Claire’s son had been involved through out his middle school years in the boy scouts. His troop was known for many fine things including their great overnight trips and adventures. The troop was also known for their amazing annual Christmas party which was hosted by a married couple who were also troop adult volunteers. Every December, this husband and wife offered an extravagant party complete with soda fountains, ice-cream cones, and jukebox games and this was all done as their generous way to support the troop. Claire would have recognized those leaders had she bumped into them somewhere. After all, she had dropped her son off at the weekly meetings many times, but she had not stayed to attend those meetings and didn’t really know this couple or the other scout parents. This was because Claire had been happy when her ex-husband agreed to take the lead on being with their son at the boy scout meetings and overnights. It gave Claire a moment of time every week to re-gather from her busy single working mom life. Actually, she usually spent the time on those Tuesday evenings doing grocery shopping. This was also a special time for her son to share with his father.
Well, it was December 2003, and the annual Christmas party was almost here and it was the big buzz in the boy scout troop. Claire’s ex-husband called to say that he had a conflict the evening of the party. He could drop their son off at the party house, but could not stay. No problem, in fact, Claire was really quite curious about seeing this party for herself. She was always socially at ease and wanted to put names to some of the faces she had heard about during the year. This would be fun.
Claire put on a rather nice outfit and checked her clock for the time and then she checked the address as she prepared to leave from her home. Her plan was to find the home and then rendezvous inside with her son at the party. Her ex had already explained that he would just be dropping their son off at the party home. Claire did not want to be late, but she also did not want to be one of the first guests to arrive. She purposely left about 15 minutes past the time she normally would have allowed. She drove to the correct neighborhood and instantly spotted a house surrounded by many cars with all the Christmas lights beaming from the yard and the inside the home illuminated through every window.
Claire walked up the sidewalk to the entry and found the door open. She entered. “What the heck?” Claire said to herself when she entered the home. “Ding-dong. This place is over-the-top,” she continued talking silently to herself. “Oh man, this is amazing.” The furniture and artwork were almost jaw dropping.
Almost immediately, she was welcomed by a uniformed waiter providing formal butler style tray service with a full variety of canapes. But, it seemed that there were no children at the party. “Now, that’s a bit odd,” she thought. She asked one of the couples sitting there where the children all were. “Oh, on the lower level with planned supervision provided” they informed her. “They have their own special foods downstairs too.”
“WHAT?” the next thing Claire noticed was a full open bar with an obviously experienced and uniformed bartender. No wonder everyone had exclaimed about this annual event. When she approached the bar, she noticed that the liquor choices were all top shelf. She ordered a Manhattan with extra cherries. What a treat!
Claire made her way over to a sofa where some other folks were laughing and enjoying the evening. A grand piano was in the room and soon, an accomplished pianist arrived to play Christmas carols softly in the background.
Claire was determined to give the boy scout meetings more attention in her future! No wonder her ex was always so willing to be a part of this organization.
Eventually, Claire wanted to check on her son. She made her way to the lower level of the home. The basement, like the rest of the house was all decked out and even had a full movie theater set-up. But, the children were not the right age. They were much younger.
“Something is not right,” she thought. Claire went back upstairs. She made her way over to a friendly looking woman and asked, “Where are the boy scouts? I went down stairs, but I could not find them.” The woman looked at her as if she had said something ridiculously funny. “The what?” the woman finally replied. Claire raised her voice over the din of the many on-going conversations. “I’m looking for my son, he is in the troop.”
“I’m sorry,” the lady started out saying “I don’t really know what you are saying, what troop?”
“The boy scout troop, of course.” Claire now looked at the woman as if she was ridiculous. “After all, this is the boy scout holiday party!” Claire said.
The woman now seemed nervous, “This is the party for all those who donated to the local art center.”
Claire’s response…What was Claire’s response. The room was tilting. What was her response…Fear? Embarrassment? Self-recrimination? No time to think about anything. Claire’s response would be the simple flight mechanism.
She ran out of there and fast!
A complete fear that she had made some horrible wrong problem with the address entered her mind. Her hands were shaking as she opened her purse and pulled out her hand-written note with the address printed on it. The street name was correct. “Oh NO…the house numbers were different.” “Is that why there were so many cars on the street?”
With total stealth like moves Claire walked across the street and opened the door to the correct house.
“Your son was starting to get worried about you,” a kind woman said upon seeing Claire. “I hope everything is OK?” the woman continued.
Claire looked around the house. It was nice too. There were several open pizza boxes on the counter along with a selection of bottled waters and soda pops. No canapes. No open bar, just the happy noises of middle school boys coming up from the lower level.
Claire’s response? “Well, it will be my little secret” she told herself. Never will this be spoken of, she thought.
