Charlie was born in 1955 at Independence, Jackson County, Missouri (suburban Kansas City), at what was then known as the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital. At that time, it was a ministry of the Community of Christ. The old Independence Sanitarium is no more; the building is now the "Independence Regional Ennovation Center," a business incubator. The hospital in Independence is now the Centerpoint Medical Center, located in a different part of the city. Former President Harry Truman retired a couple of years earlier, and lived about two-thirds of a mile to the east of the old hospital on (appropriately named) Truman Road.
My K-12 education was at the Buckner School (grades K-4), Levasy School (grades 5-6), Fort Osage Junior High (grades 7-9), and Fort Osage High School (grades 10-12). These are all part of the Fort Osage School District, headquartered near the center of the district in rural Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.
When I was in high school, I took some vocational electronics training. I went through the two years of material in one year! My instructor thought I should go into some type of engineering. This was at the Career and Technology Center at Fort Osage (then known as the Fort Osage Area Vocational-Technical School).
After I graduated from high school, I went to college for that engineering degree. After four years and two sessions of summer school, I got a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1977 at the University of Missouri-Columbia at Columbia, Boone County, Missouri. My last semester, I only had to take three credit hours to graduate, but I took a full load of fifteen credit hours.
After college, I went to work at Boeing in 1977 for 32.468 years (don't laugh about the precision: Boeing counted my company service down to three decimal places). I spent about half of my time working on the International Space Station. I have been (mostly) happily retired since September 2009, when Space Station development was winding down and all the fun stuff was done.
Between May 2014 and June 2020, I was a dedicated platelet donor at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center; they told me in April 2016 and nearly all of 2017 to take a break because I was trying to come in too frequently. I'm now a deferred donor (congestive heart failure). For platelet donors, there are restrictions on the number of times you can donate in the past 365 days, the number of red blood cells you can lose in the past 365 days, and the amount of plasma you can lose in the past 365 days; they don't track it in their donor scheduling application at The Blood Center, but they track it on paper. They tell me I have "super platelets." Before that, I was a whole blood donor during my college years (between 1973 and 1977) and since 2009.
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Last Updated: 4 January 2021
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