Fermilab Today Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

Ray Green retires after 32 years at Fermilab

Ray Green

There will be a farewell gathering for Ray Green on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 11:30 a.m. in the Village barn.

Fermilab machine shop assistant Ray Green has stayed in one office for more than three decades. He retires on Oct. 7.

"I've worked in the same building for 32 years," said Green, who works in the cut shop section of the village machine shop.

During that time, he repaired metal, made signs for the laboratory and created special parts for the physicists' experiments. Green said the work was interesting, but he really enjoyed working with his colleagues over the years.

"Physicists are unique people. They love what they do, they practically live it," Green said. "When they share something with you, you may not know what they're talking about, but they are very excited about it."

News that the Tevatron would shut down this fall was sad but not surprising now that CERN is up and running, he said.

"We knew the writing was on the wall. We knew we were no longer the largest," Green said. But he also noted that Fermilab has a bright future, with a number of projects in the works.

During his tenure at Fermilab, Green earned two associates degrees in 1985 and 1991. The first was in cad cam, which helped him learn how to use the high tech equipment necessary for precision cutting. The second was in education.

"I was thinking of becoming a school teacher," said Green, who arrived at Fermilab soon after closing his Texaco service station in 1979.

But Green opted to remain at Fermilab rather than launch a new career in education.

"It's been a wonderful place to work. I've enjoyed the camaraderie. People are very nice here. It's a family," he said, noting that he was always treated with respect. "I'm so thankful to have worked here for these years."

His coworkers are also glad he didn't trade the machine shop for a classroom.

"He's always the most helpful person in the world," said machine shop colleague Gary Markiewicz, who has worked with Green more than 20 years.

Markiewicz recalled one time when a truck pulled in with a shipment just as everyone was leaving for the day. Green just turned around and started helping with the load without complaining or being asked because he knew it needed to be done.

"He's irreplaceable," Markiewicz said. "We're going to have to pick up quite a bit of slack."

Green's colleagues will also miss hearing his spirited political discussions.

"It will get a lot quieter in the machine shop," Markiewicz said. "Ray always stood up for what was right. That's what we love about him."

Green said he will miss working at the laboratory, but already has plans for a relaxing retirement. Green and his wife intend to stay in their home in Aurora to spend more time with their grandchildren.

Victoria Pierce

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