Heritage \ Writings \

Fred W. Maynard (1868-1951)
Born Maidstone, Kent Co., England, lived in Bay City for 63 years.

1944 Retirement. Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx -- Jun., 2009.

The Bay City Times- July 16, 1944 (Page 4)

After 32 Years -
Fred Maynard Resigns City Post

Just before quitting time on July 31, Fred Maynard will walk into the office of City Manager J. Harry Nelson.

He will take out a bunch of keys attached to a shiny steel ring and deposit them on the latter’s littered desk. These keys fit the locks of every city hall office and everything else locked at the city hall.

This little ceremony which will be utterly informal if Fred has anything to do with it will mark the end of 32 years service for Mr. Maynard as the city hall’s veteran, efficient custodian.

For after 32 years, Fred is resigning as the head of the municipal building’s maintenance, custodial and janitorial staff. Fred is tired. The job is pretty difficult. Age is creeping up and he is willing to admit it. Bossing guys around is no soft touch, Fred says, and he would like to be rid of the responsibility. He doesn’t want to quit, because as most city workers, despite their frugality, must work to eat.

To Get New Post

Fred is going to get a new job. It will be a job he can do and which lacks the responsibilities of the head of the custodial service. The city commissioners are going to make sure of that because they realize Fred has been a good, faithful, efficient servant. They would like to give him a decent pension. They contend he deserves it. But, as they themselves remarked, the charter does not wisely provide for its faithful employees. So they are doing the next best thing. And, it is perfectly agreeable to Fred.

Fred Maynard came to the city hall Jan. 22, 1912, as its chief custodian. They used to call them janitors then, and Fred doesn’t care a whit if they still do.

In those 32 years Fred has learned a lot about the building entrusted to his charge. In fact for many years after he has passed from the custodial picture, that building will bear evidences of Fred’s ability not only to maintain but to create.

The Improviser

There were times when the city was not to financially flush. The city hall building like all others disintegrates with age. In fact many times it came apart at the seams. Fred had to get it back in shape. Often times there was insufficient money to do the job, so Fred had to improvise. At that task he had few peers. He took a gadget from where it wasn’t needed, another from where it could be spared and with a little ingenuity made up the gadget needed with only the cost of his labor to the city. There is evidence galore of Fred’s improvisation around the city hall. And, those gadgets worked and are still working today.

Fred was never stumped. He had some pet jobs around the city hall in which he took just an extra bit of pride. For instance he always put up the flag and took it down. He is an authority on how, when and under what conditions our national emblem can be displayed. In the past couple of years he has taught a couple of his staff how to do this job, but he keeps a watchful eye on them to make sure it is done right.

Then there is the brass railing on the ornamental steel staircase which takes up about half that huge building. Those brass railings were as smart always as the brass on a well-kept ship. Woe betide the worker who did a half-a-job on this task. He earned the vitriolic tongue-lashing from the boss and an order to “do it over again and right”

The City Hall Clock

Then for years, it was Fred’s job to keep the clocks in city hall, the First Baptist and Westminster Presbyterian churches operating. Now these clocks are huge machines with many parts. They grew old and parts wore thin. Sometimes in fact the worn parts gave out and couldn’t be replaced. But for many years Fred improvised. Particularly at the city hall. This old clock was a tremendous thing and had more gadgets on it than a Rube Goldberg invention and more to go wrong. But Fred kept it going until the thing just got too stubborn and quit. It hasn’t run in a long time, perhaps never will because there are few who will have the patience Fred had, even after the clockmakers gave her up as a bad job.

Like everybody else Fred has pet peeves –One of them was a candy and soft drink stand in the entrance to the building. It was spawned of the depression, but went out with the manpower shortage. Fred never liked the idea. It made for accumulated litter, like gum wrappers, candy bar wrappers, cigarette and cigar butts, pop bottles, etc. Now Fred hates untidiness and here it was in all its ugliness.

Some months ago the stand operator got a better job. Soon as Fred found out he was leaving, he hightailed it to Nelson’s office and demanded the removal forthwith of this “eyesore” Fred won his point, the stand disappeared.

That Fred was an efficient worker and likewise a keen political observer is indicated by some statistics he dug up the other day. During his 32 years he worked under and with 198 city officials.

