Marie Silverthorne and her husband, Bill Giolma, received the George Heilmeier Lifetime Achievement Award for their family’s continuous support of the mission of the Alzheimer's Association. The award was presented on May 20, at the annual major fund-raising event Ignite: An Event To Remember gala, hosted by the Dallas & Northeast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Both Marie and Bill are retired TI employees and have been married 46 years. They met while in college at Carnegie Mellon.
In announcing the award, the Alzheimer’s Association stated, “This award, in representation of George Heilmeier, exemplifies an individual with outstanding civil and charitable responsibility; a person whose life unfortunately intersected with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.” Dr Helimeier, joined TI in 1977 and served as the Chief Technology Officer for TI for several years. The award was presented to Marie and Bill by Michael Jarvie, grandson of George Helimeier.
Two other TI retirees were on the program this year: Jan and Randy Haberer. They both serve on the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association. Jan was an active employee at TI who discovered that she had Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which was affecting her work. She sought medical help and contacted the Alzheimer’s Association for support. She gave a remarkable first-person story of the experience, and Randy commented on the difficult decisions they had to make. After her experience. Jan and Randy are annual participants of the Walk To End Alzheimer’s and this year during the pandemic, organized a neighborhood walk since “walk was everywhere this year.” The Haberers Team, Jandy's Clan help raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Alzheimer’s gala this year was a virtual event, which made it possible for more people to be involved. Because so many TI retirees were involved, the Alzheimer’s Association invited the TIAA to view the awards program and hear Jan’s story. The Alzheimer’s website will remain open until June 30 with details of the event and how to help support the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association: https://e.givesmart.com/events/kp2/
Shown below are more details about the careers of the four TI retirees and their experiences with Alzheimer’s and memory issues.
Marie Silverthorn joined TI a few years after Bill, and worked initially in TI’s Defense Group, where she was involved in applications on 990 computer systems and Computer Automated Design (CAD) tools. Later on, she was a System Engineer for the semiconductor design automation division. In 1992, she moved to corporate, as Director of TI’s Software Core Competency, where she created and implemented a company-wide strategy to position TI as a world-class software builder. She also worked in TI’s Digital Signal Processing business in Houston, where she was Program Manager for DSP Mass Market Software Application. Marie was a member of TI’s Engineering Council for several years, helping to increase opportunities for women in engineering and science. Several members of her family had to deal with Alzheimer’s and she and Bill became actively involved in the association.
Bill Giolma, an engineer, worked for more than 30 years at TI. He was in the Analog Engineering Dept. when he retired. Bill worked in several areas of TI, including work on semiconductors for the Polaroid camera system and later on, applications in TI’s circuits for cell phones.
Jan Haberer joined TI’s Defense Division in 1984, after graduating from SMU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She was assigned as a design engineer on the HARM program at the Lewisville plant and designed parts for the missile. She would often go to the model shop to get a part manufactured, and it was here that she met her future husband, Randy Haberer, who had to make the parts she designed. Later on, they were married. After several years, she was assigned to work on classified defense programs. When the defense business was sold to Raytheon and the Lewisville operations were relocated to Arizona, Jan and Randy moved to Tucson.
Back in Dallas, Jan’s mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and her father was having a difficult time taking care of his wife and his day job. After a year, Jan and Randy decided to move back to Dallas to help her dad with his caregiving responsibilities. Randy transferred to Raytheon in the Dallas area, but Jan decided to seek employment with TI. She was hired as the Quality Manager for the DMAT operation of DLP. She was selected for the Make Leadership Development Program, and later became a Program Manager in the Analog Semiconductor Division. This led to what Jan calls her “dream job” at TI: Strategic Program Manager in Analog Engineering Operations.
Then, Jan, as well as her supervisor noticed that she started making mistakes in her work. This was abnormal, so she went to several doctors including a neurologist, who diagnosed her as having MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment), sometimes a precursor to Alzheimer’s. She continued to work and “keep it under the wire”, but eventually she went on disability in 2015 and retired in 2019. During this difficult time, she sought the help of the Alzheimer’s Association. She joined their group meetings of early stage Alzheimer’s patients and care partners. Jan credits this along with the prescribed drugs that made it possible for her to remain stable and keep going.
If you or anyone you know needs resources or assistance from the Alzheimer’s Association, please visit their website alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline: 800-272-3900.