William E. Belanger

Profile Updated: May 24, 2016
Residing In: Media, PA USA
Spouse/Partner: Eileen Belanger
Children and grandchildren: Paul Belanger
Martine Belanger

grandchildren
Eve Decamp born 1999
Wyatt Belanger More…born 2003
Ryan Belanger born 2006
Andrew Belanger born 2013
Open Category for whatever you wish to tell about yourself in whatever way.

I used to think you were REALLY OLD when you hit 70. I don't feel any older now, but I'm a lot slower on my bicycle and I take a couple pills every day to keep the numbers in the right range.

I'm getting more and more convinced that youth is an attitude rather than an age. If you have a lot of fun living and keep active mentally and physically, then you are young. If you're not having fun living, it's time to change a few things.

Life is full of opportunities for happiness. Never let one go by without some serious thought. Carpe diem quam maximum credula postero!

Not much has changed since graduation. I'm still anti-war, now officially a Quaker, and there have been a few more wars in the intervening years to be anti- about. I'm proud of becoming a draft counselor in 1967 and I see my years in environmental protection as an "alternate service."

Vietnam was a huge mistake. A whole lot of people got killed and injured to accomplish absolutely nothing - not even a learning experience judging from the most recent events.

Bush I - Iraq I was a war, (therefore not a good thing,) but at least there was a clear objective and a clear end point and a request for assistance.

Then there was the Bush II war. I was inside Government (EPA) at the time with a small glimmer of inside information on things nuclear. Afghanistan was invaded by Russia possibly for the rare earth deposits in the northeast of the country. They got themselves kicked out, which should have told us something.

Fast forward to September 11, 2001. Yes, there should have been some legitimate criminal justice for the World trade Center and the Cole and the embassy bombings, but it was not the Afghan people who did it. This was a criminal act by a relatively small group, not an act of war by a whole country. Somehow that fact got lost when they were allowed to slip away due to the war that shouldn't have been going on in the first place.

Then Bush II / Cheyney invaded an un-involved country based on a pure fabrication. Iraq was nowhere near any nuclear capability. There was clear intelligence on that. There was no connection to the WTC bombing. Thousands of Americans and tens of thousands the people of of Iraq died based on a lie. Of course nothing was done about it, and the war goes on with no end in sight. There is no easy way out of this one except to declare victory and go home. I wonder what historians will say in 50 or 100 years.

What if they fought a war and nobody came?

Further Comments about Spouse/Partner or Relationship history:

Eileen and I met at the EPA Philadelphia office. A bit more detail: I asked Eileen out on the day I was divorced from my ex-wife. My ex and I had lived together amicably until the divorce was final, but on the first day of "independence" I wanted to begin a new social life. Well, that was that. She was so special that we quickly became permanent. After we built our dream home (with our own hands) we were married in 1984, and lived happily ever after.

Education History since Swarthmore:

MS Engineering, University of Pennsylvania
This started out as Human Factors Engineering, then somehow became Biomedical Engineering, but the official degree is in Systems Engineering and Operations Research. I never actually did what the degree says. My profession for the last 35 years (Health Physics) was largely self-taught.

I guess I should also include my aviation work as education, even though it didn't result in an academic degree. Getting to the flight instructor level requires some serious study, and teaching for the FAA required more.

Other education that did not lead to a degree includes many non-credit courses over a 10 year period including studio art (thank you Randy Exon) , gourmet cooking from the previous head chef at Le Bec Fin, welding and metal working, creative writing, and anything else that seemed interesting.

Career History

1967-1972 City of Philadelphia Air Management Services
1972-2002 U S Environmental Protection Agency
2002 until present occasional consulting in Radiation Safety
Retirement is a gradual thing - I'm almost there.

