Brilliant men I've known

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Bob Wright

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
6,678
Location
Memphis, TN USA
In my rather lengthy lifetime, I've had the pleasure of knowing two brilliant men. Whether they qualify as genius or not I'll never know. But in my estimation, they were truly brilliant.

One was the head of the engineering department where I worked, and was executive vice president as well. The other was my former brother-in-law. And both men seemed to be diametrically opposite in their backgrounds and education.

Dave was a graduate engineer, a mechanical engineer and a registered professional engineer in most of the states of the United States. He was well educated and refined in his bearing. Born and raised in Indiana, moved to Memphis and worked for many years for a large construction company before joining the firm for which I worked.

Hugh was a millwright by trade. Before the opening days of World War II he was in the Merchant Marine. His ship was torpedoed by the Japanese in the opening days of the war. He survived and reached some remote island in the South Pacific inhabited by primitive peoples. He was there maybe a month before he was to see another white man, a Navy pilot who had been shot down. Both were rescued by a Marine Corps reconnaissance patrol. He later went to work at the Savannah River Bomb Plant near Augusta, Georgia, where atomic bombs were being made.

Both of these men had an analytical approach to any problem, and calmly applied a workable solution, no matter the problem. They went smoothly along the journey of life, met and enjoyed the company of others. They could discuss, intelligently, many topics of religion, philosophy, national affairs, social issues, physical hands-on work. They could solve problems in trigonometry as well as replace a faucet washer. But they both seemed to have such great minds.

So far as I can see, they had one thing in common, they read books. Not paperback mysteries nor westerns, but books of deep thinking about deep thinkers of the past. Dave read out of a desire to learn, to broaden his outlook. Hugh, out having restrict his workaday conversation to
Other than small talk at work. At the bomb plant, no talk was permitted about events or situations at work. This left conversation to either family or ideas. And family soon became saturated and dead-end topics.

It was refreshing to me to see the approach these two men took to solving problems, great or small.

This post was maybe pointless, but just wanted to put it into words.

Bob Wright
 

Montelores

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Messages
1,337
Fascinating descriptions.

Your brief stories compel me to want to know more about them.

Well done.

Thank you.

Monty
 

Jeepnik

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
5,860
Location
On the beach and in the hills
Wouldn’t it have been fun to listen to those two in conversation.

The smartest man I ever met was my uncle. He dropped out if high school to join the Navy in 1937. An ordinary seaman on December 7th he finished the war as a Commander.

After the war most Mustangs were rifted back to enlisted ranks. Although if they stayed and retired they did so at their highest rank. My uncle was rifted but only to full lieutenant.

He was eventually promoted back to Commander during Korea. He spent most of his career teaching at the Naval War College in Monterey California.

One of the quietest men I ever met. When he did speak folks from Admiral down, with any sense, listened.
 

aciera

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 23, 2016
Messages
44
I’ve worked with one and heard the other in lengthy discussions
Bucky Fuller was amazing to listen to.
Got to the point. From the right perspective.

The engineer I worked for had NO ego.
Spoke 7 languages. But couldn’t pronounce Bob……Bub it came out.

Everyone would be working on a project and he would come in and T bone everyone with an answer……..

I was right twice in 8 years…………I miss that old man.

“What is wrong today Bub?”

What was right we didn’t have to work on.

To the OP…….thanks for a good thread.
 

buckaroo

Banned
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
360
Location
U.S.A.
So far as I can see, they had one thing in common, they read books. Not paperback mysteries nor westerns, but books of deep thinking about deep thinkers of the past.

The difference today is most of the books are crap even by so called learner-ed people. Intelligence means nothing without real world experience.
Spread sheets, theories with no real basics and COVID-19 jabs tested on 5 lab rats of which four died and one is now running backwards. And all in only 8 months. :)

Ever volunteer at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, you talk about readers, albeit crap, but never the less readers. Very impressive when you consider most never got to high-school and are certifiable el-loony-tunes.
 

Bob Wright

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
6,678
Location
Memphis, TN USA
As to reading, one of the saddest comments I think I ever heard:

At the stables one morning, one of the wranglers confided in me, "I read a book all the way through once."

Bob Wright
 

KIR

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
631
Brilliant and fascinating to listen to:
Mills Lane, Boxing referee and a judicial judge. I was lucky enough to get his autograph on a boxing card at his office once. He used to come into Harolds Club (Reno) and cash various business checks often. I plan on getting a copy of his autobiography soon. (Let's Get It On.)
Refereed the Holyfield-Tyson match amongst others.
 

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