Centenarian Celebrations

Harold Hayslett (Deceased February 15, 2018)
Submitted by Ed Ballard, Regional Director, Carbide Retiree Corps (CRC)

In December, my wife and I visited with Harold Hayslett and his daughter, Debbie, to celebrate his 100th birthday and give him the traditional CRC blanket along with letters of recognition. It was another enlightening experience with a centenarian sharing his life and accomplishments.

He was born in Putnam County, West Virginia. Similar to other centenarians we have met, Harold served four years in the Army. Most of his time was in France with the 106th Cavalry of the Third Army. After his discharge, he returned to West Virginia. He married Louise Carpenter and they settled in South Charleston, West Virginia. He began working for Union Carbide and she became the city librarian. They had two daughters, Deborah and Carolyn. Harold retired from Carbide as a pipefitter.

While working at Carbide, Harold had a hobby that later became an additional career. He made 86 violins, 14 violas, 65 cellos, one bass violin and six bows – some of which are played in symphonies worldwide. At the Violin Society of America International Competition and Exhibition in 1980, he was awarded the gold medal for cello tone. Harold was also presented the Governor’s Arts Award in 2016. He is included in the West Virginia Encyclopedia and is listed in the Violin Makers of the United States. In 1996, a video, “Building a Cello with Harold,” was released. There is a permanent exhibit in the West Virginia Culture Center of his work. Harold was featured in a DowFriends article several years ago.

He leaves a legacy of continued involvement and contribution to society.


Herman Carney
Submitted by Ed Ballard, Regional Director, Carbide Retiree Corps (CRC)

In April, we were among more than 60 attending a surprise celebration for Herman Carney’s 100th birthday. As people arrived, they all stopped by to chat with him. Each had a story and a thanks for all Herman had done for the church. He was the “go-to man” for any problems they had. Many mentioned other things he had done for them. There was a real outpouring of love for Herman.

Herman was born in Putnam County and stills lives there. He worked for Union Carbide at the Institute Plant in the power department. He has a lot of memorabilia from his work, and his 25-year anniversary clock is still running. He was pleased with the traditional CRC blanket. I am sure it will get a lot of use.

Herman lives by himself in the house he built on his property in 1950. It’s about four acres along the Kanawha River. He has a lot of grass to mow, a big grape vine and blueberries, which he tended to and shared with his friends. There are stories of harvesting the grapes and of friends he shared all of this with. He suffered a broken hip a couple of years ago, which slowed him down, but he was still mowing with his riding mower. He uses a walker to get around and has a walker rigged on the mower just in case.

Herman lost two wives, a son and a daughter. He still cleans his house, and is a valued reference and resource for his church when maintenance issues arise.


Ken Gosnell
Submitted by Ed Ballard, Regional Director, Carbide Retiree Corps (CRC)

On September 17, 2017, Ken Gosnell turned 100. Many more than 100 people joined his son, Doug, and daughter, Devon, in celebrating this milestone. The celebration provided a time for friends and family to share memories and stories of Ken’s career. It was a pleasure to join the festivities and present Ken the traditional CRC blanket along with letters of recognition.

Ken is symbolic of the “Greatest Generation,” who have a story to tell of achievements during difficult times. He is a West Virginian, born and bred. He was born in Braxton County, “out in the boonies,” as he puts it. He is the oldest of four children. His dad was a farmer and salesman during Ken’s youth and moves were common. Ken graduated from high school in Gassaway in 1935. He had several odd jobs before he entered Mountain State Business College in Parkersburg in 1937. He graduated in 1939 and got a job – which was hard to find in those days – in Welch, West Virginia.

Soon after he moved to Welch, a friend urged him to join the WV National Guard. This was a significant move; the Guard was shorthanded and he moved up the ranks quickly. The Guard was activated in 1941 and shortly afterward sent to Panama. Early on Ken applied for Officers Candidate School (OCS). He was accepted and completed OCS in Baltimore and was assigned to the Transportation Corps. He was sent to England, where he spent two years, actively involved in moving supplies to the troops.

After he was released from active duty, he remained in the National Guard and enrolled in WVU, majoring in Petroleum Engineering. He began a new career with Cabot in 1949. His job entailed a good bit of travel and some relocation. After returning to Charleston from an assignment in 1956, he had enough travel and looked to Carbide. Ken began work in the Carbide Construction Department in 1957. He moved to the Carbide Petroleum Company when it was formed. He was involved in oil and gas drilling operations. Ashland Oil acquired Carbide Petroleum and he stayed with them until he retired in 1981. He returned to Charleston. He found time to do some consulting work; he also found time for a little golf, he says.

In 1971 Ken retired as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years of service.


Carolyn Bachorz
Submitted by James Evans, Northeast Director, Carbide Retiree Corps (CRC)

Carolyn Bachorz, a Union Carbide retiree, turned 100 on June 2, 2018. Carolyn started working for Union Carbide at an Eveready Plant in Bennington, Vermont, in 1965. She worked there assembling explosives during the Vietnam War, assembling hearing aids and watch batteries after that, and finally was a quality inspector. She retired in 1983.

Carolyn was born and raised in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. She had a twin sister, Veronica, a sister Mary, a sister Ann, a half-sister, Veronica, and a half-brother, John. Her twin sister died young, but the others lived into their 90s. She married Francis Bachorz on July 28, 1940, and they had three sons, Paul, Walter and James. Francis died in 1994. Carolyn now has two granddaughters, Pam and Patty, and three great-grandchildren.

Carolyn lives in a large 1880-vintage house by herself and is still in good health. Her hobbies are art and sewing, both of which she still actively pursues, and she is an active member of the Immaculate Conception Church. Carolyn’s 100th birthday was formally recognized by the Catholic Church, the Rensselaer County Legislature and the Town of Hoosick, where June 2, 2018, was designated “Carolyn Bachorz Day.”

It was a joy visiting Carolyn and her good friend Velma Brown. They were very appreciative of our recognition of her 100th birthday.


Cazim Zabeli
Submitted by James Evans, Northeast Director, Carbide Retiree Corps (CRC)

Cazim Zabeli, a Union Carbide retiree, turned 100 on August 16, 2017. Cazim worked as a rigger at the Linde facility in Tonawanda, New York, and in other Linde facilities for 20 years. He retired in 1984. Cazim and his first wife, who died 15 years ago, have three sons and two daughters. Cazim is now married to Sevoije (Seva) Zabeli, who has a 16-year-old daughter, Linda.

Cazim was born in Kosovo. During World War II years, he was in a concentration camp from 1941 to 1945. He came to the United States in 1952 and worked on Interstate Highway bridge projects in the New York and Pennsylvania area for many years. He speaks highly of Dwight Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway project. Cazim married Seva, who is also from Kosovo, in 2011, and they live with her daughter in their own home in upstate New York. Except for poor eyesight and hearing, he seems to be in good health. He stays active doing yard work and house remodeling projects. He just finished building a very nice new room on the front of their house.

It was a joy visiting Cazim, Seva and Linda. They were very hospitable to us and were very appreciative of our visit and Dow’s recognition of his 100th birthday.


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