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Editorial - John V. Jamison III

July 08, 1997

The passing of John V. Jamison III is cause for mourning, not only because a good man's life has ended, but because there is one fewer corporate official in America who actually sees employees as people who deserve respect and friendship.

Jamison's attitude toward the work force of the Jamison Door Company was forged on the factory floor, where his father put the young Yale graduate to work in 1933 - as a lowly laborer, paid just 25 cents an hour. The younger Jamison spent the next three years learning everything about the company, and about its people as well.

His affection for them was well-known, and his long-time secretary often surprised his visitors by referring to the boss as "Johnny." He loaned his workers money when they needed it and helped them when they were in trouble. His stewardship was in stark contrast to so many of today's corporate sharks, who don't think twice before declaring long-term employees expendable casualties in the quest for higher profits and stock prices.

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The workers responded, dedicating decades of their working lives to help make the company a world leader in cold-storage doors, some of which (they were proud to tell you) were used in the Alaska oil-pipeline project.

But Jamison's leadership was not confined to the business world. Though married with two small children, he volunteered for World War II, serving aboard a ship in the western Pacific. He was first president of the Hagerstown Junior Chamber of Commerce, (later known as the Jaycees) and was president of the Hagerstown chamber and the city's manufacturers bureau.

Jamison also served as president of the Washington County hospital's board, as a member of the Washington County Museum board and at the Maryland School for the Deaf, whose board he served on for 34 years, 11 as president. He undertook a major fund-raising campaign that helped move its campus to Columbia, Md.

One measure of a town's quality is the people it attracts - and keeps. For all the years that John V. Jamison III helped make Hagerstown a better place to live and work, we are thankful.

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