Monday, April 23, 2007

Died in the saddle

Chauncey Starr died last week at the age of 95. He was a nuclear energy consultant. He had worked with Robert Oppenheimer during WWII on the Manhattan Project. He was a pioneer in the field of risk assessment. At the age of 95 he was still working six days a week. His heart stopped beating during his morning nap before he went in to the office.

You can read a fuller obituary and description of his life here.

I am convinced that what enabled him to live such a long life was he had a passion and he remained engaged and productive.

In my time in the corporate world I have known several individuals who were looking forward to retiring and playing golf and lounging about. They died within a year of retirement. I believe their early demise was due to a feeling of purposelessness.

One of the fabrication shops I do business with is run by a father and his two sons. The sons are in their forties and the father is in his late seventies. The father is no figurehead. He handles customer relations and technical problems while the sons do the day to day management. By remaining active, I believe, he has prolonged his life and his health.

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