The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 31, 2013

So long to my friend and father-in-law

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Norman was home to them in the 1970s, then again 30 years later in a second retirement. They made many friends here at University Lutheran church, in the River Chase neighborhood and following the Sooners.

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Like my own parents, Jack was a child of the Depression. He worked hard and never wasted money. It was in the Navy that he decided working in personnel was to be a life’s career. The GI bill put him through Ohio State University. He began his personnel work at Westinghouse, living in numerous cities where the company had plants. He rose through the hierarchy, building a reputation as a human resources director and a fair negotiator with labor unions. He witnessed slashed tires, not-so-idle threats from labor bosses, plant strikes and a co-worker gunned down.

He encouraged his five children and 13 grandchildren through college, jobs and families. Success at work, he once told me, involved the right education, the right opportunity and good references — all at the same time.

Labor began to flex its collective muscle here and Norman’s plant called in the mid 1970s. The family got out the map and moved west, to Oklahoma, and a new opportunity.

Later, the headquarters in Pittsburgh needed him badly and the hills of Pennsylvania became home. But corporate life didn’t suit him. Too much paper shuffling. He missed the plants and the interaction with workers building things together. Retirement came early. A U-Haul picked him up from that last day as a lake home and docks, built with his own hands and tools, beckoned.

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A return to Norman was his second retirement. He loved his ham radio buddies, volunteer work at Norman Regional Hospital, Sooner basketball games and Mexican food. In June, he celebrated 60 years of marriage.

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