Index of featured members
13. Ed Gagg
12. Ken Locke 11. Ken Cannan 10. Ralph G. Erickson 9. William J. Stewart
8. Bob Harris 7. Walter Smorgans 6. Frank J. Casazza 5. Tom LaVergne
4.Bud Mahoney 3. Robert Fisher 2. George (coach) Burgess 1. Leroy Spring
Ed was born on Sept. 29,1930, in
In 1947 at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Navy and had his boot training at
In 1949, His ship was sent to
In 1953, he went to work as a letter carrier in the Ridgewood, N.J. Post Office. In 1963 he met Ida who worked as a postal clerk in the same post office. In 1970, Jan. 24th, they got married. They both retired from the postal service in 1985. After visiting Ed's sister and brother-in-law in
In 1979, they bought 3 acres on
The taxes got too much for them and they moved to Pennsylvania. But their hearts were still in Indian
Ed loves the outdoors, hunting and fishing and he drove for
Ed 1947 Ed & Ida Gagg 1970 Ridgewood, NJ
Ken Lee Locke
Ken was born in
the other lives in
He went to
(General Education Degree). He immediately got a job at the saw mill on
he was 19 yrs. old.
His basic training was at
His request was granted and he went into the 25th. Infantry Recon Unit and sent to
reconnaissance missions. He did not want to elaborate any further on his experiences during this time.
Later he was transferred to the 39th Base Post Office and after three weeks he came down with severe Malaria. He was told his fever at one time was as high
as 107 deg. After his convalescence he was sent back to the States and was on the plane returning home on his 21st. birthday, 13 September, 1971. On
29 September, 1971 he was discharged from active duty with the rank of SP4 (corporal) and served in reserve until 2 November, 1975 when he was retired.
When he came home, after a couple of months to gather himself, he found out that the County needed people and of course veterans had priority, so he
applied. In December, 1971 he started as a laborer with
Soon after leaving the Army he met Ellen through playing golf with Fred Turner, who was her stepfather, her mother is Jean Turner. They had two children,
Laura and Sarah who both live in
Later he met Jane Mahoney at a trailer court where his mother and father lived. They were married on 17 March, 1978, are still together living on
Ken joined the Legion soon after he was discharged and is a past commander. He likes to play golf and plays in a league. Of course, he likes hunting and fishing
as well. He is a member of the Legionís Cans and Bottles Brigade and hardly ever misses a day helping with collecting and sorting. He can always be counted on for
parades, and other ceremonies when the Legion needs him.
Ken was born Maurice K. Cannan, a relatively local boy, on December 23, 1942. He came into this world in Lowville, which is almost directly west of
He went to school there through all 12 grades and graduated high school at the age of 17. He grew up there with three brothers and three sisters and did farm chores during his school years. While on vacation in the summer months he worked on a dairy farm which was close to where Beverly Stanton lived, yet he never noticed or acknowledged her.
In his senior year in high school when it came time for his prom, not having been dating anyone, he needed to find someone he could take. He always liked to ice skate, so one day, while skating at the local skating pond he was talking to a friend about it and his friend said why donít you ask her, pointing to Beverly who was skating by. He did and with that after the prom they started dating regularly. Fate works in strange ways.
He graduated in June and in October of that same year he was hired by the Upstate Phone Company as a ground man. Eventually wound up a lineman, then progressed to installations and repair, and finally became a cable splicer. It is interesting to note that a splice detecting device he used was an instrument very much like a sophisticated Ohmmeter. By reading the resistance of a line and checking with itís existing recorded resistance data he could usually locate the breach easily.
In 1964 he entered the Army in the signal corps and had his basic training at Ft. Dix, NJ and then went on to advanced training in radio signal transmission at Ft. Gordon,
Ken came home on leave in 1965 and had a mind to get engaged. He had previously asked both his parents and
While on leave he visited the local jewelry store and picked out a ring but did not know Bevís ring size. He managed to get her to the store with him and casually got her to check her ring size for the future should they become engaged. Later, he returned to the store and ordered the ring figuring it was going to be done before he left at the end of his leave. That didnít happen, so he arranged to have his father pick up the ring when it was done and as his proxy give it to Bev. which he did. His father took a beautiful picture of the ring on
Ken was stationed for a while outside Stuttgart,
When he got to his new station the two men there were living like homeless people with meager bedding, crude cots, no sheets, and few comforts. Ken, in time, managed to get descent beds, warm blankets, clean sheets and they started to make regular runs down the mountain to the hospital where they picked up good food, gasoline, did their laundry, took showers and got other supplies they needed for better living, no more K rations.
