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Tucson Chapter History

Chapter History Member Profiles Past President Interviews

Attention Past Presidents!

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Past President Interview from 1986


MP3 Audio File [2.28 MB]


Past President Interview from 1984


MP3 Audio File [3.97 MB]



Good morning, men, now are you today?


Let's see how this comes out, I have to set the volume and say something. "How many kids are coming, did you say?" - I think I'll have 25 total."


This is a meeting of a group of ASHRAE people put together to try to give us a history of the Tucson Chapter proceedings from its inception up to the present time. This is the date of November 20, 1984. Present at this discussion are Ben Dehlinger (?), Jim Blackmore, Dick Palmer, and Tommy Thomson. Our first one to talk about this history will be Jim Blackmore. If you would tell us something about what went on in the beginnings.


"I guess it really started as far as I was concerned when the existing national president at that time was John James who was with McDonald Miller Company and he was down here to get the Albuquerque Chapter started, I think. No, the El Paso Chapter started and he came here to Visit with me because I represented McDonald Miller at that time and we drove over to El Paso and he set that chapter up and during our discussions that weekend he suggested we should have a chapter here at that time. Phoenix already had a chapter. We thought about it and talked about it a lot and I didn't think we could get enough members.


I can't remember. I was already a member of the Phoenix Chapter. In fact, I was a charter member of the Phoenix Chapter and because I was travel ing I would stay and ? We decided to have a get-together here with a bunch of the fellows and see what the possibilities might be and we invited Jim Hoglan to come down from Phoenix because he had been president of the Phoenix Chapter and we met somewhere at the University. I think there were about 30 or 40 of us got together and talked about it and decided we would try to do something about it so we got a hold of I think tine national president at that time was Art Hess of Los Angeles and we talked to him about it and we learned that if we had enough people and so on we could form a chapter. It so happened that Art Hess was president of the American Society of Heating and ventilating Engineers and had been the president of the Society of Refrigeration Engineers and I think he was instrumental in getting tine two societies to merge and they did that at just about that time. When we started our chapter we had a terrible time with the New York office because nobody Knew who was going to do what with these two societies merging. It was a frustra tion the whole year because a lot of the things were not decided until the end of the year and really I remember that part of it more than anything else. Dick Palmer was involved in these early discussions and we're going to have some remarks from him now. Go ahead, Dick.


Some of my recollection is that we went to this person. Jim and I had been up to Phoenix a couple of times for ASHRAE meetings. In fact, one of the first times we went to Phoenix he drove me up there to an ASHRAE meeting, and then we had this class, maybe you remember the name? It was Jergerson? Jordan. Mrs. Jordan. ? There was a group of us that got together for a class in parts ? design and we weren't doing what we wanted and there was a drafting course and again we were sitting around talking, you and I were talking, and said, "Let's do something about starting an ASHRAE Chapter." So Jim took the initiative and I remember we had lunch to see whether it was feasible and I remember Jim was there and Jack Ball and Glen Allen and it seems to me there were a couple of others that were actually already members of ASHRAE. ? ? ? the fellow that worked out at Hughes was a member of ASHRAE. I can't think of his name. There were five or six or us that were there. We had lunch and we said, "Yes, it's feasible but let's have a bigger meeting." So we each took a group of names, I think we took out of the phone book of all the people who might be eligible group for membership in ASHRAE and ? a fellow at the University. I can't remember his name, either. was it Dr. Sutton? Yes. Dr. Sutton I think was with us. Dr. Sutton was with the Mechanical Department, a part of the Engineering Department at the University of Arizona and we had the first big meeting up there and Jim Koplin from Phoenix came down to join us and gave us some in structions in what to do and how to get going and that's when Jim mentioned ? ;? and we had about 30 or 40 people there, and we had the classroom filled. Yes. Jim ? talked to us about what ASHRAE was and what he could do for us and why we should have a chapter and at that time Jim mentioned Jim Koplin said that one of the first things we ought to do is to collect money. ? He suggested we all throw in a buck. so we passed the hat and everybody threw in a buck and that was our first treasury. And generally Jim was elected as being our chairman or presi dent because it was time to get things organized ? and Jim Blackmore ? ? and I don't know if Jack Ba11 was Vice President and I know they had me for well, I held the money. I watched the money. ? I can't remember how much money we collected but I know the last cent went out the day we were chartered as an ASHRAE group. We spent all the money that we collected. Maybe it was about twenty bucks or thirty dollars. We spent it all, but from that grouping we did get the first, what was it, 25 or 30 members, a goodly number and our first official meeting I think was at the Redwood. I think that's where we met. We elected a few people at the classroom at the University and then those people sort of ran it until we got the whole organization going. We only had a few of the officers who were local at that time because it was really a temporary type setup until we could get started and get organized and I think Jack Ball was in on it and maybe Lin Nell and Jack Blackmore was chairman and 1 know I was treasurer because I kept track of the money and I had a little note pad where I kept track of it and Sutton was I think involved in it because he was offering the classroom spaces. Yep. And then we had two or three meetings before we were chartered. One reason Dr. Sutton was involved with it was that he was teaching air conditioning courses at the University at that time and he was also a member or ASHRAE' prior to the starting of our local chapter.


