2018 Hall of Fame Honoree

Charles EmersonCharles D. Emerson ‘56

Charles D. Emerson attended high school and junior college at OMA. He played trombone in the band, and he played football and basketball in high school and one semester of junior college. He then went on to attend Oklahoma State University for one semester.

Emerson enlisted in the Army Security Agency and attended Fort Devens, Massachusetts for training in Morse Code Intercept operations monitoring. He became skilled in monitoring field operations of foreign enemies and sending the results to the National Security Agency (NSA). He was stationed at Baumholder, Germany for two years and Harrogate, England for six months. He was promoted to SP5 (E5) in 21 months.

Upon completing his three years tour of duty, Emerson returned to Oklahoma and was hired at Tinker Air Force Base to work in their Computer Data Center. He developed new skills working with IBM 305, 705 and 7080 computers. He worked the second shift at TAFB and attended the University of Oklahoma during the day where he received his degree in accounting. Upon graduation from OU, Emerson interviewed with General Electric (GE) and was hired immediately to work in the Engineering Department in Oklahoma City. One year later, GE decided to close operations. He then was hired at AT&T/Western Electric and spent the rest of his working career at Western Electric, retiring as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff (DMTS).

Emerson has been happily married for 52 years to his wife Delores. They have three grown children, Angela, a speech pathologists; Christopher, a medical doctor; and Robert, who earned a doctorate in civil engineering and serves as associate professor of structural engineering at OSU. All three children are graduates of OU. They also have 13 grandchildren.

Emerson states, “Attending OMA instilled in me how to organize and use my time efficiently. I believe it worked.”