ROY & KITTY

Picture of Roy F. Juch, Sr. & Catherine Margaret Zeisler Juch

Taken about 1932 by

Roy holding a camera in extended hand and snapping picture

 

Left - Catherine Margaret Zeisler Juch

Right - Roy F. Juch, Sr.

These Three Pictures are believed to have been

taken about 1933 just after their marriage

Location is not known

 

 

ROY FREDERICK JUCH, SR.

1915-1976

Roy F. Juch, Sr.

(1915-1976)

By

Roy F. Juch, Jr., son

 

Introduction

 

It has been very difficult for me to begin this biography on my father.  It’s not that I don’t have much to say about a man whom I believe was a great man.  Oh, I know what you’re thinking …all children believe their parents are “great”!  But in my case I want to share with my entire father’s descendants, even those not yet born, exactly what kind of man my father, their grandfather and their great-grandfather was.  This may end up being a rather long paper for I hope to describe my many first hand experiences with my father.  I believe these will support the measure of the man.  I’ll likely revise the paper many times as I recall incidents I remember.  I owe what I am today to both my parents but especially to my father for the many hours we just sat and talked.  Learning his life philosophy and gaining from his experiences he shared with me.  Yes, my father was a good talker!  When I required discipline his talks & discussions with me were much worse than any spanking.  My father never spanked or hit me.  My mother did the spanking until I was about five years old then even that stopped when the last time she spanked me I started laughing because she couldn’t spank me hard enough to hurt!  But my father … he could make me cry just by talking with me at the kitchen table.  My father was a kind man.  At his funeral many visitors came up to me and told me about my father never turning anyone down who needed help.  When asked to repair or build something he was there to help.  He was a good neighbor.  I seldom heard my father raise his voice.  He didn’t have to because he was well respected by everyone who knew him.  His business associates knew him as knowledgeable and fair.  He was admired by his subordinates, peers and superiors alike.  I have never heard anyone say one bad thing about my father.  I know I have fallen short of being the father my Dad was.  That’s why he was a great man, my idol and role model.  He was taken from this world much too early at age sixty and I miss him.

Childhood

 

My father, Roy Frederick Juch, Sr. was likely born in the family home at 4431 Penrose Street, (22nd Ward), St. Louis City, Missouri on February 18, 1915.  His parents were Walter Michael Juch and Ida Mae Gadberry Juch.  Roy was the second child of Walter & Ida.  In Ida’s first marriage to Earl McClintock, Sr., Ida had two sons (Elmer & Earl, Jr.).  Walter & Ida had two additional children following Roy.  These were Dorothy & Kenneth.  Their first child was Walter Theodore.  Pictures reveal a normal childhood with his siblings and friends.  With his parents Roy often visited his father’s foster parents, Walter’s Aunt Maria Langbein Scheutz and Uncle William Heinrich Schuetz.  Dad’s father Walter Michael was fostered at age eight after the early death of his mother Christina Langbein Juch on February 22, 1890 due to TB.  My Dad’s grandfather Johann died one month prior to the birth of my Dad’s father Walter.  So Uncle Henry was really the only father Walter ever knew.

 

In 1920 when my Dad was five years old the Juch household consisted of himself, his parents Walter & Ida, Emma (a half sister), Walter T., Dorothy, Kenneth, Earl McClintock (a half brother) & Magdalene Juch (Walter M.’s sister).  Roy would have attended the nearby public schools and he was graduated from Soldan High School, St. Louis City, Missouri in 1932.  I have been told that while attending Soldan H.S. and in Wood Shop class Roy made a gavel for the principal of the school.  For some unknown reason Roy’s nickname in school was “Binky”!  Roy’s best friend in school was Bill Perrine.  This friendship continued for their entire life.

Marriage & First Job

 

Roy first met his bride to be when visiting the home of a mutual girlfriend.  Apparently it was love at first sight!  They were young teenagers at the time and both were in school; Roy in public schools and Catherine Margaret Zeisler aka “Kitty” in St. Nicholas Catholic school.  After Roy graduated from High School, he and Kitty were married on July 3, 1932 in the “new” St. Louis Cathedral.  Roy was 17 years old and Kitty was 16 years old.  At that time Roy was required to take Catholic courses at the church and commit that their children would be brought up in the Catholic faith.  After marriage Mom & Dad moved in with her parents.

