|Posted by jeffdavis64reunion on July 3, 2009 at 9:34 AM|
After I graduated from Jeff Davis I went to Texas A & M where
my older brother had gone and later my younger brother also
attended. I majored in physics. That was the subject that challenged me most in school. As I look back on my life, perhaps I should have gone into something related to medicine. I was best in biology, but I didn't go in that direction and all still worked out well.
The night before I graduated from college my German pen pal, Elke, arrived in Houston on a vacation visit. I started writing to her when I was 15 and in Mrs. Haden's German class at JD. I gave Mrs. Haden a quarter which she sent in to the pen pal association to get me an address of someone in Germany to write to. After I graduated I moved to NJ to start my first (and last) professional job with the Army at Fort Monmouth. One year later Elke returned to the US on another vacation visit. Six weeks after she arrived we got married during a short trip I made to Houston. We had written each other for 8 years, were physically together for for 3 months and were engaged all of 4 days ending in a simple marriage by a Justice of the Peace in his home. We celebrated our 40th anniversary on 4 July.
We have been blessed with three wonderful children, Karen (38), Patrick (35), and Kristen (22). Karen has an insurance agency and a mini-farm of 15 acres nearby with almost 20 horses. Her passion is horses. Patrick lives at home and works as a driver for UPS. Kristen also still lives at home and is going to Monmouth University in our town where she is majoring in psychology.
Although I always worked for the Army at Fort Monmouth, which will close in a year or so, I worked on many different projects over the years. I started there as a physicist, converted to electronic engineer, and finally became a general engineer. I started work in the laboratories, but eventually went into project management. I found that more interesting as I got to see the equipment that I had worked on actually go into use in the field by the soldiers. The last 14 years of my career were spent working on GPS (Global Positioning System). I was working with GPS receivers before they were known by the public and in so many people's cars. The first portable receivers were large, weighing about 25 lbs.
I was a member of the team that put the current small military handheld receivers into production and into the field today. I was the lead manager on buying and getting survey accuracy military receivers into the Army's engineer companies where they are used by combat surveyors. For that effort I received the "Army Civilian Achievement Medal" which I am very proud of.
I retired in 2003 after almost 35 years of working for the Army. It was a productive career, and I was highly regarded by my coworkers. I could have returned to my office as a civilian contractor. They would have gladly hired me, but I was tired of the constant travel my job required and wanted spend more of my remaining time with my family, especially my youngest daughter who was still a teenager.
It turns out that that was a wise decision as I discovered in early April that I have advanced kidney cancer that has spread to the liver and lungs. The only sympton of a problem was a backache that started in late Feb. I am receiving treatment for it today. I take an oral drug and am participating in a clinical trial at the Cancer Institute of NJ. The clinical trial involves taking irradiated lymphocytes from my son and transferring them in to me to rev up my immune system to work with the cancer drug to attack the cancer. I hope for the best, but it is too early to tell if any of these treatments will be effective against my cancer. One thing is certain. The cancer drug makes me ill so the treatment is not easy,
No matter how my treatments turn out, it has been a good life and I am blessed with a great family for which I am grateful. My experiences and the teachers at Jeff Davis helped prepare me for the life that followed.
I would like to attend the reunion, but it occurs late in one of my treatment cycles, so I may not be well enough to fly to Houston and attend. However, I will be thinking of you and wishing you all the best.