Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Vickie Salters


Vickie Salters worked in the Metallurgical Lab. Her job was to make sure our products, lining and steel, met specifications.

One of the projects I was involved with was the Chrysler Air Shoe. This part went into an air conditioner pump, and there were six of them per pump. We made hundreds of thousands of them because we also made them for Ford.

These parts were just under ¾ of an inch in diameter and were coined out of a blank. After going through an eight station rotary die they came out with a ball seat and a small oil hole in the center. The Lab would have the Toolroom cut them in half and grind them to a near perfect half circle and then they’d encase them in bakelite and polish it to a mirror finish. That way they could tell us how much lining we had before we hit steel.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Doug Beagle


Doug Beagle worked in Maintenance as a machine repairman. The job could vary from an air cylinder that needed new O-rings to a press on bottom.

A press on bottom meant the ram was on dead bottom and couldn’t back up and couldn’t roll over because of the die inside. Maintenance had to come out and put the heaters on the massive bolts that held the press together in order to expand them. This eventually freed the ram.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Loren Simons


Loren Simons was also a manufacturing engineer. The one thing I do remember was his being involved with was the Bihler presses. Bihlers formed bushings not by brute force but by cams.

Loren hired in about the same time as the 1979 UAW Local 925’s strike against Federal-Mogul. This was the first such strike against the Federal-Mogul St. Johns plant.

Loren is the last person that I’m aware of that was still working sometimes at the Federal-Mogul building. That puzzles me, but it may very well be mop-up duty although I can’t believe they left anything that important behind.

The last I heard he had transferred to F-M’s Greenville plant.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Daryl Mendrick


Daryl Mendrick was a manufacturing engineer at Federal-Mogul. His job was to improve the operation of the area where he was in charge. The question always was, how can we improve our process?

Daryl didn’t stay at Federal-Mogul very long. He may have sensed what others did — that Federal-Mogul St. Johns was doomed.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Mike Schafer


Mike Schafer ran a heavy press that produced washers. Some of the washers produced at the St. Johns plant went into automatic transmission. Others were for other applications.

Mike’s mom, Jean, worked in payroll.

When the St. Johns plant closed Mike transferred to Blacksburg, Virginia.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Leeann Bradley


When this photo was taken Leeann Bradley was working in the Press Room/Secondaries office.

Her regular job was running a Superior Facer. This machine cut chamfers inside and out and cut the bushing to width or as we called it, length. It is an automatically fed machine and all the operator had to do was keep the feeder chutes full. That reduced the number of finger injuries.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Ted Halitsky


Ted Halitsky was the supervisor of the Electrical Department at Federal-Mogul. He followed in the footsteps of his dad, Nick Halitsky, who was a production supervisor. Not only did Ted’s dad and his brother, Eric, work there, but to my knowledge he had two uncles who also worked there.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Tom Burk


Tom Burk worked as a Class C Inspector. As you can see on the bench behind him there are numerous gauges to check a sample of finished parts before they were shipped.

Tom’s dad, Merlin “Curly” Burk, worked at Saylor-Beall and was at one time the president of UAW Local 925. The Local represented both Saylor-Beall and Federal-Mogul employees. Tom’s mother, Betty, also worked at Federal-Mogul.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Ron Atkins


Ron Atkins started at Federal-Mogul as a production worker. At one time he worked in the old Mentor heat treat department. The two big heat treat ovens came to us along with a bunch of presses and jobs from the closing of the Mentor, Ohio plant in early 1970s.

What happened this year is not the St. Johns plant’s first experience with a plant closing.

Ron transferred to the Toolroom, and at the time of his retirement worked as an O.D. / I.D. grinder on second shift. His brother, Rick, ran the grinders on days.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Phil McAlvey


Phil McAlvey worked in one of the most secretive departments in Federal-Mogul that I was ever aware of. Of course all of that CIA stuff eventually went out the door, and it became just another department. They bonded steel strip to aluminum strip. That increasingly became the washer/bearing material of choice by the customer.

Rumors have been flying that F.C. Mason bought the vacant Federal-Mogul building. I called F.C. Mason to confirm the rumor, but the person who answered the phone was unable to tell me.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Dan Spohn


Dan Spohn worked in other salary positions before ending up in Quality Control. These guys were responsible for the quality of the parts coming off the floor.

In the old days we had floor inspectors all over the place, and they made their rounds every hour. That’s a time they pushed quantity more than quality. The operator didn’t always check the parts as often as they should have, and that’s where the floor inspector came in.

