Celebrating Floyd Conrad

Floyd Conrad 2017
Floyd Truman Conrad
Spring 1936
Frank Conrad
Floyd's Great Grandfather
1953 Before Going Into Service
Floyd & his buddy
John Johnston from Florida
1954 (Age 18) - Basic Training
at San Antonia Air Force Base
1954-74 in Korea
1962 in Korea with
Friend J.P. Hayes


We Salute and Applaud

Floyd Conrad

Kae Mattingly
March 2017

Who is one of the most knowledgeable people, when it comes to our church building?  This gentleman has had a love of trains since the age of two.  He has been a member of the Mason Lodge since 2006, and Eastern Star since 2007, where he has been Worthy Patron four times.  He’s a hard worker in the kitchen.  This man is a 20 year veteran of the United States Air Force.  This month we salute and applaud Floyd Conrad.


Floyd was born on September 16, 1935, in Marlinton, West Virginia, not far from Snowshoe Mountain Resort, to Frank and Ruth (Jones) Conrad.  He was their first and only son.  He had a half sister that was two years old when he was born.  His grandmother named him Floyd Truman Conrad, which his mother did not like, so she called him Sonny.  There are still people today who call him by that name.  His father worked for the railroad making 75 cents a day.  When  Floyd was a baby his father would take him to watch the trains go up the mountain.  By the age of two, Floyd would climb up on a bench in the house to watch the trains go by carrying coal.


At the age of four, the family moved to Valley Head, West Virginia where grandmother Jones lived.   They moved in with her, and Floyd’s dad went to work in the coal mines.  After about a year and a half the family moved into a house in the country.


School Days:  Floyd walked one-half to three-fourths of a mile to attend a one room schoolhouse consisting of grades 1-8.  Like all one room schoolhouses, it had the typical pot bellied stove for heat.  Everyone called him Sonny.  There were 15-20 students there and most of them were related some way or another.  There were only three students in Floyd’s grade.  He attended grades 1-5 there  and then they moved again.  This move was to Mingo Flats, West Virginia.  There he completed grade 6, in another one room schoolhouse.  His dad went to work in the strip mines.  This job was a little safer than in the deep coal mines.  Floyd walked ½ mile to attend a 2 room schoolhouse here for grades seven and eight.  Floyd rode a school bus to Tiger Valley High School, which is still there today.  He went there for grades 9-10.  The family moved again.  This time across the country to California, where Floyd’s uncle lived.  They drove a 1946 Chevrolet station wagon to California via route 66 all the way there.  The reason for this move was so Floyd wouldn’t have to work in the coal mines of West Virginia.  Floyd’s dad got a job at Consolidated Western Steel.  Floyd started his junior year at Bell High School, in Bell, California.  He also got a job at Consolidated Western Steel without his dad’s knowledge.  Floyd had a 1947 Indian Chief motorcycle.  Floyd thought he could ride his motorcycle to school, then to work and home for bed.  The first night Floyd went to clock in, his father was leaving his shift and saw him.  Dad changed his shift to be able to work with Floyd.  He didn’t want his son to ride his motorcycle at night.  At the end of grade 11, Floyd enlisted in the United States Air Force to avoid being drafted into the Army.  After enlisting and doing his basic training, Floyd got his GED, (high school equivalency diploma).


United States Air Force years:  In 1954, Floyd did his 11 weeks of basic training at San Antonio, Texas.  He went in as a kid and came out as a man.  His first base assignment was at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California.  He was stationed there for six years, working in air craft structural repairs.  Then he was moved to Elsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota for two years doing the same job.  He met Konnie here.  A buddy of his and his girlfriend introduced them.  Konnie was still in high school (10th grade) and working at a hospital in town.  Her job at the hospital was to help feed the elderly people.  They dated for about two months and decided they wanted to get married.  Konnie’s dad said NO!  She was too young.  Konnie had a plan and it worked.  She told her mother she was pregnant (not really).  Her mother said she would sign for her to marry Floyd.  They said the marriage would never last.


Floyd and Konnie got married on January 19, 1962.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct. 16-28, 1962), Floyd got his orders to go to Korea.  Two weeks before shipping out his first born, Kathy, arrived on December 11, 1962.  Floyd then left for Osan Air Force Base in Korea.  He was there for 13 months in a safe place doing the same job as before, air craft structural repairs.  During their separation the only means of communication was letter writing.  Floyd thought about Konnie and Kathy all the time, and was missing them.  He wasn’t a good letter writer, only sending about 6-7 letters during that time.  Konnie, on the other hand, wrote frequently.


After his tour in Korea, Floyd was assigned to Travis Air Force Base in California.  He was stationed here for four years, doing the job he was trained to do (air craft structural repairs).  Kevin, their second child, was born here on January 19, 1966.  It was here that Floyd changed his career field to corrosion control and sheet metal, making him qualified in two fields  He went to school to learn how to control and get rid of corrosion on the airplanes.  Also if a plane was damaged during battle, he was qualified to repair the damage.


