After graduation from RHS, I continued to live with my parents and commuted to Washington University, where I eventually completed my B.A. in English. During those years, when I was excited about theatre, I took time off to work as a technical director in Equity Summer Stock in New Hampshire, briefly acted on the stage of the last showboat on the Mississippi (the Goldenrod),and as an actor on public radio's Art In St. Louis program.
I married a fellow WU student, Sylvia Ann Reed, in 1961, and we subsequently had two children, a daughter Lydia Robin, and a son, Ian Edmund. After my WU graduation, we moved to Seattle. Sylvia had been raised in the NW and wanted to return.
Through some hobby interests in optics, I found work in Seattle at a glass melting research company, and without planning to do so, became a technologist. In 1966, we moved to Richland, Washington, where I joined Battelle Memorial Institute, which had just taken over research operations for the Atomic Energy Commission at Hanford.
Sylvia and I divorced in the mid-1970s.
Over a 20-year career at Battelle, I moved from working on advanced structural materials and radioisotopic heat sources to the development of sample preparation techniques for lunar rocks and soils for NASA. Subsequently, I took up management of interdisciplinary research teams working on biomedical technologies for developing countries, mostly funded by the U.S. State Department. I traveled widely to help start clinical studies and introduce new technologies, mostly in South Asia (India and Bangladesh), but also Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Egypt.
Keeping my interest in the theatre, I was able to serve on the board of The Richland Players, and also got to direct a lot of plays, including The Lion in Winter, A Man for All Seasons, JB, A Delicate Balance, Seascape, Misalliance and Mornings at Seven. At infrequent intervals, I acted, including the part of George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Of the latter experience, the local critic (before damning with faint praise) noted that "John Williford is no Richard Burton."
I married my wife Patricia Emadel Buschke in 1986. She has three grown children from her first marriage, so between us we have five children. We have six grandchildren between us, and four great-grandchildren.
We moved from Richland to Seattle in 1987, after I left Battelle and joined Technology International Exchange as VP Research. That company mainly did technology hunting for Japanese clients, so I got to add travel to Japan to my passport.
We then started our own company, doing physical research under grants and contracts with the National Science Foundation and the Advanced Research Projects Agency. Most recently, we have been helping other innovative companies commercialize new technologies. The work is varied, filled with novelty, and quite challenging. It is mostly Internet based, so we are able to work anywhere.
We moved back to Richland in July of 2004, where we reconnected with many old friends, as well as many of our kids and grandchildren. Our office is in our home, so the commute is easy.
We remain healthy, happy and active.
From left, My wife Patricia, great-granddaughter Lashae, and daughter-in-law Janice
Great granddaughter Makinzie as a cat.
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