 

Sadly, Roy’s father, Walter Michael, died on August 15, 1932, just one month after the marriage of Roy & Kitty.  After marriage Roy started working in the grocery business.  He worked as a butcher in a neighborhood grocery.  Apparently, when working in the neighborhood grocery Roy had a “condo” arrangement where his portion of the grocery was owned by him.  Each condo member had an ownership in the portion of the grocery business they provided.  This was during the great depression and unfortunately the business went bankrupt.  My mother said that they worked very hard and managed to repay all their debts, free and clear, and came out of bankruptcy.  Roy later worked for Kroger for a short time.  I believe my Dad learned to be a butcher under the training of George Walbrink.  I remember visiting the Walbrink’s often.  They were good friends to my parents.

Children

 

Almost one year after their marriage and on June 24, 1933 at St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Louis City, Missouri, a daughter was born to Roy & Kitty.  The new arrival’s name was June Marie Juch.  June’s family nickname became “Boots”.  After the birth of June, Kitty’s mother made her promise not to have any more children.  A promise she kept until after the death of her mother Emma Louise Eckenfels Zeisler in November 1938.  So eleven months later on October 16, 1939, I was born.  Named after my father I was born in Jewish Hospital, St. Louis City, Missouri.  My family nickname became “Chub”.  Prior to the moniker Chub I was called “Butterball” and even late into my life my father called me “Joe”.  He was the only one to do that!  Our entire family had family nicknames.  My Dad’s older brother Walter was called “Tally”.  Tally called Dad “Pete”.  Dad’s younger brother Albert was called “Bubba” and Dad called his sister “Dotts”!  Without nametags, strangers had a hard time figuring out who was who.

Bell System Career

 

Roy’s father Walter had worked for the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (SWBTCo), and in those days it was the practice to hire employee’s kin folk first before offering jobs to off the street applicants.  Dad’s father Walter had died while an active employee of SWBTCo and my belief is that job offers were made to my Dad as a result of his father working for the Telephone Company.  I have to believe that my Dad had the opportunity to hire on with SWBTCo as a helper lineman working on “the gangs” in about 1934 or 1935.  This normally meant that he would travel around Missouri constructing “pole lines”.  He had to dig pole holes by hand, climb poles, install cross arms and string open wire to provide service to new areas of the state.  It was a hard job requiring a high degree of strength and agility.  I believe he was hired by SWBTCo as a temporary worker after a very large ice storm that destroyed much of the pole lines around Missouri.  He likely worked for SWBTCo for not more than a couple years before being laid off.  In about 1938 he was hired by the American Telephone & Telegraph Company-Long Lines Department (AT&T-Long Lines) as a “helper” on a gang that installed outside plant including pole lines and open wire facilities.  Roy’s boss at that time was Floyd Evans and they would become best friends for their lifetime.

 

When my father was working on the gangs, my mother and sister would travel with him staying in less expensive hotels along the way.  It was the “commune” lifestyle and all the families would band together to help one another.  Maybe that’s where my father learned to always help those in need.  After I was born on October 16, 1939 my father asked the company to be transferred to an inside job because the riggers of traveling with a wife and two children would be much more difficult.  The family moved to a rented home on Semple Street, St. Louis City, Missouri.

 

He was moved to an inside job working on Teletypewriter machines at customer premises.  These were the printers of the day and were extremely important to the business and government communities.  So important was this position as a Teletypewriter Installation & Repairman that he was issued a deferment from military service in World War II.  This was about 1942 and his deferment came on the very day that he was to be drafted into the U.S. Army.  I have been told that he had already said his goodbyes and departed for the Army recruitment office when the deferment finally arrived.  But, as most men not serving in a branch of the armed services during the war, Dad had an extra job working in the ammunition plant on Goodfellow Blvd.

 

It was early during the war that Mom & Dad borrowed three hundred dollars from his friend and ex-boss, Floyd Evans, to purchase their first home on Louise Street, (later renamed Oakdale), in St. Louis County (Normandy), Missouri.  I believe this house was purchase for $2600.

 

The Oakdale home has many memories for me.  Memories of me being the “little helper” and helping Dad with projects around the Oakdale house are often recalled.  This was during the war and everyone had to have gardens and do what they had to just to get by.  Mom and Dad raised chickens in the back yard.  The chickens were fenced in and roosted in the garage.  The chickens could go in & out of the garage at will through a little door.  My job was to snare the chickens’ leg with a long metal clothes hanger that had a hook on the end.  When told to do this I would bring the chicken to the basement where he was prepared for dinner!

