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, and Charles’s 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 visionary thinking—modeling and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and shared instrumentation long before those now commonplace tenets were on the radar of most scientists. He 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 a company that grew and thrived for 40 years, employing more than 300 people.
Dianna Borsi O’Brien has captured the essence of this man who achieved greatness, but in the end cared just as much about the people in his life as the things he’d accomplished. His story is inspiring, engaging, entertaining—and not to be missed.
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About the Author
Today she's a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where she received her master's degree in 1993.
Dianna is thrilled that she still wakes up every morning excited about reporting, researching and writing, whether the topic is Moroccan cooking classes, package design for pet food, gas-liquid chromatography or local businesses like ABC Labs, now EAG Labs.
Her next book project will look at Columbia's historic homes and how they tell the story of the city's development.