LINCOLN, Neb. — It was June 1959.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower joined Queen Elizabeth II and Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker at a ceremony to open the St. Lawrence Seaway. The U.S. Air Force Academy graduated its first class, commissioning 207 officers. Voters in Hawaii overwhelmingly approved plans for the territory to become the 50th state.
Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans" was playing on transistor radios, while Charlton Heston's "Ben-Hur" and Marilyn Monroe's "Some Like it Hot" dominated the movie business.
It was that month when a scrawny 5-foot-5, 140-pound 18-year-old, fresh from acknowledging his dream of becoming a forest ranger wouldn't be possible, set out looking for a job.
He first went to a meat processing plant. Strike one.
Then to a scooter manufacturer. Strike two.
The third time, was, indeed, the charm for Fay Kapke.
"I don't know why the guy hired me," Kapke said. "I guess he was looking for help."
Vern Walker, then owner of Walker Tire Co. in Lincoln, hired him as a technician, changing tires and making service calls.