Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog

(Ron Writing) Last week my former co-worker and good friend Jack Hoeller passed away after a long battle with a very rare autoimmune disease. Fortunately, because of our delay here in California I was able to attend his memorial service yesterday.

I met Jack when I first started working at Hughes Aircraft Company in 1977. I was a young engineer with only a few years of experience – Jack had already been working at Hughes for about 17 years. He was one of the seasoned engineers at Hughes that taught me so much over the years. Jack retired from Hughes in 1990 after working in the same department of the company for 30 years. All those years the work done in that department was on the forefront, the leading edge, sometimes the “bleeding edge” of radar signal processing technology. A book could be written were it not for the fact that most of the work was done for classified military systems. Jack, like all of us engineers in the department, loved the work; the challenge of designing new processors to do things that had never been done before.

Junior engineers hired into the company with the title of MTS, member technical staff. After a number of years of demonstrated performance on increasingly difficult assignments many were promoted to higher level positions. Jack’s managers tried to promote him several times over the years but he would not accept a promotion! He is the only person I’ve ever worked with that would not accept a promotion. Jack knew himself. He knew what he liked to do and wanted no part of the type of work that would be expected of him at those higher level positions. For many years he was at the very top of the salary range allowed for an MTS. He loved his work for his entire career and certainly never encountered that “Peter Principle” problem.

But more important than being a good engineer Jack was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known. He was well liked by everyone who knew him. Everyone who knew Jack including his managers, coworkers, his wife of 53 years and his two fine sons admired his character and integrity. Jack lived his faith and has now received his reward. Farewell my friend.

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