ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After growing up in Johnstown and graduating from Westmont High School in 1954, I became a fifth generation steel worker. I went to work for Bethlehem Steel Company at the age of 19 in the section called Lower Cambria, the site of the original Cambria Iron Company buildings. I worked in the machine shop, next door to the blacksmith building which George King & Dr. Peter Shoenberger built in 1854 even before Daniel Morrell came to Johnstown. Both buildings are still standing.
After a long steel strike in 1956 I was called back to work, this time in the tool and die shop of the Franklin Railroad Car Division of Bethlehem Steel in Johnstown. The car shops are no longer operating today.
At the start of the Suez Crisis, I volunteered for active duty in the Navy Reserve. From 1957-1959, I served aboard an amphibious ship attached to the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. Upon discharge from active duty I married my love and while pondering my future, I again returned to work in the steel mills, this time in the wire mill located across the river from the Coopersdale section of Johnstown. The wire mill is still operating under the name Johnstown Wire Technologies and employs 700 people.
When my wife became pregnant I began wanting a better future than working in the mills, but options were limited and time was short. Fortunately, with my wife’s encouragement I overcame the fear of taking a pay cut and losing the security of working for a major steel company. I quit the mill in 1960 and took an apprenticeship position with the National Cash Register Company, which I believed offered more opportunity. After several years working for NCR as a field technician, I resigned to start my own business machine company in Johnstown. I was successful with that company and it is now ranked, for its market size, as one of the top distributors of business equipment in the United States.
I retired from operating the business in 2004 and that was when I began to get serious about finishing this book. I now enjoy spending time with my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as sailing and bicycling.