Written by Bill Peacock
It is hard to believe that a full half of a century has elapsed since I have seen any of my classmates from Midland High School. Part of that is due to the fact my mom and dad moved to northern California shortly after our graduation, but most is attributable simply to the velocity of life.
After MHS, I attended Princeton where I graduated cum /aude from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1963. Three years later, I graduated Harvard Law School and immediately went to work for McKinsey & Co., a management consulting firm, in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. But Vietnam was heating up, and rather than argue with Vada Sikes of the Midland Draft Board, I volunteered for the Marine Corps and spent three years on active duty with one tour in RVN. Somehow, even after all that, the Marine Reserves beckoned, and 18 years later I was promoted to Colonel and finally retired from reserve duty after 27 years.
Along the line, I was privileged to father three fine children, and this I consider a real success because none of my kids is any way part of the welfare state. My two daughters live in New York: Jane Peacock Dickinson, Princeton ’97, with a MBA from UV A and Sally Peacock Pritchard, Yale ’99, with a JD from Columbia Law School. My son, William Burke Peacock, Webster University’97, lives in San Francisco and runs his own small business.
The period since the Marine Corps is still a blur, with a corporate career starting as Assistant to the Chairman of the Board at Transamerica then Corporate Counsel at Crocker Bank, a Vice President-International role at Emerson Electric and a finally stint with McDonnell Douglas selling jet-fighters around the world.
In between these corporate assignments, I was honored to serve this country first in the White House and then, in a civilian capacity with a four-star equivalent rank, at the Pentagon as Assistant Secretary of the Army where I spearheaded the “Be All You Can Be” recruiting campaign that lasted about two decades. Recently appointed to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, I am proud that some of my life has been involved with giving back to this great country. Now, semi-retired, I am a member of several early-stage advisory boards, and much of my time is spent helping new companies get going. Most of my noncharitable time is focused on advisory boards for start-up companies ranging from large bandwidth WiMax installations to NASA-designed anti-gravity treadmills that reduce the effective weight of the user. The WiMax play is being installed in schools and public housing and the G-Trainer has been sold to about a third of the NBA and many other sports, government and rehab enterprises.
My charitable efforts involves a senior leadership role in, and raising money for, the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, an ancient Christian order that traces its origins back nearly 1000 years. Long retired from the Crusades, we mostly build infirmaries and day care centers and focus our fund-raising for terminally-ill children, and our members are both generous in, and proud of, their contributions also to veterans and seniors.
The highlight of my life is having married my lovely wife, Nancy, having met on a blind date, and the risk-reward of this late-in-life marriage in 2005 is truly “a triumph of hope over experience” for both of us: it has turned out way better than some of my start-up investments. While Nancy has given much to her community through her profession in real estate, she has given far more to me than I can ever express, and I am most grateful. All in all, my life over the last approximately 182,512 days since graduating Midland High School has been one absolutely great ride. I hope each of your lives has been as richly rewarding and that you feel as blessed as I.