Keep in mind that the tolerances were nowhere near as tight as they are today which explains why car engines and transmission last as long as they do now. The car buyer expected more, and they got it.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – John Garcia


John Garcia worked in Tumble and Pack. This was a department that was called the Swamp.

My favorite story to come out of the swamp is still that time in the late fifties when they were having trouble getting the burrs off a part. The operator was told to throw two pans of media (stone) in the tumbler along with the parts. The bosses who advised him to do that came back a while later only to heard an awful noise coming from the Swamp.

The operator, misunderstanding their instructions, threw the media in pans and all.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Eric Halitsky


Eric Halitsky worked in the Roll and Slit department.

Eric is another example of a Federal-Mogul employee who had relatives that worked there. His dad, Nick, was a well-liked production foreman and his brother, Ted, was the electrician foreman. Eric’s uncle, Bob Peck, worked in the Wall Broach department when I hired in.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Barry Bauer


I never wanted to post this picture. Because Federal-Mogul St. Johns is history, I feel I have to report all the history I have on it. That’s me manning my Bridgeport Vertical Mill. The picture was taken by Mike Asher with my A-1 Canon camera. I always say my mill because I ran it from the day it came in the building brand new. We had a way about us, of claiming a machine as our own, and you can believe I took good care of it. Olympian Tool originally ordered it but when the time came for the delivery, the economy went in the tubes for them.

I wouldn’t say I was a great Toolmaker; I leave that title to Rod Andrus, Stanley Wassa, and Mark Shepler. Still, I wasn’t bad.

Since the closing of Federal-Mogul I’ve had time to reflect on the subject, plant managers. No matter what anybody says, History will always judge us and them. We’ve had some great plant managers and we’ve had stinkers. All of them left their mark.

The one that comes to mind today is Bob Claycomb. Bob was known as a hardhead and lacked people skills. As we look back on him, I think he was one of our best plant managers. Had he been plant manager of the St. Johns plant at the time of the decision to close the plant. I think he would have gone down with the ship fighting to keep it afloat. That’s the mark of a good captain. Bob did with the plant like we did on the floor with our machines; he claimed it as his own.

As for the plant managers who followed Bob, one went to China, one took Bob’s old job (I think), one disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle, and one went back to Greenville.

I have a picture of every plant manager except for Mike Craig. He okayed my taking it, but we never touched base.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Eddie Paseka


Eddie Paseka worked in the Centerless Grinders department. The operator fed bushings into the machines that ground the outside diameter to the customer’s specifications.

I was asked one time to look at the operation and see if we in the Toolroom could eliminate the need for a second person who was needed on certain parts to catch the bushings as they came out of the grinder. My suggestion was to relieve the grinding wheel at the end and let the feed wheel carry the bushing out of the machine without being hit by the one behind it. When that happened the angle face bushing would be mutilated.

It looked successful, and I never heard otherwise.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Gary Harrier


Gary Harrier ran a 200-ton press that stamped out the bigger bushings which shouldn’t be confused with the limited quantities of big bushings the D-Die department put out in a single-step operation. The presses used to be in one big Pressroom, but then the idea of cells was born. We ended up with a few presses here and a few presses there. Throw in a few facing machines and a few parts tumblers, and they had a cell.

It did nothing to stop the closing of the plant.

I wish I had the money they spent digging a hole for a new press pad location and filling in the old one. I’d be writing this from the Bahamas.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Steve Davis


Steve Davis worked in Maintenance as a machine repairman. He was reportedly the last Maintenance man kept over to maintain the building after the plant closed.

According to my information there are no hourly employees left in the building.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – 2001 Golf Outing


From left to right: Steve Duflo, Don Adair, Gene Burnham, and Tuan Hoang

This is the winning team in the afternoon Federal-Mogul golf scramble held at the North Star Golf Course in 2001. It was also the last golf outing sponsored by the company.

I’m not sure when the first outing took place or even where, but my first experience playing at one was at the old Clinton County Country Club which is now the Emerald. Because the Federal-Mogul golf outing grew in size, they moved it to North Star.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Jerry Jones


Jerry Jones worked in the Tool Inspection department. Tool Inspection went from being a department that used Jo Blocks, an indicator stand, micrometers, height gauge, and in some cases, a six or twelve inch scale to a department that used a digital coordinate machine, and modern day optical comparators.

Sometimes they had to go to the toolmaker in charge of the project for a deviation from the print or go to the engineer that designed it. Otherwise the piece of tooling in question was either repaired in-house or sent back to the tool & die supplier.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – 925 Union Officials


Seated l. to r. around the table at a newly acquired building are: Ken Pyle, the late Henry Bendt, Dennis Feldpausch, Ken “Skip” Russell, Ben Hudson, unidentified, and Carol Frechen.

