Sharon and Jim Lackey share much of Fermilab’s history

Image courtesy of Jim and Sharon Lackey.

Sharon and Jim Lackey have been part of Fermilab’s history for nearly four decades, and they also made some personal history in the laboratory’s early days. And now, after 37 years at the lab for Sharon, and 39 years for Jim, both retired on Oct. 7.

Sharon joined the lab on July 29, 1974.

“In the Operations Department, I was the first female accelerator operator,” she said.

Jim Lackey had been at the laboratory since 1972. Both Jim and Sharon worked together as accelerator operators. They also bowled together in the Fermilab league at Warrenville Bowl. They began dating and soon were married.

They’ve gone from the early days at the Switchyard, to the era of the Main Ring and then to building and operating the Tevatron – which retired right before they did.

“It’s really sad to see the Tevatron turn off,” Sharon said.

Jim remembered those earliest times as an accelerator operator when the idea of something like the Tevatron might have seemed a pipe dream.

“The Linac and Booster were struggling to run,” Jim recalled.

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—Mike Perricone