BIO Index

Chris Widder


I'm still working at my profession here in Las Cruces, NM which is about an hour drive directly north of El Paso, TX. I've been here since late 2004 after being laid off in Wisconsin for 6 months. I'm still an engineer, working as a contractor for a company which has a contract with NASA to operate their testing facility here in New Mexico.

Over the years my ex-wife and I raised 5 children and we now have 14 grandchildren (10 girls, 4 boys). They are scattered throughout the Midwest with one of them is trying to move his family from Tampa to Houston, TX. While their stories differ, they are all successfully raising their own families. Many years ago I had to define, for myself, what it meant to be a successful person. Even though their mother & I are separated, they've survived that trauma and have moved on and are now living successful lives. It's all I can ask for.

When I graduated from SHS, I went to Manatee Junior College for 2 years and graduated. I then decided to go to Gainesville to become an engineer while going through the co-op program. I flunked out of that semester but still was able to get to Cape Canaveral while working for NASA. I met my ex-wife at the Cape and got married. I went back to school in Tampa @ South Florida. Graduated from its second engineering class in 1967 and went to work for RCA in Lancaster, PA.

Experienced my first lay-off from RCA and found a job with a trailer manufacturing company in Lancaster. We were in Lancaster for 7 years. Was laid off again and found another job in Kokomo, IN. We stayed there for about 7 years and got laid off again & found a job in Cincinnati, OH working for General Electric where they made jet engines for airplanes.

The GE job lasted 2 years. Moved to a small town in central IL (Arcola) where the job lasted long enough for 3 of the 5 children to graduate from high school. Had to move to Bloomington, IN (new job) and we were there long enough for the last 2 children to graduate from high school. Moved to Sheboygan, WI for yet another job and was there for 3 years.

I then moved to Elk Grove Village, IL for yet another job which lasted 5 years. Pat & I got a divorce about this time & I moved to Rockford, IL to be close to where I worked at the time. Got laid off again and moved to Tallahassee, FL thinking I would be able to find a job in the Southeast where shop labor is cheaper. That didn't work, but eventually found another job in Kenosha, WI.

I worked in Kenosha for about 2 years and got laid off and ended up here in Las Cruces, NM. I'm expecting to get laid off again in a couple of months, but will cease looking for more work because I don't need to find it anymore. I like Las Cruces and have committed myself to drive a stake in the ground in this place.

So far, life has been and is good but who knows?

I have not regretted a single moment in all of the above moving around. Been able to raise 5 successful children, traveled around the world on business and otherwise, and along the way have met some really significant people (for me).

Since my future is somewhat uncertain at the moment, I think it unwise to make a commitment to attend the reunion.

Go Sailors!

Chris Widder