Our reunion was wonderful! You can view photos gathered by Karen Mathiasen Cornelius at www2.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=878051022/a=1098570022_1098570022/ and from Larry Monroe of the Ft. Lauderdale gathering are at
flickr.com/photos/larrymonroe1959/. If more become available, the sites will be posted here. Ginger
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I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, in Architecture but knew by the time I had finished I did not want to be an architect; I wanted to be on the construction side of projects.
While at Texas I met Ileta Jones on a blind date water skiing in February! She is the only woman I ever met that could out swim me.
We have two children; Tam is our “critter person” daughter who went to University of Florida. She has taught school and has been the Turtle Lady at SeaWorld, then the Penguin Lady and is currently the Bird Lady. We have been through horses, cats, snakes, spiders and everything else with her.
Tarl formed the crew team at his High School, won southeast regionals in Atlanta, and was on crew at University of Central Florida when a cute lady convinced him to try out for the Cheerleading Team. He got on! They went to nationals in California and won 2nd place. He majored in hospitality and worked with Hyatt Hotels. But his dream was law enforcement; today he is a police office in Denver and loves it-- following his Opa! He was nominated the policeman of the year for the state of Colorado.
I started my career with Del Webb in Clear Lake City, Texas, was transferred to Oakbook Illinois for a year then back to Clear Lake all in development projects.
Drafted, but rejected at age 26. Went to work for Carl Curtis for a few months until I found another position in land development in Clearwater Florida. Two years of this and I went for my General Contractors license and became Spitzer Construction in homebuilding and light construction.
Ten years later, Israel and the Arabs had a 6 day war and there was only 10 gallons of gas at the pumps. Who would drive from the Midwest to Florida to buy my retirement homes and condos? No one. It took a year to close everything down but we did not go broke.
I started over with the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) in Saudi Arabia as a Facilities Engineer. It took them about 6 months to figure out what they had and I was given a Superintendent level position with division of 400 men doing facilities maintenance. The area was vast in size with many camps and communities to maintain. I needed a helicopter once a week to fly 400 miles over the desert to various locations. ARAMCO gave me another division level job every two years wherever they had a trouble spot. I was on the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and three communities.
Bless Ileta; she moved the whole house 12 times the first 5 years. The last job was Superintendent of Projects Division, the projects were winding down and my job was to take 87 architects, designers and engineers down to 7 people in two years. I did it, with each leaving when he wanted to, and when I reached 8, I laid myself off.
They did not have schools past the 9th grade and Tam was in school in Arizona and Tarl was outside of Boston. That last year one or the other of the family had crossed the Atlantic 22 times and the Pacific 4 times and it is was time to put the family back together again.
We came to Orlando and I took off a year to build us a home in Windermere. Then started as a facilities engineer, again, with the Orlando Utilities Commission which provides electricity and water to the area. I was soon the Director of Facilities Division, and later Sr. Project Manager in the new Chilled Water Division (provides air conditioning to large buildings). I did $85 million in projects, plants, and buildings for the Commission.
After 20 years I retired and became a Consultant with UBuildIt and went back to building homes until Ileta became eligible for retirement from the School Board where she was the Sr. Specialist for the 7 School Board members.
Today we live on 30 acres, 30 miles from Orlando, Tam and Mike are building up the hill from us. We are in the 4th home I have build for Ileta and we are taking care of Tam’s 20 cows, bull and calves.
Gerry Smit and I went to Europe after graduation in 1959 before college. On the ship coming back, we were in a late night bull session when Clark Gable walked through, I said hello and he asked if he could join us. He went around the group and found out Gerry and I were on our own. As he left he said we had had a good goal wanting to go to Europe and asked what out next one was. We said Collage, Job, Married, Kids; he said I know that, but what of another goal. Gerry said to go “around the world” and I agreed. Mr. Gable said keep at it we would make it.
It was 15 years before Gerry called and said, “Hey, Art, I made it!” He had gone to Japan, Korea and Singapore to pick up instruments, which he installed in a Persian Gulf oil rig and kept on flying West to Holland and Houston. It was 5 more years before I called him and said I made it.
Ileta loved travel and in the end we had toured the family through Europe 20 times, on Safari in Africa, and around the world 5 times,--it has been fun.
As I look up from my computer desk I see my trophy wall, the Golden Brick Award from the City of Orlando, twice, for the best projects in the city. Then there is the world’s largest chilled water tank, and the Florida Electrical Engineers award for the Eola Fountain (Orlando’s Centerpiece Fountain). Past President of the Pasco County Homebuilders, Rotary Club Program Chairman, and the one I like best is from the Orlando Area Rowing Society, (High School Crew Teams) for “five years of painting and fixing.”
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