John Campbell

Profile Updated: June 23, 2014
John Campbell
Residing In: Houston, TX USA
Spouse/Partner: Sharon
Occupation: Engineer (retired)
Yes! Attending Reunion
Comments:

After graduation, I spent the summer working at Kroger to be able to afford my freshman year at University of Missouri-Rolla. I started in September, 1969 and after a long 5 years (being a co-op student adds a year to the grind), I graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. For some strange reason, I decided that I needed more school, so I stayed for a year plus of grad school. By that time, I had all that I could take and went to work for Conoco to start paying off school loans in August, 1975.

After arriving in Ponca City, OK and learning the extent of night life in a town of 25,000 (not much!), I spent the next five years - when I wasn't working - playing slow pitch softball in the summer, working backstage and onstage with the local amateur theater group and singing in the church choir. There was a mixed group of about twenty that got together to party; after play performances, after softball games or just because we hadn't partied for a while. Who matched up with whom at any given event was just the luck of the draw for a couple of years until some of the pairings started getting serious. Slowly but surely the "unaffiliated" part of the group got smaller and smaller. Eventually, I proposed to Sharon in late 1979 and we got married in February, 1980.

After spending a year settling in to married life, I took a temporary assignment that sent us to Los Angeles for a year and Lake Charles, LA for most of two. Los Angeles was great! The smog could be (and was) pretty bad during the summer in those days. We got to play tourist on weekends and had parts of the family visit several times during the year. Lake Charles was a come-down of sorts after LA. While we did have a couple of family visits, there really wasn't much to do. Sharon learned how big water roaches could get and how easily they could get into a house. As we finally headed back to Ponca City at the end of the assignment, she got on the CB as we passed the city limits sign and told me that if I ever got sent to Lake Charles again I was coming by myself.

We bought a house not long after getting back to Oklahoma and spent the next 10+ years enjoying the small town life - softball, theater, choir, the occasional out-of-town shopping trip. The company went through a number of changes - a buy out by DuPont, a couple of reorganizations - but nothing that really had any impact on the work that I was doing. I tried being a supervisor for 6 months but decided that the hassle wasn't worth it and went back to straight technical work. Eventually, the company decided to move my group to Houston in late 1994. Sharon was a little reluctant to make the permanenet move to the big city, but she agreed that if I ever needed to find a new job it would be easier in Houston than Ponca City. So south we went in early 1995.

Fourteen years have just flown by. Sharon has gotten used to driving in Houston traffic, even though she won't drive downtown unless she absolutely has to (like for jury duty). A lot has happened. Two more 1-year tours in Lake Charles by myself (see above), driving over on Monday and back on Friday. A shattered left ankle from a stupid accident. The merger of Conoco and Phillips. Becoming a "consultant" and getting out of project work so I could quit being a gypsy and then making at least one trip to all 12 of the domestic refineries, the three European refineries, the two Venezuelan joint ventures (before they were nationalized) plus several upstream facilities in the last 4 years. Two vacation trips to Ireland and Scotland plus a couple of cruises. Tropical storm Allison, a near miss from Hurricane Rita and a hit from Hurricane Ike. Eleven nieces and nephews who are mostly out of high school. Oldest niece married and two of the boys likely getting close. Dad's retired. I could be, but I still enjoy what I'm doing. Which is just as well, since Sharon isn't ready for me to quit working full time.

Pretty much brings things up to the present. The plans are all in place to make the 40th reunion. Hope to see you there!

Well, I only lasted another 2-1/2 years until I bit the bullet and left full-time corporate work. As time went on, a new supervisor and the Mickey Mouse issues of company life got to be more than I could take. I bid a (less than) fond adieu on January 2, 2012 to my lo-o-o-ong career with ConocoPhillips. Since then, I've done some part-time consulting, taught a number of short course and have been volunteering with the Houston Zoo. I've also gotten re-involved with the Missouri University of Science and Technology, serving with the Academy of Chemical Engineers and the board of the Alumni Association.

Sharon and I try to take a trip of some kind each year. Three bus tours of the West, including California, and a fall foliage tour of the Northeast, plus another cruise. We also visit the family at least a couple of times each year, the summer and either Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Six of the nieces and nephews are now married and the next generation is growing. One nephew got two by marriage and has added one since. Three new ones are due this year. The June arrival has happened and the others are due in August and October. The extended family is really growing.

In some ways, it seems like no time at all since the 40th. I'm really looking forward to the 45th. See y'all there!

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