Loyd Henderson Seabaugh

seal_armyThis month we are honored to say “Thank You” to another Veterans Home resident who proudly served our Country in the United States Armed Forces

Loyd Seabaugh was drafted in 1943. After basic training, Loyd received advanced instruction at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was then transferred to North Africa where he learned to drive the new light tank that he operated on numerous reconnaissance missions. Then came Belgium and the Battle of the Bulge. Our soldier was wounded in action and sent to England for surgery. Returning to active duty, Corporal Seabaugh transferred to Germany where he served with occupation forces until the end of the war.

Family and friends of the now Veteran Loyd Seabaugh rejoiced at his return home just after Thanksgiving, 1945. Not one to let grass grow under his feet, our man jumped into action.

Before the Army, Loyd liked working construction, but now he’s looking for something in a more stable industry. He hires on at General Motors. The pay is good and Loyd believes that he is on his way to a prosperous life. What happens? Primarily due to the industry’s slow rebound to pre-war production, hours are reduced. Then, shifts are cut. Lay-off notices come next.

Wise folks remind us that when set-backs happen, not to be overly discouraged. Something better may be just around the corner. This certainly has been the case for Mr. Seabaugh.

Earlier, Loyd had purchased a house located near Ford Motor Company’s new plant that was scheduled to open soon. Why wait for the official announcement? There would be a long line of job applicants the first day.

Loyd tried to get past the front door to see someone. On his third attempt, he saw an important looking man with a brief case approaching.

“Good morning, sir,” our veteran smiled, offering his hand. “I’m Loyd Seabaugh and I just returned from the war. I’d very much like to be the first man you hire.”

The rest is history. The following Monday, Loyd and three other determined and lucky young men became the first production workers hired at Ford’s new plant!

We’ve heard it said, “The job makes the man.” Also, “The man makes the job.” I’d guess that Loyd Seabaugh exemplifies something of both points of view. During nearly 28 years at Ford, Loyd worked in every department of the plant. Probably, his most important responsibility was making sure that each station on the assembly line had an ample supply of parts available.

Despite the best efforts of inventory control, problems sometimes occurred. It might become necessary to “beg, borrow or steal” an item from another facility – or to place a rush order with the manufacturer. Loyd recalls an instance when a part was nearly out of stock at a station near the start of the assembly line. If replacements weren’t found quickly, production would come to a standstill.

It was Christmas day and the Seabaugh family was sitting down to dinner when the phone rang. It was the plant manager.

“Loyd, we’ve got a situation. I need you to drive to the airport and meet a Lockheed Lodestar. The parts we need for tomorrow are on board the aircraft. Someone will be waiting for you back at the plant.”

“No problem,” Mr. Seabaugh assured the boss.

A short time later, a tasty holiday meal was removed from the warming oven and served to a grateful family. Life was good!

Nearly everyone’s work week has its humorous moments. One such occasion started with a phone call to Loyd from his friend, Bob. A couple of months earlier, Bob had purchased a fully equipped Lincoln Continental from a dealer in town. Difficulties with the car became apparent almost immediately. The dealer made one or two superficial efforts to correct these problems, but the malfunctions remained. Further inquiries from the buyer were more or less brushed off.

Frustrated, Bob called Loyd.

“I can get my superiors to straighten these people out,” Loyd said. “Give me a day or so.”

After a long pause….. “No, on second thought, I believe I can handle this myself. But, thanks.”

“Can you say what you have in mind?” Loyd persists.

“You’ll see soon enough,” Bob said, chuckling.

loys-henderson-seabaugh-2-238x300Driving past the dealership a few mornings later, Loyd noticed a group of people standing near the main entrance of the business. Prominently parked in front was Bob’s Lincoln. Arranged in curving lines from the hood ornament to the windshield were rows of lemons. Easily, forty of the tart fruit adorned the hood. Bob had also placed rows of lemons on the roof of his paid-for luxury car. It should come as no surprise that repairs were made immediately! Additionally, a check was presented to Bob for the car dealer’s “oversight.”

In junior high school, Loyd had known and liked a pretty girl named Helen. As often happens with school friends, Loyd and Helen moved on with their lives and lost touch with each other. Then, the summer Loyd came home from the Army, who should he see at a Fourth of July celebration? Loyd and Helen started dating and were married on September 21, 1946.

During the next five years, four children arrived. Daughter, Cairl, was first. Then came sons, Alen, Gerald and Dairl. Church, community service and recreation were fundamental to the Seabaugh family. The kids did well in their studies, and each was active in school sports. Everybody liked to fish!

As the Seabaugh youngsters became adults, more children blessed the family. Loyd proudly shows visitors pictures of everyone, including eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Loyd and Helen shared 60 wonderful years as husband and wife. Helen passed on November 22, 2006.

For years, Loyd has suffered from hip and knee problems, stemming in part from injuries that he sustained in the war. There were several surgeries, including a knee replacement. In December 2000, doctors recommended the Missouri Veterans Home — St. Louis. For ten years, Loyd Seabaugh has been a vibrant presence in this community of veterans.

Recently, at a meeting with medical specialists, our hero received promising news. Thanks to new and improved treatments, Mr. Seabaugh can expect relief from the chronic pain that he has suffered for so long.

Loyd, we are glad that you make your home here with us. We look forward to more sharing. Thank you, friend!

Jon Stacey