On one of his trips to town they had a whole load of round watermelons and Ken asked the sergeant for a couple to take back but he was refused. Ken kept trying to convince him to give him two melons and finally figuring heíll discourage Ken he said that he had to take two dozen if he wanted them. Ken took the two dozen melons and put them in the truck. In town he went to a nearby grammar school where the children were playing in the yard and offered them watermelons. The children were very cautious and hesitant so Ken broke one open and started to eat it, then the children flocked around and took them, all but the two Ken wanted originally.
They lived there about a year which gave them time to buy a little manufactured home on Rt.28 in N. River. While there they started a family which grew to be a family of three boys, Kenny, Steve and Jeff. It was crowded with five people in that little trailer home so in 1971 they bought the house in which they presently live in
They now have three grand children, two girls and one boy, Kylie, Kaitlyn, and Logan. They also have a camp on
Ken was a part time school bus driver form 1996 until 2001 he became full time from 2001 to 2005 and back to part time in 2005 to the present time. He has been a member of the American Legion for the past 37 years and was Post Commander in 1976 for a year and again became Post Commander for the past five years and still is at this time.
He was a member of the IL Ambulance Corps for 12 years and when he lived in N. River he was in the Volunteer Fire Dept.
He loves to hunt, to go snowmobiling and going to his camp as a get away with his sons at time or even alone for the solitude. He also loves to go to the hunting camp with the guys from the hunting club to which he belongs.
He does a great job as commander of Post 1392 and Iím sure he loves to do that as well. Weíre all fortunate to have a good functioning post because of his efforts.
Ralph G. Erickson
Ralph was born on July 21, 1933 in Nyack, NY hospital which was the nearest hospital to his native town of Pearl River, a little town just over the northern border of New Jersey.
He went to grammar school and high school in
In 1953 Ralph volunteered for the Army, since he was going to be drafted anyway, and soon after married Janet. He was stationed state side at
It was part of Ralphís job working in the Petroleum and oil depot to keep the airplanes and other vehicles fueled and maintained. After two years he was discharged as a Pfc in 1955. It seems that promotions were more prevalent among the airborne but not so among the support groups.
Before entering the service he was working as a printer and after he came back he went into the printing trade again. Janet and he had four children three girls and one boy, all born while they lived in
He got into real estate sales, became a broker and had his own business for a while and then in 1980 he decided to take a job as an appraiser for industrial properties with the state of
During this time he and his wife bought a home in
With his children and their families living so close in
He joined the American Legion in 1995 but does not belong to any other organizations as of now. However, when he was in
He likes to do wood working and also likes to watch sports. He is also a member of the Legion cans and bottles brigade and comes regularly to help. A good man to have with us.
Leroy is our oldest member, not only in years of age but in longevity with the Legion. His name is on the original Legion charter as James L. Spring, his formal name. He was born in Indian Lake on July 15, 1915. and is one of five children, three boys and two girls.
His oldest brother and one sister were born in Minerva, while he and a younger brother were born in Indian Lake, yet they all were born in the same house! Originally their house was within the Minerva town line, however, later the town lines were rearranged and that area became part of Indian Lake. His other sister was born in Canada. He went to grammar school at the district school up near Parkerville Road and then on to high school at what is now the Indian Lake Central School.
In May 1941, before Pearl Harbor was attacked, Leroy volunteered and went into the army. His duties were varied through his military career, for a while he was with the coastal artillery and anti-aircraft. He also served in Alaska and worked with the quartemaster. He worked his way to the rank of Tsgt. before he was discharged on January 1, 1946
When he came home he went to work for Wilson Electric. Charles Wilson bought a military surplus generator and started a company supplying electricity to Indian Lake, before Niagara Mohawk came on the scene. He worked there a couple of years until the opportunity came along to work for Mr. Joseph Sisti as a caretaker of the Sisti home just outside Indian Lake, which lasted only a mere 37 years. Having obtained his official Adirondack Guide license during his younger years, Leroy, in addition, to being caretaker was also the hunting and fishing guide Mr. Sisti and his guests when they came up from New York city.
Being an ambitious man, he started a gas station on Rt. 28 bordering Lake Abenakee, while he was holding down the caretaker/guide job. The location was where the Leroy's Cottage is on Rt. 28 opposite the entrance to Chain Lakes Road going to the landfill. He rented boats,sold bait, as well as gas, all the while doing what was necessary at Sisti's place. His father, Clyde, along with Dick Spring and Mickey Merwin, then a boy, ran things at the station when Leroy was away at his other jobs.
