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Brother Ken Field ’68 - 02.20.19  

I grew up in the small town of Wellsville in Western New York, graduating from High School in 1963.  I wanted to attend a large university and was excited to be accepted at Michigan.  Dorm living served its purpose the first year but wasn't for me.  Fall rush in 1963 introduced me to fraternity life and it was very appealing.  After visiting Delta Chi and meeting and liking the brothers during spring rush of 1964, I accepted an invitation to pledge. The smaller scale of the house together with the social aspects meshed well with my background and needs.

Physically the house was getting on in years but great, 3 stories with a classic center hall.  The bathrooms were a little sketchy but somehow we got it to work. Taking care of business quickly was mandated. Communication was a much different then and much time was spent by all in the converted closet phone booth on the second floor.  Some rooms had sleeping accommodations but most brothers bunked in either the cold or warm dorms.  I preferred the less populated fresh air cold dorm with my electric blanket as did a few other brave souls.  There were squirrels in the attic just like the GIECO commercial...and raccoons in the garbage.

The greatest of times were spent in the basement  drinking room with the amazing maestro, "Pork" 

(Dale Bjorkland ‘67) on the piano.  A couple of years later, we all attended his North Campus music school recital.   Until there was a songbook, everything was taught by the older brothers. I still have the song book that "F" (Frank Morrey ’64 put together...both versions.  There was usually a keg to loosen things up and there was nothing better than belting out a bunch of bawdy songs. "Chugging" contests were held and  I thought I was pretty good at it being an experienced "chugger" from New York where the drinking age was 18.  Much to my surprise and chagrin, Roger Premo ‘65 was faster.  There were parties most every Saturday with either a live band or party tapes supplied by Lyman. Alcohol at any of the house parties was " verboten".  Fraternity houses were raided occasionally so we were kept on guard and had an alarm system and emergency disposal measures ready.

There always seemed to be something going on in the living room card alcove.  For me, too many hours were spent various brothers on Risk, Pinochle, Monopoly and other fun games.

Burgers and snacks were available during the week when the "Furburger" guy would arrive at the front door and yell out his arrival.  No health inspections were necessary.

One Homecoming, the entire house teamed up to build large a rotating Maize and Blue Wolverine on the front yard. Don Lecky ‘67 supplied a motorized turntable courtesy of Bethlehem Steel.  We thought we had a winner but were judged 3rd place in the competition as not being original enough.

I had a motorcycle but many times needed a car.  On many occasions Roger and Otto (Dave Garish ‘65) were soft touches willing to loan their vehicles.    

My wife of 51 years, Deborah and I met on a blind date. I was a little "tipsy" and she was,"oh no, I hope it's not that guy".  However, we came back to house, I sobered up a bit and as the evening ensued we found that we had a lot in common. By 1967 we decided to get married in lieu of living together.

A truly memorable event happened at our wedding in Upper Black Eddy, PA in August 1967.  14 brothers from Michigan and elsewhere arrived on Friday to attend.  "Kraut" (Carl Rohrbach ‘67) and I were close and he formally represented the House as an usher.  During the reception the brothers all sang the Delta Chi sweetheart song to great acclaim.  Truly great support!

Fraternity life provided constant interactions and camaraderie.  The ever present and memorable MaGoo (Barry McGuire ‘65) always kept us in good humor. "Hey...look at this", bop a beer bottle on top and it empties onto your lap. 

Not funny, but I remember banging up F' s (Frank Morrey ‘64) Porsche. Frank was rightfully pissed.  I wanted to pay for the damage but he wouldn't let me. I believe my wife's sister gave Frank his first airplane ride in a single engine Ann Arbor Airport rental and he sure took it very seriously from then on. 

The Dork Award was always a fun part of Chapter meetings. I remember one particular night an unnamed recipient (LP) was somehow locked out of the house naked.  Traffic was coming by and he hid on the wrong side of the tree. Drinking often led to strange behavior. 

I lived in the house for 3 years starting in 1964. The late  Lyman Russell Flook III  ’69 was my roommate for a couple of years in the Tower Suite (it had a sink).  He greatly  influenced my interest in hi-fi and photography. I remember kicking him out,  particularly on the weekends. I finished up in the single across the hall for my last semester which I loaned out occasionally to a brother in need.

Moving to the East coast after graduation put distance in the equation.   Lyman and I stayed in touch for years and we had dinner in Chicago shortly before he passed away in 2012. Don Lecky ‘67 and I were also very close and have stayed in contact. I rescued him after the infamous initiation booby trap and later drove him back to Johnstown, PA in his 65 GTO when he had to leave school due to illness. Strange, but his dad got picked up for speeding while following us. Deborah and I set Scott Kramer ’69 up with his wife Kitty and we trade correspondence each Christmas. I've renewed my friendship with Roger Premo and we've gone to football games and had dinner with both Roger and Mary Premo and Don and Liz Leckey in 2016 and 2018.  I dug up some old pictures recently, scanned and sent them on to John Hasse and John Brown and we've corresponded via e-mail. I've talked to "F" a few times over the years but have been remiss in further contact with brothers from my era.

