Harold Charles Newman Oral History - Interview 2 of 2
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Churchill County Oral History Project
an interview with
HAROLD CHARLES NEWMAN
MARIAN LA VOY
January 31, 2000
This interview was transcribed by Glenda Price; edited by Norine Arciniega; final by Patricia Soden; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of the Oral History Project, Churchill County Museum
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Churchill County Museum or any of its employees.
Preface - Second Interview
This oral history continues the story of the son of a world-traveling mining engineer. Hal's very young childhood spans the continent of Africa, as well as Canada, the eastern United States, the Southwest and ends in the most rural of environs in central Nevada. Adolescence finds him roaming the old mining camps of Berlin and Ione where he is in contact with mining engineers, wood cutters, and old "sour doughs" who had walked the Chilcoot Trail in their youth.
When summer vacation arrives he is back in Berlin helping a renowned paleontologist dig for bones. His information on the ichthyosaur bones that are still covered is valuable to all who hope to keep these remains in the environs of Nevada. His life at the University of Nevada gives the researcher a new light on how things used to be on campus and his frightful field trip accident prompted university officials to take a stand on liability insurance that had not occurred to them prior to this near-fatal crash. His years in the military are covered and then he returns to Nevada where his mining engineer education is put to use.
Hal's explanations and knowledge of the many mining processes used at Kennametal are explicit. Kennametal has long been one of Churchill County's major employers, and Hal explains the processes used by the company as well as telling the history of the company from its inception. His eventual position as national sales manager for Kennametal takes him to many of the places that he saw as a small child as well as to Europe and Asia.
Hal has known personal trials and tribulations, but he simply shrugs and comments, "That's life!" His family is of utmost importance, and he speaks proudly of being the father of ten! When all of the children are on their own, Hal will once again put his extremely intelligent mind to use and keep the US Patent Office busy with his new ideas!
Interview with Harold Newman
LAVOY: This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History [Project] doing a second interview on Harold Newman. The date is January 31, 2000. Our recording is being done at the museum. Hal, it's very nice seeing you again, and I think we'll start this interview with asking you to go through your years at the Mackay School of Mines. Did you live in Reno, or did you go back and forth to Reno?
NEWMAN: When I started college, I lived in Lincoln Hall at the Mackay School of Mines [University of Nevada, Reno]. I completed three semesters, and at that time they had a terrible influx of new students, and it was really crowded. I guess the first semester I spent in what they called the old gym which is now something else because it's really the old, old gym. We slept on Army cots inside the gymnasium. That was the room inside. Then I worked my way up to Lincoln Hall and up on the third and down on the main floor. The University of Nevada was really in a growth mode. But still there was only like twelve hundred students there.
LAVOY: When you lived in Lincoln Hall, did you have a roommate?
NEWMAN: Yeah, I had a roommate. His name was, I believe it was Cassidy. He was a center for the football team and that was the year of the Hawaii Bowl. They did quite well. I think the football players were underwritten by the clubs downtown. My instructions every night were, "Will you get me up at noon tomorrow?" [laughing]
LAVOY: In other words, I'm not going to go to eight o'clock class. About what year was this?
NEWMAN: [laughing] 1949 End of 1948, 1949, 1950. I completed three semesters.
LAVOY: Can you tell me what were your classes in? Basically, mining, and who were your instructors?
NEWMAN: The old guard was there. The head of the School of Mines was Jay Carpenter who was an old mining man and just a wonderful old person. Then there was Smyth who taught fire assaying and some of the old stuff. He migrated out of Goldfield. Claude Hammond taught the extracted metallurgic portion.
LAVOY: I was going to ask you. What is fire assaying?
NEWMAN: That's the analysis technique for gold and silver.
LAVOY: They heated it, was that what it was?
NEWMAN: You take a weight amount of ore, and you put it in a crucible with some flux and heat it up until it's all melted. In the crucible there's some litharge which is lead oxide. Lead reduces down. As the lead showers down through the molten mass, it picks up the gold and silver and carries it to the bottom. So now you have the gold and the silver and the lead all at the bottom. You pour that out into a little mold. You end up with a little square piece. Then you clean that up and pound it out, and you put it on what they call a cupel. Cupels are made of sheep bone ash. Pressed sheep bone ash, and they put that in the center of the cupel. Part of the lead is absorbed into the bone ash. Eventually all of the lead is gone, and then part of the fumes. It's really exciting because if you watch it right at the end when the last atom of lead leaves, it flashes like a bright light. It's called brightening. You know instantly that it's done.
LAVOY: Then what's left? The gold?
NEWMAN: Plus the silver. Now you have a little tiny round bead, hopefully. That's got the gold and silver, so you pound that out flat, weigh it on a scale, and go into an acid solution and dissolve the silver out, then re-weigh it again. Now you've got the silver by difference because the silver you dissolved out of the gold. So now you have the gold and the silver values.
LAVOY: That sounds very complicated.
NEWMAN: It's not really. It's a very simple technic. It's still used today even though there's more sophisticated means, but it's pretty hard to beat a good fire assay.
LAVOY: Then, the other teacher that you mentioned?
LAVOY: What did he teach?
NEWMAN: He was the one that taught the fire assay.
LAVOY: Oh, I see.
NEWMAN: And other things, also, and then Claude Hammond was the metallurgic teacher that taught processing and other techniques of grinding and stuff like that.
LAVOY: You spent three semesters there, then what did you do?
NEWMAN: Those three semesters, my mom was teaching school out in a one-room schoolhouse. She taught all eight grades out in Ione, the Yambi Indian Reservation. That was kind of my own subsidies. I got a little bit of money from that. It didn't cost very much to go to school in those days. Very inexpensive, I thought, compared to today.
LAVOY: No comparison whatsoever.
NEWMAN: I got through that. It was a fall semester. I went through the fall semester, and I brought a load of--it'd be the winter of 1949, and I brought a big load of supplies out to Berlin at Christmas time, and that's when I got trapped in the great winter of 1949. I never got back out of Berlin until Easter.
LAVOY: How deep was the snow?
NEWMAN: Probably three or four feet deep with about a three or four-inch crust on top, and there was no way out. We tried shoveling. We tried everything. We didn't have any equipment. It was just exceedingly difficult.
LAVOY: Being trapped there the entire winter, what did you do to amuse yourselves?
NEWMAN: We were trying to figure out how to survive. You're cutting wood, melting snow for water. It was terribly cold.
LAVOY: And food I imagine you had no other source for food.
NEWMAN: Mom always kept a good larder. We had some chickens, and we had some goats and goat milk and the old sourdoughs from Alaska showed Mom how to make all sorts of sourdough stuff. We had a bunch of cabbage. I remember we had a lot of cabbage hanging up. Mom had a lot of canned goods, and I poached a lot of deer.
LAVOY: Well, the game wardens weren't out looking for you.
NEWMAN: Well, he couldn't even find you. I would have been happy to see one. We'd get a deer in the night, and I'd carry that. There was an old guy from Fallon that was a watchman for the Grantsville mine, and he was an employee of I.H. Kent. They owned the mine. His name was Eddie Simmons. He had a big red nose like Rudolph. I'd carry a hind quarter of venison to him and then give a hind quarter to the two old timers over there, and then Tiefel and I shared, also. So we just kept going like that. If you've got meat, potatoes, and some cabbage, and a little vegetable, you can do pretty well. So, life just kept going on. The awesome part about it was it was so cold after the storm. The storm came in. It was a nice warm storm, put a bunch of snow down, then it rained for about fifteen minutes. Then that was the end of it. It turned clear, and one of those polar highs came in. The temperature dropped to about thirty, forty below. Even here in Fallon--when I finally got back to Fallon, all the arc welders were burnt up. Everybody, not everybody, but many, many houses in Fallon had the water lines from their house to the street main was froze up, and those were three and four feet deep in the ground. What they were doing was taking the arc welders and digging holes and clipping onto the pipe and trying to heat it up enough to get water back to their house. A guy out at Frenchman's Station which is no longer there anymore, he said, "Yeah, it was thirty, forty below here for a long, long time." My dad sent me out one morning. He said go put a can of oil in something. I don't know what it was. In those days it was a real oil can, and you'd take a beer opener and open the top. Nothing came out. I couldn't figure it out, so I came in the house. I was really perturbed. Came in the house and took a can opener. I took the top off. I looked in. It looked like vaseline. I put my finger in it, and it was the consistency of vaseline. It was twenty-weight motor oil. Just one of the awesome things that happen when the temperature goes thirty, forty below.
LAVOY: What did you have to do? Put it on top of the stove?
NEWMAN: Yeah, it comes back as soon as it warms up a little bit. It turns to oil again. Just difficult, difficult, difficult.
LAVOY: Well if you survived that…
NEWMAN: Along with that, then they started the haylift out of Fallon. They were flying hay bales out of here, and the kids were pitching the bales out. They flew over us everyday to see if we're all right. On the radio they said if you need food, medicine, or something, stamp it out in the snow, but we were surviving.
LAVOY: That winter has been recorded as being one of the worst ones Nevada has ever had.
NEWMAN: Oh, it was awesome. So, finally, about Easter, the Forest Service decided to see if they had to get the bodies out of Berlin or not, so they sent a D-8 Cat down. I watched him. He was pushing sheets of that crust that were like three hundred feet long. Just monstrous sheets of ice out in front just sliding out. When he got through, the snow banks then were like eight, nine feet high. It was really like driving in the bottom of the canal. So then the sun came out, and things started to warm up. So it shined on the dirt down there, then it was a mess.
NEWMAN: Yes. Then we were relegated to come into Fallon for supply only at night, going back and forth when it was frozen, for some time. It was an awesome winter.
LAVOY: I imagine it was.
NEWMAN: I left one little piece out about when I was going to college. I joined the Air National Guard which was a 192nd fighter squadron. This was guys from World War II that were flying P51 Mustangs. I went out there and went to work just as a mechanic on P51 Mustangs. Then the Korean War broke out, so they activated that unit and sent them to Texas to relieve somebody else. They couldn't find me 'cause there I was stuck out in the snowbank. I was not reachable. So, when I finally got out of all of this and got to the mailbox, I found myself because I wasn't in the Guard anymore, and I wasn't a student, I was drafted.
LAVOY: Oh, my.
NEWMAN: Oh, really excited.
LAVOY: For Korea?
