Being involved with the development of hydraulic fuel pumps for airplanes is something Roy never takes lightly. In fact, to this day, it still makes him beam with pride.
“The pride of developing pumps and hydraulic motors for airplanes, people don’t realize how much of it is hydraulics. It’s the bloodstream of an airplane,” he said. “I’m so proud to be part of it.”
His work as an engineer required Roy to provide intricate drawings for aircraft parts, and later, submarine parts. But his love for drawing did not stop in the workplace. Not only was he fascinated with drawing at a young age, but it’s something he’s known for now at Oakmont Sterling Assisted.
Not only does he draw portraits and landscapes, but he also came up with a logo for the community’s choir. Indeed, he is known for his artistic skills.
It began with a movie
“I love drawing. I have, for as long as I can remember,” said Roy, who was 10 years old when the groundbreaking movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was released. It was Disney’s first animated feature. “I enjoyed it so much, after I got home, I drew pictures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
Roy’s father was impressed by his son’s efforts, suggesting he write to Walt Disney to show his abilities.
Walt Disney himself wrote back.
“You’re too young to join my staff right now, but when you finish high school, go to an accredited art school for four years, then get back in touch with me,” Disney wrote. “I was bound to be an engineer, but I never stopped liking to draw Walt Disney.”
Though he never graduated from college, he advanced from junior craftsman to assistant chief engineer 50 years later. Along the way, he moved from Cleveland to Troy.
“I did it without a degree,” he said, “but I worked hard all the way.”
The best possible dance lessons
Roy met Mary Lois, who would eventually become his wife of 64 years, while they attended West Technical High School in Cleveland. They met in an after-school dance class, set up for seniors
“I didn’t have a girlfiend, and I didn’t know how to dance, but I was hopeful to go to the senior prom,” he said. They were paired up and soon began a four-year courtship. What was interesting was Mary Lois lived in the upstairs flat in the same residence where Roy grew up – and they never met each other until that dance class.
Loved his job, stayed there 24 years – worked his way up with aircraft hydraulic equipment – technical drawings, design drawings for jet engine companies mostly
“We made the right decisions early on in our marriage, so when things happened, they weren’t a surprise,” he said. “When we had our 50th anniversary party, they asked how do you stay together so long. Mary Lois and I never went to bed angry with each other. We stayed up quite late sometimes, but we never went to bed angry with each other.”
Roy’s son and daughter live in the Detroit area. He recently became a great grandfather. “You don’t realize what a thrill it is, as old as you are, to hold a member of a new generation,” he said. “I never was the success I wanted to be, but neither was I a failure. And I’m proud of that woman I married…I’ve had a wonderful life.”