 

It was from the Oakdale house that my dad would drive me to St.Louis’ Forest Park to fish!   This was my first fishing experience with my dad.   We fished in Forest Park many times.   I still remember the excitement of catching those large two inch sunfish with small hooks and worms!   As fast as I could bate the hook and put the line in the water I would catch those little fish.   What a joy for a five year old boy!   Also about the time I was five years old our family must have been camping and fishing in what I remember to be a large pond.   I had fallen asleep with a fishing rod in my hand and unbeknown to me my father had attached a three foot long eel to my hook while I was asleep!   He must have jerked the line and I woke up and thought I had caught this long skinny fish!   Yes he was a good father and with a sense of humor!

 

I remember helping my Dad convert the coal furnace to oil.  He did all the work himself.  He had to reline the old coal furnace with fire brick.  Run the lines from a new fuel oil storage tank he installed in the old coal bin to the oil fired burners.  I remember my father building on the rear of the Oakdale house.  He installed new stairs to the basement and removed the old stairs making the area into a large closet.  He built an additional room at the rear of the house that would become my sister’s and my bedroom.  He built a “photographic dark room” in the basement that allowed him to develop and print his own pictures.  He loved to take photographs of family and friends.  He made the entire basement into a ratskeller where parties were held.  Dad had a small table top juke box with colored lights and automatic play.  It played 78 rpm records when a nickel was inserted into the slot.  I loved to play that juke box so Dad gave me my allowance in nickels!  Dad built a large bar to serve adult beverages.  Mom and Dad had many friends who would party late into the night.

 

One bad accident that happened to Dad while living on Oakdale occurred when he was changing my sister’s and my bedroom into a sitting room.  Dad was creating an archway where our bedroom door opened into the living room.  Dad was working with some sharp pre-formed wire material that was used to form the curve in the arch.  Then he would plaster over the archway to make a beautiful arched doorway between the two rooms.  During this process Dad severely cut his wrist and had to be rushed to the hospital emergency room.  Only the first of two times Dad was ever treated in a hospital.

 

I have another memory of an event in this house that I understand now but at the time I was disappointed.  It was at Christmas and we had opened all our presents upstairs.  Then we all went down to the basement where I had another present waiting for me.  I was surprised at a shinny black bicycle for me!  I didn’t let on that I was disappointed that it was an old bicycle that Dad had repaired and repainted.  Even I could tell that!  I feel guilty about that now because today I understand that Mom and Dad didn’t have the money for a new bike and this was the best they could do.

 

Money was tight during the war and always seemed to be tight in our home.  Mom made meals that contained crackers and bread to make the food go further.  We always had to eat everything on our plate and left-overs were always the first to be eaten the next day.  Plus some foods that were getting old were “must goes”!  Even though money was tight, Mom & Dad were frugal and could provide for us like other more prosperous neighbors.  Mom made many of our clothes.  Dad maintained his own car (we never had more than one)!  I don’t know how they did it but during the summers we even lived in a “clubhouse” near the Meremac River near Fenton, Missouri.  We would spend Dad’s vacations there and sometimes Dad would drive to/from work in downtown St. Louis from the club house.  This area was a small community of “stilt” houses and seemed to be a constant party.  Dad often played “cork ball”.  Everyone had Bar-B-Q pits and did mostly outside cooking.  To a kid like me back then it was a great time with plenty to do.

 

At AT&T my father continued training and furthered his education of the telephone equipment of the day and finally became an inside Equipment Maintenance Man.  He also worked on transmission equipment of various types at repeater stations between St. Louis and Memphis, between St. Louis & Little Rock & between St. Louis and Kansas City. 

 

My father was a good, responsible, hard working loyal employee.  But he was also a loyal & active member of the Communications Workers Union.  In the work stoppage and strike against the Telephone Company in 1947 he was very active on the picket line at 2651 Olive Street in St. Louis.  I’ve even been told that he may have taken part in some skullduggery that may have contributed to some service outages causing difficulty for AT&T to perform without their labor union employees!

 

In about 1948 we moved to a home at 7508 Hillsdale Drive, in the village of Greendale but still within the area known as Normandy, in St. Louis County, Missouri.  This house had been owned by a doctor so we were puffed up and thought we had arrived to the big time!  I was in the third grade at the time of the move.  My sister was in the 9th grade but I still had to share a bedroom with her in the new but only one bathroom house.  It was a two story brick house in a much newer neighborhood. 

 

Dad also borrowed some money to add to the equity from the Oakdale house for the down payment on the Hillsdale house.  My best recollection is that the Hillsdale house was bought for $7500.  This time he borrowed money (I believe it was $750) from his brother-in-law to be Tony Feldhaus.  Tony would marry my mother’s sister Gertrude (aka Aunt Sissy), in 1951. 