I started out in Engineering but discovered quickly that wasn't going to work out. I was very interested in design and architecture and transferred in 1964 to the A & D School. I graduated in December 1968 with a BS degree in Architecture which was a 5 year program.

Deborah and I lived in married housing on North Campus starting in the fall of 1967 and after graduation in 1968 we moved back east to Flemington, NJ where I took a job with a large architectural firm in New York City.  The commuting got the better of me; I changed employers and worked for various architects in the Princeton, NJ area.  After a 3-year internship, I passed my NJ Architect’s License Exams in 1973. The economy went into the dumper in the early 70’s with a couple of recessions and after a spell of unemployment I secured a job in Rochester, NY. We bought a small first house and headed North with our sons Gregory/1971 and Ethan/1974. Our daughter Elena was born there in 1976.  Unfortunately the economy followed us North and I found myself without a job again. Early in 1977 I was recruited by a former colleague to join the Hertz Corporation Facilities Department in Manhattan as a design architect and we returned to the NYC area.   I commuted by train from Westchester County to the city for 12 years. Hertz left the “Big Apple” in 1989 and relocated to suburban New Jersey where I drove to work. During 24 years at Hertz I designed multiple projects and traveled extensively, managing corporate facility design matters in the US, Canada and Europe as Director of Planning and Design. 

I left Hertz in 2001 and joined an Omaha based national Architectural firm that was looking to design large-scale airport rental car facilities. The 9/11 attacks put a temporary end to that project type. For the next 4 years  I worked from home and in their Washington, DC office on business development and aviation security design projects, commuting home to Westchester on weekends. While in DC I managed the implementation of checked baggage explosive detection systems per congressional mandate at Baltimore, Dulles and National Airports. I finished up on the project team designing the New International Terminal at Atlanta Hartsfield, commuting home on weekends. 

In 2006 I was recruited by TranSystems, a Kansas City national firm that had a local office in nearby Norwalk, CT.  My main focus was on business development, airport rental car projects and aviation facilities. The firm was able to win significant large-scale rental car projects in San Jose, Chicago and San Antonio where I led the programming and concept design phases. So, again, I traveled a lot. When I retired in 2013 I was a Registered Architect in 9 states having been Architect of Record on multiple aviation and airport retail projects.  I'm now registered only in Maine and have worked on a number of local small scale residential  projects including our house in York.

My parents and family were originally from Maine and growing up I spent summers in the Bangor area.  After my grandparents passed away we continued having family vacations here. Deborah and I favored the coast and good fortune gave us the opportunity to buy a small (100 x 100) lot near the ocean in York Beach in Southern Maine. In 2006 we completed a vacation/retirement home on the lot. The house is 3 stories with a roof deck and has great views of the ocean and distant lighthouses.  In 2013 we sold our home in Westchester and moved permanently to York.

Deborah and I have been very fortunate, married for 51 years, with 3 great kids and 6 grandchildren. Our son Ethan and daughter Elena live in the Boston area.  Our oldest, Gregory, lives in the NYC Area. We see everyone frequently and a couple of times a year the 14 of us get together at our house in Maine.

We are both active and in good health.  I run all year round and participate in 5 or 6 races a year.  I'm getting slower but have placed third twice this year in the over 70 age group.  Deborah and I have hiked extensively in the White Mountains in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and I've climbed Mt. Washington 4 times.  We have hiked every mountain in Acadia National Park over the years and have biked on most of the 47 miles of carriage trails. 

In the winter I downhill ski and have a season pass at Gunstock about 60 miles away.  Deborah enjoys cross- country skiing at the same time and in the summer, biking around York. We have 2 kayaks that we take out on the York River and occasionally into the ocean and we vegetate on the beach. I'm an amateur chef and love to cook.  I pretty much handle a lot of the shopping and dinner preparation. Each spring I plant a small vegetable and herb garden with moderate success.     

We watch Michigan football and basketball religiously and of course we're Patriots fans.  Unfortunately screaming at the television doesn't seem to work.   

There's nothing new about life's ups and downs.  For me, that first job after college was a bit of a shock....50 weeks of work with a few holidays thrown in and then a 2 week vacation.  So, the relative freedom of college life was quickly turned upside down. It's no surprise that employers are looking for value. Hard work and flexibility as well as the politics of work are really important.  I was fortunate to enjoy the creative side of my work.  Putting up with a less than satisfactory boss might sometimes be necessary.  Finding something one truly enjoys to do for a living is mandatory.  No doubt, strong family support and good friends are essential.

 

Would love to hear from fellow Kimball followers.  Call, e-mail or text....

 

Kenneth A. Field, Jr.

08 Breeze Way

York, ME 03909

Home:    207 361-4730 Cell:        914 299- 9776

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