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Ed Aden

After 30 years, Ed Aden closes up shop

In every life there comes a time to put the "CLOSED" sign in the window and go fishing. This month it's Ed Aden's turn. The venerable operator of the NCAR electronics supply store (housed in ATD for many years) officially retired on 7 February.

It's hard to imagine anyone other than Ed minding the store. He took it over in February 1967, not long after the Mesa Lab opened. "The store was already in place when I arrived," Ed recalls. He and the electronics shop moved to RL-2 at 30th and Marine Street in the mid-1970s, later going next door to RL-3 for a few years and finally settling into the Foothills Lab in 1991.

Over the past several years, NCAR developed the centralized Stores operation, staffed by Lena Miller and Dave Maddy, to distribute scientific and office supplies. This allowed Ed to scale back his hours to part time and ease his way toward retirement. He's actually been out of the office since last summer, using up vacation time.

When it came to electronics for an instrument or field project, Ed says his shop carried "just about everything." Special orders, such as integrated circuits designed for a specific task, became the shop's specialty. "That made up about half of all our business. It was a good way to keep inventory down," he notes. The store's clientele ranged beyond NCAR. During his years on 30th Street, Ed figures that about a third of his customers came from the nearby NOAA facilities.

A native of Gothenburg, Nebraska, Ed joined the Air Force in the early 1950s, where he learned the electronics trade. After his military stint, Ed returned to the Gothenburg area for a few years of farming. However, a job at the Martin Company (now Lockheed Martin) soon lured him to Denver. After that, says Ed, "I had a neighbor named Bob Brown who hired me to work at NCAR while Martin was going through a rather slow period in the sixties."

Ed's tenure behind the counter gave him a unique overview of NCAR science and, often, a preview of coming field projects or instrument developments. His long and loyal service was acknowledged with the NCAR Administrative Support Award in 1990.

Now that chargebacks and inventories are behind him, Ed is enjoying the peace and quiet of his home between Brighton and Fort Lupton, a few miles east of Interstate 25. He's got five kids and seven grandchildren to keep track of, about half of them in Denver and the other half scattered across the country. Aside from an occasional foray to Black Hawk for some gambling, Ed is happy to stay in town: "Just like all the old geezers, I go to catch up on the gossip at the coffee shop." •BH

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Prepared by Jacque Marshall, jacque@ucar.edu