steven popkes - family tree
Wendy is the smart one of the pair of us. I married a doctor. Dr. Zimmerman has a Masters in Microbiology and a Ph.D. of Biochemistry and Microbiology. She's doing research in the biochemistry of the cell cycle. We also call her the Pastry Queen.
Opal was born on Valentine's day, 1920, in Roswell, NM and grew up in Portales, New Mexico. Her family was poor. There was a continuing discussion between her and Earl as to which of their two families were the most poor. She always won as Dad's family always had water. After being a WAC in World War II, she attended Eastern New Mexico University and studied English which is where she met and married Earl in 1948. She wasn't satisfied being a housewife so over the next several decades she wrote as many as twenty-one novels-- we're still not sure of the numbers. I'm going over her papers. Excerpts of the novels were published as short stories. She died of a stroke in 2003.
Earl was also born poor in 1922, Perry, Missouri. He grew up in a small house heated with wood and without running water, electricity or indoor plumbing. His family farmed about 100 acres. They used horses as tractors were too expensive. The youngest of five children, he graduated high school and worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps before selling pianos in Kansas City and Saint Louis. During World War II, he was drafted. He managed to enlist as a Naval Aviator before he was actually inducted and spent the war flying seaplanes. After the war, he attended Eastern New Mexico University, studying mechanical engineering, where he met and married Opal Rogers. After he graduated, he and Opal moved to California and never looked back. He became an aeronautical engineer and worked in aerospace until 1972. His projects included the Boeing 747, the Saturn V and the AWACS. The bottome fell out of aerospace in 1972 and he moved into hospital engineering and worked at the VA until he retired in the 80's. In 1980, he contractracted pancreatic cancer and survived. He died of heart failure in 2002.