Probably the most important partnership in Dave’s life has been with his wife of almost 45 years, Linda. “Her long term dedication and support is the reason for my enjoyable career, he says. Linda helped fund his graduate degrees, knows how to launch balloons, and has been a team member on field projects. Her first severe storm mission was to hold a radiosonde in the field until it could be tracked – but lightning was striking too close and the mission was aborted. Dave and Linda are hoping to travel more, with trips to Seattle, a Danube River cruise, and possibly Egypt being planned.
Dave is just as passionate about his family as he is about launching balloons into storms. Their two kids are grown up, but both are in the Oklahoma City area. “He always had his hand in their activities.” His two grandsons live close by, and Dave likes to go camping with them and help them with their Cub Scout projects. Retirement will give him more time to spend with them.
Linda tells a story about how she met a young man who was bagging her groceries at the grocery store. As he carried the bags to her car, his eyes eagerly scanned the sky as he said, “thunderstorms this afternoon!” Linda had heard that excited tone before and said, “You need to talk to my husband,” as she gave him Dave’s business card. The grocery bagger did talk to Dave, and ended up being one of the many graduate students Dave has mentored. Those he couldn’t guide in person, he did either through decades of teaching or through his graduate level textbook written with Don MacGorman, “The Electrical Nature of Storms.” A review by a colleague says, “The book is clearly the best compilation of material on storm electricity that exists today.”
Both Dave and Linda are grateful for the wonderful group of people at NSSL and the opportunities he has been given. Dave has a message for his colleagues: “I really appreciate the help and collaboration of the staff at NSSL over three decades. Whatever success I’ve had professionally has been in large part the result of collaborations with, and a tremendous amount of help from, NSSL people.”