At 93 years old, Eugene Clary prefers the thrill of day trading on the stock market to a retirement spent traveling.
In 2000, Clary, GS 32, moved into an office in a small house he'd built on his property in Cobb County, Ga., and began experimenting with trading on the stock market, first through a broker, then on his own via the Internet.
He works every day and has a full-time assistant who helps him scan the stock market on the computer and make deals.
"I'd rather work than not," said Clary, who will be 94 in June. "I was already in it in 2000 when the bottom dropped out and we still haven't recovered fully from that, but this is a lot of fun to me. I'd rather do this than take a trip."
Clary retired from the company he founded, Clary and Associates, in 1986, but he never stopped working, consulting for the firm after retirement. "I paid them to let me stay on, $500 a month for an office there," he said.
Clary started the manufacturers representative firm for the HVAC, industrial and institutional markets when he got out of the Army in 1947.
He started in shared office space with a friend and eventually grew the business to include a branch office in Birmingham, Ala.
Over the years, Clary also has been generous to Georgia Tech, including a gift in 1988 to replace the roof on the Tech Tower.
"We wanted to put a gold roof on there, but the president decided he wanted a copper roof tinted to look like the original roof," he said. As a compromise, the tower now sports a golden cupola at its summit.
Clary learned his trade when he started working for John A. Dodd Co. as a manufacturer's agent in 1937, selling industrial pumps and HVAC systems until he joined the Army in 1944.
Louise Clary made sure her sons worked hard and pursued an education.
"Mother was always dead set that we were going to college, dead set," Eugene Clary said. "Those were hard times in the late 1920s and early 1930s, but we worked our way through."
Clary had engineering in mind. The Georgia Vitrified Brick and Clay Co. was located about a mile from Harlem and he figured on returning there to work.
"If you wanted to be an engineer, you went to Georgia Tech," Clary said. "I finished high school in the 11th grade and I couldn't go right to Tech because I didn't have the chemistry and physics I needed, so I went to Augusta College for a year then entered Tech as a freshman." His younger brother, Kenneth, followed him to Tech, earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1952.