Claire then sat down at the Boy Scout party holding her water bottle and chatted with the other parents. It was perfect. Her son came through the room and gave her a high five before running off to be with his friends again. The evening was saved.
P.S. Claire spent some time in January deciding if she could be a donor to the local art center…after all, she didn’t want to miss that event in her future!
Dr. Hess was born i n New Jersey in 1924 and moved with his father, mother and brother to the family homestead in Berrien County, Michigan in 1930. The homestead was purchased from the local Indian tribes in the early 1800’s and then registered with the Michigan Territorial Government. He attended a rural , 2-room school for his first 8 grades and graduated from Benton Harbor High School i n 1942.
While in High School, Dr. Hess enlisted in the U. S. Navy’s officer training program, V-12. Assigned to the University of Michigan, he received two B.S.E. degrees from the Engineering College in 1945 and was assigned to the Midshipman program at Columbia
University. He was commissioned as Ensign in October 1945 and married his fiance, Gretchen Lois Ream, in Bethlehem Church, Ann Arbor in December 1945. He served as junior division officer, main engines division , on a heavy cruiser at sea and later as division officer on a pair of light escort carriers. Upon release from active World War II service he returned to Ann Arbor, the home of his wife.
Subsequently he was hired by the Dean of the Engineering College at Michigan as a full time Instructor and asked to undertake a research project which became the basis of his Doctoral Thesis. “The Dynamics o f Ship’s Structures, including Shear Deformations”.
This work became the first major engineering work to be programmed for the ENIAC, (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer was the world’s first general-purpose computer. ENIAC was designed and built for the United States Army to calculate artillery firing tables.) that being done by the David Taylor Model Basin, Dept. of the Navy, Washington D.C. During the three years of full time teaching as an Instructor , he served in the U.S. Naval Ready Reserve and spent his training periods at the Model Basin. He was honored by being requested to provide 40 hours of lectures at the Model Basin on advanced mathematics and dynamics for the scientific staff of the U.S. Navy when he was 24 years old.
Hess was recruited by the Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) and joined BTL, upon completion of his doctorate, as a Member of the Technical Staff in the fall of 1949, being assigned to a ‘heavy-tube’ Development Group. The many research projects he led there included the development o f the pilot line for the production of both the material for and the devices known as ‘point-contact’ , type A transistors. This was before the courts ordered BTL to place the technology on the market and was thus a unique endeavor for Dr. Hess upon which several of the newly licensed companies partly based their developments. It was typical of him to have the breadth of both interest and scientific knowledge that brought him such a coveted assignment and also success in it. He developed new techniques of crystal growing and zone-purifying as well as a novel method of doping the contact area using microwave techniques to create photo – sensitive transistors.
In his third year at BTL, the Dean of Engineering at Michigan called him with an unsolicited invitation to return to the U. of M. as an Assistant Professor, of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and to also take on a Phoenix Project dealing with the atomic structure of glass and ceramics. In 1955 he was
promoted to Associate Professor of Engineering Mechanics. He undertook the reactivation of the Engineering Mechanics Department’s Photo-Elasticity Lab. and generated a course for it as well as teaching in the areas of elasticity and dynamics.
In 1957, the University’s Vice President and Dean of Faculties asked Prof. Hess to join an elite committee of engineers and scientists to oversee the work of the Willow Run Laboratories f o r the Department of the Army. In 1958 Hess was requested to take leave of his teaching and consulting practice and join a management team to direct the Willow Run Laboratories . Hess was given the assignment of Technical Director o f Project Michigan, a multi-million dollar a year program , as well as Assistant Directorship of Willow Run Laboratories. He also became the Head of the Applied Research Group of the Labs, which at that time had just demonstrated the MASER and a year later the demonstration of the Ruby LASER. Hess was instrumental in extending optical data processing to the field of automatic photo interpretation. This was of special importance since the surveillance devices developed by Project Michigan were then beginning to assume the prime role of the national satellite surveillance system. In 1958, he was promoted to a full professorship, a promotion which was said to make Hess the youngest full professor in the college’s history at that time.
Prof. Hess had a keen ability to manage multiple teams of researchers on topics varying from information processing, semiconductor development, infrared scanning and synthetic antenna radar. He was able to apply his knowledge of basic physics and
mathematics to these subjects both as a member of the research teams and also represented them to general officers representing the U. S. Army, and, upon the creation of a Department of Defense to the scientific part of that community. In his unique fashion and with unusual modesty, his term of management, which after three years included the project directorship as well as its technical direction, Hess always put his staff in the foreground and sacrificed personal fame in the process. Upon his decision to return to teaching, the Department of the Army awarded Prof. Hess with THE OUTSTANDING
CIVILIAN SERVICE AWARD and MEDAL the inscription of which read in part ‘”Hess succeeded in establishing and maintaining the University of Michigan as the leading free world authority in surveillance technology. His own proven scientific talent and professional imagination contributed additionally to the accomplishments of a
broad team of scientists and technicians. The rare combination of skill , foresight and devotion to country…”
During 1964 and 1965, Hess also served as the personal representative of the U.S. Army’s Assist. Chief of Staff for Intelligence and led teams of scientists through a comprehensive field review of the Army’s Combat Surveillance capabilities both in Europe and in Korea.
