I was born in Lansing, where my family of six lived on a small hobby farm. My dad worked in a factory so it was the kids’ responsibility to gather the eggs and take care of the animals and the vegetable gardens.
In high school, I was on the track team and played baseball. Living in the country, without a vehicle, meant I had to hitchhike home from school after practices and games.
Rather than being drafted into the Army, I chose to enlist in the Air Force in 1958. I was placed in the Strategic Air Command (SAC), where I remained until 1963. The SAC included the planes that carried the hydrogen bombs, ready to launch them if needed; and my service was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. While in the service, I sent for my sweetheart back home and we were married in England. We had two daughters, one born in England and the other in the U.S. After the service, I worked in Lansing for General Motors, for Timekeeper and for the U.S. Postal Service.
When I was in grade school I asked for a chemistry set for Christmas. Instead, I received a kit of oil paints, which ignited my interest in art. I went to Michigan State University for one year with a plan to major in fine arts, but then enlisted in the Air Force. I did not again have the opportunity to pursue fine arts in college but I have painted for many years, honing my skills in drawing and painting in various media.
I have lived at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans since 2003. My wheelchair does not inhibit my love of painting. I am prolific. I favor paintings of lighthouses, landscapes and wildlife, particularly those of my own state of Michigan.