 

It’s interesting to note here that my Dad, always trying to help others, had helped Aunt Sissy when her first husband Uncle Dick was suddenly killed in a gun accident on August 8, 1950.  As it turns out, Uncle Dick had been conducting his plumbing business completely under the table, if you know what I mean.  Uncle Dick had never gotten a Social Security number or paid into Social Security and now he was dead!  He paid all his employees cash and didn’t withhold and Social Security taxes or income taxes from their paycheck.  So my Dad became Uncle Dick for a day and went to the Social Security office in St.Louis to apply for and obtain a Social Security card for Uncle Dick.  Of course Dad had to take an oath that he was Uncle Dick! 

 

Dad always kept working to improve the new house on Hillsdale Drive.  He added asbestos shingles to the second story so he wouldn’t have to paint it all the time.  I helped him drill small nail holes in all those shingles so when he nailed them to the wood siding the shingles would not crack.  Dad built a large family room onto the rear of the house.  This room ended up being our best room for fun and relaxation.  Plus it took up space in the back yard so there was not as much grass for me to mow with that push mower!  This house had a natural gas furnace but no air conditioner.  We used a large box fan at night that was in Mom & Dad’s bedroom window.  My sister & I would have our windows open a few inches and the cool night air would be sucked in and keep us cool enough to sleep.  Dad partitioned the basement and made another ratskeller.  This one was of knotty pine.  When it was really hot we would sleep in the basement where it was usually cool. 

 

I believe it was about this time that Dad had an opportunity to make some extra money and agreed to wire a new house somewhere out in the county.  This is when I was first introduced to electricity.  We drove to this house under construction and Dad showed me how to do everything.  Mounting electrical boxes, running wires, fuse circuit loads (no circuit breakers back then) and everything involved.  Dad was a perfectionist and taught me to accept no less.

 

It was during this time, about 1949 or so, that Dad was learning about Television (TV) in classes at AT&T.  Television was brand new and AT&T would be transporting television signals all over the country via microwave and selling the service to the TV Networks.  So, Dad set up a TV repair shop in the basement.  He bought test equipment and taught me to make service calls.  I was the electron tube tester!  If I couldn’t fix it in the person’s home then it would come to his shop so he could repair them.  Of course we had the first TV in the neighborhood.  Our first TV was a 7” TV!  We would all gather around it in the evening to watch those early TV shows.  Dad would work up to larger TV sets over time and I believe we had a 16” TV before we moved to Little Rock in 1955.  We had one TV that faced upward and had a mirror on the underside of the top of the cabinet.  So the picture could be viewed as it bounced off the angled mirror!

 

It was at this house that Mom & Dad had large outdoor Bar-B-Q parties for friends and relatives.  Dad built a portable Bar-B-Q grill on wheels!  Mostly made from scrap, this grill may have been another first for my father.  He was ahead of his time because back then most people had large stationary brick pits upon which to grill.  My job was to squirt water on the fire if it got too high.  Dad invented his own Bar-B-Q sauce.  It was a sweet but hot concoction that everyone loved.  The recipe is used today by many descendants and friends.

 

Also in about 1948 he was promoted to a staff position with the title of “Engineer” in the Long Lines Department St. Louis District Office.  He attended formal training and passed the test to earn his Second Class Radiotelephone License.  This license allowed him to operate and maintain radio transmission equipment for the telephone company.  Shortly thereafter he had temporary assignments in Dallas teaching technicians Radio Relay transmission and maintenance.  In 1955 at age 40, my father was promoted to Equipment Maintenance Supervisor in Little Rock, Arkansas.  My sister had graduated from Normandy High School in 1951 and after a short time working for Curlee Clothes she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. So our move to Arkansas meant that, for the first time, I had my own bedroom!  We lived at #1 Rosemont Drive in the new Broadmoor addition.  This house cost $19,900 I believe.  I was in the 11th grade and now attended Little Rock Central High School.

 

In Little Rock my father entered the hospital for only the second time in his entire life.  In about 1956 he was in the hospital and had all his teeth extracted at one time.  He was suffering from pyrea, a disease of the gums.  But Dad never allowed anyone to see him without his false teeth.  He came home from the hospital wearing false teeth and I never ever saw him without his false teeth!

 

One of my most cherished memories in Little Rock is the early morning fishing trips to Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs, Arkansas.  We would leave around 4am and drive to “Lena Landing”.  Dad had a small motor and would rent a boat.  We would be out on the Lake before light and start casting toward the shore.  I never had so much fun learning to fish.  Just my Dad and I and he taught me how to fish for bass with a casting rod and plugs.  When it started getting hot we would use minnows to fish for Crappie.  We always caught many fish.  Those were good times and I will never forget being close to my Dad and learning from him.

