Archived News
Congratulations to Rasheed Moore and Miranda Soucie, this year’s recipients of the 2006 Ethel M. Devitt Memorial Sponsorship Grant, awarded by the Chicago Royal Airs Senior Exhibition Corps.

Rasheed, a resident of Cleveland, OH, is a baritone player with The Glassmen. Miranda, a resident of Milwaukee, WI, plays mellophone with The Blue Stars. This is the second year that Miranda has won this grant.

Each award carries a $650 stipend to cover the expenses of participating in drum corps activity.

Recipients were chosen by a committee consisting of Robert Doran (chair), Serge Uccetta, Joe Boyle and Scott Nickels – all alumni of the Chicago Royal Airs. These individuals, known for their exemplary service, integrity and commitment to the “Big Blue” ideals of Faith, Honor and Humility, were selected by members of the Devitt family to serve on this committee.

The Ethel M. Devitt Memorial Sponsorship Grant was established last year by Dr. & Mrs. Jurgis Karuza of Buffalo, NY and the Devitt family of Chicago, IL, to honor the memory of one of “the world’s most ardent drum corps fan.”

This year’s grants were supported by generous donations from the Devitt family and several Royal Air alumni who wish to remain anonymous. Part of the proceeds from the 2005 “Big Blue’s Brass Review” also supported this award.

Gary Couch passed away Oct. 30, 2005. Gary marched with the Royal Airs from 1959 to 1964. He played bass horn with Carl Fiocca, Wally Zurba and Paula Klotz. Our prayers and thoughts are with Gary's family in this difficult time.
Peg Bishop’s (Saip) mother passed away on Thursday December 1, 2005 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Visitation and funeral information:

Visitation for Joan C. Bishop will be on Monday, December 5, 2005 from 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm at the Malone Funeral Home, 324 E. State St. (Route 38), Geneva, IL 60134. 630-232-8233

Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, December 6th at 9:00 am at Holy Angels Church, Lancaster & Hardin, Aurora, IL

Our prayers and thoughts are with Peg in this difficult time.
Richard Lemke, died Wednesday, July 20, 2005 from complications from cancer. Richard was the husband of Sue Gilchrist (Royal Airs honor guard for the Reunion Corps and a flag bearer in the 1960's).

Arrangements are as follows:

Dieterle Memorial Home
1120 S. Broadway
Montgomery, IL

Friday, July 22nd 4:00 to 8:00pm
Saturday, July 23rd 10:00am

Pete Connors, died Friday, April 22, 2005 from cancer. Pete, who played 3rd Soprano, marched with the Royal Airs in 1966, 1967, 1968 until the corps disbanded. He was 55 years old.

He learned about drum corps through friends he met in McHenry where his family had a summer cottage. Many of his friends would disappear on weekends to do parades and contaests with the Viscounts. His family's permanent residence was in Niles and he soon discovered that many Royal Airs lived in that area and he was able to "hitch a ride" to the Hall on North Avenue.

Pete worked for the Chicago Public School system starting in the maintenance department, moving to a fireman and eventually receiving his Engineering degree. Due to budget cutting within the school district, Pete was forced to learn a new skill -- he went to barber's school and opened a one-man shop in his beloved McHenry.

He was married to Royal Airs member Patty DelGreco, but they divorced. There were no children. His love of nature saw him either hiking or riding a bike on weekends and during evening hours in the summer.

In 2002, Pete joined the Royal Airs Reunion Corps with intentions to march -- only to find that he had problems walking. It was then that he found out that he had MS. Approximately 3 months ago, he also found out that he had cancer. He was unable to out-battle this disease.

Pete requested that no wake be held and that his body should be cremated. A church service will be held with a luncheon to follow afterwards.

Funeral services at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 30th:
St. Mary's Church
Approximately at Erhart Rd. and Illinois Highway Route 60
Mundelein, Il

A small contigent (enough to cover each part) of horn players are requested to play "Abide With Me" at the service. If you are available, please contact either:

Keith Harper or Don Sonne

Ken Nolan, passed as of result of a heart attack on Monday, April 11,2005. Ken was a member of the Alamo Rangers and was instrumental in the formation of the Royal Airs. He was also a member of the Chicago Cavaliers.

Ken is survived by his wife, Barbara, and children Kathryn Elizabeth (Libby) and John Kenneth.

