My Grandpa Hartley – A Good and Great Man
A Hard Worker and a Man of Competence
|Charles Alton Hartley Jr.|
A birthday party for him
Charlie was born in 1909. At home, and at a young age, Charlie learned to milk cows, care for chickens (more than 40), pigeons, and chop wood. At age 11, he was a newspaper carrier for the Oregon Journal, and by age 13 he had charge of the Journal’s distribution for all of Silverton, Oregon with 350 newspapers on week days and 500 on Sundays. During the summer after his first year of high school, Charlie worked in a fruit cannery that his father managed. When the harvest was at its peak, Charlie often worked 10 to 14 hours a day.
During his junior year in high school, the family moved to Oregon City, Oregon where his father took over management of a small road paving company. Charlie’s next two summers were spent working for his father. At first, Charlie checked the daily loads of sand, gravel, and asphalt, and was a time keeper for the paving crew. Later, he was also assigned to fire up two coal burning steam rollers—a two-hour task that began at 6:00 a.m. each day. One day, one of the operators came to work drunk and nearly destroyed one of the rollers. The crew foreman fired the man and put Charlie in the driver’s seat. Charlie—just 17 years old—worked rolling asphalt until October 1927.
|Charlie on a Steam Roller|
While at Oregon City High School, Charlie twice lettered in basketball and twice in baseball. He participated in several school plays and helped with the yearbook. He took commercial classes, and in 1926 entered a Clackamas County high school typing contest for second year commercial students, taking first place. He graduated in June 1927 at age 17.
|Charlie played Second Base|
In March 1928, Charlie tested the job market. He and two other students interviewed for a stenographer job--taking dictation and manually typing out on paper what someone has said--with the Southern Pacific Railroad in Portland, Oregon. Each of the three candidates was interviewed individually. Part of the interview was to test the candidates by ignoring them for a few minutes. While being ignored, each of the other two candidates sat down in the man’s office without invitation. In contrast, during his interview, Charlie stood politely and patiently until directed to sit down. After the man hired Charlie, he told Charlie the reason the other two men didn’t get hired and why Charlie did: It was Charlie's good manners.
In 1935, Southern Pacific Railroad transferred Charlie to Salt Lake City, Utah, and he lived in a boarding house for a time. There he met Norma Miner, an employee, because of an unusual situation. Norma had a scheduled date with another man in four days to play a game of Bridge. The problem was she didn't know how to play or even shuffle cards. However, Norma had seen Charlie in the building where she worked, and desperate, asked Charlie if he could teach her to play Bridge within those four days. Norma said of this:
"[Charlie showed] me how to shuffle cards and everything. And so after he’d worked with me for oh, I guess about two hours, he could see that he wasn’t getting any place at all with me. And it was so hot and he could see how tired I was, and so he said, 'Come on, let’s go out. Let’s go down to the Dollhouse,' the Dollhouse on State Street and they always had lovely milkshakes and hamburgers. . . 'You’re too tired. And then maybe tomorrow night I can help you.' So, I went out with him and I liked him because he was such a gentleman. He never tried to kiss me or be bold or anything and I thought he was such a nice person."
It turned out the date she had scheduled with the other man fell through. Charlie and Norma began to date more seriously, fell in love, and on December 16, 1935 they married.
|Charlie and Norma Hartley|
On Their Wedding Day
Dedicated to Family, Working Hard Again, and a Man of Integrity
On February 10, 1942, Billy was born to Charlie and Norma Hartley in Salt Lake City, Utah, their third child. He appeared to be a healthy, normal baby. When he was about two months old, his mother spent 14 days in the hospital battling an appendicitis that was so bad gangrene had set in. Soon after returning home, she and her husband noticed that something didn’t look right about little Billy’s eyes—they were discolored and filming over.
Their family doctor referred them to an eye specialist, Dr. Palmer, who diagnosed “infantile glaucoma.” Certain fluids inside the eyes of newborns are supposed to drain out, but they didn’t in Billy’s case. The increasing pressure of those fluids was damaging the optic nerve in both eyes. Without immediate surgery, Billy would soon be completely blind.
|Dr. Otto Barkan|
1887 - 1958
Before authorizing the surgery, Billy’s parents sought a second opinion from another eye specialist, Dr. Near. That doctor diagnosed the same problem, but, providentially the night before, he had read in a medical journal of a successful new surgery being performed by only one person in the world, Dr. Otto Barkan in San Francisco. The doctor strongly urged Charlie and Norma not to let anyone operate on Billy’s eyes unless it was Dr. Barkan. A third eye specialist was consulted, who confirmed the diagnosis and advice of the second. Arrangements were quickly made to see Dr. Barkan.
[...] Charlie and Norma were then on a train to San Francisco—despite the fact that Norma had not fully recovered from her appendicitis. Within two days, Billy underwent the pioneering procedures. [...] After three operations, Dr. Barkan was able to completely save Billy’s left eye, but he could not reverse the damage that had already occurred in the right eye. The right eye had perhaps 10% vision.
