An Unexpected 50-Year Reunion: Colleagues from 1965 Reconnect at OLLI

Dick Fitzer and Marv Pulliam

Dick Fitzer and Marv Pulliam

Back in 1965, Marv Pulliam had a private office at Computer Sciences Corporation in Washington, D.C. Across the way in a three-person “bullpen” was Dick Fitzer, five years younger than Marv.

Late that year, Marv accepted a job in Europe, presumably never to be seen again by Dick.

Now, fast forward to 2015 and the spring 2015 catalog of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at SDSU. Dick, now 75, noticed that among the board members was Marv Pulliam, 80, who had a similar computer programmer background.

Subsequently, Dick wrote to the OLLI staff, asking them to forward his email to Marv so he could inquire if it was the same Marv Pulliam who had been his office mate back in 1965. In a return email, Marv confirmed he was the same guy who had worked with Dick at Computer Sciences Corporation, 50 years earlier. They later connected in person for the first time during an OLLI committee meeting.

“It’s bizarre how the connection happened. It’s almost like a Facebook hit,” said Marv, who vaguely remembered Dick as one of the three guys who sat across the aisle from him. “Since we didn’t really know each other, we now talk about who we did know. How do the pieces fit? As we talk over time, I’m sure more will fit into place.”

Dick recalled the impact Marv’s move to Europe had on the Computer Sciences Corporation office.

“Ironically, when Marv went to Europe, his office was allocated to my program manager,” Dick said. “I remember helping pick up books from my manager’s office and moving them into Marv’s office.”

Dick and his wife, Eleanor, are teaching two OLLI classes during the fall semester: the lecture Introduction to Exploring Genealogy, and the four-week course Interactive Genealogy Lab: Discover Your Roots. In addition to teaching, Dick also serves on the OLLI Marketing and Membership Committee. Marv serves as a member of both the OLLI Advisory Board and the Curriculum and Instructor Committee.

In the short time that they’ve reconnected, Dick and Eleanor recently met Marv and his wife Nedra for dinner one night and had a good time swapping stories.

They’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other better, with the wealth of courses offered at OLLI at SDSU, the catalyst for this amazing reunion.

“We both want to stay intellectually active,” Dick said. “That’s what Osher is all about. Osher is the common denominator for us.”