A native of Pennsylvania, Wilbur Charles Bigelow received a BS degree in Agricultural and Biological Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State College in 1944. For the next two years, he served on active duty as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, doing research under Dr. W. A. Zisman, developing special lubricating oils and corrosion inhibitors for Naval applications at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Anacostia, D. C. He maintained his association with the U. S. Navy by becoming an active member of the University of Michigan Naval Research Reserve Unit in 1946. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant JG in 1947, to Lieutenant in 1951, and to Lieutenant Commander in 1956. He served as Commanding Officer of the Unit in 1957. He retired from active status in 1964 because increased responsibilities in his University position did not allow him to participate as fully in activities of the Naval Reserve as was desirable. However, his participation in the University Naval Research Reserve Unit was a very valuable experience, because it provided an opportunity to associate with, and learn from, such notable faculty members as Admiral Ralph Sawyer, Dean of the Graduate School and Vice President for Research, Captain Freeman D. Miler, a noted professor of Astronomy, Captain Charles M. Davis, a famous historian, and more than twenty other outstanding scientists and engineers.