He has been on the IL town board, he is a charter member of the IL Ambulance Corps, a member of the IL VFD, a charter member of American Legion Post 1392, post commander in IL as well as Hamilton County commander, and Sgt. at Arms for the NY State American Legion. Through the years he was involved with many other groups, charities, and functions which are too numerous to include here.
In 1981 he officially retired and lives independently in his own home in Indian Lake. For a man soon to be 95 yrs young he's in darn good shape. His appetite can put a man half his age to shame and he sure has a sweet tooth. Leroy never got married, I guess, he was always too busy!
On March 17, 2005 he was given an award by the American Legion, for "60 years of outstanding and dedicated service". The most important thing is that he is presently healthy and still active in the Legion attending meetings and helping to collect cans and bottles with the brigade.
God bless you James L. Spring.
Cmdr. Ken Cannan presenting award to Leroy Leroy with 60 year service award
George (coach) Burgess
Most people in town call him "coach" because he was their coach through their school years. He is 89 years young with his 90th. birthday coming this June 26, 2010. He is 100% an Adirondaker, born on Rt.30 in Sabael in 1920. He was one of five children, and was the only boy. Being surrounded by girls that way no wonder he was such a good athelete.
Each school day he walked to a small schoolhouse in Sabael on Rt.30 where he attended through the fifth grade. Afterwards, he went to the Indian Lake School Township#1 which was located on the same site where the Indian Lake Central School is now. At that time it was not the building you see today. The present main building was erected , as the new school, in 1929 due to the efforts of a committee headed by Dr. Carroll, the local town physician. In those days there were no school buses and for the children from the Sabael area that was about a 4 mile trek to school. Lee Fish made a make shift bus out of a used truck body and this was their mode of transportation to their upper grades school.
In school coach played all sports, at first under the coaching of Milton Pope, who was also the principle. Later Charles Andrews became the full time coach, and under Mr Andrews George developed into a good athelete and his love of sports blossomed. After he graduated George was accepted by Ithica College into their Physical Education Program with the help of Mr. Andrews. He almost finished his fourth year when he was drafted into the Army during WWII. It was 1942 and the war was well under way when he went in. A short time before he was drafted George applied for the Navy V-12 program, which was offered to college students, at that time. If a student took all the tests and was accepted he would be allowed to graduate before entering his training to become a Naval Officer. The Draft Board got to George before all the paper work was proccessed so he was inducted into the Army missing this opportunity.
He was assigned to the Military Police, trained and was shipped to Africa, and then went on to Italy with the invasion. He was discharged in December, 1945 with the rank of corporal, came home and was married on December 31 to Sylvia Kolar. Sylvia was from NJ and came to Sabael during the summer to work as a governess for the Kiggins family, who owned what is know as the Chief Sabael Cottages. They also owned The Bull Steamship Lines, which shipped supplies to the armed forces during the war. Sylvia loved to play tennis and so did George, with tennis courts being so convnient, and George being a close neighbor they played a lot of tennis. In fact, they went together for about eight years before their marriage. They had two children, both of them girls and both are living on the opposite end of the country, one in California and the other in Washington.
It was back to college for George, this time with a wife, so they found a small apartment in which to live while he attended and got his Bachelor's degree three months later. He had been corresponding with Mr. Pope all during the war so after he finished college he was offered a teaching position in the IL school working for him. While teaching he worked for hos Master's Degree, which took him four summers to achieve.
He coached all sports and started some innovative programs such as, trampoline, and indoor roller skating in the Gym with the use of skates with special rollers not to dammage the floor. Having a good rapport with both the students and the faculty he became Director of Athletics with a total of 415 students in his charge. He became Assistant Principal in 1968 and was still in charge of all the athletic programs. After 33 years of coaching and teaching he retired in 1976, but stayed on as a substitute teacher for another three years.
George joined the Legion not too long after it's initial charter, has served as Finance Officer and is currently our Post Chaplain. Originally he got involved in his Chaplain duties when the legion recieved a request from Ethel O' Brien to have funeral service for her husband Bernard O'Brien. Ethel and her husband owned Wakely's lodge back then but it was not yet a golf course, it was a lodge mostly for hunters and fishermen. When the O'Brien's house, which was farther down Cedar River road, caught fire, the family got out unharmed, but Bernard went bach into the house to get something, and never came out. Having been a veteran Ethel wanted the Legion to conduct a service, which George did by taking charge of all the proceedings. He must have done a good job because he is still doing it, not only for the Legion but for Mike Miller at the funneral home with their services.