 

In Little Rock my father set up his TV repair shop which had become more of a hobby by that time.  He had closed in a back porch and made it into his hobby room.  The house in Little Rock did not have a basement at first, but not for long!  The house was situated on a hill with the right side of the house at the top of the hill and the floor on the left side of the house about ten feet above the surface of the ground.  I started digging and was able to clear out enough dirt to have a basement area nearly half the size of the house!  About the time I completed the “big dig” I eloped to marry my bride Judene Duncan in February 1957.  This ended my basement efforts but Dad continued the basement by installing a door to the outside, adding a concrete floor, and installing a stairway to the ground level floor.  Dad then moved the washer & dryer from the utility room to the “new” basement after adding plumbing and electrical services.  He was always making improvements!

 

In Little Rock, Arkansas my father was responsible for all inside & outside repeater maintenance of telephone equipment and facilities.  Central Office Craftsmen (technicians) that reported to my father did the technical work.  This was my father’s first supervisory position and all the family was extremely proud of him.

 

In 1957 after two years in Little Rock my father was promoted to Central Office Supervisor in Jackson, Missouri.  In this position he was responsible for the Jackson Central Office in addition to manned offices at Sikeston, Missouri and Blytheville, Arkansas.  This included all the equipment and facilities including providing long distance telephone service to Paducah, Kentucky, Sikeston, Missouri and other smaller communities between St. Louis and Memphis.  This move changed the future of my parents forever.  Jackson would become Dad’s permanent and final home.  When they moved to Jackson Mom & Dad bought a new house on the West side of Jackson on Highway 72.  Shortly thereafter, while still living in Jackson, Missouri they purchased a 160 acre farm, a house and a barn.  It was located about eight miles further West of Jackson on Highway 72 and a few miles South of Millersville, Missouri.  This would become my father’s dream, his get-a-way from the rigors of the business world.  He had become a gentleman farmer and rancher!  More about the farm later…much more!

 

Dad had hoped he would retire from Long Lines in Jackson but that would be illusive… but did happen.  He would have three more company transfers before he was able to retire, but he kept his beloved farm the entire time!  In about 1966 my Dad, at age 51, was promoted to District Cable Supervisor (DCS) for Southern Missouri & Arkansas.  This required a move to his new office in Forrest City, Arkansas.  My parents sold the house on Highway 72 in Jackson which they had kept even after buying the farm.  My parents moved to Forrest City and purchased a new house in the Washington Heights subdivision on the North side of town.  But every weekend Mom and Dad were off to the farm which was about a four hour drive. 

 

In his new position as DCS he was responsible for all the outside plant facilities including underground cable and open wire pole lines in Southern Missouri & Arkansas.  Now his earlier training and work on the “gangs” working for both SWBTCo and Long Lines would be applied.  My mother did not like the separation from Jackson.  Plus she was having health issues that had been cared for by physicians in St.Louis.  After a couple of years in Forrest City, probably about 1965 at age 50, my father asked for a transfer to St. Louis.  Since there were no openings at his level he had to take a lower level position as a first level supervisor working at 2651 Olive Street in St. Louis where he had originally started his inside career twenty plus years earlier.  Mom & Dad moved into a rental house on South Grand Ave. just North of Carondelet Park.  Mom’s sister Gertrude (aka Aunt Sissy) lived directly behind them on Tennessee.  Mother’s other sister Agnes and husband Johnny lived in Aunt Sissy’s basement.  This arrangement seemed to work rather well for awhile.  My family & I also lived in St. Louis (Jennings) because I had been promoted to a Staff Assistant position in the St. Louis District Office.  In the fall of 1965 I was promoted to a Supervisory position in Little Rock, (Alexander), Arkansas.  Of course while Mom and Dad were living in St. Louis they made the weekend trips to the farm and spent vacations there as well.  However, Mom was restless and wanted to move back to the farm.  Dad couldn’t afford to leave his job in St. Louis so Mom moved to the farm and Dad rented a small efficiency apartment on Hydraulic Avenue in St. Louis City.  I sometimes wonder, if, although never said openly, my Dad was a party to mother’s “needs” for medical services in St. Louis so they could be close to the farm?  It just seems like after Dad was first promoted out of Jackson he was always trying and doing things to get back to that farm!

