November 11, 2012
I am writing this for my Dad, Tom Lauck, who has Alzheimer’s and lives at Lima Convalescent Home. Thomas E. “Pete” Lauck, 90, was in the Army during World War II but was not sent overseas. He served from 1943 until 1946. He took his basic training at Port Clinton, where he specialized in bridge building and demolishing. He was then assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, to Tank Division 656. From there he went to Indiana, where he built bridges. His last assignment was at Fort Velvior, Va., working with the mail.
When Tom was honorably discharged and returned to Lima, he discovered that with the large amount of other soldiers returning, jobs were scarce. He decided to take a job at Lima State Hospital as a guard. He really did not like the job, but a job was a job. After about a year and a half, he started working at the Tank Depot. His love for operating heaving equipment started at that point. Working that job for a few years, he was offered a job by Kohl’s Excavation and was thrilled to accept. He was the bulldozer operator who did the original grading and working on the foundation of the first Lima Senior High School. He worked on the grading crew at Ford Motor Co. Lima Engine Plant and was one of the graders who worked on the Allen County Fairgrounds. He truly loved his work and never complained.
I remember how he would tell people that when working on the foundation of Lima Senior High, they picked up his bulldozer with a crane and set it inside the center of the foundation where he graded the land level. When he was finished, the crane picked his dozer and lifted it out. He always talked about this with a grin as wide as possible. I know he loved the job.
During all these years, he also worked at Northland Homes, Sherwood Park, and numerous other subdivisions in Ohio and Indiana. He worked this type of a job for many years and at one point, continued to be a heavy equipment operator and do maintenance on homes and apartments on the side, also working at Sheller Globe in Indiana. He even repaired semis. After 10 years at Sheller Globe, he retired as a maintenance operator.
I can still see my dad, with his crew cut, tanned and strong, bulldozing and building our new home in 1960 on Wolfe Road. Our neighbor, LeRoy “Punch” Gesler, also a veteran of World War II, helped Dad build the house. LeRoy is now deceased, but memories of he and Dad working together are never forgotten.
So, I truly believe that Dad, even though he grew up on a dairy farm, learned to love his heavy equipment jobs because of the service. He learned many skills, supervision and the pleasures of a good day’s work. Thank you, Dad, for serving in the Army!