George (coach) Burgess has help so many people in many different ways that I could not mention them all in this article. As a result of his dedicated help he was voted Citizen of the Year, he was also voted Senior Citizen of the Year, given an award for "service to the community' at least twice and these are only some of his accolades. Up until recently he was an active driver taking those who could not drive or had no means of transportation to the doctor, shopping, to the pharmacy or to the hospital.
As I mentioned before he is the Chaplain for our Post and is still a very active member. He regularly attends the meetings, is there at just about every occassion and you can rest assured at every funeral or memorial dedication. He is always there helping to collect cans and bottles with the Legion.
Three cheers for George (coach) Burgess
Bob Fisher was born on Decenber 8, 1934 in the Inwood Hills section of upper Manhattan, NY. He was one of seven boys, and went to a catholic school which went only to the sixth grade. During his early grade school years he contracted Spinal Meningitis and was absent from school often. His absence became so frequent that his mother started to home teach him, but this was not enough. His grades were such that failure to get through the sixth grade was imminent. He was transferred to PS 152 and eventually graduated in 1949.
He enrolled in Samuel Gompers Trade School in courses for auto mechanic and refrigeration. the country was in the middle of the Korean War so Bob decided to join the Army and enlisted in January, 1952.
He was sent to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii for his basic training, then he went to Giessen, Germany into a heavy mortar outfit. Then it was back to California to a port of debarkation and on to Korea. He was a radio operator and forward observer in the fiels artillery there.
UN forces were also in this field of operation and the Turkish soldiers were experts at covert forays. There were no lines of battle, the enemy could be anywhere, so the Turks went out in the night searching for them, like snipers, except they sneaked up and used knives. While everyone slept in their bunkers or out in the open the Turks in the dark would identify an enemy by feeling the way he laced his boots. This is where the expertise was used, to do this undetected and kill the enemy.
Bob was discharged in 1955 and stayed in the active reserve with the MPs. He married his first wife in 1956 and they had two sons. He was called back to active duty in 1961, as an MP, and got out a year later.
In 1966, after enduring for 10 years he divorced his wife, who was an alchoholic, and drug abuser. His divorce lawyer later convinced him to go on a blind date with a lady he knew and he arranged a meeting for Bob. Reluctantly he agreed and went to find and meet a red head in a green coat in Alexander's Dept. Store on Long Island. When he got to the location there were three ladies with green coats, two were red heads and one was not. The first one he approached was mary Ann and the datemust have gone well because on May 27, 1967 they married and are still together.
For awhile Bob worked in a plastics manufacturing plant until he got hired as a laborer by the city of Babylon, Long Island. He enrolled in night school and took courses which eventually lead to his becoming a Senior Engineering Aid for Babylon. He was there for 30 years and retired in 1990 immediately coming to live in Indian Lake. He and Mary Ann were able to come to live here so soon because they had their log house built two years before retiring and it was ready when the time came. They were attracted to Indian Lake from camping on Lewey Lake through the years.
Through much of his working years Bob had to pay child support for his two sons. Therefore, he had to supplement his income by working as a security guard as well. Along with Mary Ann's income as a beautician they were able to sustain their lifestyle.
Bob was always active, in Babylon he was president of the Civil Service Employee's Association, he belonged to the VFW and the National Rifle Association. When he came to IL he joined the Legion after meeting Larry Van Bumble, who was commander at that time. He immediately saw that the ten 1903 Springfield rifles, used for parades and such, were in bad condition so he arranged to have the Army replace them with the M-1s we have today. At that time, Legionaires paid for their own uniforms so many had nothing but a hat. Bob worked to have the Legion pay for shirts, ties and jackets so now a much better presentation is made at all our functions.
He is a past commander and currently holds several positions in the Legion, Judge Advocate, Historian, Sgt.@ Arms, and Home Land security. Bob has had open heart surgery so he can not do the actual collecting of cans and bottles with the brigade, but he does his part by making up cartons and counting Coor cans which are done separately from the others. He does this at his leisure when he has the time or if he feels up to it. He attends monthly meetings regularly partaking in most functions and is a definite asset to the Legion. Carry on Bob.
Bernard F. Mahoney
Bud was born on September 2, 1919 in Chestertown, NY. His mother and father had a road stand in Friend's lake which was like a "One Stop" selling necessary items as well as gasoline. He recalls that gas back then sold for 5 gallons /$1.00.
His father worked as a caretaker for the Murphys who owned the Friends Lake Inn at that time. Bud's father was ill with tuberculosis (TB) which was a prevolent and deadly desease in those days. Bud was 12 yrs old when his father succumbed to it leaving his mother with seven children to care for, three girls and four boys. His mom ran the stand and Bud got a job working at the Friends Lake Inn taking care of the boats.
