Songbird Story Profile: Ed, the Apollo engineer

One of the joys of working with older adults as we help them downsize and move is learning about their diverse experiences, accomplishments, and cherished memories. 

From war heroes, bestselling authors and trailblazing attorneys to community leaders, composers and accomplished artists, we’ve met some amazing humans over the past seven years. 

It’s a privilege to take in their wisdom, witness their resilience and celebrate their many accomplishments from a life well lived in their new downsized home. We’re honored to share a few of their personal stories and perspectives on downsizing–and life–in this space. 

Stories like Ed’s.  

When we first met Ed, he was no stranger to downsizing. He had previously downsized from a large primary home and a Rhode Island summer house into a 2 bedroom condo in Newark in 2008.


After his beloved wife passed away and he lived alone for a decade, Ed decided to make the move to an independent living apartment at Otterbein, partly because, as he explained, “I got sick of being alone and doing my own cooking.” 

While carefully packing up some of Ed’s artwork and wall hangings to move to Otterbein, our team learned some fascinating details about his life, like the fact he was a veteran, worked on NASA’s Apollo program, and holds several patents. 

Eager to learn more, we asked Ed to sit down for an interview for a Songbird Story so we could share more about his fascinating life and career in addition to his downsizing experience. 

"I was drafted in '48. I deferred 2 years to finish college. Then, with a diploma in one hand and the draft notice in other, I spent 18 months in Korea. It was near the end of the conflict. I was in the infantry and we served as the first line of defense.” 

After the war, Ed started his long career at Owens Corning. One of his projects involved working with NASA’s Apollo program and creating materials that wouldn’t be flammable in that unique oxygen environment.


This work took him across the country improving the manufacturing process of glass fiber textiles. It also led to improvements in the weaving and processing of yarns used in commercial applications as well as consumer products such as nonflammable drapery fabric (pre-dacron and polyester).  

Ed eventually transferred to the Owens Corning Tech Center in Granville in 1972, where he worked until he retired at the age of 55.

“I maximized the retirement package they offered," he shared. "I was going to get another job, but I got too busy with volunteer work.” 


This volunteer work involved establishing the  Food Pantry Network of Licking County, serving as the President of Licking County Council of Boy Scouts, working with United Way and serving as a leader of the SCORE Network for more than 30 years where he advised hundreds of small business owners.  

His volunteer work continues today. As an Otterbein Granville resident, Ed serves on the community's Green Committee and is actively working to promote green energy and waste reduction at Otterbein. 


Moved from: 2 bedroom, 2 bath, condominium with a full basement 

Moved to: 1 bedroom, 1 bath independent living apartment at Otterbein Granville. 

Number of years lived in previous home: 14 

What possessions were you happy to downsize?

Nothing, really. We had already done some downsizing 9 years before, so the hard part was done.

What things were hardest to part with?

Some of the antique furniture. All the furniture goes back to my folks. My mother was an antique-r. I’m a homebody, so I get attached. But my kids didn’t want anything. But they all have furnished houses. They took some of the tools. But I was kind of surprised they didn’t want more. I sent a bunch of my golf stuff to a church yard sale.

What has been the best part of the downsize? 

The food here is great. The condo where we were before was nice, but there was no socialization among neighbors. One of the reasons I moved to Otterbein was to be able to socialize with other people. Plus there is a lot of activity--as much or as little as you want.  Go down the hall one way for breakfast. Go down the hall the other way and get to the pub! I was the "old guy" in the condo community. Here, even though I'm almost 94, I'm definitely not the oldest!  

What advice or insights would you offer to others considering downsizing?

Let go of some of the sentimentality of things.  

And get help!  Songbird is great. I  didn't know any moving company would be as thorough of moving and downsizing as Songbird. My only mistake was not listening to all their recommendations. For example, I had an antique buffet that I didn't think I needed any more. Sam suggested I repurpose it for extra storage in my apartment. But I sent it to the auction house and it only sold for $40. Once I got here to Otterbein, I realized I needed one more cabinet for storage, so I paid $140 at a used furniture store for something else. Listen to Sam!


Songbird Transitions specializes in helping older adults downsize and move into senior living communities and smaller homes. Our goal is to make the transition into your new space as smooth and stress-free as possible. If you are in Central Ohio, contact us for a free consultation

If you live elsewhere in the country, consider Downsizing Done Right, our comprehensive toolkit that includes step-by-step downsizing videos, a resource book plus a Q&A session with Songbird.

For personalized downsizing consulting and coaching services, please book a Songbird Support session.

Read more Songbird Stories and downsizing resources from Songbird Transitions.  


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