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Retirees and former employees of Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and their predecessor companies

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*58 topical chapters.

Chapter 10 updated 10/22/17, was page 30.

In this Chapter

Introduction [left]

Mini-bios listing
 Experiences of 9/11/01:

  1. Mike Doll 
  2. Eric Taipale
  3. Chuck Halls
  4. Paul Roselle
  5. Tom Reischel

Diversity tidbits by:

  1. Marc Shoquist
  2. Lowell Benson
  3. Willis Unke

Your story?

People Chapters

 People A-B | People C-F | People G-H | People I-L | People M-O | People P-S | People T-Z | Interviews | They Flew | Deceased

IT Legacy iconIntroduction

  Our Legacy consists of People Engineering Systems and Computers at Locations in the Minnesota Twin Cities environs and throughout the world. Thus, the sequence of our major Legacy tabs.
The alphabetized sub-tabs [above] contain the 'career summary' stories submitted by many former employees, see section 2 list below. The other tabs contain personal tidbits submitted by former employees writing about other individuals with whom they had worked.

Shown in the photo right are Erwin Tomash and Dr. Arne Cohen in an ERA office, circa 1948 - Tomash is credited with being a founder of the Charles Babbage Institute. Cohen was a co-inventor of the magnetic drum - the world's first computer hard drive.

The Legacy Committee welcomes any new 'career' summaries or comments about any already posted herein.   To date we have 173 Career Summary/Life Story Submittals including 10 in Sections 4 & 5 below.

Life is the time, space continuum of human interactions!  LABenson

The following have written about their careers:

People A-B: [18] Dennis Abbott, John Alton, Don Arnold, Alden Allen, Warren Becker, Keith Behnke, Scott Benjamin, Lowell A. Benson, John 'Jack' Blackmer, Don Blattie, Manny Block, Larry Bolton, Jim Bougie, Bob Bro, Mike Bukovich, Tom Burns, Warren Burrell, and Bill Butler.

People C-F: [15] Greg Casey, Bob Chappelear, Larry Debelak, Dennis Christ, David E. Cross, Michael Doll, C.P. 'Chuck' Covington, Keith Davis, Jim Donaldson, Hank Dotzler, Dave Duncan, Allan Edwards, Dr. John Esch, George Fedor, and Lyle Franklin.

People G-H: [18] Bill Geiger, Millie Gignac, Jay Gildemeister, Kevin R. Giles, Tom Goulding, Lee Granberg, Paul Gregory, Thomas Grendzinski, Bruce Grewenow, Burton Gunderson, Nancy Gunther, Glen Hambleton, Bob 'RC' Hanson, John Hartmann, Al Heiden, Ralph Hileman, Kevin Hoffman, and Jim Hyslop.

People I-L: [13] Ron Irwin, Clint Jurgens, Bill Kenny, Dick Kistler, Steve Kloner, Bruce Klugherz, Dave Kolling, Tom Kratz, Dick Kuhns, Archie Lahti, Bob Langer, Ernie Lantto, and Don Lovely.

People M-O: [18] Don Mager, Ben Manning, Gene McCarthy, Ed Michaud, Don Moe, Joyce Mortison, Lyle Mozak, Kieth Myhre, Pat [nee Bailey] Myhre, Bob Myller, Mert Nellis, Ed Nelson, William 'Curt' Nelson, Kathy Nelson, Don Neumann, Richard 'Ole' Olson, Jim Overocker, and Jim Olijnek.

People P-S: [30] Bob Pagac, Larye Parkins, Dr. Peter Patton, Richard Petschauer, Jane Pesja, Phil Phipps, David Quiggle, Gerald Pickering, Richard Prokop, Jim Rapinac, Jerry Raveling, Al Reiter, O. Wynn Roberts, Dick Roessler, Tom Rougier, Duane Sandstrom, Vernon Sandusky, Norb Santoski, Jack Sater, Bob Scholz, Rollie Schwitters, Tom Sinkula, Tom Soller, John Spearing, Woody Spitzmueller, Jim Stephenson, Bernie 'Mike' Svendsen, Gary Sloan, Larry Schmidt, and Dale Suckstorff.

People T-Z: [12] Harvey Taipale, Ed Tilford, Joel Tofteland, Roy Valentini, Sam Walzer, Don Weidenbach, Eldon Weinhold, John Westergren, Tom Widenkopf, Monte Widdoss, Mike Wold, and Dr. Steve Yahr

Oral Interviews: [2] Jim 'Rapp' Rapinac, Fred Hargesheimer, Marc Shoquist, ... We have more to be transcribed!