These 925 officials were responsible for purchasing the building on W. Walker St. that was at one time the A&P food store, Gambles, and Video Land. Extensive remodeling turned the building into what is known today as the UAW 925 Union Hall. The Union’s previous office was located at the northwest corner of State and Brush Sts.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Mark Kraemer


Mark Kraemer worked in Quality Control, a department that was in charge of making sure that the products going out the door were of high quality.

Mark was one of the many salary employees that came and went in that department.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Kirk Brock


Kirk Brock hired into Federal-Mogul on March 16, 1981 as a production supervisor after having worked previously at Motor Wheel. Kirk’s father, Bud, worked at F-M along with Kirk’s sister, Sandy, and his two uncles, Dick and Bob.

Again we find family ties at Federal-Mogul, and it was great while it lasted.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Dwight “Rocky” Craig


Dwight “Rocky” Craig worked on the jumbo slitter in the West end of the plant. Federal-Mogul ordered generic rolls of steel (few sizes) and then processed it in-house. The jumbo coils could be slit to almost any width. The operators would set the slitter up using different sizes of spacers with the slitter blades in between. The jumbo coil could start out at the beginning of the operation as one coil and come out the other end as six narrower coils.

Dwight left Federal-Mogul on April 25, 2002.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Pat Cook


When this photo was taken Pat Cook was working in the Sample department as a helper. Pat worked in the D-Die department, so a lot of what he did there pretty much applied to what they did in the Sample department. The Sample department made parts for a customer’s new product as well as parts for existing applications that didn’t justify the cost of a die because of the number of parts ordered.


Barry Bauer’s Photo Project – Jan Cox

Jan Cox was the shipping secretary at Federal-Mogul. She had to handle all the paper work coming and going from the shipping department. My guess was that shipping would be the last department standing. Not true as it turned out. On December 13, 2004 Jan got what seems like everyone in America is getting nowadays — downsized.

There’s supposed to be one Maintenance man, one Electrician and two Painters who will probably remain on the job until the contract expires this October.


Sesqui Time Capsule: what’s in the box?

Sesqui Time Capsule: what’s in the box?

As the official opening of the St. Johns Sesquicentennial draws near – April 30 is just around the corner – we’ve been giving much thought to what objects should be placed into the Sesqui Time Capsule.

Items like the Sesqui Calendar, booklet from the Historic Photo Exhibit and the Sesqui Flag are no-brainers – they’re obvious choices.

We’re interested in “stuff” that is less ordinary, or that may seem unusual years from now when the capsule is opened – in 150 years.

Maybe a bottle of Aspirin. Odds are, no one will be using that old ‘miracle drug’ so far in the future.

We could throw in some cold, hard cash – that might be unique. Or even some plastic money – who knows what sort of currency will be exchanged in 150 years?

Thoughts of what should go into the capsule this time around prompted questions about what is in the Centennial Time Capsule that was interred July 18, 1956 on the occasion of the city’s 100th birthday. Mayor Charles Coletta presided over that ceremony on the lawn of the Clinton County Courthouse, helping to plant the Centennial Pine at the same time.

The tree is gone – and so is the courthouse – but the time capsule is housed safely away, waiting for its big opening date in 2056. Whoever opens it up, 50 years from now, will find the following contents – all in pristine condition, we hope:

Copy of the Centennial issue of the Clinton County Republican-News

Copy of St. Johns School Supt. Earl Lancaster’s 1956 report to the Board of Education

Maps of the city, Clinton County and state

A local telephone directory

Copy of the 1956-57 city budget

Statements of the St. Johns National Bank and State Bank of St. Johns as of June 30

Bylaws of the St. Johns Chamber of Commerce

A Consumers Power company report on electrical and gas use

Directory of the county, city and townships

1956 tax equalization report for the county

Several mint blocks of U.S. postage stamps donated by J.E. Rasdale

It’s an interesting list – wonder if the stamps were two-cents, and what the electric and gas use was back in 1956.

Times have certainly changed in regard to both of those items in just 50 years, never mind 100. Who would have thought back in 1956 that postage stamps today would cost 39 cents – impossible.

With that in mind, we’re open to your suggestions for items – unique and ordinary – that should be placed into the Sesqui Time Capsule. Send an email and give us your list.

Even if the suggestions aren’t deemed to be “capsule worthy,” they’ll be part of history when they’re published here.

At least for one issue.

Friends came to aid of Rhonda Devereaux

Friends came to aid of Rhonda Devereaux
March 18 benefit raises funds for local family

Friends are joining together in an effort to raise funds that will help a local lady in her continuing battle with cancer.

