John Stinson ’75: That One Little Sister

When featuring our alumni, we are always pleased to share the stories of Delta Chi sweethearts. John Stinson ’75 met wife, Jennie, in tenth grade. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this summer. John shared a story about a visit to the Delta Chi house by 16 members of the Chi Delphia women’s auxiliary from Purdue. Let’s just say that there was no way Jennie was letting that happen without staying very close to her soon-to-be husband.

“One weekend in the fall,” John explains, “the Chi Delphia girls from Purdue decided to visit. There were about 16 of them. They all just moved into the dorm on the upper floor. We never had this happen before. In Michigan, the drinking age was 19; in Indiana, it was 21. My room was upstairs on that third floor, and it was the only room with a sink. Jennie decided that she would stay very close to the house that weekend.”

The early to mid-70s were a unique time at the house. As John explains, there were only 16-18 guys living in the house. Nearly half of the guys were in ROTC — a reflection of the ending of the Vietnam War. They were all serious about school, and serious about their country.

“It always struck me that we were just young kids maturing,” he says. “We were fairly independent. We came together to run the house, and in the process, we become good friends. It was a time of mutual respect and fun.”

John lived in the house his junior and senior years. During his sophomore year, his parents retired and moved to California. He would live in the house and oversee it during the summer months. While living in the house, he shared a double room with Harry “Buck” Crouthamel ’75. Buck was an ROTC brother. He died in a Navy training accident. John also shared a room with Rob Vonderhaar ’75. John and Rob had attended middle school and high school together and lived in the same U of M dorm. They continue to stay in touch today. He also has fond memories of Brother Norm Anschuetz ’78 who was killed in an accident on the German autobahn.

Together, John and his fellow DX brothers participated in intramural sports, Wolverine football games, pledge formals, other social events and practical jokes that they would play occasionally on one another. One fond memory he has is of the three-day campouts out with fellow fraternity and sorority actives as they waited in line for tickets to the U of M football games. It was all on a first-come, first-served basis. Fortunately, this happened before classes started at the beginning of the fall semester, so our academics were not impacted.

John and Jennie were married in the summer of 1975. They moved into married student housing so that Jennie could finish her final year of nursing school and John could finish his final semester as one of the first graduates in Michigan’s environmental engineering program. He would go on to receive a graduate degree in remote sensing, engineering and natural resources, also from Michigan.

Following graduation and while completing his master’s degree, John became a research associate with the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan. Here, he developed artificial intelligence models and image processing techniques to interpret satellite data. He then became a technical rep and then a sales rep for Dun and Bradstreet Computer Services.

From 1982 to 2005, John’s professional career followed a progression of increasing responsibility within the software development industry. In 1993, he became the vice president and chief technology office for Media Station, Inc., a leading provider of educational software games and multi-media publishing. Following the tragic events of 9/11 and the resulting economic downturn, John became a software and land development consultant. It was during this time that he also became serious about SCUBA diving. He obtained his certification and became an instructor.

“While serving as a consultant,” John explains, “I learned of an opportunity to start a medical devices company. In 2005, we launched Clear Image Devices. We specialize in the manufacturing and global distribution of patient positioning devices for medical imaging. This has continued to be a very successful enterprise for us.”

John and Jennie settled in Ann Arbor and raised their children there. Their daughter, Laura, also graduated from U of M. She played on the field hockey team that won Michigan’s first women’s national championship. She now lives in San Diego with her new husband (just married in June) where she is president of the Vista California campus at Kaplan Higher Education. John and Jennie’s son, Jeff, graduated with a degree in physics research from Eastern Michigan University. He currently works in the family business as a specialist in precision engineering. He is married and has two children, ages 3 and 6 months.

Today, John stays in touch with several DX brothers including Frank Morrey ’64, the brother he describes as “the backbone of staying in touch.” He also is connected with Dave Levinson ’75 and John Levinson ’74. He would like to reconnect with one of his ROTC friends, Bob Pliska ’75.

In his free time, John does participate in some volunteer work for the local Ann Arbor homeless populations through Alpha House and Habitat for Humanity.

“Delta Chi has always represented some of the best years of my life for growth, learning and maturing. I was fortunate to be in it with a great group of people at that time in my life. If I had to advise college students today with the changing cultural climate, I would tell them to get up every morning, look in the mirror and remember that this is the guy responsible for me.”

John invites brothers to connect with him at [email protected].