They Flew: [9] Tom Bayless, Lowell Benson, Larry Debelak, Quent Fabro, Tom Kratz, Oscar Lundbeck, Ned Hunter, David Noyes, and Jim Rapinac   

Deceased: [21] Rolland Arndt, Jim Bergum, Bob Blixt, Pat Casey, Dr. George Champine, Arnie Cohen, Fred Hargesheimer, Grover Higgenbothem, Jack Hill, Charles 'Chuck' Homan, Dick Huberty, Earl C. Joseph Sr., Bill Keye, John Markfelder, Bob McDonald, Jack Reid, Dr. Sid Rubens, Erwin Tomash, Robert 'Bob' Wesslund, Frank Kucera, and Don Ream.

Anecdotes: [7] John Alton, Lowell Benson, John Markfelder, Dick 'Ole' Olson, Jeff Parker, Gerry Pickering, and Jim Rapinac. {These are now linked under the Legacy Anthology tab.}

4. Experiences on September 11, 2001

{Editor's Note: Norm Mineta was the Secretary of Transportation who gave the FAA order to bring all airliners down after the 9/11/2001 attack on the United States of America. Some of us who've met him know two other things about Norm: 1) He was a former California representative then an LMCO employee before becoming Secretary of Transportation and 2) He was an innocent resident of an internment camp after the 12/7/41 attack on the US. See Tom Brokow's "The Greatest Generation" book. [lab]}

4.1. Mike Doll

Mike's career summary is partly about 9/11 - see People Careers C-F page.

4.2. Eric Taipale

Eric was in his New York apartment from where he could see the Twin Towers get hit. His dad, Harvey Taipale was in DC, near the Pentagon when it was hit. Since Harvey did not have a car, he found Joel Melohn who had a rental car. They drove non-stop back to MN. They saw a commotion in Pennsylvania near where the plane went down. The only direct impact on Harvey and Joel, was that Joel got a speeding ticket when coming through Wisconsin.   

4.3. Chuck Halls

Chuck got grounded in Pittsburgh, on the way home. There were no hotels nor rental cars. He took a taxi [about $200] to get to Indiana where he could get a hotel/car.

