GOSHEN — Reliving memories.
A reunion of former employees for Johnson Controls met Saturday at Maplecrest Country Club to share their memories and to conduct the annual business meeting of the Johnson Controls Retiree Club.
There were hugs, laughter, handshakes and even tears as former co-workers and management met together, many for the first time in several years.
“I only worked there five years and didn’t think I’d know anybody. I’m surprised who I’ve seen today,” Deb (Cripe) Whitehead said. “It’s nice to see some of the people I used to work with. It was a good place to work.”
Her father, Farrell Cripe, retired from the company after 42 years.
“I was a quality control inspector and it was a very good place to work at back then,” Cripe said. “A lot of people worked there. At one time, I think we had 1,200 employees. I was a group leader and had 23 girls that I set up for every morning. It was on the production line and we made controls for water heaters on RVs.”
The company closed its doors for good in 2006, when most of their operations were consolidated to Juarez, Mexico. The building was located on Monroe Street and has been demolished. Cripe said he treasures a brick that reminds him of the good times he had at Johnson Controls.
Jan Kimlick walked into the room, looking at the crowd of approximately 100 people.
“There’s a lot of people. I don’t know their names but I remember faces,” Kimlick said. “I was there almost 33 years. I was there almost to the end. They closed down at the end of March and I left at the end of January. I was on the archiving committee. We went through old records and determined what needed to be sent to the home office in Milwaukee, Wis. That was a lot of fun and I saw so much history. It was fun to be on the committee.”