NEWMAN: I didn't want to go in the Army, so I went down to the Marines, and I said I wasn't physically fit, so I went to the Navy, and the guy said, "We're booked up for six or nine months," and I thought, "Oh, boy." "Oh," he says, "take the test anyway." I said, "Okay." This was in Reno. So, I'm taking the test, he said, "If you get a hundred on that, I'll get you in right now." I thought, "Yeah, yeah." Got all done, and he graded it, and I saw him put a red mark on it. I thought, "Well, that's the end of that." He said, "Well, you missed one. That's a hundred in my book. Go home and pack your bag."
LAVOY: This was 1950?
LAVOY: I'm amazed that the National Guard would let you go.
NEWMAN: Oh, when they moved the unit, they gave me a convenience of government discharge 'cause I couldn't find them.
NEWMAN: I was discharged. I wasn't just let go. They couldn't find me, so they just wrote me off.
LAVOY: Oh, I see. So, then you enlisted in the Navy.
NEWMAN: Yeah. Then there was another little… I wasn't a citizen because I was born in Canada, so I went back to the Army, and I said, "You can't draft me. I'm not a citizen." They said, "We don't care. We'll swear you in when we get you in there." But the guy in the Navy said, "No, no, you gotta be a citizen." So I went to the immigration judge in Reno and explained my plight. He said, "Don't worry about it." Because I'm born of two American parents, I'm a naturalized citizen. That sufficed for the Navy, and I'd been working off and on in Gabbs during this period for a little pin money.
LAVOY: What were you doing in Gabbs? What type of work?
NEWMAN: I went to work in a brucite hand sorting plant out there. They used to hire the first twenty people up the hill every day. Crazy, crazy, crazy. I had a friend, the kid I lived with, Stanley Williams, the one I lived with in Fallon. His mom and dad were out there working, so he was out there working so I stayed with them. He was trying to get in the Navy, and he'd been waiting six or seven months. We went to the post office one morning and both of our notices were there together, so go to Reno. We went to Reno together, rode the train to San Francisco, sworn in the Navy, and went through boot camp together.
LAVOY: Where'd you go have boot camp?
NEWMAN: At NTC [Naval Training Center] San Diego.
LAVOY: After you finished boot camp, where were you assigned?
NEWMAN: He went off on a destroyer, but they called me in, and they said, "You know, you're kind of different. We're going to give you two choices. You can go to aviation school in Tennessee or you can go to Albuquerque, New Mexico." I said, "What would I do in Albuquerque?" He said, "I don't know. I can't tell you." I said, "What would you do?" He said, "I'd take Albuquerque." So I went to Albuquerque. I was assigned to Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and became part of Naval Air Special Weapons Facility. NASWF. That outfit just de-commissioned this year. Our mission was to take the first new airplanes, the first two that came out of the factory, and do atomic weapons delivery capability in those two airplanes. So, we didn't have just one kind of airplane, we worked on all kinds. We had some old World War II. We had that Navy F7F from World War II that the admiral loved to fly because he was chasing a blond up in Denver. The twin Beach, a C47, P2V2 Neptune, Navy AJ which was one of the first of the jet in the tail. These are all historical things now. Then we had the first Chance-Vaught cutlass squadron F7U. That was the predecessor of the FAE.
LAVOY: What was your position? What were you doing? You were not a pilot.
NEWMAN: Nope. I was a grunt. I ended up as a flying crew chief.
LAVOY: In other words, you were a mechanic on the airplanes.
NEWMAN: Yup. Like on the F7U Cutlass the factory rep and myself were the only two that could change an engine on that airplane. We had an admiral in charge. It was exciting. Less than a hundred people in the whole outfit. Mostly Navy commanders. I surveyed the bombing range, I did drafting work, I worked on airplanes that moved four-thousand gallon tankers. You did everything because they were very limited. First of all it took six months before I could go in the inner circle and work until I got my FBI clearance. I got a queen clearance which is one level above top secret.
LAVOY: How long were you stationed there?
NEWMAN: Almost my whole career. They didn't want to transfer anybody out, and right at the end of hitch, 1954, they accidentally transferred twenty of us. They said it'd never happen again, that it was too far down, so they transferred me back to Miramar, and I was in DC61 which was a photo recon outfit, then they thought it'd be nice if I went to sea on carriers, so I went out for a week at a time on the USS Oriskany on a fall cruise. It was nice. It was an interesting time. I finished up down there. The Blue Angels were hangared in the same hangar. That's when they moved the Blues from Escondido to Florida. And the Blues said if you re-up, you can come with us, and I said, "No, I'm going home."
LAVOY: So, actually, you spent about four years . .
NEWMAN: I spent four years regular Navy, and…
LAVOY: Then when you came home .
NEWMAN: The fatality rate in our outfit was exceedingly high. I think we had about thirty percent fatality.
LAVOY: For what reason?
NEWMAN: Just kept blowin' up and crashin'.
LAVOY: Oh, you mean the pilots? That thirty percent were pilots and crew with the pilots.
NEWMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had a really high fatality. That kind of record today, they'd have a Congressional hearing. [laughing]
LAVOY: But, they were new and . .
NEWMAN: You're in a brand-new airplane. …You're putting them through maximum performance capability, and you're hanging atomic weapons on it. You're trying all of these new things. One case we put the bomb on, and he released the bomb. It dropped down about two feet and stayed there. It had big fins on it, and it just started like a can opener just banging the fuselage. Just cutting slots in the fuselage. He said, "I can't get rid of this. It's pullin' on me." It stayed with him. Followed him around, but it was loose. There was no attachment. Aerodynamically it was caught. All kinds of crazy things.
LAVOY: What did he do? Bail out?
NEWMAN: No, no, finally after about twenty seconds, it fell away.
LAVOY: Oh, I see. Did you fly in the planes, or did you work basically on the ground?
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah. No, I flew in some of them. If you worked on a plane, and you signed it off, and there was a place for you, and the pilot said, "Come on, go with me," because you said, "I certify this plane is okay to fly," then you had to go with him. If he invited you to come along, you had no choice. It wasn't an invitation, it was a mandate.
LAVOY: So, then after you finished your time in the Navy, which I imagine you found really interesting and educational as well . . .
NEWMAN: One real interesting thing that we did was, it was P2V2, and I used to love to fly in that cause we'd go to El Paso. Rum runs down there and go down there and buy rum and bring it back. It was really cheap. They decided that we ought to put a dust sampling device on its P2V2, and when the atomic bomb went off up here in Nevada right after the fireball went up, they wanted to fly underneath the fireball and sample the dust with that P2V2, but I didn't get to go on that ride.
LAVOY: You're very fortunate that you didn't.
NEWMAN: Yeah. They brought the plane back, and it was so radio active that we couldn't fly it anymore.
LAVOY: And the pilot, I imagine, was too.
NEWMAN: Oh, I suppose. We steam-cleaned that airplane for seven days because that radioactive dust was caught in the little rivet joints and heads, so we steam-cleaned that whole airplane day after day after day until we got the radio activity down low enough.
LAVOY: What happened to the radio activity?
NEWMAN: We washed it down the city sewer in Albuquerque.
LAVOY: Oh, for heaven's sake!
NEWMAN: Probably still there today.
LAVOY: That's amazing 'cause people are so paranoid about anything that is radioactive today.
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah. We worked in conjunction with Sandia Corporation, so part of our time we were doing things with Sandia in Los Alamos and the test site up here in Nevada.
LAVOY: An interesting period of time.
NEWMAN: Yeah. One of the better things, there was a freight run that left Albuquerque every day seven days a week and went to Indian Springs, Nevada, so if there was room on that on Friday afternoon, I could jump on that and go to Indian Springs and hitchhike home. Spend the weekend at home and then hitchhike back.
LAVOY: That was an interesting point in your career. After you got out of the Navy and you came back to the Reno-Fallon area, what did you do?
NEWMAN: By now I'm married. I married in Albuquerque.
LAVOY: What was your wife's name?
NEWMAN: Donna Birkenholz.
LAVOY: You had met her in?
NEWMAN: Albuquerque. She was from Albuquerque. Then I had my first two girls.
LAVOY: What was the name of your first child? When was she born?
NEWMAN: Kathleen is the first child born in about 1954. Then Kristine must have been born in 1956. They're two years apart.
LAVOY: So, then when you returned to Nevada, you returned with your family.
NEWMAN: Yeah, cause I had Kathleen in Escondido.
LAVOY: And then your other daughter was born?
NEWMAN: Up here.
LAVOY: Here in Fallon or in Reno?
NEWMAN: I think it was Reno. Then you had to become more attuned to making a living now you got a family, so I went back to Gabbs and went to work. I was still doing things at Ichthyosaur and Berlin and all of that stuff. We lived there, and I commuted back and forth to Gabbs for a while.
LAVOY: But, you didn't return to the University?
NEWMAN: We're coming to that. So, in 1955, 1956, and part of 1957, I worked at Gabbs in maintenance and plumbers apprentice and eventually driving heavy equipment off their trucks and stuff. I'd do anything that would make money. I was trying to get myself back into school. I bought a brand-new Ford station wagon from Anderson Ford here in Fallon, and he had it over by the old bank building. A custom, deluxe Ford station wagon was $2200. I was making a thousand dollars a month, so I was doing right well. In 1957 I had the car obviously paid for, and I had some money, and I had the GI bill. I said, "I'm ready to go back to school," so I went back in September of 1957.
LAVOY: You went to the University of Nevada?
NEWMAN: Yeah. Back to the same Mackay School of Mines, and graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in metallurgical engineering.
LAVOY: Now, tell me, excuse me for interrupting, but did your wife and family live in Fallon or Reno at that period of time?
NEWMAN: I made a home. I always made a home.
LAVOY: In Reno?
NEWMAN: Yeah. First, I rented a place on Zolezzi Lane. Nice little house, and I drove back and forth to school. She never had to work. I always provided. As I worked my way along in school, I had a geology class, and the geology professor, his name was Connie [Conrad] Martin; it was the only class I ever failed. I did this back in my first stint at the University. Coming home from the Navy on leave, and I walked in my front door out there at Berlin, and there's Connie Martin sitting at my dinner table. He was not my favorite person. [laughing] So we sat down and had a tense dinner. When it was all over, Connie said, "What are you going to do now?" I said, "Gonna go back to school." And he said, "Damn, I'm really sorry. You had a C in that class, but I didn't think you were putting out your fullest potential, so I failed you." [laughing]
LAVOY: Oh, goodness gracious. Then he tells you.