 

In 1970 my Dad was 55 years old and wanting to retire and move to his farm.  Since Long Lines Operators (women) were allowed to retire at age 55 my father thought he should be able to retire at age 55 also!  This was sex discrimination!  So he formally requested a retirement!  His request was denied by the St. Louis Division Superintendent, Mr. Dorr.  This did not deter my father.  My father happened to personally know Ernie Crabb, Vice President - Personnel of the Long Lines Department who had responsibility for the Long Lines Benefit Committee.  So Dad wrote a letter to Mr. Crabb appealing his retirement rejection from the St. Louis Division Superintendent.  This didn’t make local management too happy.  In the mean time my father requested another transfer to fill a technician opening in Sikeston, Missouri.  This would be a lower level position and he would no longer be in management, but he would be able to live on his farm and have a short drive to work in Sikeston.  His request for transfer was approved.  And after a short time working in Sikeston his appeal letter to the VP- Personnel was successful and my father finally was able to retire in 1971 at age 56.  I believe my Dad was a pioneer and led the way for equal treatment for retirement of both men and women.  Remember this was 1971!

 

My Dad’s Bell System career was now ended.  Like his father he had worked for SWBTCo but also for the AT&T Long Lines Department.  He had a distinguished career.  He had started at the very bottom and with only a high school education had worked his way up the ladder to a manager level.  He had the respect of everyone with whom he worked both fellow employees and customers.  He was a role model to many.  He was to me.

The Farm

 

At his retirement in 1971 mom & dad had already owned the farm for 14 years.  The funny thing is that the entire farm purchase price was $14,000.  At the time the farm was purchased he had 30 or so acres in the corn bank and the government paid him $1000 annually for not planting corn.  Do the math…the farm was free!  Dad never really raised crops on the farm except hay for winter feeding of cattle.  He was not a farmer; he was a rancher and raised beef cattle.  He also raised chickens and an old goose named Lucy hung around as a barnyard guard!  Lucy would “honk” and attack anyone coming close!  Of course there were many stray cats and dogs that lived on the farm.  Many had been just dropped off at the road and Mom & Dad adopted them.  Some became good pets and Mom & especially Dad had a good deal of affection for those few that showed affection in return.  The cats were always good to keep the mice under control.

 

Mom & Dad also had a large garden on the farm and raised all sorts of vegetables.  Dad prided himself when he would raise perfect, unblemished cucumbers, peppers and other vegetables and take them to the Jackson IGA grocery store and sell them.  He was very proud of this aspect of growing vegetables.

 

In the 14 years prior to retirement that Mom & Dad owned the farm they had time to make significant improvements.  The old house wasn’t suitable for comfortable living having no water, heat or air conditioning.  Dad built a world class outhouse which was to serve as the only outdoor plumbing for some time.  It had a concrete floor!  Dad built a large garage with a work shop at one side.  It was a “pull-through” garage with overhead doors at opposite ends of the garage.   He later added a room to one side to hold more tools and things.   Then he added a carport on the front under which he could park a car.   In about 1959 a very large house trailer was moved onto the property and placed just east of the existing old house.  A septic tank was installed on the North side of the old house and the trailer served as a comfortable home.  Dad built a room addition onto the front of the trailer and Mom used that as a knit shop.  Mom taught 4H knitting to the young girls and even conducted a knitting class for ladies of all ages in that shop.  Mom got her Missouri sales tax license and she was in business as “The Kettle Knit Shop”.

 

In 1964 I was temporarily working in St. Louis and I would take the bus to Jackson every other weekend.  Dad would pick me up at Jones’ Drug Store in Jackson and we would work on the farm all weekend.  And until this very day I can hear my father lecturing me about saving money.  He would say that I must save at least ten percent of my paycheck for a rainy day.  I’m sure the fears and experiences he had of the depression and his earlier bankruptcy was a strong influence on him.   I continued to receive the “savings lecture” many times and would assure him I was saving.  Dad was responsible for my saving and investing my money and so much so that I was able to retire from AT&T-Long Lines at age 49 in October 1988!  I wish he were alive when I retired so he had known that I did listen to him!

 

After I was promoted to St.Louis my family & I would drive down on weekends to help Dad work on the farm.  These times were perhaps the best ever for my father and me to really get to know each other.  I had left home at age 17 just as my Dad’s father had died when Dad was 17.  We spent a lot of time taking breaks and resting between strenuous work activities.  We would talk a lot and I would listen and learn…a lot!  Even when we were working it was teacher and student.  Dad knew so much about building things such as barns, out buildings and fences.  Kind of like that outhouse with the concrete floor.  Like I said…it was world class!  Dad was world class!  Dad also had a deep well put in because the only water for household use was from a cistern fed from the roof of the old house.  Dad designed and built the well pump house and made it so well insulated that it was warm in winter and the plumbing would never freeze.  The roof could easily be lifted up and away so if the well pump ever had to be pulled from the hole it would be an easier task to give the well pulling equipment access to the well.