He went to grade school in a little one room school house which went only to the sixth grade, then he went to Chestertown Central School. After two years of high school he had enough and decided he wanted to get a full time job. The family moved to Glens Falls and Bud got a job with a road construction company making roadways by hand. There was no heavy working equipment, all the gravel, sand, and stone had to be shoveled and spread by hand. Then Tarmac, a liquid tar, was spread over the surface as a binder holding everything down, it was not a hard surface like Macadam of today. When he was eighteen he and his brother, Tom, moved to Indian Lake and went to work for Bill Ward Lumber as helpers on the logging trucks.
WWII had started and was going on in Europe, but the U.S. was not yet involed, however, in preparation the selective service draft was started. In June of 1941 Bud was drafted and went into the army on 26 June, 1941, five months before Pear Harbor when we entered the war.
He was in Ordinance but soon got involved with the motor pool working in vehicle maintenance and got rated. Bud was not what you would say an ideal military man, it seems he was too independent for that way of life. During his service he was "busted" five or six times for various reasons. At one time he got to the rank of staff sergeant yet when he was discharged his papers show his rank as pfc. He was caught sleeping on guard duty one time which resulted in a demotion. Another incident was when he left his post thinking nothing was happening so he could leave and be back before being missed. Unfortunately, there was a surprise attack and that's when it was discovered his post was unmanned. Good thing the attack was a training excersise here in the states. If it had been in real combat many men in his oufit might have died and Bud would have been court marshaled, dishonorably discharged and probably sent to Leavenworth for a long time. Yet another time, he was on guard duty when a general tried to get by his post without the proper code and he refused to let him by. The general tried to pull rank and intimidate Bud, but knowing he was following his orders he stood his ground and brought the general, in custody, to the provost marshal's office. He was totally supported for what he did despite the fact that the general was making all kinds of threats.
On 25 September, 1944 he was shipped to the South Pacific in a casual company which did various jobs, and being sent out on patrol was one. He was in New Guinea for a while and on to Luzon as well. One day they were approaching a hut and realized that a Jap was hiding inside, rather than storming the hut Bud crawled under it, their huts were built off the ground on stilts. He could see the impressions of the Jap moving around inside on the underside of the flimsy floor. Aiming his carbine and timing it with the movement he shot and made the kill. He recalls that the Japs many times would launch their suicide attacks at noon trying to catch the troops off guard while they were eating at mess.
He was discharged on 27 November, 1945 came back to Glens Falls, and got a job with the water department. He was there for 4 1/2 years when he decided to go back to Indian Lake after buying a truck to start hauling logs, this didn't last long and Bud had to fold. He then went to work for International Paper and eventually became a crane operator.
He met his wife, Betty Eldgidge, who was a waitress at Marty's owned by Marty Harr Sr. and she was also their baby sitter. They got married in 1953, had eight children together, four boys and four girls. All are still alive, three of which we all know as Jane, Cathy and Patty of Jane and Cathy's Restaurant.
For a while Bud owned a gas station in Lake Pleasant, but problems with the in ground tanks developed and operating on a shoe string he could no longer keep it. After that he went to work for the County highway department doing various types of work and retired in 1973.
Along the way he and Betty built up a sizable Amway business with a pyramid of many agents under them. For a while he was in the real estate business too. His wife Betty passed away after 40 years of marriage and he is living in their home on Main Street in IL.
Bud has been a member of the American Legion for 30 years and has served as Post Commander as well as County Commander, which he was four times. He was also County President of the Hamilton County Council of Senior Citizens. He is a life member of the ILVFD, and a life member of the Fish and Game Club, and a 4th degree Knight of Columbus in St. Mary's church.
Before his last set back you could always see Bud walking in town no matter what time of day and no matter what the weather. He could no longer drive but he sure could walk. Maybe a little slower or with a walker as he got older but he did it. Bud is a tough old bird and as soon as he can he will be back walking all over town again. We hope to see that soon.
Tom was born on Rt. 28 in
His older brother went to the little school house near
He was such a good conscientious worker that the owner noticed and was impressed offering him the job as miller. This was unheard of because it usually took years to attain that position. When he took the offer many of his coworkers were not too friendly toward him, in fact, they resented him.
Some time later the manager found the workers on coffee break while the mill was running. Apparently he was not aware that this was customary so he directed them all back to work and announced that there would be no more coffee breaks. The men along with Tom were furious so Tom went over to the main power switch and pulled the handle shutting down the entire mill. The manager got the owner and wanted Tom fired immediately, but when Tom told the owner why he shut things down the owner sympathized with him and reinstated the coffee break almost firing the manager. From then on Tom was forgiven and the men all pitched in to get the mill up and running again.
