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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about J.E. “Dad” Crowley, a familiar Irish repairman, in 1937:
J.E. “Dad” Crowley Here Since 1884 As Repairman
Ninety-Year-Old Irishman Worked on Sewing Machines In Brazil, England, Ireland, Wales and Canada; Never Sick A Day
This will be the first time that Jerry E. “Dad” Crowley’s name has been in a newspaper.
Not that Dad doesn’t have an interesting story to tell, but just because no one ever “discovered” him before. (Dad has never been in jail, either, though he has walked twice across the continent and calls himself a “tramp.”)
Dad Crowley, 90-year-old sewing machine repairman who has been working spasmodically in Logan county since 1884, was born in Syracuse, New York, member of a family of 14 children.
During the 90 years since the time of his birth he has walked twice across the United States, gone across the continent more than 100 times by rail and has repaired sewing machines in Brazil, Wales, England, Canada, and Ireland.
Dad says he has never been sick more than a half day in his life, has had only one contagious illness, has never taken a drop of medicine to date and up to now has had no ache or pain more serious than a toothache or a corn.
His only illness was whooping cough. He had this affliction at Marietta, Ohio, when he was 76 years old.
“I guess the Master just figured I was entering my second childhood and had better give me something to remind me of the fact,” Dad said with a chuckle.
“I just whooped ‘er out, though. No doctor, no medicine, no thing.”
“Dad” says he’s not bothered with any aches or pains now.
“I haven’t any teeth no, so—toothache won’t bother me, and my feet are so battered up that a pain there wouldn’t be noticeable.”
When asked how many miles he believed he had walked during his 90 years, the leathery, little Irishman—he’s “Shelalaigh Irish” and proud of it—rattled off the figure of 23, 367, 798, 363 miles without a blink of the eye, then later admitted that “I lost track of mileage after the first 20 billion miles.”
Dad declared that in his first and last job of work that he held for a person other than for himself he walked more than 10,000 miles.
He was operator of a treadmill for a Syracuse citizen named Hamilton from whom he learned the mechanism of the sewing machine, thus making it possible for him later to be independent of all bosses.
The whitehaired old chap repaired his first sewing machine on the Mounts farm in Mount Gay in 1884 when he first came into this section of West Virginia from Huntington.
Since that time during his intermittent visits to Logan county he has canvassed nearly every home here and has worked on many of the sewing machines in the county.
Dad is a close friend of the Murphys who operate a restaurant and poolroom on Stratton street. He affectionately calls Mrs. Murphy “Mom” because he thinks she looks like his mother, who died when he was only two years old.
Dad can be found at Murphy’s Restaurant any afternoon when the baseball scores are coming in. Baseball next to repairing sewing machines, is his consuming passion. One will find Dad wearing a cap on his graying locks, smiling broadly and ever ready to spin a yarn or talk baseball.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 1 July 1937