Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2007, to observe what would have been the 100th birthday of one of this site's original namesakes, my grandfather. Twenty one year's after his death, his influence is still present. His then unborn great granddaughter, whom he missed meeting by three months, is about to turn 21, and enter her senior year in college.
16th marks the 100th birthday of one of this site’s namesakes, my
grandfather, friend, mentor, buddy, and the list goes on. The man
exerted a great deal of influence on my life, and our time together
-including the day he passed away in my presence 13 years ago- is
forever etched in my mind.
we jettison the typical Cheap Stocks investment related drivel, and
instead pay tribute to a great man who left countless people better than
he found them. If he were alive today, he’d be puzzled by his
grandson’s website. “Value” to him had to do with doing an honest day’s
work, keeping your word, and serving others. “Growth” was about the
tomatoes and peas in his garden, and “investing” was related to the time
you spent serving others needs. The only stock he ever owned was the 20
shares of Ringling Brothers stock one of his sons purchased for him in
the 1960’s. The circus was everything to him— at an early age when the
circus was in town he’d work all day helping them to set up just for a
ticket to that evening’s show--and his canceled Ringling Brothers stock
certificate (Ringling was acquired by Mattel in the early 70’s) is
proudly displayed in my home in tribute.
never made it much past the eighth grade. That’s what happens when you
get kicked out of school for knocking your school’s principal on his
rear-end. Oh, and by the way the principal happened to be his Uncle Ed.
As the story goes, young Clyde was accused of something he did not do,
and good old Uncle Ed took a switch to him in the school office. Clyde
wasn’t standing for that, and you know the rest—down went Uncle Ed. The
incident stood with my grandfather—I recall him telling me on one of our
frequent weekend ventures to his old stomping ground in Easton, PA
about the dream he’d had the night before; here he was in his late 70’s
and he’d dreamt of urinating on Uncle Ed’s grave. The past died hard for
him. Being kicked out of school in many ways shaped his future—fueling a
success story not measured in dollars, because there weren’t many of
those, but measured instead by service to others, hard work, pride in
all that he did, and sons and grandchildren who revered him.
was part of the greatest generation. During World War II the GM plant,
where he served as Master Heat Treater, made the conversion from autos
to airplanes, and his ingenuity-not learned in any classroom- earned him
awards, and helped GM build Grumman Avengers more quickly and
moving to Ewing NJ in the late 1930’s, he and a few buddies realized
that this growing area needed a rescue squad. They became educated about
wound care and emergency medicine, bought a used Hearse to serve as an
ambulance, and The Pennington Road Rescue Squad was born. Born out of
guts, ingenuity, fortitude, and a desire to serve others.
grandmother preceeded him in death, and it was then that we found out
what “investing” meant in my grandmother's eyes. It meant hiding cash
from her husband. The several thousand dollars in cash we found,
including bills from the 1930’s through the 1960’s, bore witness to
this. Evidently, the combination of living through the Depression, and
fear that my grandfather would give it all away to anyone in need
prompted my grandmother to keep a secret stash.
really couldn’t blame her. A great woman in her own right, she’d seen
it all. She’d seen my grandfather stop to help a stranger who’d run out
of gas during the war, syphon it out of his tank and into the
stranger’s, then run out of gas himself a few minutes later. Anything to
help someone in need.
resume' may be a lot longer than his, not that he ever had one. I had
the opportunity to graduate from college, grad school, earn other
professional designations, etc. But My grandfather, Clyde, was way
smarter, way more accomplished, more ingenious and a better "investor"
than I will ever be.
100th birthday, Clyde. I miss you, think of you often, am grateful for
the times we had together, and for the lessons you taught me.