People and Places
Steers, Ketchum Tackling Retirement
By Sarah Merlin
X-Press Assistant Editor
With the passage of time, the face of the Dryden family continues to evolve as long-time members head out for retirement and a fresh crop of summer interns arrives to get a first look at the possibility of a career at the Center.
Among retirements celebrated in 2004 were those of Lou Steers and Ida Ketchum, 38- and 34-year Dryden veterans, respectively.
Steers came to Dryden as a co-op student on Sept. 11, 1966. Prior to his Jan. 31 retirement, he worked as a project manager in the Aerospace Projects office for many years. His last appointment was as deputy associate director for management.
Since leaving the Center, Steers has been busy with charity work, serving as a lay chaplain at area hospitals. A member of Grace Chapel, Lancaster, Steers said that after retiring, "God really opened doors for me."
"I've been very blessed," he said, through his hospital and church activities.
Steers also enjoyed a trip to Europe in April with daughter Andrea and granddaughter Kaitlyn. The trio visited relatives in Holland on a tour that also took them to Austria and Germany. And though he says he misses former Dryden colleagues, Steers was quick to say that he does not miss the daily commute.
Ketchum's first assignment as a federal employee was a temporary one at Edwards Air Force Base. She joined the Dryden family March 1, 1970, as a temporary clerk-typist and was subsequently offered a permanent position. The duration of her career was spent in Dryden's Financial Management office, with her last assignment being that of operating accountant and team leader for the Funds Control, Reports and General Accounting team.
Ketchum wasted no time making up for long years spent toiling at her desk, heading for Disneyland the day after her retirement party. Since her last day at work, she has visited the Center often - like Steers, she says "I really miss everybody" - but trips with family around the country have kept her and husband Dick, who retired from his own career as an Air Force civilian employee at Edwards the same day Ida did, on the move. The two will be in Georgia this summer.
Along with reading, needlepoint and family trips, the Ohio native says she looks forward to tackling the project of organizing materials she gathered during her Dryden tenure for donation to the Center History office.
" I saw the Shuttle, knew a lot about it before it flew," she said. "After being (at Dryden) so long I've got a lot of perspective about the work here and want to pass that along."