4.4 Paul Roselle

The following is what Les Bruchal and I experienced while traveling on September 11, 2001:
     Les and I were traveling to visit a supplier in New York. While en-route and nearing our destination during the morning of 9/11/01, our pilot came on the intercom system and announce that he had good news and bad news and which would we like to hear first. The pilot announced that the entire eastern seaboard's airspace had been shut down and that we were going to be put into a holding pattern while trying to get authorization to return to another airport to land, but we weren't to worry because we had enough fuel to be in a holding pattern for quite a while. We got to decide which was the good news and what was the bad news. I commented to the person seated next to me that it was odd that the eastern seaboard's airspace was shut down because the weather was good and that we build a lot of the air traffic control equipment and the pilot's statement didn't make sense.
    Within a short period of time the pilot came back on the intercom to announce that we'd been denied access to return to Detroit [NWA'S closest hub.] Moments later the pilot announced that "we'd been ordered out of the sky" and we were attempting to land in Montreal. At this time everyone was starting to shout out information on what was happening in the world outside the plane in which we were locked. People were shouting out that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center - the Twin Towers. About this time everyone on the plane was trying to use the credit card phones on the plane [remember when the phones were still on the planes?] to contact people on the ground to see what was going on and get more information. The pilot indicated that we'd been granted authorization to land in Montreal. The only problem was that our original flight plan did not authorize us to leave US airspace and travel into Canadian airspace and it would take us quite a while to clear Security and get into Customs.
    We landed in Montreal but we couldn't pull up to a gate so we taxied near a gate and were allowed to crack the door to get some fresh air into the aircraft because we were going to be there for a long time. We were sitting in First Class due to our frequent flyer status so we were talking to the stewardesses and then the pilot opened the cockpit door and turned on the on-board AM radio. We listened in disbelief and lived what was going on in the nation that day. People were trying the credit card phones trying to contact family and friend to let them know they were okay but the circuits were overloaded and many calls would not go through. We listened in horror to the AM radio and people shouting out what information they were getting on their cellular phone [people who had them because they were not as popular then as they are now-a-days.]
    Another plane hit the World Trade Center, another plane hit the Pentagon, speculation was running rampant on the a plane was on the way to the White House. Little did we know what was about to transpire en-route to the plane in Pennsylvania. Eventually we were able to get through to work on the credit card telephone to let them know we were okay and could we get messages to our families that we were okay. We spoke with Terry Houle and Rene Yates who indicated that we were the last two LMCO people they were trying to locate on that day. I think both Les and I would really like to thank everyone again who was concerned about our safety and who were concerned about our families back home. I don't think either of us can say enough about the people in our groups who were concerned about us.
    Eventually after many hours on the ground in Montreal we allowed to approach the gate but had to wait for the authorities to "greet our plane and allow us to disembark". The Royal Canadian Mounted Police greeted our plane in urban combat fatigues with full riot gear and weapons drawn. Everyone had to exit the plane and hand their carry on luggage and brief cases to the Mounties who hand searched the contents and then we were all asked to step forward and we were physically searched. When we were finished with the search we were handed our bags and allowed to proceed through Customs. We first had to clear Canadian customs and then the US Customs. Luckily, I had my Passport in my briefcase; for some reason I'd put it in there the day before the trip because I thought it would come in handy if I ever needed it. Little did I know how much time it would save me that day and give proof of my US Citizenship.
    Les and I cleared Customs, and the NWA agents at the gate where we'd arrived indicated they were not going to be giving vouchers for hotels - yet. Being seasoned corporate travelers we headed to the NWA counter at the main terminal. By the time we got into the main terminal the airlines were giving out vouchers and we had to get a ride to the hotel. At this time we knew the FAA had shut down the entire airspace in the US and were not sure how long it was going to take to return to the states and whether or not we'd get to New York to the supplier we were suppose to visit. The ride to the hotel was memorable: because of the vouchers we got from the airline the cabs outside were fighting over everyone's business. The cab driver we got was arguing with the other drivers telling them they were stealing from him and taking money from his family. Les and I were not sure what was going to transpire between the drivers. Finally, our driver got us out of the Montreal Airport and began heading to the hotel. The freeway were jammed up due to traffic and the cab driver was speeding along side the traffic on the shoulder of the roadway over the ribbed surfaces indicating your were going off of the freeway onto the median. Les and I thought the cab driver was preparing for the Montreal Grand Prix. After a very interesting and hair raising experience with the cab ride we got to the hotel.
    Approximately eight hours from the start of the terrorist attacks, we were able to see the actual television coverage when we got to the hotel. It was hard to comprehend what we were watching on television. Les and I sat in disbelief at the footage being shown on the televisions. We were sitting outside at the hotel near the airport in Montreal and it seemed really strange to not see any planes in the air or landing or taking off. It was really strange and it didn't seem right what was going on with no planes being in the air or allowed to fly at all. Les and I were speaking to other people who were stranded in Montreal like we were. People were trying to get rentals and drive across the border to get back into the US. Everyone was wondering how we were going to get home. We saw on the news that the lines trying to get across the border were miles long and we found out later that no one was getting across the border. We sat it out in the hotel speaking to work and family while we waited out the outcome of how we were going to get back to the US. We waited three days until the airspace was opened up in North America by the FAA. We caught one of the first flights out of Montreal back into the US. We had to get to the airport several hours in advance of the flight. The airport official would not tell us what time the plane was going to take off and what we were going to have to go through to be allowed to leave Montreal. Basically we had to go back through an extensive screening process. Once through security check we were transferred to a large holding area in the airport and then escorted by security to the gate to board the plane to return to MSP. We never got to New York to visit the supplier we were suppose to visit.
Several months later on another trip I landed in Newark at nighttime, and they had ground zero lit up with the two spot lights shining up into the sky which highlighting where the WTC Twin Towers had been. Everyone was really quiet when we landed because we had a very good view along the river as we landed. I've though about what transpired that day and what I'd seen out the window that evening. I'll remember 9/11/01 for as long as I am alive. I think there are many other people through out the world who think about what happened on this day as well. I've also driven past the monument for the flight in Pennsylvania near one of our major subcontractor in Johnstown, PA as have other people in our work group. We've all looked at the photo's people have brought back from the crash site and thought about what happened to the people on this flight. I've read about the other accounts of what happened on this day while we were in the air en-route to New York to visit our supplier. My perspective is different because while the events transpired we were seated in the plane and couldn't get off.   