 

One memory that will live with me forever is the generosity of my father.  A typical example is when I was in the U.S. Air Force my family and I would travel from Texas to the farm to visit and help Dad work.  When we were about to leave Dad would always allow me to fill up my car gas tank from his “farm vehicle gas tank”.  This was not legal but Dad knew we were so very dirt poor that without this act of kindness we might not be able to make the trip!  Dad also would give us all the frozen beef we could haul in the back of our 1951 Chevrolet.  That really made a difference!

 

I helped Dad rebuild the barn.  A sane person may not ever have attempted it.  Not saying my father wasn’t sane but he always saw things different than others.  He always saw other ways, and usually less expensive ways, to accomplish things.  This was a very large barn, maybe 50x50 feet, with a hay loft.  It was leaning badly to the South.  Dad decided to save it, straighten it up and replace the old vertical support poles.  Using the experience and knowledge he gained working with the “gangs” he determined what had to be done and it was amazing to see a “new” barn take place after many months of work. 

 

I really don’t believe that many people would have undertaken such a chore.  But Dad wasn’t afraid of work and he could always out work me any day.  We started the barn work by screwing two eight foot anchors deep into the barnyard.  Then we strung steel cables around upper critical cross members of that barn.  Dad used large hand operated wenches connected between the cables and the screw anchors, and hand cranked that barn until it was plumb and level!  The main timbers in the barn were all hand hewn & hard as steel.  The only rotten parts were where they made contact with the ground.  So my Dad determined we would replace the old rotted vertical poles with new treated poles.  There must have been forty poles that we had to replace in that barn!  But one at a time we would dig new pole holes.  Place new poles in the holes and then drill holes up high thru both the new pole and the old pole and insert threaded rods with large washers and nuts on both ends.  Then we cut off the old rotted poles.  After all the vertical support poles were replaced we covered the entire barn with new galvanized steel, hung a new sliding door, installed electric lights and  even a large automatic heated water container so the cows had water when it was freezing outside and the barn yard pond was frozen over.  Then Dad had a concrete floor poured. 

 

I mention this barn episode as an example of how my Dad did things.  This example will give you a measure of the man, his values and standards.  We went on to build other out buildings including the chicken coup with another concrete floor of course, and electricity…first class all the way!  The Juch chickens were warm in the winter!

 

There wasn’t anything my dad wouldn’t try.   There was a small creek in the bottom land that separated grazing land that dad had to mow.  We built a bridge across that creek!   We used two humongous poles that we anchored to the ground with four foot screw anchors so they wouldn’t float away in a floor.  Then using very thick rough treated lumber we used lag screws to fasten them to the poles.   The bridge was strong enough to hold a tank!

 

Dad had a gigantic oak tree in the front yard of his farm house.   The tree must have been eighty years old if it was a day.   One large limb had started to split away from the trunk probably due to the tremendous weight.   Dad decided to save the limb and tree so he drilled a hole in the limb and inserted threaded rod through the hole.   Dad connected a steel cable between the limb and the main trunk and pilled the limb back to where it tight up against the trunk.   Over time that limb grew back to the trunk and that beautiful tree was saved!

 

Much of my time at the farm was spent helping Dad clear fence rows and build fences.  He was a master at fences.  I always wanted to use a tree or take a shortcut of some kind but Dad insisted on “no detours”.  The fence had to be straight.  The posts had to be the same height and the barb wire had to be exactly equidistant between other strands.  Dad arranged to have the old house torn down and in its place he built a modern brick home with a basement.  Later the trailer was removed but the room addition was kept and there even till this day...just as the “world class outhouse is”!

 

Retirement

 

Dad retired from AT&T Long Lines Department in 1971.    A crippling flood devastated my Dad in about 1973.  His seventy head of cattle were all in the lower bottom land next to Whitewater creek.  A tremendous flood washed all of them downstream and killed all but a few.  Dad had insurance on about half of them but the others were a total loss.  I believe this loss was a terrible blow to my Dad.  It took the fight out of him and he never recovered.  He never re-established his heard of beef cattle.  His spirit was broken.  Unbeknown to anyone his health was apparently getting worse.  Maybe he no longer had it in him to build and rebuild as he had done all his life?

