Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You've come a long way Baby!

Today is my father's 93rd Birthday. He has done a lot of living since he was born in Cleveland, Ohio on April 20, 1917.

Roland's father William moved his wife Maude along with Roland and older sisters Ruth and Nadene to Portland, Oregon in the early 1920s in search of more lucrative employment. They settled first in the Brooklyn neighborhood and then further out on SE 74th where they had more land. Roland spent much of his spare time as a boy and young man tinkering with radios, building a telescope, and finally inventing a new type of door latch for which, after much effort, he received a patent.

Roland was not satisfied with his high school diploma from Clinton Kelly School of Commerce or his part time job at the US Post Office. He first pursued studies at Multnomah College and then, after being drafted into the army, took advantage of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) and eventually received a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State College. He went on to complete a Master's in Mechanical Engineering (1953) and Master's in Applied Science (1967). 

The engineering training was first put to use at Bingham Pump and Montag Oil and then at the Corps of Engineers where Roland spent 24 years designing HVAC for power houses at dams and later worked on the mechanical systems for Columbia River Dredges. All during these years he took classes at Portland State College where he pursued an interest in systems science and new forms of energy. He eventually enrolled in a systems science doctoral program. After retirement from the Corps in 1974, he continued to do research on alternative energy and he designed passive solar systems for residences.

Roland's home was his pride and joy. He designed the SE Portland home he an his young family moved into late in 1950. His engineer's eye and attention to detail resulted in a solid and expertly finished residence that is still in the family. 

Roland's deep religious faith has sustained him throughout his life. He taught sunday school, sang in the choir and served on the session during the 40 years he attended Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church.

Later in life, Roland developed an interest in wood turning. He filled family member's homes with gifts of handmade candle sticks, music boxes, bowls, and intricate chess sets. Then around his 86th birthday he started building a 1/4 size cello. This effort resulted in a beautiful instrument that was completed just prior to his 90th birthday. The reason the cello appealed to Roland was because his bass/baritone singing voice, heard and appreciated by many over the years, was in the same range as the cello.

As a boy Roland loved the Oregon Coast and later made many trips there with Beth, his wife of more than 50 years, and their two daughters. After Beth's death in 2000, he married Marie and they spent many happy hours at the beach.

As we gather to celebrate this special day, we give thanks for a life well lived and ask for blessings on the gift of each new day. "You've come a long way Baby!"


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful tribute and beautiful pictures too - I swear I can see a bit of Ml in that adult face too. It is such a lovely portrait - so alive!