Seymour man turns 100


Wearing a brown suit and shoes and a beige button-up shirt, Harold “Bud” Kysar was all dressed up for the occasion.

A corsage was added to his suit jacket and a sign was hung around his neck to complete the look.

That sign read “Happy 100,” signifying the age he turned Tuesday.

The Seymour man was in the spotlight at Autumn Trace, a senior community on the north side of the city he has called home since June 2020.

Joining several members of his family, friends and Autumn Trace residents and staff were the quartet of Rev. Ralph Blomenberg, the Rev. Philip Bloch, Vicar Will Fredstrom and Brian Wolka.

They sang hymns, including Kysar’s favorite, “How Great Thou Art,” and Blomenberg recited a birthday prayer before closing with a group singing of “Happy Birthday.”

Attendees then enjoyed cupcakes and drinks and watched a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of Kysar over the years.

“It’s lovely,” Kysar said of the celebration. “I didn’t believe that all of the ministers would be here and all of that. It’s amazing what they did. It means a lot to me. It’s just a wonderful day.”

He was happy to have his two daughters, Beth Brooks of Floyds Knobs and Jane Jones of New Carlisle, Ohio, in attendance along with his son-in-law, Mike Jones; granddaughters, Andrea Lokai of Springfield, Ohio, and Allison Phillips of Chicago, Illinois; and great-grandsons, Thomas and Joseph Phillips.

In May, other members of the family plan to join the crew to celebrate Kysar.

“I just want to thank everybody — the people here, my preachers, anybody that is involved, especially my family, and being here with Dr. (Kenneth) Bobb is big. I hope I can be at his 100th,” he said of his friend, who is 93. “I can’t thank them enough.”

In 2012, Kysar wrote “Life and Memories of Harold Eugene Kysar,” a seven-and-a-half-page document that serves as an autobiography.

It starts by sharing he was born March 16, 1921, to Herbert A. and Katherine Stradley Kysar on South Vine Street in Seymour. He attended Third Ward School and Washington School before moving on to Shields Junior High School and then Shields High School, graduating in 1939.

Most of the next year was spent working for Jesse Kovener building two homes, remodeling two homes, building a large barn, putting a hip roof on a barn and even moving two houses.

Kysar then went to Maysville, Kentucky, and worked at a bicycle factory. He lived in a boarding house with about 10 other men and earned $16 per week, using half for room and board.

In January 1942, he returned to Seymour and worked at a shirt factory.

Four months later, he began working at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh unloading supplies from trucks and railroad cars. The supplies were used to build the barracks at Atterbury, which was an Army training base.

“We made $1.15 per hour and could put in about 50 hours a week,” Kysar said. “We finished the hospital there by the end of September working for A. Farnel Blair of Texas.”

Next, he returned to Seymour and landed a job on a survey gang consisting of engineers building Freeman Field.

In November 1942, Kysar went to Indianapolis and joined the U.S. Navy.

“When I got back, my papers were in the mailbox to report for the draft,” he said.

He was sworn in and then went to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center Camp Perry Co. 1695, where he remained in boot camp until Jan. 9, 1943. Then he was sent to Purdue University for a three-month electrical course.

After that, he had nine days’ travel time to get out to Bremerton Washington Naval Yard. There, he went aboard the USS Brazos at Todd Shipyards in Seattle, Washington, on June 6, 1943. He and three other men were electrician’s mates third class, taking a lot of trips to the Aleutian Islands.

“We fueled four old cruisers and eight destroyers all through the chain of islands,” Kysar said. “We always refueled at sea because they would be sitting ducks in a harbor. We would always anchor in a bay close to the islands.”

In April 1945, he received 30 days’ leave and returned home to Seymour, where he asked Charlotte’s dad if he could marry her.

“We got engaged, and I gave her a ring,” Kysar said.

World War II ended while he was home. After his leave, he went to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for three weeks and then Camp Perry in Virginia for another electrical course.

In late August 1945, he had nine days to travel to Camp Pendleton in California. There, he was in a ship’s company doing a variety of tasks until being discharged Jan. 6, 1946. He traveled home by train and arrived in Seymour three days later.

“Servicemen were allowed to draw $20 a week for 20 weeks or until you found a job,” Kysar said. “I drew three weeks of pay and then got a job at Freeman Field.”

He worked for Virgil Treadway, who was in charge of the electrical portion of foreign aircraft.

“There were lots of German aircraft there, and we pretty much disassembled them and restored them to their natural status,” he said, noting they also rebuilt a jet for the Freeman Field commander.

On June 16, 1946, he and Charlotte married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour.

Around Christmas that year, his job at Freeman Field ended, so he found a job working at a veneer company in the city.

The Kysars’ first child, Beth, was born Jan. 13, 1949.

Kysar was job hunting again when the veneer plant closed in January 1950. He tended bar and worked odd jobs at the Elks Lodge before moving on to Sears, where he worked until 1959. While working at Sears, his second daughter, Jane, was born April 24, 1952.

In April 1959, he applied for a job at Cummins Engine Co. in Columbus and was hired to work in the receiving department. During a layoff, he was hired to work for the city of Seymour. Then in April 1961, he went back to Cummins and worked in the skid building.

During another layoff, he applied for a job with Indiana Telephone Corp. and eventually was hired in the equipment department Jan. 2, 1962.

“I worked out of town a lot at both the Salem and Madison offices when they went to dial,” Kysar said. “I stayed in old hotels in both towns, sometimes all week. I did an awful lot of wiring.”

Indiana Telephone Corp. was purchased by Contel, and he retired from that company Dec. 16, 1983.

In retirement, he enjoyed doing lawn work, serving as a chauffeur for friends and family, refinishing furniture and woodwork and playing cribbage and other card games.

Beth Brooks said her father has been a wonderful, helpful person all of his life.

“I think that’s probably the reason for his longevity is just because he has just been a good soul,” she said.

She also said he’s a faithful Early Times whiskey drinker.

“He has a couple shots of that every day,” Brooks said, smiling.

Besides the whiskey, Kysar said he has been fortunate to have good retirement benefits and good doctors to help take care of him.

“It’s just a wonderful life,” he said. “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

He’s already looking forward to celebrating his 101st birthday next year.

“That will be great,” he said, smiling.

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