University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
Home > About > News > Alumni >

Alumni

Donald W. Vierimaa (formerly Wieriman) (B.S., Physics, 1960)

                                                       

I was raised in Minneapolis, and I graduated in 1956 from North High.

The most challenging and interesting course was thermodynamics. A favorite memory is of a math instructor dressed in a sport jacket and
tennis shoes writing equations on the board and then walking out the door, peering down the hall and then without a word continuing writing equations. Upon graduating, I took the Rose Bowl train to Los Angeles and watched the number one Gophers lose to the University of Washington. Apparently the Gophers playing in a bowl game is a once in a lifetime event. I worked for North American Aviation, Boeing, and McDonnell-Douglas in the aerospace industry in the areas of thermal dynamics, vacuum technology, cryogenics, and testing. I married my wife Geraldine in November, 1967. We lived in Cape Canaveral, Florida where we saw rockets
launched more than once a week. I saw a Saturn V rocket launched from the reviewing stand. My wife and I decided to take a six month
trip around the world in 1969 before we settled down. Upon return, the
aerospace industry had collapsed. I worked one term as a high school
teacher in math and shop in rural Virginia. I found a job as a manager
of a McDonalds in Washington, D.C. I then worked for the Association
of American Railroads and Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association. I
retired as Vice President of Engineering on January 1, 2000. My wife
died of pancreatic cancer on June 6, 2000. I participate in a number
of singles groups. I am president of a ski club for skiers over 50 years of age. Our oldest skier is 89 years old. My pastimes include hiking, biking, boating, skiing, dancing, concerts, travel, and friends and family. I have one son and four grandchildren who live nearby. I have been in every state and every continent except Australia. I frequently return to Minnesota to visit friends and cousins. I returned in August from a four day, 132 mile bike ride in Quebec where the oldest biker was 80. In December I plan to visit Antarctica with two friends. I inherited the family homestead farm (woods and swamp) in Palo, MN. It looks like it will be a century more before it yields to development. People kid me because I took a four hour guided tour of Embarrass, MN. I found that I could still take the mail boat tour of Lake Vermillion just as I did when
I was 12 years old. The boat I took then is now an antique. I have a
1966 aluminum boat with a 1966 100-hp Johnson and a 1967 Sunbeam
Tiger II that needs to be restored. I need to be restored as well. I am lucky, however, I only take Lipitor and Viagra and am lucky to have
the opportunity. That’s the news from Woebegone East where all the
men exaggerate, the women believe them, and the children have two
families.