Jan Tyrrell retired from Belt Railway of Chicago April 30 after 25 years. The senior programmer analyst helped the railroad process, schedule and track cars.
In 1995, she wrote the car scheduling system.
Tyrrell graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Although she attended college for a math degree, a teacher surplus at the time motivated her to switch majors. She became one of the college’s first students to earn a degree from its computer science program.
“They were fun,” she said. “I was intrigued.”
After college, Tyrrell worked five years for Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, following her parents into the industry.
“My parents met as teletype operators for Milwaukee Road,” she said. “I have been around the railroad my whole life.”
Tyrrell belonged to the American Council of Railroad Women while it was active, serving as treasurer and secretary.
She enjoys sports and has played volleyball 30 years. She participates on two teams with her husband, Bill. They also take dance lessons, in which they practice the jitterbug, foxtrot, rumba and waltz. The couple have three children and six — soon to be seven — grandchildren.
In retirement, Tyrrell looks forward to more travel. She expects frequent visits to Austin, Texas, to visit their son and grandchildren. Florida also is on the docket with the Keys as a preferred destination.
She and Bill enjoyed a 10-day vacation to Sweden with their grandson, Noah, who plays for Team USA hockey. It was her first visit overseas. They researched her family tree, which resulted in contact with cousins there.