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10/10/2016

Zeeb, Jim

I remember skate boarding down the hill from campus to the Phi Delt house. I would start up at Brooks Hall. There was a cross street and stoplight at the bottom of the hill. I figured out how to time it so that I would hit the light at the bottom of the hill when it was green. Sometimes I would pass a car on the way down. Good thing they never changed the timing on that light. I’ve always loved speed. Skiing fast; Riding road bikes fast; Driving fast cars; almost anything fast. If I were independently wealthy when I graduated, I would have been a Grand Prix racecar driver. Well I wasn’t so I didn’t.

Marriage

I married my college sweetheart, Marcia Witty, the September after we graduated. I was on a ROTC scholarship, so I was scheduled to report to active duty that next February. Marcia was two years behind me so we decided we would return to Meadville so she could enroll in the fall session. We rented one half of a condemned house and I worked on the railroad. One day there were a group of sorority girls that Marcia recognized that must have been out on a can drive. They took one look at the house and shook their heads and passed right by. We couldn’t wait until I reported to active duty and got the big bucks.

Where I’ve lived

We started out at Chanute AFB, IL where I was in training. Then we were stationed at Beale AFB, CA just north of Sacramento where we spent the rest of my Air Force commitment. We spent seven years making corporate moves to Summit NJ, Dallas TX, Hartford CT, Novato CA & back to Dallas. When our oldest was approaching high school age, we moved to Evergreen CO and have been there ever since.

My jobs

I was in USAF flight training while at Allegheny. I planned to fly in the AF for 4 years and then be an airline pilot. Unfortunately, I failed my last physical the summer after we graduated and my career path changed to Aircraft Maintenance Officer. While in training they gave an aptitude test for something called computer programming. The rest is history. I learned programming on the SR-71 spy plane.

Then I got a job with EDS (Ross Perot’s company). They really taught me how to program. I stayed with EDS for 7 years and left when they told me I needed to go into management to get any more significant raises in salary.

I went in with six other former EDSers and started an operating systems software consulting company. I did that for about five years and that was when we decided to move to Colorado. I became an independent software consultant at that point, which was 30 years ago. I’ve worked all over the country, usually on large multi-year projects. I would fly there for the week and be back for the weekend. For the last 13 years, I’ve been working on a project for Medicare to centralize their accounting.

I’ve been winding down my consulting business for the last 5 years and I’m down to my last client(Medicare) and I work about 10 hrs/mo which doesn’t interfere with my leisure activities.

I love programming. I wrote some software to help Marcia operate the Preschool she owned. Since I retired, I’ve developed a golf handicapping program for our mens group. I’ve built several websites; One my sister and I collaborated on for our family genealogy https://www.zeeb.com/ I just finished one for our pickleball club in San Luis Obispo http://slopickleball.org/ and of course Allegheny67.com

Our children / grandchildren

Marcia & I have two sons, Eric & Ben. Eric is an anesthesiologist and lives with his wife Helen and two children; Elli(12) and Oliver(8). They live on the Central Coast in San Luis Obispo CA. Ben and a partner own a 30 person software company that specializes in providing marketing for Ski Resorts. He and his wife Julie also have two children; Ethan(13) and Malia(11). They live in Eagle CO, just west of Vail.

Retirement

I’ve basically been retired for the last 5 years. At first golf was my passion. I would play 5-6 times per week and got my handicap down from 26 to 12. I enjoyed playing for a little cash here and there. Then I heard about Go Kart racing. I always wanted to race, but never had the money or time. These are serious go karts that go up to 100 mph which some of the Formula One drivers use for practice (remember the speed / race car driver thing from the Allegheny Memories). Anyway, I went to a couple of go kart driving schools to hone my skills. I had autocrossed and done single car time trials in my Spitfire and later Porsches so I wasn’t a newbie to racing. Finally I bought a kart and trailer and was ready to compete on the local Masters circuit. Unfortunately, I discovered that when I would pull a lot of G Forces during long sweeping turns, I vomited (not a pretty sight when you have a full face helmet on). All my previous training was in less powerful karts than the ones the Masters raced here on CO. It turns out this was related to the same reason I failed my final flight physical.

