Walt Lysinger's biography


Bellwood, PA


If you are visiting here, it's possible you might be interested in who Walt Lysinger is, maybe wondering if it is somebody you used to know in school or the military or some computer contract somewhere. I am always interested in hearing from old friends or acquaintances, so feel free to call or write, or e-mail me at walt@lysinger.com.

I was born on Halloween, October 31st, 1934 in Altoona, PA, into a family dysfunctional enough to place me in foster homes for most of my childhood, including a couple of farms in the Cove area, and some time in the Williamsburg Children's Home. My parents were Harry Irvin Lysinger, born October 1900 in Coalport, PA, and Martha Boyles (later married Jerry Way, and they had a son, also Jerry).

I have two sisters, and one half-brother, but never lived together with them in my recollection. My father died in 1944, and my mother in 1960. My nomadic childhood ended with the family of Paul and Mildred Green of Bellwood, PA. The Greens had three children, Betty, Ruth and Bob, and another foster son named Dick (Paul Richard) Eisenberger. Among the Green family was my foster cousin and friend Dick Green, who passed away in December of 1998. Presently, I am living in the original Green family homestead, owned by Dick Green's widow Martha.

I attended Bellwood Antis high School from 1947 until graduation in 1952, when I resumed my wandering ways, living in Virginia, Germany (three times), North Carolina, Florida (twice), New Jersey, Arizona, Korea, Texas and Colorado, finally ending up back in Bellwood permanently (so far!) in January of 1998.

After graduation from BAHS I went to live with my foster-sister Betty in Arlington, VA., and went to work as a machinist apprentice at the U. S. Naval Gun Factory (now the Washington Navy Yard) in D. C. Then in 1954 I went in the Army for two years, becoming a Medic at Fort Sam Houston, and serving in Germany for the rest of my tour.

I went back to the Gun Factory, switching my apprenticeship to (ready?) Precision Lens, Prism and Test Plate Maker. It's a highly specialized optical trade. Ever restless, I left to go to college at a Southern Baptist college, Mars Hill College, in North Carolina. With no money other than the GI Bill, I decided to reenlist in the Army, and was trained as a Field Artillery FDC (Fire Direction Center) specialist. That got me a year in Korea, and an interesting R and R visit to Japan. That was followed by an assignment at Fort Campbell, KY. There I applied for a 'short discharge' and reenlistment for training as ADPS Programming Specialist - computer programming, - at Fort  Monmouth, NJ. Finishing in the top three in the first class ever for enlisted computer programmers, I was assigned there as an Instructor and taught there for a year or so. The computer systems involved were the Army's Fieldata systems, including the Sylvania-built MOBIDIC (affectionately, the Moby Dick)- Mobile Digital Computer.

Desiring to do, rather than teach, I got a transfer to Defense Communications Agency, in Arlington, VA, programming for the Philco Transac S2000 and the IBM 1401 computer systems.

Did I ever mention restlessness? I next applied for a college-level school program for two years of education, and made it just short of a degree in Production Management at the University of Arizona. The two-years was a hard limit, so I left without the diploma, but still a good education.

That was followed by a year or so at the Army's Strategy and Tactics Analysis Group in Silver Spring, MD. And then someone noticed that I was in pay grade E-6 and hadn't done an overseas tour in a while. So it was off to Karlsruhe, Germany and the Seventh Inventory Control Center - 7th ICC - , where I was just in time to dismantle the organization in a reorganization of the supply systems. And in the strange way life works, I was working with the same Moby Dick computers. We were all retrained on the IBM 360/30 system, and I was assigned to train new programmers in the COBOL language. By now I was a Specialist 7 - SP7 - a no longer existing rank, and as high as I was going to get as a programming specialist. By this time my family was weary of the military housing in a foreign country, and had returned to New Jersey, and at the end of my enlistment, after 13 years of service, I ended my Army career. Army career - not military career.

It was easy getting a job, and I joined Computer Sciences Corporation - CSC - at the National Library of Medicine at NIH in Bethesda, MD, on a contract called MEDLARS, sort of a 'Google search' tool for medical literature. My capabilities caught the eye of a manager on another project, and I was asked to transfer to work for him. It was the National Military Command System Support Center (NMCSSC) contract at the Pentagon. A really great job, where I stayed six years and took over Ed's management position when he left to work at the IMF (or World Bank - I get confused there!).

I saw an opportunity for another promotion on a contract with the FAA in Jacksonville, FL, so I went there, along with a new wife. The area was great, the job wasn't all that great and a reorganization eliminated the position I wanted. As that contract wound down, I next went back to the DC area, working for a time on an Energy Management Control System (EMCS). Unexpectedly I was chosen to manage a project with the Atlantic City Electric Company, converting all of their computer systems from an aging RCA Spectra 70 system to an IBM 370 system. We got through the batch processing conversions and testing, and about the time we were to get serious about the on-line systems, guess what? I applied for a job in Flensburg, Germany. Both my wife and I applied and got approvals, and had a wonderful year, until it was discovered that the system we were enhancing needed drastic rework, and the German Navy had the contract modified. That eliminated many of the ex-patriot positions, and we were to be going home. Once again the strange ways of life interceded, and I was offered a one-year position managing a small project with the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. My wife opted to spend that year in the States, and went back to the NMCSSC contract. During that year she asked for a divorce, which proceeded smoothly and amicably.



This page last modified on June 17th, 2009. Address comments to walt@lysinger.com .