There were times during the 32 years that new legislating administrations came in at the city hall, some of them with “fire in their eyes” And that expression is quite literal in politics. Result was time and again departmental heads rolled under the political guillotine. And some of those hatcheted were very efficient, too. But Fred survived these ordeals, which speaks loudly for his political sagacity.

Some Statistics

Fred however has figured out these statistics, s mentioned earlier, and they are educational as well as interesting.

In 32 years , he served under seven mayors, 53 alderman(in the days of the mayor-alderman charter); five city managers; five comptrollers; five treasurers; three city clerks; three city assessors; 10 city attorneys; three city engineers; two directors of the department of public works, eight city health officers, two superintendents of police; four fire chiefs; five police justices; three water superintendents; six light department superintendents; four plumbing inspectors; three wire inspectors; two city planners; five street commissioners; three boiler inspectors; four food inspectors; two building inspectors; three superintendents of parks and bridges, two General hospital superintendents of nurses; and four social service directors; one city chemist; and one purchasing agent.

When he came to city hall there were 42 employees doing the city administrative work. Today there are 105.

And during the 32 years new offices created includes chemist, police matron, police license bureau, police identification department; social service, planning and zoning commission, department of public works, park department, inspectors galore, two draft boards, one in World War I and one in World War II and the office of city manager.

Fred leaves the office of chief custodian with a record of accomplishments designed to stand the test of many years.

1951 Obituary. Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx -- Jun., 2009.

The Bay City Times - Sunday, May 6, 1951, Page 12.

Fred W. Maynard Dies of Pneumonia
Was Retired City Hall Custodian.

Fred W. Maynard, 82, retired city hall custodian, died Saturday at the age of 82. He Succumbed at Mercy hospital to pneumonia with which he was stricken a month ago. His home was at 244 North Jackson street.

During his 32 years as custodian at the city hall he had built a large circle of fiends and acquaintances and acquired a reputation as a man of varied skills.

His ability to keep worn-out equipment working during the depression years when there were no funds for replacements was no less marked than his ability to please a wide range of bosses.

He was able to keep his job during numerous changes of administrations even as other heads were replaced. He served under seven mayors and five city managers.

He retired in 1944 when duties as head of the custodial force became too strenuous for his advancing years.

At that time he received recognition from the city commission for his many years of faithful service. During the depression years in particular his skills saved the city untold sums.

Known as the improviser he had the uncanny ability to take a gadget from here where it wasn’t needed, another from where it could be spared and with a little ingenuity make up the gadget needed with only the cost of his labor to the city.

It was always his job to raise the flag and at this he became an expert. He knew how, when and under what conditions our national emblem can be displayed.

Two years after his retirement he and his wife Catherine celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 13, 1946. Mrs. Maynard died in 1950.

Maynard was born at Maidstone, Kent County, England, August 3, 1868. He had lived in Bay City 63 years.

He was a member of St. James church; its Holy Name Society; Modern Woodmen of America and Council 414 Knights of Columbus.

Surviving are: One son the Rev. Fr. Fred Maynard of Kinde; one daughter, Mrs. Frederick J. Finnegan, Saginaw; one grand-daughter, Joan Kathryn Finnegan of Saginaw and two brothers, Archie and Percy, both of England.

Additional Notes:

  • Fred Maynard, age 29, marriage to Katie Burke, age 26, on May 13, 1896, in Bay City, MI. Katie was born in Ireland, parents unknown. Fred born in 1867, in England. Parents Jas. Maynard and Sarah Day. (Source - LDS marriages)
Related Pages/Notes

Fred W. Maynard

None at this time.
People Referenced
Burke, Catherine (wife)
Day, Sarah (mother)
Finnegan, Fred. J. Mrs. (dau)
Finnegan, Joan K. (g-dau.)
Maynard, Archie (bro.)
Maynard, Fred W. (subject)
Maynard, Fred Rev. (son)
Maynard, Jas. (father)
Maynard, Percy (bro.)
Nelson, J. Harry
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
First Baptish Ch., Bay City
Maidstone, Eng.
Kent Co., Eng.
Kinde, MI
Mercy Hospital, Bay City
Saginaw, MI
St. James Ch., Bay City
Westminister Pres. Church
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.