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah. Told it straightaway. He still lives today. He's in Reno. He ended as geologist out at Gabbs. He went through a lot of wives, a lot of problems, but the long and short of all this is he had a house on North Sierra Street, so he'd just blown another wife, he said, "Why don't you rent my house and let me have the third-floor attic, my office and a bed up there, and I'll only be there a few days a month." "It's a good deal, Connie," and the rent was right. The house still sits there today.
LAVOY: On North Sierra?
NEWMAN: Yep. So, I walked to school. It was really neat. I could walk to school and walk back. Then two doors down the street, who shows up but Willis Swan.
LAVOY: Oh, our councilman.
NEWMAN: Yeah. Willis was doing some graduate work, and Janet was working in the Vets' hospital putting Willis through school. So, that's where I first met Willis. Then years later I went up and visited him up in Idaho up in the Coeur d'Alene district. Then he went to San Francisco. He called me one day and said, "I need work," and I called him. I said, "Come over and see if we can get you on at Kennametal," and that's how Willis got to Fallon.
NEWMAN: So then he said where did I live, and I was living at 30 North Bailey, so he took 60 North Bailey. He moved in the same block down there.
LAVOY: Let's regress just a little bit. You graduated in 1960 and then you decided to come to Fallon for Kennametal? No. Where did you work then?
NEWMAN: I gotta think for a minute.
LAVOY: All right, give you a chance here.
NEWMAN: Okay. Friday, the 13th of May, 1960, a mandatory field trip for all the metallurgists to go to the mint in San Francisco. We got in a great big Suburban, the professor was driving, we went over the top of Donner when it was still a two-lane road, went around a corner, and there were two diesels side by side coming up. Closing speed was about 110 miles, and we took one head-on straightaway. Nobody was killed. Everybody was badly injured. Put my hip right out through the back of [End of tape 3 side 1]
LAVOY: It drove your hip where?
NEWMAN: Out the back of the socket. Very painful. They took me to the hospital somewhere. Tahoe Forest Pines Hospital. I don't know where the hell that is today, but they used to do skiing injuries and that kind of thing, so they were pretty proficient, so he put it back in which they call it an adjustment or something. I was black and blue from head to foot. I still wear a lump over my left eye today. A little one. Not much there anymore, so I went back home and then both eyes swelled shut. Could not see anything. I'm on crutches and the guy, Teipner, Herz and Sargent in Reno, and I was really impressed with them, I think one of them's still alive today. He said, "You're going to feel wonderful, but I don't want you to walk for six months." I said, "Why?" He said, "Well, because it you put weight on that, the little blood vessels won't knit. You'll be back here in twenty years for a replacement 'cause you're going to have a dry socket." I said, "I understand you very well." I already had a job offer at Gabbs. It was a good job offer, so I called them and said I'm non-functional, explained it to him, and he said, "No problem. We'll pay for your move, and I'll find a desk job for you until you can walk again."
LAVOY: How wonderful!
NEWMAN: Yeah, really.
LAVOY: How many were in the car with you?
NEWMAN: Probably seven.
LAVOY: And all seven of you terribly injured.
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah. Everybody was badly injured. There were no brakes on the car, and we rolled over backward over the bank and down about a hundred feet down the rock trail. Of course, there was Prestone and stuff all coming out of the car, and it was early morning. It was cold. Really cold. A frosty morning. People are all gathering up on the bank. One of them says, "Oh, my God, I think they're on fire," 'cause of all this Prestone smoke and stuff. One of my friends jumped out and ran up to the highway and collapsed in a pool of blood up there. I tried to move, and I couldn't. I flat couldn't. It was really awful. Glad that one's over.
LAVOY: Oh, I should say so.
NEWMAN: So, anyway, now I'm back. The president of the University calls, and says don't worry about anything. We're really terribly sorry this happened in a state university vehicle and a professor driving. A day later his secretary calls and says start worrying. We don't have any insurance.
LAVOY: Oh, you're not serious.
NEWMAN: I'm dead serious, so I had to shoulder all the burden of all the expenses.
LAVOY: Oh, that's certainly unfair.
NEWMAN: Well, eventually, right after that they got insurance. In those days you couldn't sue the state, so it was not a nice experience. So that was Friday the 13th of May. When we got in the van, one of the guys said, "It's Friday the 13th of May," and one guy said, "I ain't going," and he took his lunch and left.
LAVOY: Do you remember who it was?
LAVOY: But the rest of you went
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah. And the prof told me, he said, "We get to Cisco, I'm going to let you drive, Hal," and that was just a few miles down the road, and we never made it. [laughing] Anyway, really exciting, so that began my career.
LAVOY: Let me ask you. They said not to worry about anything, and now you had not graduated, yet. Is that right?
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah.
LAVOY: Oh, May the 13th you would have graduated from the University
NEWMAN: No. About a week away.
LAVOY: So none of you that was in that class actually went through the graduation ceremony?
NEWMAN: Well, the ones that could walk and talk did. I graduated on crutches and a wheel chair. I sat down in front, and the president brought my diploma down to the front row. All the profs called and said your grades are excellent, don't worry about a thing. One guy from psychology said "I don't give you a grade unless you take the final."
LAVOY: There's always someone like that.
NEWMAN: So, seven, eight, nine days go by. I'm right down to the wire. I'm down within forty-eight hours and suddenly I can see out of my right eye. I told my wife, "Call him. I'm going to take the final." I went down and took the final. Got a B in the class. I would have taken a C. Wasn't worth the time, pain, and effort.
LAVOY: You went to his room, or he sent the final to you?
NEWMAN: I went over there to school to his room.
LAVOY: In your wheelchair.
NEWMAN: Yeah, yeah. Went over in a wheelchair and took my final. Not a pleasant experience.
LAVOY: You said that you got sight in one eye. Were you blind for a while, too?
NEWMAN: No, no. They were just black and blue swollen shut. I hit the steel bar on the back of the seat. There was a pipe on the back of the driver's seat, and I was right behind the driver. It popped me right here.
LAVOY: Right above the eyes.
NEWMAN: Yeah. It black-and-blued both eyes. Just swelled them shut. Really tight shut. I mean, it wasn't a little bit, it was a lot of bit. I had bruises erupting for months after. A great big mass of bruises all over.
LAVOY: But, you still went down to Gabbs.
LAVOY: So how in the world did you move?
NEWMAN: They moved me. Had a moving company come and move me. I went to Gabbs and went to work and eventually life started to get back on its normal track, and by Thanksgiving I was walking again and things were going all right. But, I'm ten years older than the average graduate, you know, cause I had all these other interruptions in my school career. That ten years set you back a lot of dollars, but I had a lot of experience. Oh, I did one more interesting thing while I was finishing school in 1957 to 1960. The Graves Nugget said I'm going to try some college kids in my restaurant, so I signed up, and I was one of the first twenty that he ever hired.
LAVOY: Oh, and I remember so well when the college boys worked in the restaurant.
NEWMAN: And we had--I still have it--a little tag on the table that said, mine said a family of three kids and going to college and all that crap.
LAVOY: You mentioned three kids. You had one more child then?
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah, now I got three.
LAVOY: What was your third one's name?
NEWMAN: Tommy. But the neat part about this was he had this chicken room called the Golden Rooster Room and a big golden rooster engraved. Fifty thousand dollar golden rooster. A beautiful thing.
LAVOY: They still have that.
NEWMAN: Hidden away somewhere.
LAVOY: No, it's right out in front now.
NEWMAN: Oh, is it out in front?
LAVOY: Right out in front of the reception desk.
NEWMAN: It was hidden away there for a while. Anyway, we were working there in that chicken room. We were limited. We only worked three days a week. Then there was always somebody said, we swapped around a lot. I managed to get--it was a nice flexible job. You could tell somebody, "I got a test tomorrow. Take over for me." Did the same thing for the next one. We served chicken. He always had these promotional people. He had people carving a Tiki Post for Trader Dick's and he had the guy with a burro, Last Chance Joe. There was this old codger in a white suit and a cane and a white hat. His name was Colonel Harlan B. Sanders.
LAVOY: Kentucky Fried Chicken.
NEWMAN: Yeah. We got free pie and stuff. So every night I go to the back of the room and sit with this old goat back there. He was telling me any complaints? Everything all right and all that. Then he told me his life story, and I thought, "God, what a crock. It can't be for real," and it was the original Harlan B. Sanders, and that was his first big chance.
LAVOY: At the Nugget?
NEWMAN: At the Nugget in Sparks. Dick Graves used to travel a lot, and he was down there in the South and said that's the best damn chicken I ever had. I'm going to open a chicken room. Will you come up and help me start it up with your recipe? And he had to pay him a commission on the recipe, and they signed a contract and he did it. He stayed there for months. A long, long three or four months.
LAVOY: And now it's an institution.
NEWMAN: Yeah. Then a new kid came on the block. A food managing school up in Washington state whose name was John Ascuaga who was a cousin of Dick's. He came in and worked on the floor with us and then he became floor manager and then he became food manager, and he worked his way up. Then finally Dick just--that was a family deal--he sold it and gave it to John.
LAVOY: Didn't John marry Dick's daughter?
NEWMAN: Don't know.
LAVOY: I believe that.
NEWMAN: Could very well be, but they were all together in Idaho, and they were related before that ever happened.
LAVOY: Well, that's very, very interesting. Let's get back to you, how you moved your family down to Gabbs.
NEWMAN: Well, the moving company moved me. You know, you get in the car and go, and they pack you up and move you.
LAVOY: What job did they find for you down there?
NEWMAN: I was named plant engineer. And we put in a new-
LAVOY: What type of a plant? What were they mining?
