Published: Aug. 27, 2013
ROMEOS members Ron West and Bill Krantz

During their monthly lunches at Murphy’s, ROMEOS members have solved major problems such as how to balance the federal budget, achieve peace in the Middle East, and get the two political parties to work together. As member Bill Krantz attests, “These were relatively easy for our experienced group.”

The Retired Old Men’s Eating Out Society (ROMEOS) was first established in the mid-80’s when Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE) instrument maker Willy Grothe, electrical engineer Norm Taylor, and Professor Elmer Lauer began going out to lunch together during the first week of each month, sometimes with other ChE staff. Lauer would regale the group with stories of his cross-country Model-T road trip in the early '30s and his work in the northwest timber industry.

As time passed, new members Professor Ron West, race walker Professor Klaus Timmerhaus, and Professor Bill Krantz became mainstays. Both Lauer and Timmerhaus remained active with the group within months of their “moving on to the celestial chapter of the ROMEOS” at ages 97 and 86, respectively.

According to West, during luncheons “we talk about students whom we remember and past events such as evacuating the building because of an offensive release. We have also addressed some of the major problems facing humankind. I can say that we look back on our days in the department with great fondness, but really enjoy retirement.”

Guests through the years have included Professor Dave Clough; Professor Jim Carley, who lives in Arizona but just celebrated his 90th birthday in Boulder; and Professor Lee Brown, who currently lives in New Mexico. Professors Rich Noble and Bob Sani occasionally attend ROMEOS luncheons, though as Krantz relates, “the jokes we tell at our ROMEOS luncheons are so bad that it takes several months for them to recover sufficiently to join us again.” An honorary member of the ROMEOS is Assistant Dean for Research Opportunities Jeff Sczechowski, who although not retired, has been admitted to the group owing to his qualification of being “follically-challenged”.

The positive impact of having staying connected through the years is summed up well by Taylor: “It is now in reflection that I realize how wonderful these lunch meetings have been and continue to be, particularly in recounting some of the students who have passed through the chemical engineering department to go out and be successful engineers and business people. This is one of the blessings of being part of academia.”

(pictured: ROMEOS members Ron West and Bill Krantz. West is ballooning, while Krantz is getting up close and personal with a stingray.)