By: Isabel Pedersen
He was an “officer and a gentleman.” That is how Barbara J. Chin describes her boss of 13 years, Lt. General James M. Gavin, Chairman of the Board of Arthur D. Little, Inc., a research and management consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Barbara, fresh out of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, went to Arthur D. Little.
After five years, she accepted a position with Lt. Gen. Gavin for what she calls “the best years of my life.” She stayed 13 years as Assistant to the Chairman of the Board. When Gavin retired after 13 years, she left to work for the President of Raytheon. There was another remarkable man in her life, her husband Joseph Chin. Joseph was one of 11 children of a Chinese immigrant family. His father supported this army of “Chelsea Chins” by running a laundry business. Her husband, as a boy, had his own iron and when he was not needed at the family laundry, he was rented out to other laundries, taking “his” iron with him. A pre-World War II enlistment, using an older brother’s birth certificate since he was underage, was extended when war was declared. As an Asian serving in the Pacific Theater, he was at extra risk. He found himself sometimes being shot at by both sides. After the war, and after studying at Northeastern University, Joseph became an electrical engineer. All his brothers became engineers as well.
Barbara, an only child born in Pittsburgh, moved to Summit, New Jersey, after her eighth grade year, a move that felt traumatic to her. Her adult years were spent in a condo in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she was active on the Condo Board’s Hospitality and Welcoming Committee and its Garden Committee. After 37 years there, she has struggled to downsize so that she could move straight to Plymouth Harbor. Thank you, Salvation Army.
She is already at work in the Fund Shop, which she suggests might better be called the FUN shop. With interest in gardening, fashion, and decorating, there will be more people wishing to put her to work. Come say hello to Barbara in the Fund Shop on Friday afternoons and maybe find a few treasures as well.