During the Korean War Tom was drafted and entered the army on Dec. 12, 1950 into the amphibious trucks and vehicles. He trained operating Ducks ( an amphibious six wheel truck made by GM ) transporting patients to shore from hospital ships. Later he was shipped to
In 1952 he was discharged as a corporal on Dec, 12 exactly two years to the day from the date he entered the service.
When he got home he went to work for Joe White hauling logs on long distant runs. He had a good driving record and had been driving a while but when he asked for a raise he was refused and was told truck drivers were a dime a dozen so he quit on the spot. Years later he found out that Joe Whiteís trucks had over turned six times since Tom had left.
Tom met Martha in
After quitting the trucking job Tom went into the woods working for a while for
He got a job with Barton Mines and became a shovel operator retiring in 1975 after 20 years with them. He was offered an early retirement package which apparently suited him just fine because he started his own saw mill and later went into the chord wood business. One year he cut and split 378 face chords and at that time he did it all by hand, no log splitter.
He built the house in which he is still living little by little borrowing money and paying it off so after seven years he finished it and had no mortgage to deal with. A far cry from the thinking of todayís home builder.
Tom has been a member of the American Legion for more than 30 years and still turns out for Memorial Day, Flag Day and burial services.
He showed me his prized trophy which he has in his living room as big as life. He was checking his traps four years ago when he found a big 42 lb. Bob Cat caught in one. He had only small traps out and the cat got his paw in one of them. What could he do? If he tried to free it he surely would be attacked so the only solution was to shoot it in such a way for an instant kill. He aimed to put a shot between the eyes and as he pulled the trigger the cat turned itís head. It fell dead immediately but he could not find the bullet hole going in or coming out. Later he found that the bullet went in through the opening of the catís ear and being only a 22 short the slug didnít have enough power to penetrate the skull to come out the other side. Amazing shot leaving no outwardly visible damage! He had it mounted and there it stands looking magnificent.
TOM'S BOB CAT
Frank J. Casazza
I was born on a memorable date April 15th. remember income tax day? Although it is not clear what year the IRS was born, my year of birth is 1925. My father came from
It was the great depression years and to earn a little money I worked a newspaper route with about 60 customers. On my way home from high school I picked up my papers and carried them in a canvas bag slung over my shoulder. I weaved my way back and forth through the streets where my customers lived and it was uphill all the way. It was hard work but at lease I had a few cents of my own because my parents did not have the means to give me an allowance.
I met my wife, Fran, in high school, she was a junior and I was a senior. My best friend and I were in front of school on a beautiful fall day in 1942 when Fran with two of her girl friends came by. I didnít know any of them but my friend knew one of the girls from study class so there were introductions all around. I felt a strong attraction for her from the very beginning and it must have been mutual because we hit it off immediately. I was sorry when it was time to go to class, and I will always remember the way she moved as she walked away. I was beguiled by her and I knew then that I had to see her again, which I did every chance I got.
As silly as this sounds it was the style for young men to wear bow ties when we were in high school. If a girl and a boy were going together it was the fad for them to wear the same color tie. It soon became known through out the entire school that we were going together since we often wore those ties.
In 1943, while WWII was raging, the Army Air Corps offered high school seniors an attractive Air Cadet program, in that, if you passed all the tests and was accepted by a review board of several officers you were allowed to graduate before you had to go into cadet training. I was always interested in flying so I took the tests, was accepted and two weeks after I graduated I was on my way to basic training in Miami Beach, Fl. it was June 1943.
During the next fourteen months we were tested for every imaginable thing, mentally, psychologically, physiologically for fitness, coordination and aptitude. We were going through an accelerated flying program so the training hours were long and very intense. I persevered and on August 21, 1944 I earned my wings as a navigator and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. I was then 19 yrs old.
I got a short leave after graduation and while at home Fran and I became engaged. I was ordered to Davis-Monthan Field in
I was assigned to the 8th Air Force in the 446th Bomb Group of B-24 Heavy Bombers. I flew ten combat missions over
We flew our planes back to the states, taking the
Back in the states we got a 30 day leave before we were to go into B-29s and eventually bomb
Winding down the war effort and processing military personnel took three months before I was discharged from active duty, so Fran and I actually had a three month honeymoon. All I had to do was call in every day and the rest of the day was free time. We were on a base in San Marcos, Texas which was near San Antonio so we went there often, had picnics in Brackenridge Park, ate ice cold watermelon from the push carts in the park, went to dances at the officerís club, often ate dinner there as well, we swam in the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos river; we were having a ball. However, when it came time for us to go home to our families we were so happy it was now November, 1945.
