Got a good exposure to engineering from my Dad -- he did not have the benefit of going to a larger school, and had majored in history -- He eventually after retiring from the national park service, started a company that designed museum's and exhibits among other things. There while working as general help, I got exposure to making blue-prints of the plans for them -- he also was kind enough to let me take apart old radio's that he aquired. Through his work he showed what the past was like to millions of museum visitors -- and I even stopped at one of the museums we had worked on together on the way to his memorial service -- everything was so well built, the exhibits all looked just like when we had put them on the truck to go there 25+ years earlier for the opening.
@Betajet mentioned... "....and a sense of humor." Too right. My dad introduced me to Goon shows - which I love to this day - and other British humor (being English, he would have called it humour :-) I'm eternally grateful for that too. He taught me to laugh at myself too, which is a very useful thing to be able to do....you can poke a lot of fun without offending anyone.