ROY & KITTY
Picture of Roy F. Juch, Sr. & Catherine Margaret Zeisler Juch
Taken about 1932 by
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.
Roy F. Juch, Sr.
Roy F. Juch, Jr., son
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.
My father, Roy Frederick Juch,
Sr. was likely born in the family home at
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).
Almost one year after their
marriage and on
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
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
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
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’
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
At AT&T my father continued
training and furthered his education of the telephone equipment of the day and
finally became an inside Equipment
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
In about 1948 we moved to a home
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.
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
Dad always kept
working to improve the new house on
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
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
One of my most
cherished memories in
In 1957 after two years in
Dad had hoped he would retire
from Long Lines in
In his new position as DCS he
was responsible for all the outside plant facilities including underground cable
and open wire pole lines in
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
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.
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
In 1964 I was
temporarily working in
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
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”!
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
At Thanksgiving in 1975 Mom &
Dad came to visit us in
Only two months later on
I am lucky to have been his son.
Catherine Margaret “Kitty”
Zeisler Juch, 90, died
Mrs. Juch was born
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
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
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
ROY FREDERICK JUCH, JR.
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