In 1965 Hess left the Project Michigan assignment and returned to full-time teaching.
President Hatcher offered Hess the challenge of using a $10 million gift from the automobile industry to create the Highway Safety Research Institute. This was a special honor as that gift was reported to have been the largest gift in the University’s history at that time. Hess was able to devote his attention to building the staff and its research programs and also to continue teaching which was his first love. With the cooperation of dozens of the University’s top faculty, Hess was able in a few years to build a facility, hire internationally known figures and to create a program of research spanning fields from Law to Medicine and from Engineering to Psychology. His untiring drive established the Institute as the world premiere institution of its kind and brought not only many millions of research dollars for the support of researchers, faculty, and graduate students but also enhanced the reputation of the University of Michigan. During his tenure at
H.S.R.I., Hess served as a consultant to the Army’ Science Board where he both chaired and participated in the study of many of the nation’s outstanding technical problems and challenges.
Professor Hess personally undertook major research studies while teaching a nearly full load and directing the H.S.R.I. These included a complete review of the research in the scientific, engineering and medical communities of the experimentation protocols in the
area of blunt trauma to the human head and blunt trauma to the thorax. In each case an annotated history of the development and use of the knowledge in research and regulation was made as well as recommendations for future research in the fields. The second area of these studies was selected for publication in the S.A.E. transactions.
Hess also served his university by membership on President Nixon’s Highway Safety Advisory Committee and through several overseas assignments as a Consultant to the World Health Organization. He served his church, Bethlehem United Church of Christ in several capacities including two terms as President. He also was Chairman of the Building Committee which brought about a remodeling of the sanctuary and the addition of a major office / educational wing in 1966.
Prof. Hess resigned his position as Director of U.M.T.R.I., (the successor to H.S.R.I.) and returned to a full time faculty teaching role i n 1984. He founded a computer software company, HCCI, which dealt in the forensic engineering specialty software for an international audience in the forensic engineering area. He undertook the teaching of the senior level Control Systems course with vigor and provided new leadership in its laboratory and course work with several software packages that he wrote to enhance the depth and breath of the educational experience of the students. These include programs dealing with Fourier techniques, general integration methods, data plotting, frequency analysis, root locus, Nyquist techniques, Myklestad and Holzer techniques, matrix interaction techniques, eigenvalue/eigenvector techniques and many others. He also served as the Mechanical Engineering Program Advisor for over 600 students and wrote degree-audit software packages used by the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics department. The implementation of modern techniques allowed Professor Hess, as the Advisor, to take a proactive rather than a reactive role in counseling.
Professor Hess’s academic and s service accomplishments were outstanding. The respect that he gained from his peers is only reflective of the credit he had given to them over a total of 37 years of devoted service to the University. In the Pentagon, corporate offices, the classroom and laboratory he represented the best the University of Michigan could offer its students and country.
In addition to many academic and service honors Dr. Hess i s also recognized by a bronze bust in the lobby of the Institute he founded. He retired from the University in 1991.
Professor Emeritus, Robert L. Hess, PhD of Ann Arbor died peacefully on May 19, 2017. His wife, Gretchen Ream Hess, proceeded him in death on November 1, 2006. Dr. Hess is survived by his three daughters, Mary Ann (Tim) Whitmer, Linda Claire Groshans and Kathryn Sue (Chris) Barnes. His six grandchildren are Amy (Drew) Wiesner, Michael Groshans, Kristina and Charles Whitmer, Blake and Kevin Barnes, as well as his great grandson, EJ Wiesner.
Dr. Hess was born in New Jersey on September 29,1924 and moved to the family homestead in Berrien County Michigan in 1930. There he attended a rural, 2 room school for his first 8 grades and graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1942.
Dr. Hess enlisted in the U.S. Navy’s V-12 officer training program. Assigned to the University of Michigan, he received two B.S.E. degrees in 1945 and was assigned to the Midshipman program at Columbia University. He was commissioned as Ensign in October 1945 and married his fiance, Gretchen Ream, in Bethlehem Church, Ann Arbor in December 1945. He served on a heavy cruiser at sea and later as division officer on a pair of light escort carriers. Upon release from active World War II service he returned to Ann Arbor, the home of his wife where, in 1958 he was appointed to a full professorship.