After the war I stayed in the reserves, went to College at
In 1958 I was offered a job in
Knowing that this was a risky move I had sense enough to rent our home with the condition that the renters would move out within a reasonable time on short notice. We moved back to NJ and within a few weeks we were back in our home. I got a job with Universal Mfgr. Corp. a company which made transformers for fluorescent lighting where I worked for 28 yrs. Soon after on September 1, 1959 Michael was born.
At Universal I started as a specification and procedure writer. Then went into the Technical Engineering Dept. which handled all the technical problem calls from our customers. I traveled all over the country, as needed, trouble shooting and arranging to correct malfunctioning lighting installations. Later I became manager of the department until I was asked by our VP of Sales if I would like to join his team in Sales, so I took a shot at it. I was always involved with customer relations doing trouble shooting, but I was not a salesman. I became Eastern Regional Manger and later National Sales Manager for all Original Equipment Manufacturer accounts.
During my working years I was in the AF reserve serving one week end a month and two weeks on active duty every year. This way I was able to earn credits for retirement as well as promotions. I took various courses through the years with the
In 1987 I retired from Universal, at 62 years of age and we moved to
Through my working years my hobby was building furniture and I had done some construction to our house in NJ so when it came time to build in Indian Lake I felt I was ready. With the help of my wife we started to design our IL home 2 yrs before I retired so I knew from the start where every rafter and joist was going. I was the general contractor and gave out the contract for the masonry work and the overhead sheet rock the rest I did myself including all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms. We love our home and there is very little we would change in itís design. However, it would be nice to be closer to our children, one being in Pleasant Hills, Ca and the other in Boynton Beach, Fl.
I was a member of the VFW in NJ. and now Iím with the American Legion in
Me and Fran way back in1944
Me and Fran way back in1944
On September 10, 1920 in
He was the youngest preceded by three sisters all of whom are now deceased. One day his father was waiting for a crew to return before his shift rotation, but they never came back. He realized that with a family to look out for the mines was not where he wanted to stay. He moved his family to
Walter went to grade school and then to high school, both of which were in large brick buildings. Brick making was one of the large industries there and the
He did not want to leave his fate in the hands of the draft board so he signed up for the Army Air Corps Reserve as a candidate for the Air Cadet program. He was told it could take months before he was called so he went to apply for a job at the Hercules Powder Works where they made smokeless gun powder. When he got there about 200 other job seekers were waiting for an interview already. He sat waiting to be called and started to juggle some stones he had picked up. Apparently he was pretty good at it because when the interviewer came out to make a selection he was fascinated and asked Walter to come inside. He was hired along with a high school friend who came along with him and these were the only two hired that day.
On May 4, 1942 he was called up and was sworn into the service. After basic training he was sent to Maxwell Field for classification for aviation cadets. He was then sent to
During his check ride, the check pilot found nothing wrong with his flying yet his instructor had turned him in as unsatisfactory. He told the check pilot that he was having trouble understanding his instructor and asked he could change instructors but was told that it would surely mean the end of his pilot training. So Walt struggled with his flying, hoping for the best, but eventually was washed out of pilot training for slow progress.
He was then sent to Bombardier school in
After his training he was shipped to Will Roger Air Field in
When he came home he went back to work for Hercules Powder and they gave him full credit for the years he was away in service. He met his wife Helen while working at Hercules before the war and had been corresponding the entire time; he in the Air Corps and she in the Navy. Helen was a typist monitoring coded messages for the Navy and typing them out.
Helen and Walt got married in 1948 and after living with the parents for a while in South River they got an apartment and eventually built a home on a piece of property they had purchased earlier. They stayed in
South River is close to the Atlantic Ocean and itís waterways, yet after spending some vacations at
Through the years at Hercules Walter worked at various jobs mostly on the equipment which distilled alcohol used in the process of making gun powder. He started to work in the electrical department at the plant and learned how to wire, eventually getting his license so he could do electrical work on his off hours from Hercules. He developed a nice business wiring many new houses in his area, which was growing rapidly. Helen became a beautician in earlier years but after the children grew up she decided to go back to work. She got a job with Johnson & Johnson and from entry level she worked her way far up the ladder. Before she retired she was Corporate Fleet Manager and was inducted into the Automotive Fleet Hall of Fame. She was one of 27 candidates for the honor all of which were men with her exception. Below is the article which appeared in the Hamilton County News .