In May of 1966, Floyd found himself in Puerto Rico.  He and the family were there for four years.  Floyd was working in corrosion control and sheet metal.  Two months before Floyd’s time was up there, Konnie and the children left for California to stay with Konnie’s mom and dad.  When Floyd finally arrived, he only got to stay there for two weeks.  His new orders were to a place like they had never experienced before.


They found themselves at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Alabama.  It was during the times of the Civil Rights Marches.  There was a lot of tension in the air and much rioting happening.  It was fearful living in a place of so much unrest, mainly when you had little children.  One day Konnie got fussed at for walking on the wrong side of the street.  She was walking on the black side.  On another day while Konnie was at work at the Textile Store, a riot started on the street, and they locked everyone in the store to keep them safe.  The children were at home with a sitter.  She was very worried about them.  They did not like it there at all, so Floyd put in for World Wide, which meant he would go anywhere just to get out of Alabama.


He did get out of Alabama and found himself at Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in Vietnam.  He was there for 12 months working in corrosion control and sheet metal.  He never saw any fighting, but where he was working the alarms would sound off to let them know the fighting was escalating.  It was a stressful time because attacks could happen at any time.


After 12 months he was transferred to Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas, where he was promoted to Master Sergeant.  He worked in corrosion control and sheet metal here for one year.  He then got TDY (Temporary Duty Yonder) to Guam.  After just three months he was sent back to Bergstrom Air Force Base, where he stayed until he retired on July 3, 1974.


Floyd and the family moved to San Antonio, Texas.  Floyd got a job at Dee Howard Aircraft doing structural repair.  They lived there for one year and then moved to Austin, Texas.  They lived there for three years while Floyd was working for the sheriff’s department.  He was a guard at the Travis County Correctional Institute (county jail).


In 1978, they moved back to California and stayed with Konnie’s mom and dad.  Floyd worked as a guard for a nuclear power plant.  He worked nights and the job was pretty stressful.  Two years later they moved to Sacramento, California and Floyd worked for General Radiator Company, manufacturing radiators for locomotives.  He got laid off, but was able to find work at Rain for Rent, an irrigation company.  They made big water lines for irrigation.  Floyd’s job was to keep the pumps running, to pump the water into the irrigation lines.  In 1985, Floyd and the family went to North Dakota for an extended vacation with Ken and Shari for a couple of months.


In 1986, they moved to Kernersville, North Carolina.  Floyd’s parents had moved here in 1979.  Upon arriving, Floyd realized his parents needed help and they decided to stay.  They found a house in Oak Ridge and Floyd started working for Rodeway Trucking cleaning the docks.  He later became a truck driver for Carolina Transport.  His route was to haul produce to Washington, D.C. and to pick up furniture on the way home.  He had this job for about a year.


Then he went to work for Trailmobile, on highway 66, working on semi trailers.  He worked there until it was bought out by a larger company, Epes Trucking, and Floyd worked for this company for a year, until he retired in 2005.


Since retirement, Floyd and Konnie have traveled to Nebraska, California, West Virginia, and Florida, where his sister lives.  They bowled on a church league at Country Side Lanes for a while.  Floyd likes to play solitaire on his iPad.  He still loves trains and likes to go to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in West Virginia.  Floyd and Konnie have two grandchildren, Chad and Natalie, and two great grandchildren (twin girls), and in June will have a new great grandson arriving.  Floyd shared a story with me about a 22 pump action rifle made in 1902 that belonged to his Grandfather Jones.  Floyd was told he could never touch the rifle unless he was with his dad.  At the age of seven, he and his dad went squirrel hunting with the rifle.  Floyd’s cousins would play with the rifle, without adult supervision, and in doing so broke the firing pin.  When Floyd became a teenager, Grandmother Jones gave the rifle to him, because he never used it by himself, or played with it.  Four years ago, Floyd passed down the rifle to his grandson Chad.


Floyd and Konnie joined First Presbyterian Church in Kernersville on March 17, 2002.  He was ordained and installed as an Elder on January 11, 2004.  Floyd served on the Building and Grounds Committee for 14 years.  When he first joined the committee, Tom Stikeleather taught him everything he needed to know about the building.  You can ask him anything about our building and Floyd will be able to tell you everything you need to know.  When the water heater needed to be replaced, Floyd, with the help of Skip Smith, had to get a permit to move it from the attic to the main floor.  At the end of two weeks the job was completed.  Floyd also built shelves in the attic for the Sweet Adelines to organize their equipment.  During the making of the eggs, Floyd can always be found working hard in the kitchen.


My wife, Konnie, and two children, Kathy and Kevin
Keep moving forward, don't let things get you down.
Korea 1962 - 1963
October 1962 - Seoul Korea
1968 Housing in Puerto Rico
1968 Konnie in Puerto Rico
Alabama 1969 before
leaving for Vietnam
Leaving to go to Vietnam 1970-1971
Floyd 2006 - 2007
Kernersville, NC
At the Carolina Field of Honor
in Kernersville, NC
Floyd & Konnie Conrad 2017