NEWMAN: Magnesite. It's one of the biggest magnesite mines in North America. Interesting part about Gabbs. Gabbs started in 1941, 1942, in the War, and they had four parallel circuits. It was a War effort thing, and they mined the magnesite ore which was magnesium carbonate, and then they heated it up and drilled off the cot which left magnesium oxide. That cut the weight in half. The magnesium oxide then was put in trucks and hauled to Henderson. Henderson had the electrical power, the old BMI. That's what started the city of Henderson, and they made magnesium metal out of it. That flourished till about 1943 or 1944, and we captured a German scientist. He said, "You guys are really dumb. We make it out of sea water." That was the end of Gabbs. They put fourteen sea water plants up to make magnesium metal, and they shut Gabbs down. Then Senator Pat McCarren owned that plant out there, and he sold it to this refractory company back in Narlo, Ohio, called Basic Incorporated for one dollar down. About a million dollar price tag. It was a dollar down--here's a whole plant just sitting there doing nothing, and so they started making refractory through steel industry, and it was really good. And the fifties steel really blossomed and boomed, the sixties. It was really a shake, rattle, and roll period. We built a twenty-foot high building out of steel right at the bottom. It still stands there today.
LAVOY: In Gabbs?
NEWMAN: Yup. It was special refractory plant, and I ran that and managed that for a while, and I did a research project and flotation section and put in a new flotation plant for them. By now my girls are starting to grow up a little bit, and I'm getting a little nervous about raising my girls in Gabbs 'cause it's not really a privy place to raise girls. Banovich boys were coming up there terrorizing Gabbs about the same time. They were pretty wild and racy in those days. My folks had bought a little place on Tarzyn Road to retire on out here, so I moved in there. I just quit. Cold quit.
LAVOY: And what year was that, approximately?
NEWMAN: Exactly. I worked five years to the day. [laughing] May of 1965 I left Gabbs. I looked in the paper and looked for work. Went down and took an interview at Eagle-Picher for a drafting job, and he said, "You don't want a drafting job. We got a better job than that." I went to work for Eagle-Picher in charge of the lab and research.
LAVOY: Where is Eagle-Picher?
NEWMAN: Eagle-Picher has a plant at Clark Station by the power plant. They have a plant by Lovelock. They have one in Oregon. Eagle-Picher was really quite a large company. They made Formica table tops and Davis wire and electronic batteries for the space program. They had a lot of different divisions. The company was founded in 1864. Good job. I ended up as director of research and development for them. Again, I worked exactly five years for Eagle-Picher.
LAVOY: Where did you live during that period in time?
NEWMAN: Fallon. Commuted. 30 Bailey Street.
LAVOY: You and your wife and your three children were living on Bailey Street.
NEWMAN: Yeah, I probably got four or five kids by now. That was a good job, and I traveled. I had the service of about thirty-five sales people out in the field in the U.S. and Canada both. I was doing the U.S. and Canada on a regular basis.
LAVOY: Tell me, getting back to your family. How did you travel between Reno and Fallon? Did you travel by yourself or by car with a group of people or how did you do that?
NEWMAN: When is this now?
LAVOY: When you were living in Fallon, and you were working for Eagle-Picher right there by Tracy.
NEWMAN: I drove.
LAVOY: You drove by yourself every morning.
NEWMAN: Yep. There are a couple of guys that are still here in Fallon that rode with me. Johnny Urizer who lives here in Fallon now. He was living in Fernley Farm District, and John rode with me all the time. We were allowed to buy gas at Eagle-Picher for twenty-three cents a gallon, so it wasn't too bad. The only bad part was night calls.
LAVOY: What do you mean night calls?
NEWMAN: Milton Steinheimer who is still alive today and just married the Herz Jewelers, H & R Herz widow. He just married her a couple of months ago. You know, the Steinheimer building in Reno, and his roots go all the way back to Rawhide where his grandfather had the store in Rawhide. Milt can remember. They loaded all this crap on a wagon out at Rawhide. He closed the door, and Milt must only have been six, seven, eight years old, a little bit tyke, and he said, "Aren't you going to lock the door?" He said, "No. And I'm not coming back either," and they drove off and left what they couldn't haul. But there's an old building downtown in Reno. It's called Steinheimer building. Then they had the Studebaker dealership, and they had a coal and oil business in there. Milt went in the service, the Army, and back again, and he was vice-president of Eagle-Picher.
LAVOY: Oh, I see. So, you worked for Eagle-Picher for five years.
NEWMAN: Yeah. I worked for Gabbs Basic for five years and went to Eagle-Picher for five years. I seem to be a five-year person, guess.
LAVOY: Then after you finished there, where did you work?
NEWMAN: Well, I'd been traveling so much cause I was doing the east coast about once a week out of Fallon.
LAVOY: You'd fly from Reno to . .
NEWMAN: They'd have a whole circuit for me. I'd go to St. Louis, down to Tampa, Florida, and then up to Philadelphia. Then somebody'd want me in Montreal and then come back on Friday night. It was gruesome.
LAVOY: It was hard on your family.
NEWMAN: Oh, sure, it was. I was very tired traveling, and the third time Jack Frank offered me a job with Kennametal. . . 'cause Jack had been in school when I was up there, and Willis Swan. We were all together--Jack Frank, Willis Swan, and I were all. Jack was teaching. Like a junior teacher type thing.
LAVOY: A teacher's aide.
NEWMAN: TA. The third time he offered me a job over there, I was tired of traveling. I said, "Sure," so I came over there. It was like a picnic. I went to work out in north plant out there [on the Lovelock Highway.]
LAVOY: This was approximately what year?
NEWMAN: 1970, and I stayed there for the rest of my career until I retired.
LAVOY: Before we go into Kennametal because I want to go into that at quite a little length, tell me, living in Fallon at that period of time, what do you particularly remember about living in Fallon from 1965 until the seventies? How was Fallon during that era? What people do you particularly remember from Fallon?
NEWMAN: People. I was there when they built the new Safeway store which is now gone and is now Rite-Aid. That was kind of convenient because I could walk to it which was pretty nice, pretty neat. Safeway never could figure out what the hell they wanted to do. They had a store downtown, and they came out here and built this store where the museum is today, and that was the wrong direction to go. Then they built that one down there, and now we have another new Safeway today. A fairly decent store.
LAVOY: Were you and your wife and children active in the community?
NEWMAN: I guess so. We did the Boy Scout thing and all of those kinds of things. No political service or anything like that that I can remember.
LAVOY: With the Boy Scouts, you mentioned you have a son, Tom. Was Tom active in scouting?
NEWMAN: Yup. Yup.
LAVOY: You said you thought you had two other children at that point in time. [laughing] I'm laughing as I say this because I know this is one of your jokes, but what were your other children's names at that point in time.
NEWMAN: Well, I lost Tommy. Tommy died when he was fourteen years old.
LAVOY: Oh, that's a very tragic thing. Unless it’s too much-
NEWMAN: I can handle it. We were on a camping trip up in the top of Lamoille Canyon. He and this other boy asked if they could go over and fish a little bit while we were fixing breakfast, and I said, "Sure." They went over, and it was like a spring thaw. Everything was running water and about a three-foot boulder rolled out of the hill and rolled on him. It rolled off of him, but it broke his liver and spleen. We got him out with a helicopter and got him out to the Elko hospital, and I think they lost him from shock down there, so that was a real setback for me. I just kind of locked myself in a closet for a few years.
LAVOY: I imagine that you did. Did you continue on with scouting?
NEWMAN: No, I guess I probably dropped out.
LAVOY: Dropped out of everything.
NEWMAN: Yeah, I just kind of . . . Not a nice time in your life. So, of those first five children . . .
LAVOY: Tell me the names of the last two. We have your first three. What are the last two?
LAVOY: Karyl was a girl?
NEWMAN: Yeah, and Steven. All the girls' names start with a K, and they all have Ann for a middle name, and I was going to run them for the Kan Kan Girls, but it never worked out.
LAVOY: With your being active in the scouting and what-not, then suddenly dropping out of everything because of this great sorrow in your life, you just more or less did nothing. Is that correct?
NEWMAN: I worked.
NEWMAN: I went in and told Jack Frank one day, I said, "If I was the manager and we were sitting on opposite sides of the table, I'd tell you to get the hell out of here." [laughing] And he said, "No, I'm patient. Don't worry about it. You'll come out of it."
LAVOY: And you did
NEWMAN: Yeah, eventually. So, as I migrated my way down through Kennametal I eventually ended up as national sales manager and traveled all over the world for them.
LAVOY: Tell me exactly what Kennametal does. What kind of a company is it?
NEWMAN: Kennametal started out as a tungsten carbide company. It was actually the founder was doing vanadium carbide, then he decided during the War he switched over into the tungsten carbide. He had this idea. He was actually in Washington, D.C. working upstairs in the attic treating this stuff with nitric acid. He'd open the windows in the attic, and this red brown plume of fumes would come out, and they called the fire department. They said you really shouldn't do this up here. He was the guy that really helped develop the process used in Fallon and is used today.
LAVOY: What was his name?
NEWMAN: He's the founding father of Kennametal. He was Philip McKenna. Kennametal had a small plant in Port Coquitlan, British Columbia. They had their main plant in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, right next to Arnie Palmer's golf course. What really brought them to Nevada was that tungsten was in short supply, and he came out and he started the Nevada Tungsten, Nevada Scheelite Mine, and they mined that.
LAVOY: Where was the Nevada Scheelite Mine?
NEWMAN: You go east for thirty miles. You just drop into Frenchman's Valley and you go right straight south like you're going to go to the Rawhide Mine. Just a few miles before the Rawhide Mine is where the . . .
LAVOY: And this is sort of out towards Ione?
NEWMAN: No, no, no, no.
LAVOY: Directions that I'm lost.
NEWMAN: If you go across the salt flat and go up over the hill, you're there. It's right next to Rawhide.
LAVOY: About twenty miles from here?
NEWMAN: Probably twenty-five air miles. Thirty. So, he started that mine. They had a good year. They had a good stope, and they made a million dollars in scheelite and tungsten.
LAVOY: What are scheelite and tungsten used for?
NEWMAN: Sheelite's a calcium tungsten, so when you get rid of the calcium, you end up with the tungsten oxide. In all the things that tungsten is used for which are many, you wouldn't have these incandescent lamps if we didn't have tungsten. In the carbide form it's the hardest thing known to man except for diamonds. When it is being cut tungsten carbide will cut this diamond. All your lathe tools and your metal cutting tools for industry are tungsten carbide inserts. That was their mainstay.
LAVOY: When did they first build their plant in Fallon?
