuneralhomes.com.

Theresa M. Downer


Theresa Mays Downer, 69, of Covington, died Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at her residence.

Theresa was born May 7, 1955, in Alleghany County, a daughter of late M.S. “Slick” Mays and Lois Dressler Mays.

Mrs. Downer retired in 2020 from the Virginia Department of Health as an inspector with thirty years of service. She was a member of the Mt. Carmel Methodist Church.

Surviving is her husband, James A. “Jim” Downer of Covington; one son, JD (Becky) Downer, II. of Covington; two daughters, Jennifer (Brad) Hicks of Covington, and Cassie (Shannon) Johnson of Danville, nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; one sister, Sandra Watson of Covington; a niece, Michelle Clarke; five nephews, Matthew (Margee) Clarke, Dustin Clarke, Shane Clarke, Abe Clarke, and Thom (Jeff) Watson; one aunt, Helen Worsham of Arlington.

In keeping with her wishes, her body has been cremated.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, May 28, 2024, at 2:00 PM at Mt. Carmel Methodist Church with the Rev. Doug Hollenbeck officiating.

Memorial contributions in Mrs. Downer's name can be made to: Mt. Carmel United Church 1200 N. Alleghany Ave, Covington, VA 24426, or ONE FIGHT, Inc. 2704 Jackson River Rd, Covington, VA 24426.