When he was at Ole Miss he took an aptitude test that said he should be a doctor, but he is pretty squeamish, so he decided to go with the second recommendation which was engineering.
My dad is brilliant and I don't just say that because he is my dad. After he graduated from Old Miss, he went directly to work for the Space Program. He has always been very fascinated with astronomy (he built his own telescope), so he was very excited when he was chosen for a job at Boeing Aerospace in Huntsville, Alabama.
The telescope that Daddy built- the second picture is from an Outer Space themed birthday party I had one year!
He actually worked on the design team for the Apollo 13 mission to the moon. He and his group worked on the Lunar Rover, which is the space craft that the astronauts were to use once they got on the moon. My parents have the plans hanging in the master bathroom at their house.
He is very humble about it, but he has some amazing stories if you know to ask him. For example, when problems occurred due to explosion causing a decreased oxygen suppy. The astronauts ended up circling the moon and coming straight home. During that time (about three days) my dad and his coworkers sat at their desks twenty four hours a day and were instructed to be prepared to answer a phone call from the lowest NASA technician "up to, and including, the President of the United States". He was younger than I am now. I cannot imagine the pressure. He said that everyone was praying for the astronaut's safe return, but secretly he was also praying he would not get a call from the president!
After working at Boeing for awhile, my mom and dad wanted to move back to Mississippi. My Dad joined a National Guard unit to avoid going to Vietnam and he wanted to get in one in Mississippi. So, Daddy took a job with Mississippi Valley Gas Company. He worked there for over twenty five years and really worked his way up almost to the very top of the company. I remember visiting him at his office and going on to conventions in Destin with all his associates.
About ten years ago, the company was bought out and the new company filled his position with one of their own people. He got a nice severance package though, and so he was able to do what he had been wanting to do for year- start his own business.
In his fifties and nearing retirement age for most people, my Dad seized the opportunity and became a true entrepreneur. The business he and his partner (who had also worked for the Gas Company) formed is a computer business called Enduser. Daddy has a team of techs and they service the computers of several businesses and doctor's offices in Jackson. In fact, in 2004, when Hurricane Katrina hit, Enduser was in charge of all the computers in the FEMA building in Jackson.
I am so proud of my dad- from his early days as a "rocket man" to these last few years, when he had the courage to take a risk and start his own business.