Two Employees in City Enhance Growing Trend of Seniors on Job

The Toledo Blade, Jan 24, 2006

Discharged from the U.S. Navy after four years of service during World War II, Al Jurowski needed a job fast.

So, when he was offered one on the spot at Toledo Metal Spinning Co., he jumped at the opportunity.

Yesterday, he celebrated his 60th anniversary at the shop with a cake and a proclamation from Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

Mr. Jurowski, 83, said it wasn’t hard to stay at the same job for six decades: “As long as you enjoy it, it’s OK.”

Betty Marlowe agrees. She will celebrate her 65th anniversary this March at the Perfect Measuring Tape Co. in downtown Toledo. “I figured I’d work here until I got married, but then I just kept on working,” said the 81-year-old. “Now, I’ll work until my boss wants me to quit.”

Mr. Jurowski and Mrs. Marlowe are not alone in their dedication. More than 16 million Americans age 55 and over are either working or seeking work.

But Mr. Jurowski’s and Ms. Marlowe’s longevity with one employer is remarkable, said Marty Rome, of Experience Works in Arlington, Va.

“We do see a lot of older workers, but someone who’s been in the same job for 60 years or more is pretty rare,” said Mr. Rome, a spokesman for the nation’s largest training and employment organization for mature workers.

Older workers tend to have calm personalities, he said. “They don’t get upset by things and tend to have a very optimistic outlook on life.”

Taking pride in your work is essential, said Mr. Jurowski, who became an expert at forming a sheet of metal by hand into the desired shape before learning how to operate the computers that now do much of the work in the industry.

“It was a feeling of satisfaction because that was something that I had created,” he said yesterday.

The satisfaction of doing a job right was one of the lessons he taught Eric and Craig Fankhauser, today the owners of Toledo Metal Spinning. They started as teenage workers under Mr. Jurowski’s tutelage.

“Because of his military background, he was very disciplined,” Eric Fankhauser remembered. “He commanded respect.”

Added Craig Fankhauser: “Al taught us what hard work was. If you didn’t do it right, you had to redo it.”

Mr. Jurowski, who has been married for 62 years and is the father of two, grandfather of four, and great-grandfather of two, works three or four mornings a week (from 7 a.m. until noon), inspecting parts for quality control and calibrating the company’s measuring instruments.

“Al is very organized, he’s very methodical,” said Eric Fankhauser.

At Perfect Measuring Tape, Mrs. Marlowe’s ability to change with the times is key to her longevity, said Andrew Bohnengel, who has run the company since 1973.

“The key to having people stay with a company for a long time is the ability to adapt to changes,” said the grandson of the founder.

Mrs. Marlowe started working at Perfect Measuring while in high school and now is the secretary/office manager.

The company makes a variety of measuring tapes for customers all over the world.

After marrying Dick Marlowe, she spent summers traveling with him during his decade-long career as a pitcher for the Mud Hens, the Detroit Tigers, and the Chicago White Sox.

After he quit baseball, Mr. Marlowe ran the company for 10 years before he died in 1968.

The couple had two children, and now there are six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

“I have a lot of energy. I can work rings around the kids today,” said Mrs. Marlow. She is at her desk from shortly after 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. each workday.

“I told her that we would like her to work here as long as she wants to work here and can do the job,” Mr. Bohnengel said. “I would say that to any employee.”