Randy and Linda Ankrom
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Randall H Ankrom

Randy in about eighth grade. 

Little Randy, the baby son of Freda and Bill Ankrom, was the sweetest, most easy-going little boy you could imagine—a trait he eventually out-grew. His older brother was the family wild child, always playing with fireworks and seeing how fast he could drive Dad’s car on the back country roads. On his first day of high school, an older girl came up to him and said, "Wow, you're Brad Ankrom's brother! I want to go out with you." Since Randy never got a date with her, he figured she pretty quickly figured out that he and Brad weren't anything alike.

Randy was the studious one. He spent a lot of time growing up with his grandfather R. P., working along with him in the house-painting business (an occupation that Randy used to put himself through college twice). Randy was a member of the FFA at Shenandoah High School and had a pet pig named Kate (named for his Aunt Katie who already had had a series of farm animals named for her).

Randy became the first person in his family to graduate from college. He finished with a B. S. in geology from Ohio State University. The summer before senior year he attended geology field camp at Snow College in Utah. He had recently broken up with his girlfriend Sarah. One night in the dorm at Snow College, he said to his roommate, “I think I’ll start something up with Sarah’s roommate when I get back to Columbus.” He and Linda were married two years later. Despite Randy’s vocal declarations that he was never going to have kids, the day after Linda announced she was pregnant with Wendy, he was out buying baby furniture.

Randy never quite quit school. Geology wasn’t a great field to be in during the late 1970s. After an unsuccessful stint selling life insurance, Randy decided to go back to school. He eventually graduated with a B. S. in mechanical engineering from Ohio University. After a lot of interviewing at less-illustrious companies, Randy landed a job at DuPont. His boss later told him, “I wasn’t sure what I thought of you, but I knew Linda Ankrom wouldn’t marry a bum, so I figured what the heck?” This past spring Randy finally completed his masters degree. Now he’s thinking about a PhD—much to Linda’s dismay.

Linda Jeanne Steele Ankrom

Linda was the middle of five daughters of Jeanne and Bill Steele. While her sisters took after their mother, Linda took after her father and was a quiet, studious, bookworm sort. After finishing high school (valedictorian), she decided she wanted to be a math teacher and earned her teaching degree from Ohio State University.

After teaching junior high in Marietta, OH for a few years, she realized she’d made a serious judgment error. With the encouragement of her new husband Randy, she applied to the chemical engineering program at Ohio University. They allowed her to enter as a junior, but after one year and a 4.0, they switched her to the masters program. Linda made history at OU—she became the first person to finish the chemical engineering program with a 4.0 and the first female graduate student to become a mom while there. 

 

Linda (right) with big sister Donna.

Linda tried to continue on for her PhD, but got discouraged when Carnegie Mellon told her flat out they had no room in their program for mothers. Procter and Gamble told her something very similar. DuPont, however, rolled out the red carpet, even encouraging her to talk to employees who were also mothers. A quarter of a century later, Linda is a global technology guardian. She is also the highest ranked woman on the technology ladder within DuPont—in the world. All that and the mother of two: Wendy and Kim.  

Today, Linda and Randy are in the process of restoring their recently purchased house built in 1880. We hope to have some photographs for you soon.

 

Kim and Linda filling the birdfeeders.

It is hard to say where the Ankroms got our love of birds. Perhaps a little from both grandfathers. When Wendy was a very small girl, her Aunt Sue and Uncle Brad wanted to know what she wanted for Christmas. They were a little surprised to learn that the only thing on her list was a birdfeeder. 

For several years when Wendy was in Middle School and High School, the entire Ankrom Family were involved in Civil War Re-enacting (another of Wendy's projects). Randy ended up the president of their unit, which meant he got a lot of the headaches of organizing the annual Blennerhassett Island reenactment they sponsored. This photograph appeared in the Marietta Times as publicity for the event. Wendy made both hers and Kim's dresses.