The costs of the surgery and follow-up were approximately $2,000, an enormous financial burden on a young family of five during war-time. This amount is approximately equivalent to $89,000 in 2017 dollars when adjusting for medical-cost inflation!
In 1942, the railroad provided medical insurance for its employees, but not for their family members. So, Charlie found it necessary to borrow money from a bank and take out a loan against his life insurance policy in order to pay the hospital. Charlie didn’t have the money to pay the doctor’s fees. So, they entered a gentleman’s agreement: Charlie would pay something each month to the doctor, even if it was a small amount, until the fees were paid off, no matter how long it took.
[...] Charlie took on two part-time jobs in addition to his full-time, 44-hour per week employment so that he could make the payments on the loans and to the doctor. One job was during the evenings, eight hours a night, every other night at an ice plant moving 300-pound blocks of ice.
The other job was on Sundays and holidays. It was a second job with the railroad. At first, he helped lay and repair railroad track. Later, he was shifted to keeping their paycheck records.
Charlie did the extra jobs for about 15 months. [...] It took a number of years to fully pay off Billy’s medical costs, but Charlie did it and met all his commitments.
A Man of Compassion and Meekness
|Raylene Hartley, age 2|
In 1946, Charlie and Norma's two year-old daughter Raylene was run over by a milk truck and died. Charlie was in Butte, Montana at the time of her death since he was trying to find a home for the family. Two months earlier he had received a promotion from Southern Pacific Railroad to oversee their freight operations in Montana.
Charlie’s former co-workers in Salt Lake City notified him in Butte that Raylene had been in a serious accident. They then arranged for him to fly home. Friends picked Charlie up at the Salt Lake Airport. On the way to his home, he was stunned by their news that Raylene was dead. Raylene’s death was devastating, the two-year-old toddler had been adored by the whole family.
The dairy delivery man of the truck (that ran over Raylene), and his wife, visited Charlie and Norma to express their immense sorrow and deepest sympathies. The dairy delivery man did not notice Raylene under his truck while he was temporarily parked on the road. He started up his truck and felt a bump as he moved away from the curbing. He looked in his rear view mirror and saw the child lying in the road. The truck had passed over Raylene’s neck, fracturing her skull and neck.
Charlie and Norma realized that the death was an accident. The delivery man had no way of knowing that Raylene had crawled under the truck. Their compassion toward the delivery man was remarkable. Some people would have been angry and bitter. They would have sued the milkman and his company for many thousands of dollars. Here’s what Charlie said about the situation:
“The driver was no way at fault . . . . The company that owned the vehicle was no way at fault. I didn’t feel that when they’re not really at fault, that you should blackmail them for a lot of money.”
Involved in the Community and with Family
After Raylene's death in 1946, Charlie and family moved to Butte, Montana. While in Butte, Charlie became an active member of the local Rotary Club and Toastmasters International. He was Rotary President for a year. He won several Toastmaster speech contests, local and regional. To spend time together, he and Norma joined a square dancing club, which they enjoyed, and where they made many friends.
|Charlie and Norma Hartley and friends|
In 1953, Southern Pacific Railroad transferred Charlie to work in San Francisco, California. The family soon found a home in San Lorenzo, a suburb south of Oakland. While living in the Bay Area, Charlie became a recognized transportation leader as demonstrated by the list of organizations he belonged to and offices he held in those organizations. He became president of the Oakland Traffic Club in 1966, and a director and then president of the Oakland World Trade Club. He also belonged to the following organizations:
National Defense Transportation Association
Associated Traffic Clubs of America
Contra Costa County Development Association
Oakland Chamber of Commerce
San Leandro Chamber of Commerce
Fremont Chamber of Commerce
Pacific Railway Club
Richmond Council of Industries
Emeryville Industries Association
Berkeley-Albany Industries Association
Delta Nu Alpha (National Transportation Fraternity)
Additionally, during the San Lorenzo years, [...] one of Charlie's trademarks was writing a weekly letter to his brother Jack, sister Edna, and his mother. As Charlie's children grew up and went away college, on missions, and got married, he wrote weekly letters to them. He consistently remembered and stayed in touch with his family.
A Good and Great Man
Based on these experiences, it can be said of Charlie that he had good manners, was a hard worker, a gentleman, dedicated to his family, greatly involved in the community, a man of competence, a man of integrity, a man of compassion, and a man of meekness. Overall, he was a good and great man. Happy father's day to the grandfather I never met (yet)!
|Charlie and Norma Hartley|
A Night On the Town
Compiled and adapted by Tom Hartley, grandson to Charles Alton Hartley, Jr.
Charles Alton Hartley - Life Highlights Selected to Honor his 100th Birthday - William G. Hartley, compiler
My Aunt Raylene Hartley - A Joy to All
Charles Alton Hartley, Jr.: Great Things Often Start Small
My Uncle Bill Hartley - "Miracle Bill"
Tom's Inflation Calculator (Medical-cost inflation calculator and more)
Some information on Dr. Otto Barkan
https://www.slideshare.net/rashmiranjan589/gonioscopy-37295596 (slide 4 of 106)