Class of 46

Jack and Lorraine (Perington) McDowell

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Jack and Lorraine

Jack and Lorraine's Life Story

Lorraine was born in Waukegan Illinois and spent most of her life in the Zion Winthrop Harbor area. Lorraine went to the Zion Christian Catholic school,now C.C.C, through fifth grade and then to Elmwood. Jack (birth certificate John) was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, living in Zion the first 4 years of my life. Grade school and junior high school were attended in the Kenosha school system. We moved back to Zion in 1941 where I made many new friends at ZBTHS.

After graduating from ZBTHS, I joined the Navy. After successfully passing the Eddy test ,only requiring a two year enlistment, which entitled me to a 44 week course in aviation electronics. The electronics schooling was in Corpus Christi, Texas, classes began in Dec.1946, graduation was in Feb. 1948. Spent the remaining 8 months in Key West, Florida at a Navy Air base called Boca Chica Bay, maintaining electrical equipment on Navy aircraft. Was discharge in August 1948, started College in August 1948 as an Electrical Engineering major at Valparaiso University.

While at Valpo Univ. during the Christmas 1950 vacation break, while in my junior year, Lorraine and I were married in the Zion chapel by Overseer Lee. Lorraine became a part of the Valpo engineering department. The Dean of engineering needed a secretary and Lorraine was hired immediately by Doctor Herman C.Hesse, becoming a part of the faculity, allowing her access to all school activities. We both enjoyed the daily chapel services and all other on campus activities together while in college.

I received my B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a major in Math in June of 1952. Worked for Fansteel in North Chicago developing tantalum capacitors for 6 months, decided my future was in TV and electronics and was hired at Warwick Electronics in Zion where I worked for 19 years. Became Production Engeering Manager, responsible for all test procedures and electronic equipment at the plant. The plant was closed in 1970 because of foreign competition. After the plant closing at Zion, I was hired by General Motors- Electromotive Division in LaGrange, Ill. as a Senior Project Design Engineer in the electrical control department. My projects were varied involving export diesel electrical design control systems for many foreign countries. After about 10 years my duties and assignment became more involved with Electric locomotives uses on the Northeast corridor Amtrak system between Washington D.C and Boston. Helped develop the head end power system for the 480 volt system between cars for heat and air conditioning. Worked with Asea from Sweden, they were our licensee for many of their power information development circuits.

G.M was awarded a contract to build electric locomotives for South Africa to be built at our plant in Port Elizabeth. On one of my assignment of 6 weeks I was able to take Lorraine along to keep up my morale, this was in 1985. After 1986 the assemble plants building locomotives and Opel cars in South Africa were shut down because of the apartheid system. We were able to see so much of this beautiful country while on my job assignments.

Retired from Gen. Motors in 1987 after almost 18 years of service.The only regret of this job was the long commute, a 50.3 miles one way trip every day, our roots are really deep.

We have two children, Dennis and Lynette, 6 grand children. Our daughter lives in Kenosha,Wisc., and our son, a dentist, lives and has his pactice in Crystal Lake, Ill.

After retiring from G.M. and wanting to stay partially busy I signed up to take the tax course at H&R block. They hired me after the 3 month course. The first year I was able to prepare 186 returns, not a part time job as I requested. Was glad to see April 15th arrive, as my employment was terminated. Completed the intermediate tax course the following year and graduated, but didn’t want a full time job.

My hobbies are gardening , golf , square dancing and line dancing. We square danced for 10 years and line danced for 7 years. After my heart valve replacement and stroke in 1999 only the dancing has been reduced.

Lorraine during our children’s college years worked for the Aesthetic Dental Lab in Waukegan, Ill. as office manager, working with most of the dentists in our area scheduling, crowns, bridges and dental necessities.

We have both been blessed with a good Christian education and a compatible life together.

Jack  and Lorraine McDowell

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This page revised 3 December  2000