A tribute to Joe Stull
From the Colon Express: “Thirty-one years is a long, long time … that is, a long time for one to tend fires and ring the bell for the same school, especially when that some one will in a few days have reached the age of eighty. Just ask Joe Stull of Colon, for that is just what he has been doing for the last thirty-one years and come December 21, 1948, he will celebrate his 80th birthday.
Joe Stull as many remember him, with a broom in his hand.
Many a mother recalls dressing up little Johnny or Mary and starting them off to school in ample time, but when they played along the way taking up the precious minutes, it was Joe’s school bell that was a warning signal to hurry. Few Colon folks are out of bed when Joe goes to work in the morning, for one of the important tasks of being a school janitor is to see that the building is warm on cold mornings and teachers begin to arrive. In order to perform this part the job, Joe has to be at school no later than 6:00 a. m. and on very cold days he must be there by 4:00 a. m. … then at night when all have gone home, another of his jobs is to clean up the place and have it in readiness for the next day, but his job does not end there. For at night after most of us have gone to bed, Joe must tread the snow bound path back to the school to replenish the fire for the night.
In recognition of 31 years of faithful service to the school and community, and because everyone here is proud to help Joe celebrate his 80th birthday, there’s going to be a big reception in his honor at the schoolhouse on Tuesday night, December 21. Efforts are being made to contact each and every person who attended this school, or in any way served it … alumni, former teachers, school board members … in fact the affair is going to be started with a potluck dinner so that anyone who wished to help this perky little mister celebrate his 80th birthday will feel welcome to come. In 1904 he decided to move to Michigan from his old home in Ohio, at first taking odd jobs on farms and later accepting a job as night watchman for the Lamb Knit Goods Company at Colon. In 1917, after serving the Lamb Knit Company for 12 years, Joe accepted his present position as school janitor at a salary of $60 a month. During this time he has worn out 40 ropes over pulleys in ringing the bell six times a day. More recently the electric buzzer system has replaced the recess bell, and that cuts Joe’s bell ringing task to four times a day. Joe is eligible for retirement, but flatly states that he prefers to keep on the job, sweeping floors and putting the building in shape for each class of students.”