Current activities / hobbies

A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. I was due to have my bladder removed two months later. When they opened me up, they discovered that the cancer was outside of the bladder and had attached the bladder to the abdominal wall. They sewed me up, put me on palliative chemo and said I had about a year to live. That was in Jan 2014. Well, since I’m not on the Deceased list, that didn’t happen. I came close to having a colostomy, but the year of chemo and radiation finally seemed to put the cancer down. I’ve had clear scans for two years now so things are looking good. I have some foot nerve damage from the chemo and I have tubes from my kidneys that go into bags on my legs. I can play golf all day and don’t have to stop at the restroom even once. I do have to get my tubes changed out every 6 weeks, but not a big deal. Don’t you just hate it when all old people can seem to talk about is their health!

Last year, the nerve damage in my feet was starting to affect my desire to walk or play golf. My son Eric recommended I try the HOKA brand super cushioned running shoes favored by ultra runners. I did and what a change that made. I now look forward to golf, although my handicap has risen to 18. I was looking for something more aerobic to do and Marcia suggested I try a new sport that she had tried called Pickleball. If you’re not familiar with pickleball, it is a game like tennis that is played on a much smaller court, with paddles like ping pong, uses a hard whiffle ball and has funny rules for scoring. Well, I love the game. My limitations don’t seem to affect my play. Since I don’t do anything halfway, I’m playing 2-3 hrs/day seven days per week and taking clinics. I also play golf, but only 3 times/wk now. My partner and I won a gold medal in the USAPA Great Plains Regional Tournament, Mens Doubles, Skill 3.0, Age 70-74. I’m looking forward to moving up to the 3.5 level and beyond.

With all this golf and pickleball, we were looking for somewhere warm to go in the winters. We now spend Jan-May in Eric’s guest house in San Luis Obispo CA and Jun-Dec at our log house in the mountains in Evergreen CO. It would be hard to find two better, more beautiful places to spend our time.

A few months ago, I took one of those online courses on Brain Fitness. What the professor suggested was to take up some new activity/hobby that is completely out of your comfort zone. This will force the brain to make new pathways rather than using the ones that are already there. So I thought about this and finally decided to take up cooking. Marcia has cooked all the meals for the last 49 years. She often says that her next husband will have cooking and gardening as hobbies, not pickleball & golf.

So if I’m going to take up cooking, I need to do a little online research. You see, one of things I hate is grocery shopping. My research led me to some services that will send you all the ingredients for a weeks worth of meals. I’ve tried two of them Hello Fresh and Blue Apron and they are great. I’ve found that I don’t multi-task well, things get burned. I’m a hunter, not a gatherer. So what I do is completely do all the prep before I start cooking anything. I hope I’m building lots of new brain pathways. I cook three meals a week now. I have credits to give away a few free boxes of meals by Hello Fresh. Just leave a Comment on this blog if you want to try one and I will get back to you.

Addendum: We’ve sold our house of 30 years and have to be out by June 15th. We are moving to Vail, CO to be near to our other grandchildren in the summers. Getting rid of all that stuff you paid hard earned money for is not fun. We will miss the tranquility of our home in Evergreen, but Vail is a fun place to live,  just different.

My contact Info

Address:  333 Red Lily Pl  Evergreen, CO 80439
Phone:  303-949-9849
Email:  

My 69th Birthday. All living relatives and a few in-laws were there!

My 69th Birthday. All living relatives and a few in-laws were there! My 90 yr old Aunt & I were the oldest so we got to sit down.

Marcia & I

pdt_float_1965

House of the Rising Sun ΦΔΘ Homecoming Float. Marcia was going to throw this out, can you believe!

zrrb-jamesl

2 Comments on “Zeeb, Jim

Ann Areson
Ann Areson
10/20/2016 at 9:54 am

Jim, I thought I’d read your story before writing mine. I have to say it was somewhat intimidating. What an interesting life you have had and continue to have. Thank you for sharing your challenges as well as your triumphs. I’m looking forward to seeing you in June. And good luck with cooking! It’s somthing I have been doing and loving since I was a child. I’ve never lost interest in food — preparing it and sharing it with others.

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Jim Ackerly
Jim Ackerly
03/23/2017 at 4:51 pm

Jim, I haven’t seen the info/pic I sent you re the reunion on the reunion website, and I’ve lost your contact info having gotten a new Mac..Did you get the “story” info and have you posted it? I plan to be in Meadville in afternoon of June 1, and plan to play Pickleball with you during the weekendnd…Going to Iceland via Ireland and Great Britain for a couple of wks leaving May 5th..Jim Ackerly

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