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ED RINDERLE - Beyond the Village

By Blog Master
Posted: 12/05/2021
Tags: bios



Village member Ed Rinderle was born and raised in New Orleans, graduating from the University of New Orleans with a degree in Mathematics. A Woodrow Wilson fellowship brought him west to Pasadena where he entered Caltech as a graduate student in Applied Mathematics. Recalls Ed, “I knew right away I was in over my head. The culture here was so different from New Orleans. I was really a bit lost.” And yet, good came out of his relocation: he met his first wife, Jane, and they settled in Altadena where they raised their three children and lived until her death in 1999.


Armed with a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics from Caltech, Ed was soon interviewed for a position at the Jet Propulsion Lab in the 1960's. During his interview, Ed confessed that he knew very little about computers. His interviewer replied “No problem. We'll teach you what you need to know.” So Ed began his career designing, coding, and documenting computer code for many of JPL's space missions. He loved the work and the people he worked with. Along the way he met fellow JPLer, Jean. They were married in 2003 and have been married ever since. He retired from JPL in 2008 after 40 years at the Lab.  


Jane's death left a hole in Ed's life that he set out to fill. Guided by a counselor at JPL, he decided to interview for a position at Pasadena City College. Much to his surprise, he was offered a job as a part-time math teacher. “My dream job since high school was to teach calculus at a junior college.” At PCC Ed fulfilled his dream. He taught whatever math courses were assigned to him, but his favorite was calculus.


Around the same time, Ed met coworker Jean. They dated for about a year, then married in 2003. This marriage together with his teaching job, went a long way toward filling the hole left by Jane's death.


When the COVID pandemic put an end to in-person classes at PCC, Ed reluctantly made the switch to on-line Zoom classes. That change, together with declining enrollment in math, led Ed to decide to retire from teaching. He taught one class per semester at PCC for 19 years.  

Even though Ed was oriented toward math and science from early on, he also always enjoyed writing. While some of his coworkers at JPL dreaded documenting their code, Ed relished it. He worked hard to make his user's guides clear and readable. He credits his enjoyment of writing to the insights and challenges of his High School and College English teachers.  “I learned so much in my English classes that I have found useful throughout my life, including a love for reading and writing lesson plans.”  


Retirement from JPL left another hole in Ed's life. This time he decided to fill it by writing. For starters, he began his autobiography. His purpose was to give his children some knowledge of his life growing up in New Orleans and his days as an engineer at JPL. He enjoyed the experience so much that he branched out into writing fiction, often based on real life experiences. He enjoyed exercising his creativity like never before.  


Eventually, Ed found that writing didn't completely fill that hole left by retirement. The fellowship he enjoyed with his coworkers at JPL and PCC was lost.  He doesn't remember how he first heard about the Village, but he saw it as an opportunity to make new friends. He and Jean joined and are now exploring the many activities available at the Village. “Now that I am retired I don’t have to worry about doing things that are expected of me. I can focus on things to do for fun and things that I can do for others.”


One opportunity the Village presented to Ed came through fellow Village member and Communications Chair, Dick Myers. Dick encouraged Ed to post some of his stories on the Village website under the “Meanderings” Blog. You can read some of Ed’s work by going to  the Meandering Blog on the Pasadena Village website.


One thing Ed has done since joining Pasadena Village is to become a participant in the Pasadena Unified School District’s “Senior to Senior” program. Ed is paired up with a high school senior and they talk remotely once a week. “At first it seemed that we didn't have much in common to talk about. But now we read articles, watch short films, or listen to music. Then we discuss them. It is working well.”  


Being retired, leaving his teaching position, the isolation brought on by COVID, and some health issues have been hard on Ed. He admits to feeling depressed at times and has appreciated the support groups he has attended at the Village. For years he thought of himself as a loner, but he has had to look more carefully since the day that one of his daughters called him “a closet extrovert.” Without the structure of work he realizes that he needs to make more of an effort to create new friends. He has made a truce with Zoom, but he still prefers to interact with people face-to-face. “It doesn’t matter what we do, just sitting around and talking is great.”


Ed’s story is familiar to many of us who find ourselves un-moored by retirement, health challenges, and now the darn pandemic. The Pasadena Village exists to bring people together, to build community, so that Ed and others just like him can find their best selves – for their benefit and for the benefit of others beyond the Village.

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