Character Number Two

And then there was Joe Moyer.

I first met Joe Moyer in 1964 when we both started working for American Cryogenics, a new company created by Standard Oil of New Jersey, (later Exxon), by combining several regional oxygen and industrial gas companies into an Atlanta-based conglomerate. Standard Oil also wanted to have a cryogenics capability to exploit the international market for liquid natural gas, LNG that they believed (30 years prematurely) was coming.  SONJ had attracted people with a cryogenics background from all over the country who, together with the employees of the acquired companies, comprised the Atlanta staff.  Joe was one of the latter, having been working in sales of relatively small air separation units to the regional companies for Industrial Engineering, one of the acquired companies.

Joe Moyer literally filled a room when he entered. He was 6ft. 6ins. tall or, as he said it, he was 5ft. 18ins.  He was always up-right, giving the impression that he was a retired Marine but in fact, he was a weather specialist in the US Air Force, acting as crew on planes that flew deliberately into hurricanes.  Joe was always immaculately dressed in a classy well-fitting suit and when I asked him where he bought them he told me about Mr. yakomira, a little Japanese gentleman who came to Joe’s office once a year, measured Joe and displayed cloth samples for him to choose.  For several years, Joe had regularly bought two suits and about a month after, Joe always got a conformation letter saying that a company in Hong Kong was honored to be constructing his two suits.  When Joe, one year, had made an international tour trying to sell oxygen plants, he visited Hong Kong and decided to find his tailor.  Down a small backstreet he discovered it and was welcomed with much bowing and tea drinking and shown to a basement workshop in which was a large mannequin touching the ceiling and on the front of it in large letters it displayed, “Mr. Moyer, U.S.A.”   When in 1968, American Cryogenics was sold to Air Liquide, the company for which I had worked for ten years, many of us got laid off or more correctly, fired but we all had a compensation of a few months salary.  When we all got our resumes up to date, many of us gathered at the Bobby Jones Public Golf Course in the mornings and joe Moyer was one of the group.  Not being a regular golfer, Joe carried his clubs in his wife’s golf bag and I remember it only being equipped with a ladies fold-up umbrella and one of the last impressions I had of Joe was seeing him across the fairway in a rain shower with his tiny umbrella 7 or 8 feet off the ground looking like a cross between the Jolly Green Giant and Mary Poppins.

Joe and his wife Jackie left Atlanta and moved to St. Louis where Joe and another ex-Cryogenics partner, Bill Stuart bought the Lewis Pump company from the aging founder who would only sell to a buyer who would guarantee not to fire any employees or lose any of his long-time customers.  Apparently this was a key to success because the company thrives today but I am afraid all efforts to locate Joe or Bill Stuart failed but I believe they both are probably living well in retirement or more likely, died rich.

2 thoughts on “Character Number Two

  1. I haven’t thought of Joe in years. Hate to correct you, but you must have first met Joe in the middle of 1964 when you joined ACI (not 1974). Also ACI was sold To Air Liquide, in 1968, not 1977. I left ACI in April or May of 1970, when Bill Dempster announced the move to the west coast. I lost contact with Bill Stuart when he and Joe sold Lewis pumps, and Bill retired to Arkansas sometime in 1972-73. Joe was a unique guy and certainly stood out in a crowd. Hope all is well with the two of you. Al

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