Rhonda Devereaux was back in the hospital this past week, dealing with a set of heart attacks, while family and friends continue to make plans for the March 18 dinner/dance that will help defray medical and travel expenses incurred in her struggle with lung and bone cancer.

The fundraiser includes a silent auction, mini raffles, and 50-50 drawings in addition to dinner and dancing. The event runs from 5 p.m. to midnight at Smith Hall in St. Johns.

The former Rhonda Simmons was diagnosed with Lupus in 1999. During a routine chest x-ray in October 2004 related to her struggle with Lupus, a mass on her lung was discovered, leading to the diagnosis of lung cancer. She had surgery in January 2005 to remove the tumor, along with half of the lung.

Since that time, the cancer has spread to the bone resulting in a long series of radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

Rhonda’s husband, Chris, began a medical leave from work in June 2005 in order to help with his wife’s care that has included multiple trips to clinics and physical therapy.

Friends and family members are hopeful that the community will respond and help the Devereaux family in a time of need.

Tickets to the benefit fundraiser are $15 each, or two for $25; admission tickets will be entered in a raffle drawing for a color television.

Tickets are available in advance at the following locations: Harr’s Jewelry, The Country Store, Beaufore’s Barber Shop and Bruno’s. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the evening of the fundraiser.

Organizers are accepting donations of items and services that will be used for the silent auction and mini raffles. For information on the fundraiser, or to make a donation, call Tonya Platte, (989) 587-3342; Jayne French, (989) 224-8323; or Linda Harris, (989) 224-6255.

Rhonda and Chris live in rural St. Johns. They have three sons, Brandon, 24; Brent, 21; and Cody, 13.

Alzheimer’s: a horrific, insidious disease

Number of patients, caregivers continues to grow

By Rhonda Dedyne

Educators and caregivers frequently use words like “horrific” and “insidious” to describe the pain that is endured by individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Stories about the disease and the devastation it wreaks are part of the daily news that flows from mainstream media outlets.

An assortment of recent books detail both the clinical aspects of Alzheimer’s along with personal accounts by family members.

Given all that, Alzheimer’s is still a disease without a known cause – or cure.

There is hope, however.

The very fact that Alzheimer’s has moved from the shadows into the public eye is welcome news for professionals in the field and family members who are watching loved ones suffer each and every day.

“Research efforts really started to take off in the 1980s, and today we have some public policy and programs to help people cope with Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Eileen MaloneBeach, Coordinator of Gerontology Programs at Central Michigan University. “Prior to the ‘80s, individuals and families dealing with the disease were so isolated – there is much more public awareness today.”

A partial reason for that increased awareness is the fact that Alzheimer’s touches the lives of so many people – and those figures are skyrocketing.

The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s has more than doubled since 1980, increasing to an estimated 4.5 million.

By 2050, that number is expected to range from 11.3 to 16 million.

Nearly 50 percent of all nursing home residents have Alzheimer’s or a related disorder.

A recent Gallup survey cited 1 in 10 Americans saying they have a family member with Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 3 knowing someone with the disease.

Statistics in and of themselves are meaningless. It’s the very real sense of despair that Alzheimer’s causes in the lives it touches that creates the biggest impact.

“The person they’ve always known and loved is not the same – in a way, family members are grieving the loss of a person while they are still alive,” Monica Jarmolowicz, director of Isabella Adult Day Care says of the devastating and long-term effect Alzheimer’s has on caregivers. “They want to hold on to that person they know and love.”

That can be extremely difficult, particularly as the disease continues to eat away more and more of the person’s identity.

“It’s really awful – she can become so violent and angry,” Sheree Murray says about incidents with her mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. “The family suffers – she doesn’t remember doing or saying anything.”

Aggression, agitation, confusion, suspicion – all are manifestations of the disease. Each is challenging and frustrating for both the Alzheimer’s sufferer and caregivers, particularly since the emotions of the individual can shift so rapidly.

“It’s a horrific disease; made even more difficult for families to cope with because there is so much fluctuation within a day, hour or even minutes,” Dr. MaloneBeach says. “The lack of consistency and uniformity makes dealing with Alzheimer’s especially difficult.”

Murray has first-hand experience with that, and with the knowledge that the disease frequently is not easily detected in its early stages.

“At first, mom was able to pretty much take care of herself, but we always maintained contact to make sure she was okay, and helped her out with things she couldn’t do anymore,” Murray recalls about the decline of her mother that eventually led to placement at Tendercare in Mt. Pleasant.

