As I think about my life, I need to tell you about some of the experiences that have occurred in my life. There are many events that have happened to me and to our family. I wish to recount them for you so that you may see how they have shaped my personal beliefs, especially my belief in the
importance of education.
I will be 80 years old in April. My wife, Molly, and I were married in September 1944 and lived together for over 52 years. She passed away in November 1996.
We were raised in different areas of the country and met in early stages of World War II in her hometown, here in St. Joseph. Molly was starting her career at the St. Joseph News-Press. I was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
My duties in the Air Force involved a foreign tour of duty of 18 months, and when I returned to the United States I was stationed again at Rosecrans Field, here in St. Joseph, in April 1944.
I was discharged from the Air Force in October 1945, and we moved to Houston, Texas. I returned to my prewar employer McKesson & Robins, a wholesale pharmaceutical company.
Two of our children, Alice and Randy, were born in Houston. We moved back to St. Joseph on Jan. 1, 1950, and I became a partner in a car-rental business with Molly’s brother, Jarrot McCord.
Molly soon returned to work at the News-Press. We then purchased a home at 2215 N. 22nd St. in 1952. This home was only a few blocks from Eugene Field grade school and our children were able to walk back and forth to school.
This was a very important part of our lives.
Alice entered Eugene Field School in the fall of 1952, and our son, Sam, was born in 1953. Randy entered Eugene Field School in 1956. Another daughter, Amy, was born in 1956.
I was employed by the CD Smith Drug Co. as assistant sales manager in January 1959. I worked there for a little over 32 years.
Katie, our youngest daughter, was born in 1965 and followed our other children in starting her education at Eugene Field. After attending Eugene Field School, all of our children entered Central High School. We felt at this point in our lives that a good education program for them was very important, and Central certainly offered that.
In their sophomore year at Central High School, each of the children began to go to their counselor and check out colleges where scholarships were available for their continuing education. With a mixture of scholarships and part-time jobs they were all admitted to colleges and completed their four years on schedule.
Alice went to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Randy went to Westminster College in Missouri. Sam went to Washington & Lee University in Virginia. Amy went to Lawrence University in Wisconsin. Katie went to Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.
These were all reasonably small schools with excellent educational standards. Four of the five children went on to graduate studies. Their education led each of them into different occupations. They are very successful in the fields of law, computer software, finance, geology and natural resources, hospital business and administration.
Proper education is a very important need in our world. But the need, value and acceptance of this changes continually. For instance, our perception of the level of education needed in the 1940s — when I was coming of age — has changed from the 1950s as it has from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and on.
Molly and I were very pleased that our children entered Central High School. The St. Joseph school system was a big help in counseling them about how, when and where to further their learning. As a family, their success with careers has fulfilled our hopes for them.
It is gratifying to know that this same planning is being accomplished with their children. Education does not stop or even slow down upon reaching a certain level; it continues all of our lives.