John Gustafson

Date Submitted: 3/11/06

John writes:

Following graduation in June of ’53, I went to work for the railroad tearing up the tracks from Crosby to East Smethport. After that job was completed, I tried Backus Novelty for a few months making parts for Zippo lighters. I decided that doing the same task day after day was not a career I was interested in. I enlisted in the Navy and left Smethport in December 1953.

Thirty years later, in February 1984, I decided that I wasn’t sure I wanted to make the Navy a career so I retired to Pensacola, FL. Along the way I married a young lady from Rew and we have two children, a daughter and a son, and one granddaughter.

Along the way, we lived in some exotic and some not so exotic places. Our first home was on Midway Island, the pearl of the Pacific, then Hawaii (nuf said), Washington, DC, Guam, where America’s day begins, back to Hawaii (loved that island), then to Pensacola, FL. Following Pensacola, the Navy decided I had enough warm weather and they sent us to the Aleutian Islands, Adak, Alaska, the Birthplace of the Winds. Adak is unique in that it either rains or snows about 340 days a year, but there is no accumulation. It is windy enough that all rain or snow is sideways. After Adak, we returned to Pensacola where I retired and went to work for myself. Finally retired completely a few years ago and we spend our spare time traveling throughout the U.S.

My email address is

See the rest of the Class of 1953