Carl Roos, 87, is looking back on a long and interesting career including designing auto industry heat-treating equipment still used today and helping run a dairy farm. He’s also looking forward to his family, including his wife Shirley, five grandkids and five great grandkids, and providing more assistance through their organization, Angel Haven Foundation, which delivers goods to the rural poor in Virginia.
This is your 24th year of the Angel Haven Foundation — what are your thoughts?
It was a necessity. I’m glad I was chosen to do it. I feel that we all have to do something special, and this was my special thing — helping people. I don’t think I’ll ever quit until it’s totally impossible to do it. Seeing people living in that poverty stage, that’s when it hit me the worst. It’s still growing on me, into my age doing it.
Have you lived in Holly your whole life?
No, I’m originally born and raised in Pennsylvania, on the coal mining industry in Wilkes-Barre. I went into the service after graduating high school in 1949. When I got out of the service, I came to Michigan and met my wife Shirley. We lived in Roseville for seven to 10 years. Then we moved to Holly from there.
You’ve had a few different careers — what were they?
While I was in the service, I spent three years in Germany, in Berlin. I serviced the communication equipment for the airport there. I graduated with my degree in electrical engineering. I ended up starting my own company, rebuilding used heating induction equipment for the automotive companies. I never stopped doing that. I still work on equipment that is 70 and 80 years old. I installed it when it was brand new. The equipment heat-treats parts; it’s a form of electric heat treating.
At age 87, I still do that. When I go to the plants, they actually pick me up in the cart, and take me out to the equipment. It’s all high voltage, lethal voltage equipment. A lot of the younger engineers are not familiar with the equipment.
I was a dairy farmer with my son from the time we moved out to Holly, which would be in 1971. During the Kuwait (Gulf) war is when I got out of the dairy business.
What’s the most fun thing you’ve done?
Believe it or not, it was the dairy operation with my son, Raymond. It was the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life. I did it while I was working full time as an electrical engineer. It was the most satisfying and I enjoyed it more than anything else. We’re living on 22 acres. At one point, we had 90 acres and we were shipping 3,000 gallons of milk every other day.
When people think of you, what do you hope they think of first?
Someone they can always count on. When they need help, I’m there to help them. If the need was there, I do it. I’ve been very blessed with the fact that I’ve had a good education, and the ability to work in many different fields. I’ve just always enjoyed working, and helping people.
You’re 87 now; what’s one thing you’ve seen change for the better?
People are more inclined to be self-employed than work for a large corporation. There’s more information available on the internet and libraries, and people can actually self-educate themselves.
What advice do you have for younger people?
I’ve always been a very good Catholic guy. I think everyone should include the Lord in their whole life. That’s probably the biggest thing I would suggest to them. Make God part of their life.
What is something you would like to see?
The Tigers winning a game for a change, and the same thing for the Detroit Lions. I watch every one of the games.
What do you still want to accomplish?
I want to die a happy man and end up in heaven. I don’t think I can do much of anything else. I’d like to continue with Angel Haven, unless they take my license away from me.