After completing high school in Enid, I enrolled at OU, sure of becoming an Electrical Engineer. Like other curriculums, the first two years were quite similar with all Engineering. Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics gave me as many problems as they did other new college students. I was fortunate to be a member of the OU band and enjoyed the activities through my OU career. After deciding that EE was not where I belonged, I changed to Music Education for a semester. I found there were so many natural musicians who were much better than I was with long hours of practicing. So once again I changed majors to Industrial Engineering, and stayed there and graduated in 1962. Along the way, I was married in 1959, and our first daughter, Susan, was born in November of 1961. This naturally emphasized the need to decide on a major, to finish, and get a job.
I was hired by a great company, Caterpillar Tractor Company, and went to work in Peoria, Illinois three days after OU graduation. After training, they moved me to Milwaukee for my first, real, full time job. During the stay in Milwaukee, our second daughter, Elizabeth, and our son, Robert were born. After transferring back to Peoria area in 1968, I enjoyed different assignments through the years in either the Industrial Engineering field or in manufacturing supervision. I worked for Cat until retiring after 36 years to enjoy life, grandkids, traveling, and to play more golf.
Susan graduated from University of Illinois in Music education and now is teaching in Lake Bluff, IL. Betsy wanted a family, and retired early from Illinois State University. Bob joined the Air Force and served with them for 8 years, before the USAF cut back, and gave him a nice separation check. He now works for a contract company with assignments within Caterpillar at Peoria. Each of them has four children of their own, seven girls and five boys.
I divorced after 24 years, and was fortunate to meet a wonderful lady who decided to become (as she puts it) “the last Mrs. Pyle”. So now Kathryn and I have the pleasure of a blended family of six children and fourteen grandchildren. Her daughter, Anne, lives in Vail, Colorado, after graduating from CU – Colorado Springs. Her son, Chris, graduated from Truman University in Missouri, received his commission in the Army, and experienced a tour of duty in Iraq. He now works for an employer in an assignment for the State Department in Washington, D.C.
The youngest of Kathryn’s children, Sarah, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, and was eventually stationed near us in New Orleans, LA., one month before hurricane Katrina. She and our two young grandsons, who were then three and one years old evacuated with us from our Gulf Coast homes to avoid Katrina’s rage. This gave us a month of close bonding before we were able to return home.
Kathryn and I decided that cleaning up after three hurricanes in a period of six years after we built our retirement home in Diamondhead, MS was sort of a waste of our precious retirement time together. Katrina did a pretty good job of destroying the way of life we had enjoyed there. We sold our home and found a new home on the Elm Lake Golf Course in Columbus, MS. We are now about 200 miles North of the Coast, but warm enough that we can still enjoy our pursuits of golf, travel, and grandkids.
Through all of these years, I have continued playing music for fun and pleasure. I still play the clarinet that I bought in 1956, and have picked up bass guitar and keyboard skills. I noticed that Gerald Hemphill was listed as a favorite teacher by many EHS graduates. I would also echo that and say that I was privileged to have one of the most complete and exciting musical educations in Enid that anyone could hope for. I will always be grateful for those years and the pleasures they brought to so many of us.