As is often the case, a medical emergency accelerated the caregiver process for Murray when her mother fell and broke her wrist, and later was admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“She couldn’t remember how she fell – or even that she had fallen,” Murray says, adding that hospitalization led to the discovery of other physical ailments. “She was septic – she had a bladder infection and we didn’t even know it. In hindsight, there were other signs and symptoms prior to her falling that we didn’t relate as being the beginning of Alzheimer’s”

Those warning signs included hiding items, and then accusing family members of stealing them, and weight loss due to bad eating habits – or forgetting to eat at all.

The fact that the signals were not recognized is quite common, the CMU gerontology professor says.

“Alzheimer’s is behaviorally diagnosable,” Dr. MaloneBeach says. “A person suffering from Alzheimer’s may try to put their socks on their hands instead of their feet, or empty the contents of the refrigerator into the dryer – to say they’re confused is an understatement.”

The fact that early symptoms of Alzheimer’s are often explained by family members as being simply “forgetful” can add to the feeling of frustration and aggravation.

“Alzheimer’s starts so insidiously – it can be very difficult for a family to gauge,” the professor says. “Family members need to be aware of the signs and measure them over time. That can be critical to a diagnosis.”

While Alzheimer’s is diagnosable, going through the process can be difficult.

“Getting a diagnosis can be very painful for the family and the individual to accept, or it can be a great relief,” Dr. MaloneBeach says. “It’s not uncommon for family members to think they’re the ones with a problem – putting a framework around the disease can be helpful to everyone.”

Jarmolowicz agrees that obtaining information about the disease is a priority for family members.

“Education is very important so the family learns about the various stages and has an idea of what to expect. Family members will probably be in the front line initially as caregivers.”

Individuals with early stage Alzheimer’s can benefit from programs used at facilities like the one Jarmolowicz directs.

“We do lots of memory stimulation activities and communication techniques that are geared to whatever the individual’s interests are,” she says of the facility’s programs that began in 1997 and have expanded in the ensuing years. “Coping with Alzheimer’s is a big transition for the individual as well as the family members.”

Alexa Steed, associate administrator of clinical services at Masonic Pathways in Alma agrees.

“Like most senior housing providers, we realize that Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias are progressive diseases that do not always require ‘nursing home’ care,” she says. “That’s why we incorporate elements of our dementia programming into all the levels of care that we offer on campus. This allows us to provide the services residents need in the least restrictive environment possible.”

Long-term care facilities are also working to keep up to date on changing developments related to Alzheimer’s.

“We provide staff with training that enables them to better understand and manage the behaviors associated with dementia, such as wandering or unusual sleep patterns,” Steed says. “In addition to learning current treatment options, they also explore different communication techniques, the importance of environmental stimuli, and how to offer engaging activity options at the appropriate times throughout the day.”

A continuing growth in public awareness about Alzheimer’s is helpful for family members by providing additional support and ways to cope with the disease.

“We have made great strides in society in terms of caregiver help and support,” Dr. Malone-Beach says. “There are numerous web sites where people receive information and stay connected with other caregivers – information about Alzheimer’s is really part of the social fabric today.

“Just being able to say, ‘Mother is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s’ to a friend, and have that person understand what you’re talking about can be tremendously beneficial – the world is changing in terms of its awareness about the disease.”

Obviously, with no known cause for the disease and no cure in sight, there’s still much work to be done.

“Research has begun and it will continue, but right now we do not know what causes the disease,” the professor says, noting that environmental and genetic factors are contributing agents. “It appears that the early onset of Alzheimer’s in an individual may have a higher genetic component than late onset of the disease, but there’s still a lot of conjecture and much more research needs to be undertaken.”

Murray can relate to that, too. Her mother has an identical twin sister who has no signs whatsoever of Alzheimer’s. The siblings will celebrate their 80th birthday on Valentine’s Day.

“My mom still recognizes my aunt; she visits my mom frequently, but she will not remember having seen her after she leaves,” Murray says, adding that the presence of her aunt is helpful in many respects.

“I go to my aunt for comfort – she has all the stories about the family from years ago that my mom doesn’t recall anymore. I’ve really needed my aunt, especially after my dad died a few years ago – my mother does know that he is dead, but she doesn’t remember how or when it happened.”

Making a prediction about what the future holds for Alzheimer’s patients and their families is “a bit like predicting the weather,” MaloneBeach says.

“We may see that we are able to push back the age of onset gradually, but we will need to do that at a faster pace if we hope to make a difference in the number of people who are suffering.

“We need to find ways to stop that suffering.”

“Reprinted from the Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun and Used by Permission – Copyright 2006 (c) Morning Star Publishing Companies”