NEWMAN: They started with the mine, then they had a little office downtown. Then the things kind of slowed up. There was this group of engineers which were Ernie Colwell, Ken Colwell, Clarence Sikkenga, and a bunch of slaves out there. So he thought well, I should do something for those folks. He said, "I got this great idea for making tungsten carbide called the exothermic process," so they started it out there. They fundamentally perfected the process. They made it better. About that time Jack Frank had been working in the mine out there. They had to grind this stuff up and make fine powder out of it so you could press it together so you could make these tools. So Jack Frank started the powder milling which is right across the railroad tracks on the other side of the freight depot. An old freight depot now the billiard parlor [Boyce's, 301 North Taylor]. Where the office is right now [347 North Taylor]. He started that powder milling facility there. The crystalline tungsten carbide from out there that they'd made, bring it in and mill it, and then they'd ship it back east to be fabricated. Then eventually they decided the commute out there and the labor problems and everything, we'll just move that whole process in, so that's when they put the north plant in which is up about ten or twelve miles north.
LAVOY: About what year was that that they put that plant in?
NEWMAN: Late sixties because it was pert near brand new when I went to work in the seventies 'cause I went out there and managed that portion of the thing, pretty brand-new building.
LAVOY: Have they expanded it since that time?
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah. One of my goals was to see that they got as much capital expenditure in there as they could so that they wouldn't shut them down. That plant out there, and then they started the thermal process out there, and the thermal process is really unique because you use scrap aluminum for the heat source and iron and tungsten concentrate. You melt these things all together. You light it. It's like a controlled bomb. It's a volcano. You put about forty tons in there in sixty minutes and raise the temperature to five thousand degrees. In sixty minutes.
LAVOY: Where did you get the scrap aluminum?
NEWMAN: Because of the kind of aluminum we wanted, we started a Reno recycling thing, and it actually belonged to Kennametal in Reno and we purchased scrap aluminum cans in there.
LAVOY: You mean like coke cans and stuff like that?
NEWMAN: Yeah, and we processed them. We had a million beer cans a week.
LAVOY: A week? Good grief! Where was that plant in Reno where you got the aluminum? Was that the one on Fourth Street?
LAVOY: The one that's about the twenty-five hundred block of East Fourth Street.
NEWMAN: It's close to it there. It didn't say Kennametal on it, just called Reno Recycle. We bought those, and we processed them. We had to grind it up so that it was just tiny pellets.
LAVOY: I had no idea that you owned that Reno Recycling.
NEWMAN: Long time, yeah. The neat part about this thing is it doesn't use outside fuel. It makes its own heat from the aluminum, so the name of the process is aluminothermic. Very intense heat.
LAVOY: Did you build big ovens or something to do this in?
NEWMAN: Yeah, we had a sectionalized kiln. It’s a round kiln. The inside was carbon plank stage, and they had four inches of powdered graphite packed in behind then fire brick in behind that and bands holding it together.
LAVOY: How much of this did you put in at one time did you say?
NEWMAN: Forty tons about. We melted about forty tons at a time.
LAVOY: Gosh, that must have been an awful big oven.
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah, it was humungous. [End of tape 3]
LAVOY: I want to regress just a little bit. You said you had three weeks of aluminum piled up?
NEWMAN: We fired in the pot.
LAVOY: Fired three weeks worth?
NEWMAN: Oh, no, we fired one melt, but we went on vacation and things were slow, so we let it set in the pot for three weeks, and the guy came back and said, 'Surely, it's cool now," and he started to strip it down. And he started to strip it down and squirt [Inaudible] three weeks.
LAVOY: Oh my…
NEWMAN: It was pretty awesome. Today the EPA got all upset with them and they falderalled around and made them mix a smaller pot so they could try to control the emission. The emissions weren't really that hazardous. Almost screwed the whole process up. When all done with this, they break the slag off the top, and they got what they call a minstrom. It’s a big brown--it's about fourteen inches thick, and it's frozen iron. Tungsten carbide crystals grow in the frozen iron.
LAVOY: Then how do they get those out?
NEWMAN: They break that all up, crush it down and put it in sulphuric acid.
LAVOY: They crush it. Is this done by machinery or by hand?
NEWMAN: By machinery, and crush it down, and put it in big agitators, agitators with sulphuric acid. It eats the iron out of the system till they get the tungsten carbide crystals.
LAVOY: And those are the things that are so hard.
NEWMAN: Yeah. Exceedingly hard. Then they grind those down to the different sizes they need. Things like all these road claimers and all that--not all of it, but a lot of it use tungsten carbide tips to cut and shape them.
LAVOY: This is used also on hand tools and things like that?
NEWMAN: Yeah, some on hand tools. Metal cutting is really the biggest. We did tire studs until the Montreal act and snow tires and stuff like that. [inaudible]
LAVOY: Right here in Fallon.
NEWMAN: Oh, we made the powder for the studs and then we made the studs back in Pennsylvania. Once you got the tungsten carbide then you mill it in a very significant particle size. Each product is different but you mill it with cobalt. Crystal cobalt. You mill it all together and then put a little wax in. Then they press that somewhere else. It's what they call centering. Goes into a furnace at 1700 degrees or something. If a cobalt coalesces the cobalt tungsten together, it's one solid piece-cause you can't melt tungsten carbide.
LAVOY: Well now, this plant has been here in Fallon for a good number of years, how much do you think has been brought to the economy of Fallon?
NEWMAN: It's worth from one to two hundred people. It's probably one of the largest employers other than the base.
LAVOY: In Churchill County?
NEWMAN: Yeah. It's been steady on for quite a few decades now.
LAVOY: You foresee it continuing on, or do you feel that it will close?
NEWMAN: As far as we know today it's the only plant that does that process in the world unless the Chinese steal secrets and do it over there and we don't know about it. They have a great affinity for stealing secrets and doing it over there.
LAVOY: Tell me, during your tenure there, you mentioned Jack Frank and Willis Swan; were they managers of the plant?
NEWMAN: Jack Frank was always manager of the plant.
LAVOY: And Jack put 25 years in?
NEWMAN: I guess. I was running the north plant out there, and then I went and did a clean-up program out at the old Nevada Scheelite Mine and I cleaned up over a million dollars out there with a couple of guys, so Willis kind of took over the acid cleanup. Meanwhile I was out of the travel mode and I was leading a pretty clean life and the vice-president back East wanted me to do some research, and so I did this on, he wanted us to participate in the oil well bit business. It took me about five years, but I made what they call a matrix pattern for oil well drillers, diamond oil well bits. They made a new matrix power and then somebody had to sell it. That was my mission to go and try to convince somebody to try it. This is really serious business `cause if a bit fails down in the hole, not only do they have the problem with the broken bit in the hole, but just to pull a bit up and look at it costs like eighty thousand dollars.
LAVOY: This is in an oil well?
NEWMAN: In an oil well. I mean, they're very reluctant to try anything. [inaudible] So, I went through a lot of elaborate tests and things and finally convinced a company called American Coldset to try it. That company was owned by I can't remember his name, but he was the guy that stayed with Jacqueline Kennedy until she died.
LAVOY: Oh, I can't think of it either.
NEWMAN: He was written up in Fortune and everything. He was the owner of that company because he was a world-wide diamond merchant, and so he put a lot of his industrial grade diamonds into that plant. So, I got them to try it; I was shootin' for about a twenty-five per cent improvement in bit life, and we got substantially more than that.
LAVOY: I hope you got recognition for that.
NEWMAN: Oh, what do you mean?
LAVOY: Well, after you get the process and everything, I think you should get recognition for having got the process.
NEWMAN: Oh, there were a lot of people working on it. There were a lot of people involved. The culmination of it then was we started selling the rest to the people making diamond bits, people like Hughes and Smith and some of these other companies. And then during the course of all these events I authored and co-authored about 5 United States patents. Now, a company can’t have a patent. It has to be done as individuals. So the first one was really exciting. The rest of them got kind of mundane after that. And then I authored one of my own after I left Kennametal, a totally diverse ecological thing. So we had good success, and the president of Kennametal looked at the balance sheet and he said, "Where the hell's all this money coming from?" So that was our first [inaudible] sort of thing. [laughing] So we started to get some recognition and then we developed what we called a special products department, which did plasma spray for aircraft engines, matrix patterns for diamond saws worldwide, and the oral [?] bit matrix patterns then I started the tubular running plant, which is an additional [inaudible] with tungsten carbide [inaudible] and tubular rods, which still runs today. All of the products still run today. The new sales engineer told me a couple of weeks ago, he says, "You know, we haven't introduced one new product since you left."
LAVOY: Well, that speaks so highly for your abilities.
NEWMAN: So, we were doing so well, and they had some tough times. They said, "Why don't you take over as national sales manager?" I said, "I can tell you why, you want me back in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and I won't do it." I had another good friend that was a Mackay School of Mines guy who went back to the [inaudlbe] and lasted about two years.
LAVOY: What was his name?
NEWMAN: Oh, I knew you were gonna ask me that.
LAVOY: Well if it comes to you a little bit later that’s alright.
NEWMAN: His name was Darrell LaMaire, and he was really a different, different kind of guy.
LAVOY: Well, the library's named after him isn’t it? A school of mines guy.
NEWMAN: It could be. I don't know. But Darrell was a loner, and so he goes back there and starts making tanaline anodes. They didn't even know what a tanaline anode was, and he makes these tanaline anodes. That's becomes one of the key things for Texas Instruments for the calculators and things like that and in the car all those time delayed things where the seat belt comes on and buzzes and all of those things. Those are all tanaline anodes things. There's seven tanaline anodes in a car. He was in on the ground floor on that and really got that up and running, making millions of dollars back there. He was having wife troubles. "Got to get the hell out of here," so he moved back out here. He moved up on north Reno, and he stayed up there until about a couple of years ago, and he said, "There are too many people here," so he's up towards Susanville somewhere now.
LAVOY: I think the man I was thinking of, his last name is Walters the one the library is named after.
NEWMAN: I don't know. Darrell developed a mercury snifter that was used as a standard instrument in the U.S. Geological Survey. He had a company in Reno called the LeMaire Industries. He was really an entrepreneur, a free-thinking kind of guy. Crazy guy.
LAVOY: If you had gone back there, maybe you would have been a millionaire, too, with all of your inventions.