4.5 Thomas G. Reischel

Sr. Staff Analyst, Sourcing Administration of Lockheed Martin MS2 {Editor’s note: Added to the web site on 8/21/2011}

I am forevermore impacted by the events that occurred on 9/11/2001. First of all 9/11 is my birthday. Since that day, my birthday has never been the same. Also, whenever I present my driver’s license or fill out a form requiring that date, I always get a comment. So I take, and I took, this event personally. However, beyond that, I was in New Jersey that day traveling on company assignment. Lockheed Martin had just put Eagan under the common purchasing group located in Moorestown, New Jersey called the Northern Material Acquisition Center (NMAC). They were assigned to buy all components and commercial parts for all of MS2. At that time, MS2 consisted of 9 separate sites. However, we were not on a common purchasing system yet, so the plan was that Eagan’s requisitions would be transferred to Moorestown, and their Buyers would place the Purchase Order (PO) on our P1100 System. So, I was sent to Moorestown to train their Buyers how to input POs on P1100. Since this event was larger than me personally, I was there on my birthday along with Scott McLagan to do 2 days of training. We arrived there on Monday evening 9/10.

On the morning of 9/11, I was in a conference room with about 20 buyers. We had a TV set to use for an Audio-Visio presentation as part of the training. I believe it was an overview of the Eagan products and Programs to orient the Buyers on the things they would be buying. At the time the 1st plane hit the World Trade Center, I was making a presentation using an overhead projector, and using a laser pointer to highlight my presentation when the door slammed open and I was rudely interrupted by a person who grabbed the TV set. I started to protest – “Hey Buddy, I’m giving a presentation here and need that!” He just blurted: “A plane just flew into the World trade center”. As I just stood there with a dumbfound “What!” on my lips, the room emptied along with the TV set.

Out in the main office, the TV had no rabbit ears, so no one could get a picture. Finally, a local Engineer had a spool of copper wire in his desk. Don’t all Engineers have that? He hooked the wire up to the back of the TV and strung the wire out an open window creating AN ANTENNA. None of us ‘Sourcing’ people would have thought of that. The TV finally focused in just in time for us to watch the second plane hit the other tower. When the first plane hit, we thought it was some sort of major tragic accident. After, the second plane, there was no doubt that it was a terrorist attack. This was New Jersey. Some of the people in that office had family and friends IN THE TOWERS. So immediately everyone got on the phone. There was shock, horror, and despair everywhere you looked. Scott and I called home and in to work to let everyone know where we were and that we were OK. We heard that Les Bruchal and Paul Roselle were diverted into Canada. Lockheed was trying to get a hold of everyone on travel status. Since Jersey is just across the river from New York, the next thing that happened was everyone piled into their cars and drove over to a nearby park where the New York skyline could be seen. From there we could see the Statue of Liberty, and beyond it the smoking towers. There were tears, cursing and “OH my Gods” from everyone present.

The next thing to happen was that several people headed for New York only to be turned back because the bridges and tunnels into NYC were shut down. People were milling around in shock and didn’t know what to do. Management decided to get people back into the class room since there was no communication or transportation possible, so it might help them to settle down and get their minds off the tragedy for a while. So we got everyone we could find back into the classroom, but after a while it was obvious that nobody, including me, could focus on anything else, so we broke up the training and cancelled the sessions for a future date. Scott and I went back to our rooms and tried to book a flight out only to find out that all flights had been grounded. So we watched CNN the rest of the day.

On Wednesday the planes were still not flying. We went into the office and hung around with the locals. We heard all kinds to tragic stories. Several people were still trying to find their friends or relatives. Many were angry, but couldn’t do anything about it. People wanted to go in to New York, but still couldn’t. I told Scott that if the planes weren’t flying Thursday morning, be ready to check out and drive home. So, on Thursday, we took off. We didn’t call Avis, we just got in the rental car and started driving. We figured we would drop the car off in Minneapolis. That drive took us 22 hours straight through. I drove the whole way. Air traffic was still grounded, so the roads were bumper to bumper and slow moving. Never saw so many semi trucks on the road. Everyone was driving. We got into Minnesota at 5 AM, having left New Jersey at 7AM the previous day. I dropped off Scott, took the rental car home, kissed and hugged my wife, then went over to my bed and passed out.

The next morning was Friday. After a couple of hours sleep, I dropped off the rental car. Avis didn’t even ask, just processed the bill. It must have been an off Friday, because, in any case, I didn’t go in to work. My wife told me that they were holding a special Mass down at the Cathedral of St. Paul for the victims of the terrorist attacks and that the Archbishop was presiding. You bet we went! He gave an eloquent sermon, but what I remember the most was when we said the Our Father. When we got to the part “AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESSPASS AGAINST US”, there were tears streaming down my face and I choked on the words. Respectfully submitted, Tom.   

