Alumni Profile: Gary Minor ’63

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We recently caught up with our very own Gary Minor ’63 and had the chance to ask him about his AZ experience, and where life since Penn State has taken him. Here's what he had to say: 

Where has life taken you since you graduated? Give us a brief recap up to this point including career and family highlights.

After AZ, and throughout my year at AZ, I was active in the ROTC unit. I was offered a RA commission, regular army, and graduated in uniform and received orders to go to Germany. I always had a strong desire to go to Europe and that was my opportunity. After passing both airborne and ranger school in Georgia, I boarded a plane to Frankfurt arriving in late December of 1963 as an artillery officer in a honest John Rocket battalion. I fell in love with Germany; the food, history, and the women. I eventually met my wife Angela, at a mixer at John F. Kennedy   House. I set myself a goal to study and speak German language which was the key to opening the door to many opportunities. 

Throughout my time overseas, I traveled extensively in my little Porsche all over Europe with many assignments in southern Germany and Italy. I got married in 1965 in Wuerzburg, and we had our 1st son Andrew in the American hospital there. We sold our beloved Porsche for a VW wagon, and finally while at a special weapons school got orders to return to the US for deployment/training with 101st Airborne division to SEA, south east Asia, yep Vietnam. I joined Division Artillery as the unit was reconstituted like “Private Ryan” so pain was equally distributed in the event of deployment. I had 18 months left on my career which was spent in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky training for combat. I had the opportunity to take a medevac flight to Washington, DC to Walter Reed Hospital because my son Andrew was thought to have Cystic Fibrosis , fortunately he had an acute allergy from living on a farm in Clarksville, Tennessee. Moved on post and he was fine. With my tour over in December 1966, I had to start thinking about a job. 

Nicaragua, Angela was in Germany to learn German and study photography under an apprentice program, a popular method in Germany to pursue a career. Her father had been employed by E Merck, a large farma firm in Darmstadt, and he had successfully started a number of companies and I toured the country with the idea of moving the family there. You all have heard what happened in Managu; a massive earthquake, political overthrow of dictator Anastasio Somoza, and fortunately I accepted a position with Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX where the next 29 years of our lives would be centered. 

The highlights were the birth of 2 kids , Lizette and Jason in Dallas, many assignments at TI in management, built forward and aft indicator. For RF4 Phantom aircraft, F111 terrain following radar, assignments in Houston with geophysical hardware and finally with computers in Austin, TX. I had a very exciting career and it all started at PSU AZ. 

I left TI when the Austin operation was sold to Raytheon and computer ops moved to Singapore. Moved to our second home on Lake Travis, which flooded out twice, watched Austin grow from a sleepy town to a vibrant city, meanwhile our children grew up and ended up with good jobs in Dallas. So we kissed Austin goodbye and moved to Keller, a  suburb of DFW where we currently reside. I still manage a car lot with my partner in Austin but the virus has dramatically limited travel here, so we live here , just passed 79, fighting Parkinson’s, had DBS operation 3 years ago so with meds much easier to manage shakes.

What are the most important lessons you learned because of Alpha Zeta?

The lessons I learned at AZ were to prosper in this world, as with college you need to be flexible, work hard and take advantage of opportunities. There are many turns in the road  and risk breeds opportunities with many challenges. I always felt AZ was the best place for me to develop those skills.

When you look back on your time in Alpha Zeta, what moments do you tend to remember most?

I remember lots from daily life at AZ. The excitement of taking goal posts down during Pitt, trips to whipples after pinning, pledge class in the basement, living in a dry house and enjoying it, graduation and the realization I made it with prep for the future. In the fourth quartile of my life I remember the brothers, pledges, Susie and Jenny and the welcoming house on the hill next to Rec hall when crossing campus on a cold winter day, God bless our fraternity. I am always proud to be a small part of its history.

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