The first meeting we had as a group started in '58 - did you ? The winter of '58. Go ahead. Well, that's what I said before that but at the meeting we had ? Dick had a little better information than that and we got together what we had. The meeting was probably in May or June and we had a meeting every month right through but we never got our charter until the following May 1st. Just a recap of the sort of things we've been talking about as far as dates go. My best recollection is that the classes that we are talking about in plate ? design started sometime in September. It was September 1958 that we had our first informal meeting in November of '58 and I think it was sometime in January of 1959 that we had the group at the University where we had 30 or 40 people and shortly after that in about March we started meeting with the group regardless of whether we had the acceptance of ASHRAE or not and the first meeting might have been in March of 1959 with the first official A5HRAE election and new officers taking over in July of 1959. Counting the meetings we had ? chapter I think I recall that the first year officers served ? to start with for about 16 units right straight through the summer and they were at our formal meeting set up would you say July.? Yes, I think it was the first time that we had our full slate of officers as listed in our early program and our roster.


Jim, we skipped a few things here but wasn't your father a part of ASHRAE or a preceding organization of ASHRAE? ? SHED? Well, in 1945? my understanding is that 75 people in industry got together in New York City and formed a group known as American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers. My dad and two of his brothers were three of that original 75. In fact, one of his brothers was the first paid secretary of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers and I saw his name in one of the old guides some years ago as the secre tary, J. J. Blackmore. My whole family has been associated with it all those years and dad moved from New York to Pittsburgh and was not very active because the Chapters were slow in getting started but it seems to me that's quite a thing because the present membership with tee merger of the two societies is 790,.28, 29 ? So, it's gotten to be a ? society.


At those first meetings everybody was frustrated because we were sending out invitations for members and we didn't get anything back from New York and it was a constant ? because of the fact that the two societies were trying to get organized in New York and nobody knew who was doing what and so those are the things that I remember most from the early years of our own chapter.


Didn't we have a social someplace that year? I imagine we did. Didn't we run out to that ranch on Sabino Canyon Road or out in that area someplace? We might have done that, yes. I think the first one was out there when we had it we went swimming. Could have been. But I don't remember when that started. Do you remember John O'Hair started some game when we all dived in the pool and looked for a little piece of stick and never found the stick ? and left it in for the divers in the next year? I think that was out there the first year but I know the second year K. C. Jones was in charge of the social and that was in my year and that's the year we went out to Vail. They had a big lake out there and the lodge up on the little slope, and all the trees. We started about noon or 1:00 and we had half of the Phoenix ASHRAE people down and our own and we must have had 125 people out there and they tried to do water skiing on a little lake and K. C. wanted to water ski but they couldn't get him up. They couldn't get the boat going fast enough and K. C. couldn't get off the ground and that went on until the wee hours of the morning and I remember John O'Hair and his wife sitting up in the tree.


After my time in office Dick Palmer was elected as our second president and in turning over the gavel to Dick we learned a few things about the gavel. One thing that I remember is that the gavel was presented to us by the Rhode Island Chapter. At that time it was the policy that the last Chapter would present the gavel to the next new chapter and the easterners have got to know how to spell Tucson because they kept getting the "S" backwards and I think whoever presented it to them - was that ?? that year. Yeah, ? set aside. Well, he brought the gavel and some of the other paraphernalia to us. I don1t remember what all of it was but I remember the gavel. And we had to present the gavel then a year or so later to, I can't remember who we presented it to, someone in Minnesota, I think. But to the best of my memory is the party we had. The social was one of the big events of the year and then we turned over the gavel to Don Shipley for his next and the very successful year that Don had.

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