NEWMAN: Naw. So the president of the company said, "How much money do you want, Darrell?" Darrell says, "You don't have enough. You don't understand. I'm going back to Nevada." So, they'd been through this, and I said, "Now, you've been through this with Darrell LaMaire, and I'm the same kind of guy." "Well, fine," he said, "then you take the management of the sales organization." So Violet Rechels was secretary and Molly Jackson. I set up a sales office and put in 800 phone line and we went from there and just sold a lot of stuff. Sold so much that the manufacturer couldn't make enough.
LAVOY: What was your title at that point in time?
NEWMAN: National sales manager for Kennametal.
LAVOY: And how many years did you have that position?
NEWMAN: Probably till I left. Five or six years. But, again, now I'm back into this travel everywhere anytime, so I got some really good trips out of it. I'm one of the few people in the world that's been privy to go through and have a complete tour of the General Electric synthetic diamond manufacturing.
LAVOY: Where is that?
NEWMAN: Indiana or Ohio. I went through Mega Diamond, Salt Lake City. Became very good friends with those people. Then I was invited as a guest speaker in China to look at their synthetic diamond manufacturing facilities.
LAVOY: About when was that?
NEWMAN: Just before Tiananmen Square. Just before.
LAVOY: How long were you in China?
NEWMAN: Two weeks.
LAVOY: Were you glad to come home?
NEWMAN: Oh, it was an awesome trip. Flew into Hong Kong and rested up for a day or two. I had an interpreter who was outstanding. He was a young Chinaman. He'd been raised in the diplomatic corps, and he's now up in Vancouver, British Columbia in law and just the most amazing guy. We went into, really into the bowels of China. We went into Loyang and Singcho. One of those still had an airfield that was bombed in 1946, and they had never fixed the airfield, so we couldn't land there. We had to land in the other town and then drive eight hours in a van to get to where we were going. We were definitely watched all the time. This is a jumping-off place. It's where the railroad jumps off to Tibet and stuff like that. Their railroads are so much better than our railroads. It's amazing how good their railroads are.
LAVOY: And this was just about how many years ago?
NEWMAN: Probably about ten or eleven years ago.
LAVOY: You have such an illustrious career with Kennametal, and you know so much about what their processes are here in Fallon, why did you decide that you wanted to retire?
NEWMAN: I took an early retirement which was only a couple of hundred dollars different than working.
LAVOY: Oh, so you could do the things that you wanted.
NEWMAN: As family.
LAVOY: Speaking of . .
NEWMAN: Wait a minute, I'm not quite finished with the diamond thing, yet. So, then I was invited to England to the DeBeers diamond research center. That was another amazing trip. I was doing some other work in Europe, so they said, "If you ever come to Europe, give us a call," so I said, "Well, we're coming over, and he said, "What flight are you on?" and I told him, so, "Come spend a couple of days with us." DeBeers is the king of diamonds around the world, and most people don't know, but DeBeers got in a nasty thing with the Sherman Antitrust Act for regulating the price of diamonds, so the DeBeers people are not allowed in the United States period. They cannot come in the United States. They go to Canada. They invited me to the research center, a place called Charters. Here's this little Fallon hick. I get off the plane in London at Heathrow. I'm walking down through the lobby. No idea what the hell's going to happen next, and this guy in a tuxedo said, "Mr. Newman, I have your car." Went out there and got in a big Rolls Royce and drove to Charters which is an old farm, a really old farm, that the DeBeers converted into their research center. They said, "Here are the keys to the bar and the billiard room, and you gotta get some rest. Sleep in as long as you want in the morning, and a little old English lady's going to make you breakfast when you get up." There were two of us. I was with an Englishman who was another Kennametal person, so we did that. Boy, then they put you through the test. Ten o'clock in the morning they want to give you cocktails and sushi. You know, just testing to see what kind of a person you are and lunch and you visit with people, and they all leave. They go have a meeting to see if we want to talk to these people or not> We must have passed because they came back, and said, "Okay, let's get on with business now." In other words, if they had a done that, we'd have said good-bye. Charters is- I have a glossy printed book, about 150 pages, just about Charters that they presented to me. They had kind of a turquoise colored patio, big patio, and in the middle of this patio they had a tree. That tree came out of South Africa and cost them 250,000 dollars to move that tree. And they moved that tree, because it wards off honeybees. Honeybees don't like 'cause the Queen of England came there periodically, and there were parties with people with low-cut gowns and stuff. They didn't want any bees dropping down on these women with these low-cut gowns, so a quarter of a million dollars they paid to move that tree.
NEWMAN: Oh, unbelievable! Absolutely unbelievable. That was another really unique and interesting experience.
LAVOY: And you got to go through their entire complex.
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah, and then work with the engineers. They had some problems they wanted to talk about.
LAVOY: Did you help solve the problem?
NEWMAN: Hope so. I still get Christmas cards from them. Anyway, an awesome thing. Then we had the opportunity on one of these trips, we went to the great tulip festival in Amsterdam. Wherever we went we met the people and they were taking us places and showing us things. Went to Heidelberg. My daughter lived in Heidelberg six years. She just left there when I ended up in Heidelberg. I made a number of trips to Europe.
LAVOY: These trips always were by yourself? You left your family, and your wife was left at home?
LAVOY: That was difficult on the family, I'm sure.
NEWMAN: I'm trying to think of where I'm at in my marital life.
LAVOY: The last that we discussed you had five children.
NEWMAN: Let me run you through these five.
LAVOY: Just one minute. I'm very, very impressed that you did so much with Kennametal and have told us so much about what Kennametal's manufacturing process is and their worldwide organization, and here you are living in Fallon, a very calm, unassuming person and had these magnificent opportunities. It amazes me that you would decide to stay right in Fallon, that you wouldn't move on to a bigger place.
NEWMAN: Well, 'cause I went to high school that one year in Detroit and I was convinced that I would never want to be in a metropolitan area, and I really like Nevada. When I came to Nevada there was 110,000 square miles and 110,000 people, and I could walk down the street anywhere in Nevada and meet somebody that I knew. It's not that way anymore.
LAVOY: No, it definitely isn't. Now, tell me some of the heads of the plants here at Kennametal. I mean the overall heads. I know that you handled the sales pitch, but who were some of these other people that you worked with at the plant?
NEWMAN: We brought Chuck [Charles] Terry on as an engineer, and he's still there today. He's one of their big metallurgists now. Jack Frank was the general manager, and John Hanifan was the assistant general manager, principally because of his accounting background. Skitch Kronawetter did books and then he died.
LAVOY: What did Wibb Stephens do?
NEWMAN: Wibb was plant engineer for the mechanical maintenance part. He kind of got crosswise with Jack Frank and they parted ways.
LAVOY: What did Ward Nichols do out there?
NEWMAN: Ward was paymaster at Nevada Sheelite Mine and then he always did books and accounting and bookkeeping and stuff like that until he retired. Alice Scholz was really the lead secretary there for twenty years.
LAVOY: Oh, was she? She went from the high school to there?
NEWMAN: I guess. I don't know what she did in between. I knew her in high school and then she went to Kennametal. She must have done something in between. She had a classmate Gyneth [Wemple] Ceresola [Spoon]. The two of them were the fastest typists I ever saw. It had to be over a hundred words a minute. Way over a hundred words a minute -cause I could lay a letter down in front of either one of them--Gyneth was faster than Alice--they were in the same class. I could lay a letter down in front of Gyneth and go back and draw a cup of coffee and go back to my office, and she had it typed.
LAVOY: Isn't that amazing?
NEWMAN: Just done that fast. Gosh, she was fast, and always good. Always perfect.
LAVOY: Now, you decided that you wanted to retire, and this was about what year?
LAVOY: Did they have a big celebration?
NEWMAN: Yup. We had a good party and all that. [tape cuts out]
LAVOY: Tell me about your retirement party. Where was it held?
NEWMAN: I guess we had one upstairs in the golf course building. Then I took a whole bunch of them, twenty-some odd, over to the Hay Day Inn over in Smith Valley for a big dinner over there, too. I don't know how it happened.
LAVOY: Did you receive a lot of plaques and whatnot?
NEWMAN: I got some things, yeah.
LAVOY: From the company for all your years of work for Kennametal.
NEWMAN: Oh, Kennametal was always good to me. When I left Kennametal they owed about fifty, sixty million dollars in debt load. Today they owe one billion, four hundred million dollars, and they're having a very difficult time with this tremendous debt load. The company's growing by acquisition and they have to pay the bill, and it's very, very difficult for them.
LAVOY: So, I'm glad that you got out while they were in their heyday.
NEWMAN: Yeah, they were shakin' good. The old school was really an entrepreneurial school. Originally you had to be a metallurgical engineer to be anything in Kennametal, and they switched over and started doing accounts. It got more and more difficult.
LAVOY: That seems to happen to many companies.
NEWMAN: I fought a lot of battles. Back east they have a pecking order, and I don't recognize pecking orders. I was on a first-name basis with the president. People said, "You shouldn't talk to him." "Why?" He was just another guy. He's got problems just like you and I have, and he had a lot of wife problems, and he had kids he was raising, so we had a lot of mutual interests. We had one kid over in California that was in a goat farm and I had goats out there in Berlin. I laughed at him. I said, "You gonna be in a goat farm. You're gonna regret this." The next time I see him a few months later, "How's the goat farm going out in California?" He says, "Oh, damn, it's just like you said. It cost me a quarter of a million dollars just for a fence to try to keep them in." And it just goes on and on and on. But, anyway, I had these things that were mutual interest things that I could talk to him about.
LAVOY: And you're so down to earth, Hal, that I can see how you would relate to him 'cause he'd have people toadying to him.
NEWMAN: Yeah, he had his own problems, too, and I had some of the same problems. Let me go back and regress just a minute and then we'll talk about the children a little bit and the ex-wife. The first daughter, Kathleen, went to UNR. Then she went through the ROTC program and did the survival thing and got a commission out of the ROTC program and went to the Army and the Army audit system. She worked in some kind of managerial office in Heidelburg for six years, and that gave me the opportunity to send all the kids over there with a Euro rail pass, and they could go over and spend the summer and use her for a home base. They could go out and see the country. That first daughter today is assistant secretary of the Army on a special assignment. GS15 and still holds oak leaves, whatever that is.
LAVOY: Well, is she silver or gold?
LAVOY: She's a major.
NEWMAN: Yeah. She had a presidential citation. She's got her twenty years in. She had a class record, and a GS15 is a fairly significant . . .
LAVOY: Yes, it is.