5. Diversity

When some people talk of Diversity, they may mention the ‘Glass Ceiling’ referring to women who were the first to achieve something in the ‘man’ dominated computer business community. Others relate to the Civil Rights movement of the 60's, usually mentioning Rosa Parks as having the nerve to 'not step-to-the-rear of the bus’. Some may remember the National Guard being called out to quell riots in the South. I don’t recall any such demonstrations at UNIVAC but do remember that our employees had many, many national origins. Did Yuichi Ito and others sense any discrimination because of their Asian ancestry? Did some employees sense discrimination because of their African ancestry? Did those of Hispanic ancestry sense discrimination? Did Dr. Sid Rubens or Abe Franck or others sense discrimination because of their religion? For the most part, I think that we [ERA/UNIVAC/Sperry/UNISYS] were professionals focused on solving customer problems by working competently at our jobs. Refer to Millie Gignac’s mini-bio on this web site, then contribute your career summary or add to the few short stories hereunder. [lab]
  

5.1 By Marc Shoquist:

To my [Marc Shoquist] knowledge, Ray Pleasant was one of the first Afro American engineers RRU hired. He was very personable guy, a smart politician and community leader. Ray was in the State Legislature for many years representing the Bloomington district. He lived near the Normandale College, I can remember him regularly supporting a charity golf event at a local private country club.
Ray worked for me for about two years in the development group about 1956-58. He was hired and assigned to me by my boss, Leon Sabine, an Antenna Coupler manager when I joined the group in 1953. Leon left the group in 1958 to head up a standards group and Ray joined him. I am sure Paul Richardson remembers him well as they were both in my engineering group during the late 50’s.

The Coupler group held an annual Christmas dinner party, Ray hosted one of them at his home and he attended all others. These parties continued well into the 80's long after the Coupler had been transferred to Sperry Marine in 1970. The guest list was well over 60 couples and most of them attended. It was an annual tradition.   

5.2 By Lowell Benson:

From 1963 to 1966, I worked as a computer operator in the Plant 1 Military Computer Center. Our supervisor was Cliff Cunningham, an excellent noon-time bridge player who would use psyche bids on occasion - like opening with only 8 points. Cliff also did some of the center's support software development. Later he worked at Valencia on the S-3 program, last I knew was living in Nevada. One St. Patrick's day Cliff came into the office wearing a bright green neck tie. The departmental secretary said to him: "Cliff, I didn't know that you were Irish" to which he replied: "Of course, haven't you ever heard of the 'Black Irish'." Cliff told us about this while laughing that she probably had to have it explained to her. Cliff was a nice guy and a competent programmer!

Somewhat anecdotal was in the 70's when the marketing organization brought in Gene Proctor, a new salesperson of Afro-American heritage. When Gene transferred into St. Paul, he showed an immediate sense of humor when told a group meeting that he was be happy to work on Army, Navy, or Air Force programs but there were four things that he wouldn't do: "1) buy a home in Coon Rapids, 2) work on 'spook' programs, 3) work on 'black' programs and 4) wouldn't sell black boxes." We all laughed and treated and worked with him as we did with all other marketing persons.   

5.3 By Willis Unke:

Do any of you know if the VIP Club or any other Univac organization has done anything on "Univac & the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s'"? Has anybody written anything on this subject?
      About 1962 I resigned [and transferred] when my boss would not let me send my best programmer to support the Univac Detroit Edison installation because of his race. Willis Unke.   

6.0 Your story here?

Editor's Note: The VIP Club Board and Legacy Committee welcome stories about careers, our computer systems, and facility operations.

  • Over the decades, many people transitioned from an entry level job to one job to positions of more and more responsibilities - there were several who began as instructors in the training department then ended their careers in marketing, i.e. Clint Haggerty, Lyle Franklin, Gary Holthusen, ...
  • One surprise that I've learned while doing Legacy work was that one computer architecture/design expert started in the training department, i.e. Glen Kregness.
  • One joined the company as a technician after learning some electronics in the Army, got his GED, became a logic designer and trouble shooter, and was a top designer in the 90s.  His last computer design was a quad processor board for the Joint Strike Fighter before he retired in the 2000s -- Dick Erdrich.
  • One was a programmer in the early P-3C days, later a program manager -- Quint Fabro
  • One was a programmer in the early P-3C days, later a marketer -- Tom Hansen
  • Jerry Nickel was a flying programmer who became a program manager.

There are hundreds more, if not a few thousand, whose careers blossomed over the decades.  LABenson