Covina High School Class of 1968


Jim Fuhrman

Hello classmates! I look forward to the reunion. I'm remembering good people and activities from our high school years.

During high school I started experiencing strange neurological symptoms, vision, tingling, etc., but I didn't learn what these symptoms meant at the time. I worked for Edison for the first three summers after high school and then took a summer job the next year with JPL in Pasadena. It was the last job in the Cal Tech student employment office. I was late that year (1971) because I had just gotten out of the hospital after the testing, where I learned about M.S. (multiple sclerosis), and I still needed a summer job. Luckily, it was a job! It was a mundane job in the Space Tecnology Applications Section counting data, so I had it keypunched and wrote a computer program to count the ones and zeroes. The good part was that I met a Ph.D. who was also on CalTech's Environmental Quality Lab's Solar Energy Team.

I graduated from Cal Tech in Engineering and Applied Science in 1972, and went on to become a user consultant in the computing section at JPL for the next 20-odd years. In those days we used the old Univac computers for space missions and all other general computing at JPL. I learned VAX and later UNIX and helped people solve problems on all three types of systems. Nowadays we would call it tech support. Eventually I earned my 30-year pin at JPL.

Serious accidents in 1975 (fell and broke right arm and right thigh) and 1978 (car accident resulting in more broken bones and torn this and that, plus I lost my left eye and my M.S. was worsened) made life difficult, but careful nursing and lots of rehabilitation enabled me to continue working at JPL. Unfortunately, the M.S. impaired my vision more and more, and eventually I could no longer continue working. Even though I went on long-term disability in 1999, I am still a JPL employee. Now I have kidney disease but am not on dialysis, so I am very blessed.

My life changed dramatically in 1994/95 when I was born again in Christ and baptized into the Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena. I enjoy pastoral visits, communion, and lots of Christian radio. I've reconnected with my family and refreshed my love of music, especially country, rock, folk, classical, and Christian. Three around-the-clock home nurses have enabled me to live comfortably in the same apartment since 1975. ZoomText on the computer and Dragon NaturallySpeaking software help me read and use the computer.

After I had been hospitalized in 1999 for acute renal failure, a new nurse joined the home care team and reconnected me with my family and greatly improved my life and my home. She and my church planned a grand 50th birthday party, and she, my mother, my mother's best friend, and I went on a wonderful Alaskan inside passage cruise. The next year she and I did the Mexican Riviera.

So, I'm still here. I look forward to catching up with everyone at the reunion. God bless.

Jim Fuhrman

March 2008