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
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
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.