Archive for the ‘Charles W. Gehrke’ Category

“From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks,” my book about Charles W. Gehrke will be officially launched with a book signing.

Perhaps you’re wondering what melon fields have to do with moon rocks? I’ll talk about that and the man behind the science from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in Orr Street Studios.

Charles W. Gehrke eats a water melon on the fields he worked in Canal Lewisville, Ohio, circa 1928.

Charles W. Gehrke eats a water melon on the fields he worked in Canal Lewisville, Ohio, circa 1928.

Can’t make it? Here’s the connection: Gehrke, an MU biochemistry professor and founder of ABC Labs, literally worked his way up to those positions. He spent his youth working as a field hand to help support his mother and four siblings. Here’s a photo of Charles, circa 1928, taking some time off.

You’ll be able to buy a signed copy on Wednesday or buy it here now by clicking the PayPal button below.From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks cover 032917

The book is also available through  amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel.

Have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

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Here’s more about  “From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks.”

Charles W. Gehrke was unflinching. Determined. Persistent.

He grew up among the poorest of the poor, yet carried only happy memories of those early years. Out of necessity he learned the value of hard work, as he and his brother helped support the family even as children — but he never complained and never stopped working even during his final days on this earth.

In the 1960s, his work searching for amino acids, the building blocks of life, drew the attention of NASA, which would soon launch missions to the moon. Gehrke was tapped to investigate the lunar samples for signs of life. Spoiler alert: He didn’t find any — but a transcript the author uncovered of a radio program from that time shows that he thought he would.

In 1968, he did something else unusual at the time and brought his research to the marketplace, launching ABC Labs. The company thrived and before its buy out in 2015 it employed about 300 people. Today, ABC Labs now part of EAG Laboratories, a global scientific services company headquartered in San Diego.

The book, “From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks” highlights the adventurous life of Gehrke, an MU biochemist, entrepreneur and family man.

Published by Yolanda Ciolli’s firm, Compass Flower Press, and designed by Ginny Booker, the book was released in April 2017.

Have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

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No need to wait to buy my book about Charles W. Gehrke, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks, which will be published this fall.

Right now you can save 20 percent on the book and buy it for $16.00—a savings of $4 off the $20 cover. Choose from three delivery options: Pick it up at an event (A release party will scheduled soon), pick it up at the Compass Flower Press office, or have it shipped to you. You will be notified by email immediately when the books are in hand.

Pick it up at an event (date to be announced) or at Compass Flower Press office at 315 Bernadette Drive, Suite 3, Columbia, MO 65203. Cost: $16.

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Or have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

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So what’s From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks about?

Charles W. Gehrke was unflinching. Determined. Persistent.

He grew up among the poorest of the poor, yet carried only happy memories of those early years. Out of necessity he learned the value of hard work, as he and his brother helped support their family even as children — but he never complained and never stopped working even during his final days on this earth.

In the 1960s, his work searching for amino acids, the building blocks of life, drew the attention of NASA which would soon launch missions to the moon. Charles was tapped to investigate the lunar samples for signs of life. Spoiler alert: He didn’t find any — but a transcript I uncovered of a radio program from that time shows that he thought he would.

In 1968, he did something else unusual at the time and brought his research to the marketplace, launching ABC Labs, an firm that today employs about 300 people and was the first tenant of Columbia, Missouri’s research park, Discovery Ridge.

The book, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks highlights the adventurous life of Charles W. Gehrke, a biochemist, entrepreneur and family man.

Published by Yolanda Ciolli’s firm, Compass Flower Press, and designed by Ginny Booker, the book will be released in September 2015, but you can reserve your copy now and be the first to get From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks.

Buy it here now:

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Or have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

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Looking for the book featured in the May 1, 2015 column by Bill Clark in the Columbia Daily Tribune?

Be among the first to order a copy, and you’ll save 20 percent. Your price is $16.00—that’s a savings of $4 off the cover price of $20.00. Select from three delivery options: Pick up at an event (Release Party, date posted soon), pick up at the Compass Flower Press office, or ship. You will be notified by email immediately when books are in hand.

Pick it up at an event (date to be announced) or at Compass Flower Press office at 315 Bernadette Drive, Suite 3, Columbia, MO 65203. Cost: $16.

Buy Now Button

Or have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

Buy Now Button

So what’s From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks about?

Charles W. Gehrke was unflinching. Determined. Persistent.

He grew up among the poorest of the poor, yet carried only happy memories of those early years. Out of necessity he learned the value of hard work, as he and his brother helped support their family even as children — but he never complained and never stopped working until his final days on this earth.

He learned the importance of family, also at a tender age. They looked out for each other and stayed close all their lives.

Later, Charles’ own family always came first, even as he rose to the top of his profession, recognized around the world for his pioneering scientific techniques and forward, visionary thinking — modeling and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and shared instrumentation long before those now commonplace tenets were on the radar of most scientists.

Charles was chosen by NASA to examine lunar samples, searching for signs of life, and in the midst of it all, launched an entrepreneurial effort resulting in ABC Labs, a company that has grown and thrived for 40 years and employs more than 300 people.

This book, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks, is about his life, the adventurous life of a biochemist and entrepreneur.

Published by Yolanda Ciolli’s firm, Compass Flower Press, and designed by Ginny Booker, the book will be released in September 2015, but you can reserve your copy now and be the first to get From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks.

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This website, diannaobrien.com, highlights examples of my work as a reporter.

charleswgehrke.com focuses on the book I wrote with Charles W. Gehrke, one of the founders of ABC Labs. Founded in 1968, today, the company is one of Columbia’s largest employers and one of the anchor tenants in the newest research park, Discovery Ridge.

columbiahistoricplaces.com highlights information on historic places in Columbia and Boone County, Missouri. The website includes information on buildings and places named to Columbia’s Most Notable Properties List as well as those on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Measuringworth.com is a web site where you can use a variety of calculators to determine how much something was worth historically.

For example, in the book I’m wrote with Charles W. Gehrke before his death about his life, his career and his accomplishments, he told me he’d raised roughly $200,000 to get what is now called ABC Labs going in 1968. Naturally, I wondered first how he did that — that answer is in the book, “From the Melon Fields to the Moon,” to be published.

Then, I wondered how much $200,000 would be worth today. That answer I found at measuringworth.com, using one of their calculators to determine the value of currency at various time periods.

The answer is $200,000 in 1968 would have been worth roughly $1.1 million in 2007 dollars, according to MeasuringWorth.com.

A tool like measuringworth.com can help a reporter provide context to an article or a book.  And that, in my opinion, is one of the jobs journalists are supposed to do: provide context to help make the world understandable to readers.

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At last, a draft of the book written about Charles W. Gehrke is complete. Charles and I had been working on the book since early spring of 2007 and thankfully I had most of the information I needed to complete the book before he passed away on February 10, 2009. But it was difficult to proceed without his input.

However, even after his passing, Charles provided everything I needed — he’d saved boxes of files and his daughter Susan Gehrke Isaacson and Jon Gehrke were very generous is allowing me to pour over all the documents Charles had saved. I found handwritten notes covering one of the toughest times in his life, the 1991-1992 struggles at ABC Labs.

Now, I start another part of the journey toward making the book Charles and I envisioned a reality — finding a publisher. I am optimistic it won’t be long before the book, “From the Melon Fields to the Moon,” will be in print.

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