NEWMAN: She's been in the Pentagon now for four or five, six years, something like that.
LAVOY: She lives in the D.C. area.
NEWMAN: Yeah, upper Marlborough, Maryland. And the next daughter, Kristine, I put through school. It was very difficult. She wanted to be an English major, and I tried to talk her out of it. I said, "English ed," and she said, "No, Dad, English." So she got a degree in English, and you can't do anything with a degree in English, so she had to go back and take four semesters to get English ed and she teaches high school English in Smith Valley today. Was teacher of the year a couple of years ago.
LAVOY: Has she married?
NEWMAN: Yep. I got a granddaughter by her about nineteen years old.
LAVOY: Kristine's married name is what?
LAVOY: All right. Continue on. You lost Tommy.
NEWMAN: I lost Thomas. Then I have Karyl. She went through pre-med and med tech and finished those. Then she did a year of apprenticeship in the four hospitals in Reno as a med-tech. She had some interesting experiences there, and she saved a few people's lives that we couldn't figure out what the hell was the matter with them looking at specimens and slides and things and go back and tell the doctor I think this man's got so and so, and, sure enough, she'd be right. He'd change his treatment, and he'd start to get better the next day.
LAVOY: She is working for what?
NEWMAN: She med-teched at Sierra Nevada Labs for a long time, and they got really bad. They wanted her to falsify numbers and figures, and she had to do court testimonies. She told them she wouldn't do it, and they really, really got into a nasty, nasty mess, so just recently the sheriff in Washoe County picked her up and a doctor she used to work for and they opened a new forensic lab in the sheriff's department, so the sheriff's department now is going to do the samples for the Highway Patrol and sheriff's department and do contract services. It's what the Sierra Nevada Lab used to do.
LAVOY: Is she in charge of that?
NEWMAN: Yeah, outside of the doctor who is really in charge.
LAVOY: But, she's going to be the lab technician.
NEWMAN: She's like number two person there. Well, more than a lab tech. She does a lot of court testimony. It's a debatable thing.
LAVOY: Is she married?
LAVOY: What's her name now?
NEWMAN: Brown. He does drywall work, and they have a little boy and a little girl who's starting school, so they're doing really well. The next one's Steven; Steven [sighs] had a hard time. After sorting his way around, he joined the Army and went to Army med school, but he always wanted to be in optical things, so, eventually, after doing a lot of hard work and hard labor and a lot of stuff, he's married now and has a nice wife, a boy and a girl, and they live up in Coeur d'Alene [Idaho]. He's been in that optical eye clinic for ten, twelve years now. More of a technician type. He manages the contact lens department, but he's doing well. They've all got homes. They've all got houses and families.
LAVOY: Now, this is the family by your first wife, is that correct?
NEWMAN: Yep, yep. And somewhere in this right after I lost Tommy, my first wife decided--I never had a wife that worked--and she went to work. She was working for the county manager down here, and they decided they liked each other better than anything else, so they left together, so they went their own separate ways.
LAVOY: And left you.
NEWMAN: Yeah, so I'm raising all these kids. Kids in college and just going crazy.
LAVOY: So, you had five children, and you're on your own.
LAVOY: Very, very traumatic.
NEWMAN: Well, it was. I did that for three or four years, then I met Phyllis at a church retreat thing. There was a lady here named Green, and she thought I ought to go to this church retreat. It was an interesting thing. It was called Cursillo. I don't know if you've ever heard of Cursillo or not.
LAVOY: Yes, Cursillo.
NEWMAN: So, anyway that's where I met Phyllis. Phyllis was working as a nurse in Washoe. She’d been there for 12 years, never been married, so we got married.
LAVOY: What was Phyllis’s maiden name?
NEWMAN: Portomage [?] [End of tape 4 Side A]
LAVOY: Where were you married?
NEWMAN: The old original Little Flower.
LAVOY: Oh, on Vassar Street.
LAVOY: Who was your best man?
NEWMAN: Duke Drakulich.
LAVOY: And who stood up with Phyllis?
NEWMAN: Duke's wife, I guess.
NEWMAN: Yeah, 'cause there was only the four of us.
LAVOY: And this was what year? 1977, didn't we decide?
NEWMAN: Yeah, I guess. Hope I got that right.
LAVOY: So, you had met her at a Cursillo, and then did she immediately give up her job in Reno?
NEWMAN: No, no. We dated for a while. She wanted to be married in a Catholic church, and I'd been previously married, so I had to go through the annulment thing which Father [Robert] Howling, so you know about that process said was going to take two to five years or something like that so we labored through that, and I got my annulment in about six months, and we got married.
LAVOY: Well, that's great. Did she move to Fallon then?
NEWMAN: Yeah, but she stayed working at Washoe [Medical Center]. She wanted to make sure she had beans and escape money, I guess. [laughing] I don't know. So, she worked for two or three months and then decided…
LAVOY: And she traveled back and forth?
NEWMAN: Yeah, and decided that we could make it, so she didn't work. Then as we had more children. She didn't work at all.
LAVOY: I know that you have a very, very nice family with Phyllis. Would you mind telling me the names of the children and, roughly, when they were born if you can remember that? Most men can't.
NEWMAN: The oldest one's Luke. He's twenty-one and he's doing his third year in Emery-Riddle University in Prescott, Arizona. The next one's Jacqueline Anne, and she's a sophomore at UNR. Then, Rebekah Jean, and Rebekah's eighteen. Jacqueline must be nineteen. Rebekah graduated from Churchill County High School this last year. Most outstanding math-science student out of fifteen hundred kids.
LAVOY: Takes after her dad.
NEWMAN: And I have John Henry who is a sophomore at the high school. He cut a different cloth.
LAVOY: That's the boy that I think looks so much like your father.
NEWMAN: Yeah, he does. And then William Edward who's--let's see, John's sixteen, Will must be coming up on fifteen. William has yet to get anything but an A in school. He's gonna do very, very well.
LAVOY: I think it's wonderful that you got one whose got you wondering.
LAVOY: Every father needs a child that walks to a different drummer. Well, it must keep you very busy keeping all those children in school and what-not.
NEWMAN: I left out--one thing about the oldest, Kathleen, went to national math finals, placed top ten women west of the Mississippi in mathematics.
LAVOY: This is the girl that is . .
NEWMAN: My oldest in Washington and the Pentagon. The interesting thing [Area of significant degradation. Transcript says about that was that that background came from her math”] teacher. His name is [Jim]Bogan, and I believe he just died not too long ago. Was an outstanding math teacher. Just really outstanding, and he wanted to teach mathematics, and he wasn't a disciplinarian. Finally, he quit teaching because if you cut up in his class, you're out of here. You know, you're here to learn math. There was no give and take in that, but that's where she got the background. That's strong. First, she had the ability, but then she had somebody to teach her.
LAVOY: Well, now with your daughters by Phyllis, they're certainly doing very, very well in the science field.
NEWMAN: Yep, yep.
LAVOY: You must be very, very proud of them.
NEWMAN: Yeah, they're all doing good. One of the judges in Fallon--I won't tell you who he is-one of the judges down here told me, "You're very lucky." "Why?" He said, "To have ten children, I've never seen one in court."
LAVOY: That is a record. You and Phyllis live on Rice Road. What do you do now that you're retired? I believe Phyllis has started back nursing.
NEWMAN: Yes, she had to because we got so many kids in college she's back nursing. What they call full-time. She works three twelves back to back.
LAVOY: And is enjoying it, I'm sure.
NEWMAN: Well, she's a good nurse. She knows what she's doing. But she gets awful tired. She's no spring chicken anymore.
LAVOY: And you've had a very happy life together.
NEWMAN: Yep, yep.
LAVOY: Tell me some of the things--I know when I was at your house, I was so amused because you had so many animals and what-not in the backyard there. Do you still have all of these critters?
NEWMAN: Yeah, we got a lamb trying to lamb today. He's cutting down a little bit.
LAVOY: Well, each of your children had pets.
NEWMAN: Yeah, that's right. Everybody had their own pets.
LAVOY: Now you had a horse that you brought to church one day, I remember. Or did you have two horses?
NEWMAN: Yeah, I got three now. I've got one that's over visiting. I'm giving him room and board.
LAVOY: And the horses, the kids could just climb all over the horses, so I know they were given a lot of care at home.
NEWMAN: Well, Jacqueline was the horse person. That was her thing. Each one had their own thing, and I tried to sponsor them in whatever it was. Tried to help them along.
LAVOY: That's a good father with all of them. I know that you've been active with civic things since you've been retired, and you were president of Rotary for a year. Would you tell us about that year as president?
NEWMAN: It was an exciting year. Really busy time. So much to learn, and you leave so much undone, but I thought we had a pretty good year. I brought the first women into Fallon Rotary and also started some programs that I see are still surviving today,
LAVOY: Like what?
NEWMAN: Oh, Happy Dollars.
LAVOY: What is Happy Dollars?
NEWMAN: If you got something good, and you'd like to say something about it, you'd stand up and say, "I'm a Happy Dollar." Put a dollar in the kitty.
LAVOY: Do you still attend the meetings?
NEWMAN: Sure I do. Regularly.
LAVOY: On Tuesdays.
LAVOY: And I know you're very active in the Catholic Church. What all are you doing there?
NEWMAN: I started that coffee program decades ago. I still put the coffee pots together and stuff on Saturday nights for Sunday Mass. They're electric.
LAVOY: What are some of the changes that you have really seen in Fallon, let's just say in the last five years.
NEWMAN: Oh, things like McDonald's, Arby's and those things. I'm amazed at the amount of McDonald's, Arby's trash along the road now that people can't--that goes out the window instead of in a trash can. The traffic is astronomical. In the old days we slant-parked downtown and then we had two parallel parking lanes in the center of the street downtown. That's all gone and gone away.
LAVOY: Do you think the downtown will ever be revitalized?
NEWMAN: Not to a great extent. I think it's probably about where it's gonna stay.
LAVOY: What do you think about the town moving west like it is?
NEWMAN: I read this twenty years ago, and I've watched it. Maybe thirty years ago, and it really is true. Towns move together. In other words, Fallon will continue to move toward Reno. They always migrate, that the growth and development is always towards the bigger town, and you really see it in town and out on the Reno highway.
LAVOY: Oh, yes. As I drove in this morning, couldn't believe it. There's even a new furniture store out there.
