Seems like we’re down to one story every other day or so, so I’ll try to keep up the pace. I went from a smart nerd at MHS to a mediocre nerd at MIT. Got into campus politics and made the varsity ski team as the only American as a freshman. Had a blast every winter weekend – it took me two years to realize that I wasn’t smart enough to do all this and keep up with the rest of the class. Got back on track, only to be derailed when my father died my junior year. Considered dropping out, but the Dean said “we don’t admit you in order to watch you drop out. What do we have to do to help you stay?”. Got my act together and graduated only two months late.
Which was a good thing: during the summer of ’64 while taking a couple of makeup courses at Harvard, I met my wife (to be), Ann. We had a fantastic courtship for a short six weeks. I was committed to a job at Boeing in Seattle and she was committed to finishing a BS in Nursing at Washington University in St Louis. But, using the primitive communications of the day (letters) we managed to figure out that it would be best if she joined me in Seattle in 1965. We’ve been married for 52 years. Ann completed her BS at Seattle University and worked as a public health nurse.
With my BS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, I added an MSEE and an MBA from the University of Washington, paid for by Boeing and while working fulltime.
We have two children. Carl manages the sales force at an upscale window and door company in Seattle. He has two sons (8 and 10) who have become accomplished skiers. Beth has spent 12 years in LA doing some work that she assures me she would have to shoot me if she told me what it was. I believe her, but still think this is retribution for some of our conversations about my work as she was growing up (see below). This is all ending, however, as she is moving to Tokyo with her fiancé this summer. Her 13 yr old son is has been accepted to the American School there.
For my 37 years at Boeing, I held increasingly responsible positions working on strategic weapon systems: Minuteman, Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM), Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), B-2 Bomber, Comanche Helicopter, and the (not strategic) Apache Helicopter. Systems engineering became the focus of my work. As such, being chosen to be Chief Engineer of the first stealthy helicopter (Comanche) was a highlight. This required us to move to Philadelphia in 1991, and ultimately led to an appointment as a Boeing vice president Then in 1996, Boeing bought McDonnell-Douglas. As part of a corporate cross-fertilization plan, I was asked to move to Mesa, AZ, to be program manager of the Apache helicopter program and general manager of the 5000 employee Mesa plant. Until then, none of the weapon systems I had worked on were ever considered to be sold outside of the US. Suddenly, I was traveling around the world exploring deals with many of our “allies”. I retired in 2001.
Our family has enjoyed the Pacific Northwest to the fullest. Skiing in the “Cascade “Powder”, sailing among the many islands shared between US and Canada, and backpacking the whole Cascade range. Ann and I started our world travels in 1969 (before children) with a 10 week tour of central western Europe in a Volvo we bought in Amsterdam. In 1978, you may remember that Eastern Airlines offered an unbelievable deal: fly anywhere they fly within three weeks for $330! We jumped at it and included a visit back east, a visit to Jamaica and St Maartin, and our first charter yacht trip in the British Virgin Islands. This has subsequently led to many bareboat charters around the world. Our world travel was also facilitated by my appointment to a NATO sub (sub) committee in the ‘90s that took us abroad every six months to a different NATO country.
I’ll finish this presentation with some reflections on Steve F’s comments on being 75. My brother-in-law’s wonderful mother used to say: “Old age ain’t for sissies.” Of course, we are slow to understand that. My own theory is that, yes, we all understand we are mortal. We’re going to die. What we didn’t realize is that our body parts aren’t all working to the same schedule. Some abandon us early and leave the rest to cope with less than a whole. Like Steve, I feel blessed to still be able to do some of the things I love, such as travel, and hiking and volunteering to build trails. However, those activities are interrupted too often by some of those body parts that are working (or not!) to their own schedule.
Finally: Thanks, Reggie for all your efforts keeping this community of MHS ’60 together!