William BillChelgren

540 Wrigden Run Rd., Marion Center, PA 15759

PHONE: 724-397-2315;         EMAIL: obyk@outlook.com

A biographical note: 1960/2021.

In January of 1961 I enlisted in the Navy (signed up for four years). While in the Navy, was trained to operate and maintain sonar equipment used to detect submarines.

The year that JFK ordered the blockade of Cuba I was stationed on board the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr, DD 850. The ship had completed an overhaul and left for Gitmo, (Cuba), with a new crew. After a month of training, we returned to Newport. In less than a week, sailors were called back from leave, and we got underway for where, we were not told. The news of what was happening came the next day and seemed to put everyone on edge. The Kennedy intercepted the first ship that tried to ignore the blockade and after coming alongside, a boarding crew was dispatched. Nothing was found that had anything to do with the attempted missile build up by Russia. A movie was made based on the blockade, and I think the title was 13 Days. Discharge from the Navy was in December of 1964. After that, I was employed at GE in Erie and stayed for four years. June of 1965, at age 23 was married, (signed up for life), and have completed fifty-six years.

At age 25, made the decision based on personal choice, to be baptized by immersion. (Signed up for eternity). Moved to Marion Center in 1969, built a house on the farm that my wife grew up on and have been here ever since.

Spent thirty-three years working at a local plumbing specialty store where I did counter sales and service calls. When the time came, most people said it was best to take s/s at age sixty-two. Around that time there was some type of form that needed to be completed that required my age and signature and when I filled it out and looked at what I had done, I thought, “I am not that old”. That was when I left the job that I had for so many years and went on my own doing plumbing and heating repair work. At age seventy-six, I finally retired.

The past fifty-six years have gone by so fast, it is hard to believe. Most of the time working two jobs but never looking forward to retirement, my focus was on being dedicated to doing everything I possibly could to help with the needs of my family which includes three children and twelve grandchildren ranging in age from two to twenty-five.

There was a time, maybe ten years ago that three of our grandkids needed a place to stay during the summer daytime while their parents worked. We shared the responsibility with their other grandparents.

About that Chipmunk: Every summer we see lots of chipmunks in the yard that are attracted to the bird seed that is scattered near the feeders. Because of the influence of Terry Gumbert and his love for any animal you can think of, we bought HavaHeart traps and relocated any that got caught. Can you imagine Terry putting up the welcome sign and making sure there was enough for them to eat? I can imagine him saying that it took 10 lbs. of sunflower seed each week just for them. To me, those thoughts are good thoughts because it shows what he cared the most about. How many times, when mentioning different animals, did Terry include a name with them? Before the traps were bought, there could be up to three in our yard at the same time and they would leave and come back the next day. Someone thought it would be fun to give them names. We tried, and did OK with the first one and maybe, or maybe not, with the second one, but soon realized that it was impossible to tell them apart!!!

William Chelgren, starting in 2021, posted pairs of billboards on a busy highway goimg to Punxsutawney. These Bill Boards are meant to honor Punxsutawney, and often cite the good deeds of our class after graduation. Four pairs of these billboards are given below.

Billboard Pair #1:

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Billboard Pair #2:


Billboard Pair #3:

Billboard Pair #4:

Billboard Pair #5:

Billboard Pair #6:

To see how one pair of these billboards appeared when posted click here.