From rocket scientist to choir director in 90 years
Appeal Staff Writer
At age 90, George Brott has accomplished many lifetime achievements and is very proud of them – as are millions of others.
Born in Evansville, Ind., Brott received a degree in architecture from Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago. He lived in Chicago for 37 years, working as general foreman for Buda Motors, now known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. He also served in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 10 years.
“I got tired of the heat and humidity in Chicago, so I took the family on a long vacation to California,” he said. “One of the things the kids wanted to do was put their feet in the ocean, so we did.”
George married Margaret in 1936. Their children are Joyce and Kenneth, both of whom live in Anaheim, Calif. Margaret died in 1990.
Brott said he decided to move to California in 1950.
“I sold the house and moved lock, stock and barrel,” he said.
Brott applied for work at U.S. Electric Motors, but was told he was too well qualified. He then hired at North American Aviation, which became Rockwell and is now Boeing.
“I worked on buying machinery and equipment, getting departments anything they needed, and justifying this to the government with page after page after page of paperwork,” he said.
Brott’s first big call with the company came when supervisors decided he was needed in special projects.
“I solved the problem of corrosion on the drop tanks that are attached to the fighter planes, on several models,” Brott said. “I also worked on the Apollo spacecraft program.”
During Brott’s 23 years at Boeing, he worked in the space division, autonetics and Los Angeles and Rocketdyne divisions, all in Southern California.
“I used to be on my son’s pit crew team when he raced,” Brott recalled. Kenneth raced in a 1953-period car of English design on road courses. “I helped him because I knew about engines.”
Brott retired in 1973 to take care of his ailing wife. While caring for Margaret, he was in a church choir, which helped him focus on other things. He directed choirs for Norwalk, Anaheim and Garden Grove churches for 15 years.
Living in Southern California, he met his current wife, Flora Mae, or Floss, as she is better known.
“My experience in directing the choirs is why I took over the Singing Seniors (at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center) when Bobbi Dowell left,” Brott said.
He is also a member of the center’s Advisory Council.
George and Floss were married Valentine’s Day in 1993, and moved to Carson City. Floss is a retired registered nurse.
“She was one of the nurses who took care of Bobby Kennedy at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles when he was shot,” Brott said.
Much of his time and energy today is focused on the Singing Seniors. A veteran of several of the “Senior Follies” productions, Brott said he will have some hand in the next show.
“I’m sure I’ll be there,” he said.
— Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.