Dr. Hess’ academic and service accomplishments were outstanding. The respect that he gained from his peers is only reflective of the credit he had given to them during his devoted service. He held many academic honors and served the nation as a consultant to the World Health Organization, to the Army Science Board and served as the personal representative to the Chief of U.S. Army Intelligence where he led teams of scientists though field reviews of Army’s Combat Surveillance capabilities both in Europe and in Korea. In addition he was selected to be a member of President Nixon’s first National Highway Safety Advisory Committee. He served with distinction at the University of Michigan where he is honored by a bronze bust in the lobby of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Institute, of which he was the founding director in 1965. In the Pentagon, corporate offices, the classrooms and laboratory he represented the best to his students, peers, academic associates and to his country. The Department of the Army awarded him the Outstanding Civilian Service award and medal.
When Louis Christian Groshans was born on October 5, 1872, his father, Gottfried, was 24 and his mother, Salome, was 22. (Note: some of our family hand-written notes say his mother’s name was Selma)
Louis married Elizabeth Clair Auguste “Elise” Bosse on April 23, 1915, in North Dakota. They had six children in 13 years. He died on July 9, 1944, in Toledo, Ohio, at the age of 71, and was buried in Burlington, North Dakota.
Louis may have immigrated to the United States in 1881. The information on his immigration date is from the 1900 US census.
Louis was a coal miner. He was deafened by a coal accident at the age of 15. Louis was also a auto garage manager according to our family stories. As you can see by one of these stories below, he had another accident in the auto garage.
This news article shows that he might have been involved in the construction of an electrical power plant.
Louis died in the mid 1940’s from being hit by a car. Our notes say this happened in Cincinnati, OH.
Here is how we relate:
Spend time with me everyday
I am growing up so fast
Too soon my childhood will have passed
Hold on to me
Hold on to these moments while you may
Spend time with me everyday
Swing me high…touch the sky…see me almost learn to fly
Love me…Laugh with me…But please no more tickle me
Hold on to the little moments…Pull me on your knee
Tell me a story…read me a book
Hold the pictures down low, so I can get a better look
Childhood will pass
I’m growing up so fast
Spend time with me Every day
Claire looked at her calendar and smiled to think that tomorrow, February 14, 2025 would be the first anniversary of her successful marriage to Henry.
Claire had been divorced from her 1st husband for nearly 30 years when she had been introduced to Henry. That first meeting was memorable. They were both head over heels for each other. Henry had never been married and had no children. And, Henry was much younger than Claire. What they had was a remarkable December/May romance. The age difference was of no concern to Henry. He was devoted to Claire in a way that no other had ever been.
Henry was also a very beautiful man. A very striking tall, lanky, man with piercing blue eyes. He was a smart dresser and a very tidy guy.
People might have talked more about the big age difference and they might have gossiped more about Claire’s rush into the marriage in her 70th year of life, but as the first year of their marriage was closing, no one could find fault in Claire and Henry’s choice to be a couple. Besides, their friends loved being with them to share dinner, wine and witty conversations.
Claire did not care much for cooking, but Henry planned the meals with attention to Claire’s health needs and everyone always complimented him on the tasty elaborate dinner parties they hosted.
Their marriage was remarkable and happy. Henry devoted himself to Claire. In fact, Henry was good at anticipating Claire’s every need. Every day, he wanted to know if there was any item at all that she would like to add to the “honey-do” fix it list. Even when Claire suggested that the bathtub could be polished and the spice cupboard organized, Henry obliged with a smile while doing expert work.
Claire was obsessed with watching old WWII movies. No problem. Henry started spending quite a bit of time researching more series and films that might interest her. He never once asked to watch a football game, or any other sports show.
Claire’s friend Vicky had called just a couple of days ago and told her that Henry was a “dreamboat.” “Yes”, Claire had replied, “he is the man of my dreams. And, it is funny that you should call him a dreamboat, because I have planned a luxury cruise for our anniversary. We will be leaving soon for the month.”
Vicky asked if they were packed yet. Claire laughed and said, “Vicky, Henry packed everything and it is completely organized. I don’t think he missed a thing. He even fit my pillow into the suitcase because he knows how much I like it.”
“Are you worried about anything going on a cruise for that long?” Vicky asked Claire.
Claire’s face saddened, and even though she did not tell Vicky her thoughts, there was something very concerning to Claire about the cruise and the fact that they would be porting in foreign locations.
You see, Claire was the only one of her entire group of acquaintances that knew that Henry was a bot. Yes, a robot. She just hoped that there would be no issues bringing Henry with her without him having a citizenship certificate. She just hoped that his manufacturing certificate and her purchase receipt for him would suffice. After all, she thought, we never really know if other couples on board will both be human and who are we to judge.