Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Fall 2015 - (Page 44)
Amazing!!! Still writing a column at age
97. Sad news: Robert (Bob) Hedstrom
(BIE) passed away (one day short of his
98th birthday). After graduating from RPI: Bob took
over one of the many factories in Fitchburg, Mass.
During WWII they made assemblies for the aircraft
industry, even helicopter rotor blades (out of wood).
Later he went to their factory in Dothan, Ala. He
had been ailing for a while and his son (Joe) had
been keeping me updated.
Now for the rest of the "Story." Fact: The only
school I applied to in 1935 was RPI!
Personal observations: The difference in RPI in
80 years is monumental: We used to make drawings
in three views with a special pen requiring adjustment for width of line, and pen was filled with an
eyedropper; and now it is done on a 3-D program
on a computer and printed out. Good-bye, "Smiling
All we had for calculations was a slide rule, and
now the computer has taken over.
We had homework every night and tested every
day from an actual book, and now the assignments
are from the Internet.
Tuition, lodging, and food cost about $4,800
(total) for the four years. Now you can buy a house
for less than the cost of a four-year education at RPI.
The things I learned in my freshman year were
mostly obsolete by the time I graduated. But it was
not the details, but how to solve a problem! Due to
the way RPI trained me I was ready to do any task
given to me, and in my first job at Wright Field,
Dayton, Ohio, I had many research projects, but the
most important one was a way to make flight tests
with vibration sensors using a new material called
"silicone." The first practical use for the material.
Planning ahead. I hope to write more columns if
Send news to: Lou Shornick '39, 108 Royal
Garden Terrace, Madison, MS 39110-7637; h: (601)
853-0265; firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.
Richard Johnson was interviewed by
the Albany Times Union in July as one
of the last surviving Americans who
developed the first atomic weapon as part of the
Manhattan Project during WWII. He graduated
with a degree in chemical engineering in December
1942, early because engineers were needed for the
war effort. He worked as an industrial engineer at
an ordnance plant in Tennessee and enlisted in July
1944. He was chosen for a clandestine project and
sent to "an absolutely secretive place," Los Alamos,
44 RENSSELAER/FALL 2015
where he supervised a group of soldiers who built
component parts for the atomic bombs. Decorated
for his service, he went on to a career as a district
engineer in state government. In retirement, he lives
in Brunswick, N.Y.
Send news to: L. McD. (Mac)
Schetky '44, 6782 14th Ave. North,
St. Petersburg, FL 33710; h: (727) 4987938; email@example.com
When most of us were so busy with
the Navy agenda on campus, there
was a small group of civilians attending class with us that had to create their own living
space, eating places, and activities that we heard very
little about. At our 50th Reunion, I am only aware of
the Aero group that were there in full force, lacking
only Irv Osofsky, who had been told not to travel,
but there were students in other fields as well at the
time, I am sure. I tried to contact others that could
tell the "civilian" side of the story, but thus far I have
had no response. In looking for any information along
that line, I discovered that our class website was the
only source I found with anything about the subject.
Paul R. Dickman (BAE) died Sept. 5, 2014. He
was raised on a farm in the Catskills of New York.
His talent for "patching" was learned on the farm
where you had to "fix" things one way or another.
Paul went on to Rensselaer to study aeronautical engineering. Paul was one of several "icons" on
campus, a "civilian student" in among a campus
inundated with NROTC and V-12 students. A significant number of our class graduated with Paul in
October 1944 with our new degrees. Paul, Chuck
Flora, Jim Decker, John Graves, and Irv Osofsky,
all civilians, got their degrees and left for their new
jobs in the aircraft industry. All but Irv were able
to get back for the 50th Class Reunion with their
wives. (The rest of us followed our Navy orders after
we got our degrees.) Paul joined Grumman on Long
Island and started an eventful career there until he
retired in 1992. Something else started at Grumman, too; it turned out that Dorothy Brader, also a
Grummanite, and Paul found it convenient to go "up
home" together often (real gas rationing you know)
and you guessed it, they got married and brought up
their family in Northport, N.Y., and moved to Farmington, Maine, when Paul retired. They shared 62
wonderful years of marriage and Dorothy is still in
Farmington. Their together time as a family focused
a lot on traveling and camping in all 50 states, along
with 16 years cruising on their sailboat "Starlight."
Paul's career was unusual in that he never
Senior attacker Angela Cascio is co-captain, for
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Fall 2015
Table of Contents
Snapshot: Welcome to Rensselaer
President's View: Broadening Perspectives
Feature: A Sense of Place
Feature: A Smart Lighting Revolution
Feature: The Inventor's Dilemma
One Last Thing: The Greatest Generation
YouTube Link: Talk featuring Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden '08H, and NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman '97
YouTube Link: 2015 Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond video
Link: Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center website
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Fall 2015