User:CSHelling/My bio for my reunion


This my bio for my 50-year high school class reunion

After leaving Madelia High School, I graduated from St. Olaf College (B.A., 1961; Chemistry) and the University of Wisconsin (M.S., 1963; Ph.D., 1966; Soil Science), and then did a 2-year post-doctoral appointment at Cornell University (1965-67). I joined the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1967 and served as a research soil scientist for 39 years 7 months at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, near Washington, DC. I retired from USDA in February 2007.

For 42 years, I conducted basic and applied research on understanding and predicting pesticide behavior in the environment, especially as related to fate and transport in soils. The work also involved management and scientific advisory roles to various Federal and international agencies. Among the most extensive and interesting of these was assistance to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and throughout the world, and for the past 20 years, to the antinarcotics programs within the U.S. State Department (and other agencies). During my last two years at ARS-USDA, I developed environmental field research in tropical Peru.

In April 2007, I resumed work as a Senior Management Consultant and Senior Scientific Advisor to the State Department, capitalizing on two decades of experience in finding effective and safe ways to suppress illicit drug crops, especially coca. This has taken me into remote regions of Peru and Panama, but especially in Colombia. Presently, I work in the American Embassy, Bogotá, Colombia, on what is expected to be a 2-year assignment. In May 2007, I served on special assignment in Afghanistan, with another high-level mission expected there in July 2007.

Reflections on Work, Play, and Life: Growing up on a farm near Madelia, Minnesota; in a family that valued education; exposed to gifted teachers in Madelia and beyond; and in general influenced by a strong moral ethic—these all have served me well for three score and plus years. Life has not been easy, but nearly always has been interesting. Sharon and I have shared life together since 1964 (since I couldn’t be valedictorian, I decided to marry the valedictorian). Many wonderful adventures have arisen because of my unique job opportunities, sometimes through work abroad, as in Austria and Egypt, more often for professional meetings in interesting places like Sweden, Indonesia, Costa Rica, and South Africa. My job has expanded my horizons geographically and culturally beyond anything imaginable 50 years ago, and where the job may not have taken me/us, we’ve gone ourselves, usually not on a tour. My own experiences (adventures) have taken me often over the jungle and mountains, usually at low altitude, doors open, in helicopters. At 67, I can still jump from a hovering Black Hawk into a coca field, or inspect fields deep in war-tense Afghanistan, or argue a position before foreign ministers, or discover ancient ruins deep in the desert. Life has also involved service to our local community through various positions, and to our church, while helping to raise a son and becoming a grandfather. When work is fun, why retire?

What is nice about being this age at this time [besides responding to “Grandpa!”], is having the choice to work or not to work. It can be Stress-City and sometimes dangerous, but always challenging, never boring, generally meaningful. What I don’t like about being over 65: possibly just the increased likelihood of being called “sir” [which is really not all that bad]. Oh, and remembering how in the past, airports and airplane travel were actually enjoyable!

Some Favorite Vacations: Sharon and I, individually or (most often) together have visited over 40 countries. My highlights were Egypt in 1980, especially seeing the ancient tombs of the Pharaohs in Luxor; on safari last summer in Kenya and Tanzania; a wonderful cruise and land excursion to Greece and Turkey on our 25th anniversary; an extensive tour of China, to which we returned on our own the next year; Austria-Czech Republic-Slovakia-Hungary; Indonesia and Thailand; actually it’s very difficult to stop—so many wonderful experiences, including in the U.S. and Canada. Among my most memorable sights were the rose glow of sunrise on the entire, snow-covered front range of the Himalayas (seen from 35,000 feet above India); the Mayan temples at Tikal, rising above the Guatemalan jungle; the Matterhorn at dawn; thundering Victoria Falls (Africa) at flood stage; the vivid profusion of fish and coral off St. Lucia, in the Caribbean; and of sight + sound, sitting quietly one evening after work, as the organist practiced in soaring, gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. One more: an afternoon at my parents’ last home, looking across the fields that had been our farm, and toward Madelia, 5 miles to the south, and just west, Linden Lutheran Church.

Final Comment: The Madelia High School Class of 1957 was a very good one.

This is a link back to my Homepage.

There is a PBWiki website set up for details about our class reunion activities at Madelia Reunion.

This is our class picture,

To read the bios of your other classmates, click on one of the links in the table below:

George Arduser Harold Baker Harvey Blume Lucille Borchert Jim Breiter Don Cady Larry Davis Connie DeVoll
Engel Engelson Anita Evenson Rich Gladen Sharon Guyer Carol Hoeft Pat Hoeft Allen Ihrke Ellen Jensen
Beverly Kannemann Carole Kelsey Maynard Kelsey John Knutson Mary Lou Kolbe Dominic Kunz Ethel Laingen Larry McCabe
Sandra Miller Lee Mitchell Garry Mussmann Ed Mutsch Vivian Nesterud Karen Osborne Darrell Pace Waldemar Peterson
Rachel Pygman Don Quass Don Rice Russell Riley John Rusten Glenda Scharbach Barb Strom Elaine Tarrant
Sharon Thormodson Lee Tiedeken . . . . . .