Somehow morphed from Electrical Engineer to Public Health Engineer to General Engineer to Environmental Engineer to Human Factors Engineer (during a 6-month sabbatical to the Federal Aviation Administration) and finally to Health Physicist. The most satisfying aspects of the job were helping people. The most exciting was work on Superfund sites and a co-planning and supervising few full-dress exercises on the Federal response to radiation emergencies. We did the first major "dirty bomb" counter-terrorism exercise in 1999.

What might surprise us about you or your activities?

My activities are remarkable mainly from the variety. My professional career has been in the Environment with Phila Air management and then with EPA. About 1980 (after the TMI accident) I switched from Engineering to Health Physics, which deals with radiation safety. Fortunately, the fundamentals are the same, though the transition required a great deal of study.

My wife and I designed and built our house (with our hands) and designed two others. I built the living room furniture from a walnut tree that fell down in my neighbor's lawn. Later I built furniture from cherry tree I bought as logs from a local tree surgeon.

I have been a flight instructor as a hobby since 1992, a volunteer Aviation Safety Counselor for the FAA from 1995 to 2006. I have written 8 articles on flying and flight instruction for the FAA magazine for pilots. I'm co-author on a research publication on air traffic communication from the FAA Technical Center. Aviation was almost a second (unpaid) career. I finally decided to stop flying after the death of a friend in an accident and when it started to be more like work than fun.

After I got tired of flying, I started sailing. I teach boating safety for the Coast Guard Auxiliary. More recently I've gotten into art and painting and gourmet cooking.

Memories from time at Swarthmore

Did you know if you reverse the magnet on an old plug-in clock, it will run backwards?

You could also make a respectable radio out of bits and pieces in the electronics lab. It worked until Professor Dave Bowler built a jammer.

Gil Haight is without a doubt my favorite professor of all time.

Then there was the confluence of the Folk Festival and the Centennial in 1964, resulting in an incident with the flagpole.

Community Service, Volunteer Activities, Hobbies, Interests, Retirement Activities:

Trustee and Treasurer at Providence Friends Meeting
Treasurer of Chester Quarterly Meeting
Board member at Stratford Friends School
Medals Judge at the Delaware Valley Science Fair since 1984.
Swarthmore Award Judge at the Del Val Science Fair
Alumni Admissions Interviewer
Philadelphia Extern Committee
Civil Air Patrol
Volunteer FAA Aviation Safety Counselor
Coast Guard Auxiliary - teaching boating safety classes.
Inspector of Elections

Books, Creative Products, Athletic Achievements:

I donate art works to charity auctions.
Aviation writing for the FAA.
Furniture building
Gourmet cooking.
Wine-making.
Anything else creative and fun.
No athletic achievements to speak of. Those I have are unspeakable.

Spiritual Practice and Openings, if any?

Agnostic Quaker. I never expected to ever get involved with organized religion. Swarthmore instilled some deep Quaker values. Then fairly late in life i dropped into Providence Meeting and never left. I find it refreshing that there are so many differing spiritual beliefs in one Meeting and all are honored. My own aim is to perpetuate the Quaker values because I believe they benefit society. I leave the God thing to everyone's individual beliefs. I reject anything masquerading under the guise of religion that preaches hate or destructive acts.

Favorite quote, poem, humorous statement, or words of wisdom

I think I think, therefore I think I am, I think. (reprinted from the Journal of Irreproducible Results.)

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Question everything.

William E.'s Latest Interactions

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Feb 22, 2018 at 4:33 AM
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Aug 11, 2016 at 11:16 PM

Happy birthday!

William E. Belanger added a photo to his profile gallery. New comment added.
May 24, 2016 at 10:46 PM

Posted on: May 24, 2016 at 8:55 PM

Climbing a tree on campus at our 40th
Photo by Janet Nordgren Stavnezer
May 24, 2016 at 9:20 AM
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Feb 22, 2016 at 4:34 AM
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Posted on: Jun 18, 2015 at 9:23 AM

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Posted: May 24, 2016 at 8:55 PM
Climbing a tree on campus at our 40th
Photo by Janet Nordgren Stavnezer