He was very active in local politics, a member of the Middaugh Mansion foundation, past president of the Clarendon Hills Lions Club and past president of the Clarendon Hills Park District.

According to Amatore Menle, "All of us knew him as Nolan, a drum corps historian, a philosopher, a hilarious story teller and above all -- a buddy."

Kenny wrote the 1954 to 1958 History of the Royal Airs that appears on the Alumni website.

Visitation from 4:00 to 9:00 PM on Thursday, April 14th:
Elliston Funeral Home
60 South Grant Street
Hinsdale, IL

Funeral Mass services at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 15th:
Notre Dame Church
64 Norfolk Avenue (at Chicago Avenue)
Clarendon Hills, Il

The Royal Airs performed at the DuPage County Veterans Day Ceremony in November 2004. Check out the photo gallery at the DuPage County Veterans Memorial Website.

Dave (Woody) Woodall, a Royal Air alumni, lost his battle with cancer at 8:45 PM on Monday, February 28. Please remember his wife, Carol (Vinceri) Woodall, in your prayers. Carol was a charter member of the Royal Airs and was with Dave when he passed.

There will be a wake for Dave on Friday, March 4 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. There will be a viewing on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM with a service at the funeral home at 11:00 AM. Dave is being cremated so there will not be any cemetery or gravesite service. The funeral home information is:

Bourbonnais - Clancy-Gernon Funeral Homes, Inc.
295 Main St., NW
Bourbonnais, IL 60914

Condolences can be sent to:

Carol Woodall
1240 Tower Rd
Bourbonnais, Il 60914

The official Obituary can be found on line in The Daily Journal (Kankakee) on Thursday, March 3, 2005.
Mrs. Muriel Williams, sister of current Royal Air member Remonde Lewis passed away on Saturday, February 12. Please remember Remonde in your prayers. It is believed that Muriel was Remonde's last surviving sibling.

Funeral arrangements for Muriel Williams are as follows:

The wake is Sunday, February 20 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Chapel of Cedar Park Cemetery located at 127th & Halsted in Chicago. The funeral is Monday, February 21 at 11:00 AM at Mapel Park Church, 117th & Elizabeth St., Chicago.
Current Royal Air member Jim Cunningham is the father of a new baby girl. Erin Susan Cunningham, born on January 27, weighed in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. Mother and baby are already at home and doing well.
Richard Armstrong, a friend of the Royal Airs, passed away between the 2004 Christmas and New Year's holidays. Richard was the music instructor, writer and arranger for the Lt. Giles "Yellow Jackets" Drum & Bugle Corps of Chicago, IL. in the 1950's and 1960's. In the early through mid 1970's he was the assistant music instructor and music instructor of the Norwood Park Imperials Drum & Bugle Corps. In 1973, Richard teamed up with former RA instructors Truman Crawford and Larry Kaczmarek in an attempt to revive the Norwood Park corps. Richard was well liked, well dressed and always presented a positive approach as an instructor.

Royal Air member, Keith Harper, supplied a few extra details about Rich. "Richard Armstrong also played mellophone with The Men of Brass and The Vanguard Senior Corps. Richard was the music instructor when I marched with The St. Andrews Hornets in 1969. I was his assistant horn instructor with The Paul Hall Warriors in 1971. He served on the original board of directors of the 25th Regulars in 1971 with Portia's (Keith's wife) parents. It was little-known that Richard was a good friend of Sie Lurye and was actually hired by Sie as music instructor for the Royal Airs in the spring of 1969. When the corps decided to fold later that year, Richard recruited me to march with The Hornets. Richard wanted very badly to make one more comeback and march with The Royal Airs even after he became ill. He was a traditional drum corps nut like the rest of us and a good friend who will be sorely missed."

Duke LaBerge, a member of the 2002 Royal Airs Reunion Corps, passed away on October 21, 2004 of apparent heart complications. Duke played soprano and was affectionately known as one of the Yoopers. He traveled to practice in his RV and often brought family members with him. Duke also marched with the Hawthorne Caballeros and the L'Anse (MI) Golden Eagles.

According to Duke's son, Dave LaBerge, Duke went peacefully lying on the couch wrapped in his blanket while watching TV. Plans were made to play drum corps music at the funeral and place Duke to rest in his Caballeros jacket.

Duke is pictured here with his trademark black gloves. He was 60 years old.