 

Mom and Dad lived on the farm for a few years after his retirement but Mom was not happy and wanted to move to town.  Maybe in some way she knew Dad was more ill than anyone knew; maybe it was a woman’s intuition?  So about 1974 they purchased a house on Corrine Street in Jackson, Missouri and sold the farm.  The farm was a split sale with the lower (West) side going to a realtor and the upper (East side) selling to Dr. & Mrs. Bob Cook.  The Corrine house did have a large garden in the back and Dad seemed to love that.  He grew all sorts of vegetables & grapes, blackberries and strawberries.  But I feel that Dad missed his farm and that loss and his poor health contributed to his early death. 

 

At Thanksgiving in 1975 Mom & Dad came to visit us in Houston.  Dad helped me build a patio cover between the house and our back yard swimming pool.  Not a large cover and only one post to hold up a corner.  It was then that I should have noticed that Dad was not well.  He had to “take five” every few minutes because he was out of breath.  It wasn’t like him to not be in good shape because he was always stronger than I was. 

 

Only two months later on February 11, 1976 I was in a meeting in Houston with Shell Oil Company personnel and received an emergency call from my office.  I was requested to call my wife at home immediately.  Judene then told me that my Dad had fallen in the kitchen and died in the ambulance on the way to St. Francis hospital in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  He was 60 years, 11 months and 24 days old when he died.  We buried Dad in Memorial Gardens Cemetery, between Jackson & Cape Girardeau, in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, on February 14, 1976.  The cause of his death was believed to have been a massive heart attack.   

 

I am lucky to have been his son.

 

CATHERINE “KITTY” JUCH

 

 

1916-2007

 

Catherine Margaret “Kitty” Zeisler Juch, 90, died April 8, 2007 at Spring Branch Healthcare Center, Houston, Texas.    Visitation will be April 21, 2007 at 10:30am at McCombs Funeral Home in Jackson, Missouri.  Services will immediately follow at 12:30pm at McCombs Funeral Home, Jackson, with Msgr. Edward Eftink, Pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jackson officiating.  Burial will follow at Memorial Park Gardens, Cape Girardeau.

    Mrs. Juch was born May 2, 1916, in St. Louis to Nicholas Sebastian Zeisler and Emma Louise Eckenfels Zeisler.   She married Roy Frederick Juch, July 3, 1932.  He preceded her in death Feb.11, 1976.   Two children were born, June Marie and Roy Frederick, Jr.    Survivors include her children: June M. Dodd Vickery; Roy F. Juch, Jr. (Judene).  Grandchildren: Donald D. Dodd (Felicia), Denise Dodd Mitchell, Catherine M. Dodd, Deborah C. Gore (Larry), Roy F. Juch, III (Martha) & Lisa R. Breen (Brian).  Great-grandchildren: Catherine E. Dodd & mother Sherri Upton Dodd, Cody J. Mitchell, Jessica L. Juch, Jason R. Juch, B. Duncan Breen, Bailey C. Breen & Parker D. Breen.   One sister, Gertrude Cahill Feldhaus of Jadwin, Mo., and many nieces, nephews and friends.

    Other family members preceding her were one sister Agnes Peters (John) and brothers Francis Zeisler, Frank Zeisler (Margaret), John (Jack) Zeisler (Ida), and Edward Zeisler (Lucille).   Until her move to Texas, Kitty lived most of her life in St. Louis, Jackson and Millersville, Missouri.  Some time was spent living in Forrest City and Little Rock, Arkansas and Houston, Texas.

    Pallbearers are: Grandsons Donald Dodd & Fred Juch and Great Grandsons Cody Mitchell, Jason Juch & Duncan Breen and special friend Bob Manning.   Honorary Pallbearers are: Donald Darnell, Louis Rohlfs, & Arthur Obermann.    Special friends are Goldie & Donald Darnell & family and Peggy & Bob Manning and family.

    Kitty used her skill in knitting and crocheting to serve as a 4-H teacher and advisor in Millersville; served as a volunteer at St. Francis Hospital, Cape Girardeau, and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, St. Louis, MO, Jackson Manor, Jackson, Catholic Nursery, Little Rock, AR, and as a Girl Scout Leader in St. Louis, MO.  Many will remember her as the teacher that taught them to knit and crochet.

   Kitty ask that these words be written in her obituary; “No flowers, no tears, a fond and affectionate farewell to all of my many friends and relatives, may they go with God.”    In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorial donations be made to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, St. Louis, or to St. Francis Hospital, Cape Girardeau, or a charity of choice.

 

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ROY FREDERICK JUCH, JR.

On 2 February 1957 I married Judene DUNCAN in Greenville, Mississippi. Please click on Roy & Judene to learn more about my family.

 

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