Centenarian Celebrations

Loretta Gardner
Submitted by Jim Evans, Director, Northeast Region CRC

Loretta Gardner, a Union Carbide retiree, turned 100 on February 28, 2016. Loretta started working for Dr. Leo Baekeland, inventor of Bakelite plastics, in 1937 in his facility in Bound Brook, NJ. She worked as a quality inspector and participated in various product end use experiments. Subsequently, after Baekeland sold the plant to Union Carbide on the eve of World War II, Loretta worked in the Accounting and Distribution Departments there, retiring in 1980.

Loretta and her first husband, Joseph, who died in 1951, had one daughter, Geraldine, who also worked at Union Carbide. Many headquarters-based Carbide retirees will remember her as Geri Hotard, who worked in Human Resources. Geri joined Loretta's birthday celebration during our visit. Loretta married Joel Gardner, a bank executive, in 1980 and retired to the Jersey Shore. Joel died in 2002.

Loretta was born and raised in New Brunswick, NJ. She was educated in public schools there, but had to drop out in 1930 because of the Great Depression to work first in a cigar factory and later in a pocketbook factory. As a young widow raising a daughter on her own, Loretta continued working for Union Carbide while maintaining her home independently. She learned to paint and paper walls, did strenuous yard work and found spare time for exquisite needlework and knitting. Loretta now lives in a beautiful senior apartment complex in southern Connecticut close to her daughter’s house, where she still creates crafts and also plays Bingo. Loretta attributes her longevity to hard work, independence and lots of vegetables! She was very appreciative of our recognition of her 100th birthday.

Virginia J. Williams
Submitted by Jim Evans, Director, Northeast Region CRC

Virginia Williams, a Union Carbide retiree, turned 100 on November 7, 2015. Virginia worked as a Statistical Typist in the Distribution Department on Canal Street in New York City from 1954 to 1975. She remarked that there were no copying machines then – everything she typed required five carbon copies.

Virginia and her husband, Bud, who died in 1962, have one son, two daughters, five grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. She lives in a grand old (late 1800s) house in upstate New York during the day and stays with her daughter Julie and Julie's husband, Vern, at night. Her other daughter, Micheline, passed away two years ago. Her son, Thomas, lives in Florida. Julie and Vern joined us when we visited Virginia.

Virginia was born in Manhattan and lived there and in Brooklyn before moving to upstate New York in 1970. She had two-hour commutes for five years and occupied much of this time with knitting and sewing. She’s also an avid quilter – we saw several examples of this fine work on the beautiful antique beds in her house. She made her daughter Julie’s wedding dress. After Virginia retired from Union Carbide, she worked in a prison for four years and traveled all over Europe with a friend. It was a joy visiting Virginia, Julie and Vern.

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