NEWMAN: Yep. Brand-new, nice new furniture store. But, that's really, really true. This would not be a good place to do much development on the east side of town. Yes, I did drive Highway 50 in my letter for the governor. [laughing]
LAVOY: What was that?
NEWMAN: Oh, "I survived."
LAVOY: Oh, yes.
NEWMAN: The Loneliest Road in America.
LAVOY: You managed to handle that.
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah.
LAVOY: After living out in Berlin, you managed to handle that.
NEWMAN: You asked about what other things I've--I guess I've gone with Walter Plants for twenty years to the Great Basin [National Park] each year for a week in his outdoor classroom out there. Takes the whole class out there, a lot of parents, and we hike. He had a lot of programs. A lot of really, really nice programs about Mother Nature and the earth. Fish and Game program.
LAVOY: That's something that I wanted to ask you. You mentioned to me that Fish and Game had taken you back out to the Ichthyosaur Park.
NEWMAN: That was the State Parks System.
LAVOY: Oh, the State Parks System was taking you out to the Ichthyosaur. Would you mind commenting on that?
NEWMAN: Well, it was primarily because my father and I had dug the tunnels, so we just went out and spent a day on the oral history about the state park and on the things that were happening out there.
LAVOY: What are the big differences you can see in the state park then when you lived out there as a boy?
NEWMAN: Well, there was no state park when I first lived out there. That was the beginning of the state park system was Berlin. Berlin still remains a fairly primitive state park. A place where people thoroughly enjoy themselves. There's not an over-abundance of people. The drought has taken its real toll out there. Twenty or thirty years of drought has really dried things up and changed things.
LAVOY: You're talking about this tunnel. What tunnel is this?
NEWMAN: Well, it's below the park ranger's house. We took a contract, and we put a tunnel in the mountains, about a half-mile long.
LAVDY: You and your father.
NEWMAN: Yep. We were going to tap the old four hundred level on the Berlin mine, and we did that successfully, but we never got to our goal.
LAVOY: Which was finding gold.
NEWMAN: Yeah. Well, there was a deposit back in there of gold ore that was documented. We probably were within fifty or a hundred feet of it. The ground was so badly caved that we couldn't get in there. It just became too dangerous. Really, really dangerous. Really dangerous.
LAVOY: You didn't put wooden posts in?
NEWMAN: Oh, yeah. I'm sitting there scraping dirt out and watching that eight-by-eight next to me going down an inch at a time. I could hear big slabs up there caving off. It was just unsanitary.
LAVOY: Why did you take the board people back in there?
NEWMAN: They've now made that as part of the park. They give tours in the tunnel.
LAVOY: I hope they have timbered this one a little better.
NEWMAN: No, the outer part of the tunnel is still standing. It stood the earthquakes and everything. The first thousand feet are just really built.
LAVOY: But, then after that . .
NEWMAN: Yeah, it gets a little dicey after that. [laughing]
LAVOY: So, why did you take them in there?
NEWMAN: 'Cause they asked me to.
LAVOY: Did you find bones or something in there?
NEWMAN: No, no. They just wanted to know the history of the tunnel.
LAVOY: Okay, and then after you told them that then you mentioned something about you found some bones someplace.
NEWMAN: Well, I found some bones up there outside of the park fifty years ago, and I thought somebody else ought to know about them, so I went back and tried to find those. I looked for about two and a half hours. It was very difficult. We finally found some, and it was probably the best find they've ever had in the park. The best preserved bones and the most detailed. Just outside the park boundary, so I've translated that information onto a number of park people. The next step is up to them. I'd originally found that and Dr. Kent came up, and he looked at it and said, "What beautiful bones, but we've got so much to do in the main quarry, just throw some dirt back over them, and we'll get back to it later." Well, never got back to it later, and everybody else died, so I thought it was really important that they don't lay there for another five hundred years till somebody finds them.
LAVOY: And the thing that's so dangerous about it is its being outside the park's property. If someone came along and found them, they could sell them to a museum for a fortune.
NEWMAN: Oh, probably. So, they've got to go through all the mechanisms to make that thing happen.
LAVOY: That would be to extend the park?
NEWMAN: Yeah, they have to extend the park. [Another area of significant degradation] They have to go through the archaeological society. It's on Forest Service land. They better get permission from the Forest Service. They've got to jump through a bunch of hoops.
LAVOY: Are they working prodigiously at doing this?
NEWMAN: Don't know, but they know where it is, so the next move's up to them.
LAVOY: I think you mentioned to me about finding a perfect jawbone, one that was even better than the ichthyosaur that they have on display.
NEWMAN: The best jawbone we ever found. Beautiful. Two rows of beautiful teeth with no doubt in your mind that that's what it really was. Much more detailed than anything we'd ever found before. It's really a significant find.
LAVOY: Well, I certainly hope they take your directions and your showing in that park and extend the park before Nevada loses it as we have lost so many bones.
NEWMAN: I think they will this time. I think it'll happen.
LAVOY: I hope so.
NEWMAN: I have one little story about deer hunting out there that I don't think I put in the earlier part. Hate to jump around, but-
LAVOY: Now in that case, you go right ahead because we are just about finished with the interview. We can add it and put it in where it belongs when it's transcribed.
NEWMAN: I don't think I covered it in the other one. I went out and I got a couple of deer in a place where I cleaned the deer.
LAVOY: This was when you were just a kid.
NEWMAN: Yeah. The game warden drove by. Mom was cooking venison chops for dinner. She was an excellent cook. So my dad invited the game warden in for dinner, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. We had dinner and she always had pie. He finished all of that. My dad said, "What brings you out here?" He said, "I heard somebody was poaching. Heard reports." I thought, "Boy, here it comes." I could hardly breathe I was so uptight. Then he told my mom, "Thank you for a wonderful dinner. I'd really go hard on anybody that wasted anything. I can tell nothing's wasted here," got up and got in his truck and drove away. [laughing]
LAVOY: Oh, my goodness! Then five minutes later you started breathing.
NEWMAN: No, I went in and laid down and passed out. Honest to God. I was so uptight. I was so tense I couldn't believe it.
LAVOY: About how old were you?
NEWMAN: Oh, I was probably in my late teens.
LAVOY: That would have ended your career if you’d had a-
NEWMAN: And then the two old timers that lived out there that we took care of, one of them finally died, the oldest one, and the other one stayed on. He'd been an alcoholic most of his life. One of his relatives was a counselor in Reno for a while. His name was Mac Foster. It was the third of July, and Mac said, "Take me to Ione." Ione at that time was run by Bill Cislini. He eventually moved to Fallon and stayed there until he died. So, "Take me down to Ione," and I took him down. Next thing I know he has a little brown bag with a fifth of whiskey in it. "What are you going to do, Mac?" "Oh," he says, "the Fourth's coming up. Got to celebrate." Always went over and checked on him every morning 'cause this guy's in his nineties. Really old. Got up and walked over there and there was a fifth of whiskey, and there was only about two inches left in the bottle. He drank the whole bottle, and he was laying on the floor, his old .44 pistol under his chin. I thought, "God, he's shot himself." He really hadn't. He just rolled out of bed, and he always slept with the pistol under his pillow 'cause he was old enough that he walked the original Chilcoot Trail in Alaska in the gold rush. The stories he used to tell me about that were awesome. Walter Bowler was an old chum of his, and Walter Bowler was the coroner in Tonopah. My dad says, "Get in the car, go call"--had to go to Gabbs to use the phone-"call Walter Bowler. Tell him Mac's dead." I went over there, called Walter, "Mac's dead." Now, he's the coroner. "Well," he said, "I can't do anything today. It's the Fourth of July. I have to go to a rodeo. You put a blanket over him, cover him up. He'll keep." So, I put a blanket over old Mac, and the next day we wait and Walter never shows up, so in the afternoon I go over there and I call again. I said, "Mac's still dead, Walter." He said, "Well, I'm terrible hung over, but I'll come up." So, he comes up, and he visits, and has a piece of pie and a cup of tea with Mom, so he said, "Well, come on, let's go get Mac." My dad doesn't have anything to do with those kinds of things, so I'm the one who puts Mac in the wire basket, so I put him in the wire basket, carry him over, and he had a 1952 Ford red pickup, so we slide Mac in the pickup. Walter starts, we're just eye to eye like you and I are, he starts telling me him and Mac chasing girls down in Tonopah and Goldfield and drinking and carousing years and years ago, just all these stories. He looked at me, and he said, "You're not paying attention." Mac's laying out there in the sun, and strange things happen. Mac sits right straight up and looks me right in the eye. Walter looks over, says, "Mac, it's all over." Pushes him back down. He says, "Them stiffs do that all the time."
LAVOY: Oh, for heaven sakes!
NEWMAN: Apparently because he was warming up and it was a natural muscle thing, but it scared that livin' you-know-what out of me.
LAVOY: He had shot himself?
NEWMAN: No, he didn't shoot himself. He just died of natural causes, but he just reflexed.
LAVOY: Oh, and the gun went under his chin.
NEWMAN: Well, he just reflexed and he had the gun under his pillow and he rolled out of bed, he must have had the gun in his hand.
LAVOY: You thought he'd . . .
NEWMAN: At first, but I looked him over, and he wasn't shot. So, anyway, Walter is ready to go back to Tonopah. That road's sixty miles of pure alkali dust. I'm mean, it's ugly. It's so bad, you have to run the windshield wipers. Just terrible, terrible. I said, "Are you going to cover him up?" "Oh, no," he said. "We get him down there, we'll just hose him off."
LAVOY: [laughing] Oh, welcome to rural Nevada. This has been a most interesting interview, Hal. I really appreciate your taking the time to come back again to finish it, and I do want to thank you. On behalf of the Churchill County Oral History Project, we give you great thanks.
NEWMAN: I appreciate the opportunity, Marian.
31 July 2000
While in High School 1947 a woman living across the street from the Episcopal Church asked me to house sit her beautiful blonde daughter. The daughter did not take kindly to this. About 1967 (twenty years later) my friend and his wife bought the same house and the small house next door. His name is Sonny Morris.
One day Sonny called me over because he was cleaning the attic, he found this thing and wondered what it was. It was the Van Voorhis Congressional Medal of Honor obviously left by the family. I told Sonny it was valuable and the only one ever given to a Nevadan.
It is so gratifying to see this in your museum now. Hal Newman