Helen Smorgans of
Prior to her retirement in 1984, Mrs. Smorgans was Automotive Fleet Manager for Johnson & Johnson Corporation in New Brunswick, NJ where she managed 1,500 vehicles dispersed throughout the US and Puerto Rico. She managed fleets for J & J Corporate and ten other J & J companies. She was chairperson of the
Walter will be 90 this September and Helen is quite ill requiring most of Waltís attention so letís remember them in our prayers.
Walter is on the bottom right corner next to the arrow.
Bob Harris was born on April 14, 1938 in West Chester,
He went to grammar school in
After High School he went directly into the USAF in July 1956 and after basic training was sent to Air Traffic Control school. From September 1956 to January 1957 he learned the workings and duties of a traffic controller in the school at
In February 1957 he was shipped over seas and was an Air Traffic Controller in
He got out of the service in February 1960 and got a job with Owens Glass in which he stayed until February 1962. During the summer of 1960 he met his wife, Kay, in
Bob was employed by the Federal Aviation Agency for 32 years in different Air Traffic Control functions starting in
Bob loves to hunt and after coming to Indian Lake, as far back as 1969, on some of his hunting trips he decided hereís where they should settle after retirement. He joined the American Legion only a few short years ago and has been a steady and reliable member of the Cans & Bottles Brigade ever since. Heís always there to help when a hand is needed at the Post. He's been a member of the Indian Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps and just completed his fifteenth year of service.
He is a member of the
William J. Stewart
Bill was born in
He grew up and went to school in
He met up with a musical group in high school called ď Up With PeopleĒ and was asked to join them as their audio/visual engineer. He was with them through out his school years until he joined the USAF.
In June, 1967 the day after he graduated he started to work for
It was only a matter of time when he would be drafted into the military so he decided to join the AF. His father was a career AF man so it was sort of natural for him to do the same. He claims he has the AF in his blood. When he was at the Albany Airport about to leave for basic training his mother handed him his draft notice so their joke was that the draft board was three hours too late. That same morning his father left for military duty also, so he was not there to see Bill off.
Billís parents came from large families with 13 brothers and sisters between the two of them. So he had relatives in all branches of the service and when they had family reunions they had many discussions on military subjects.
He entered the USAF on 3 May, 1968 and was discharged on 5 Feb. 1972. Basic training was at Lackland AFB,
He was then sent to a Tac Recon squadron in Mountain Home, Idaho whose function was to be on itís way or at their destination to anywhere in the US within 24 hours after being alerted.
On 20 Dec. 1970 he was shipped to Kunsan AFB in
Before he went over seas he was on leave when he read about an Up With People concert so he went and got himself reacquainted and was asked to attend a rehearsal. When it was over he needed a ride home and was told of a girl there who had a car so he asked her for a lift. On the way home he asked her if she wanted to stop somewhere for a cup of coffee and a snack, that sounds like Bill. He found that she was not going with anyone and so started the courtship of BJ. He dated her every day he was home and when he got back to the base he called or wrote to her every day. He was home again on leave for the holidays and he and BJ were then engaged.
In Feb of 1972 he was asked to re-enlist and if he had, within several weeks he would have received three promotions taking him to five stripes, the rank of Tech Sgt. He chose not to and got married to Elizabeth J. Macomber, BetteJo, instead on May 19, 1972 in St. Augustineís RC Church. BJ was Catholic at that time, so after they married they went to Catholic services as well as Billís church which was Methodist. In time BJ decided to convert to a Methodist and went to Wesley Seminary college to become a minister.
Bill and BJ have two daughters, Melissa who lives in Cooperstown, NY and Kristina, who lives in Baltimore, Md. They also have two grandchildren, Wyatt C. by Melissa and Madaline F. by Kristina.
In April, 1972 Bill started to work for the NY Dept. of Motor Vehicles and through the years he worked in itís mailing, printing, and computer operations. Eventually he became a supervisor in the mailing operation, retiring March 31, 2002. From 2002 until December of 2005 he was at
BJ and Bill came to
Bill is always involve with one thing or another and has endless energy. Maybe due to all the coffee with cocoa he consumes not to mention his appetite. He Is a life member of both the VFW and the American Legion serving our post as adjutant as well as the
Computers, audio and video and photography are some of his hobbies and he loves to apply his skills any time he can.
As a member of the Cans and Bottles Brigade you will find him helping almost all of the time. Of course, having breakfast at Cathy and Janeís afterwards might have something to do with it. Bill is an OK guy.