The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 7, 2012

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Pittsburg couple lived the American dream

Broadway Lumber Day to honor founder, family

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Byron Deill died last year on Oct. 12 at age 88, but his mark will remain for decades on the city of Pittsburg.

Perhaps more importantly, his widow says, his mark will remain on a third generation of the family.

As owner of a construction company, Deill built landmarks that I drive past on almost a daily basis. On the campus of Pittsburg State University, there’s Weede Gymnasium, the McPherson nursing education building, Dellinger Hall, Axe Library and the press box at Carnie Smith Stadium.

To the south, there’s George Nettels Elementary School and two entire neighborhoods of houses in Deill’s First Addition and Second Addition.

And commercial properties: the first Wal-Mart in town (now occupied by Hastings and other businesses), Dillons, Ace Hardware, Kansas Teachers Credit Union, Commerce Bank.

And churches: First Christian and the Church of God.

And a whole slew of buildings in other Southeast Kansas communities.

But I didn’t know that — and had never really thought about the man behind those buildings — until I received the agenda for Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting.

It included a proclamation that Mayor John Ketterman will read: The day officially will be recognized as Broadway Lumber Day in Pittsburg.

Deill founded that company 60 years ago, on Sept. 30, 1952.

I called to visit with Deill’s daughter, Susie Boldrini, 56, who grew up in the business and now plays a role in its daily operation. I figured she could tell me why the business was so successful. She told me that, plus the list of things he’d built, and I was amazed.

“At the time he started the company, we were one of 14 lumber companies on street corners all over Pittsburg,” she said after taking a few minutes to finish helping a customer. “We’re the only one of the 14 left. We’re also the only home-owned, home-operated one in town.”

Customers are always first there, she said.

“We have three generations of families that shop here,” she said. “It’s all about relationships. Dad taught us that.”

As it happens, Deill and I share a birthday, April 28 — although he was born a few years earlier than me, in 1923. He graduated from McCune High School and attended PSU for two years, majoring in business.

While in college, he met the love of his life, Mary, who turned 87 last week. I had a delightful conversation with her Friday afternoon.

“I’m really proud we’re on the third generation now,” she said.

Besides Susie, the couple have another daughter, Nancy Deill Johnson. Each daughter has two children. Susie’s sons, Byron, 31, and Warren, 29, work at the store; Nancy’s children live out of state.

“I am so thrilled that the two boys have taken an interest in it,” Mary said of her grandsons.

All of them will be at the City Commission meeting Tuesday to accept the mayor’s proclamation.

Mary also told me that Deill Street was named for the family, and that made her proud. But she said what makes her most proud is the type of man her husband was.

“He never missed any of the activities the children were involved in,” she said. “And he was a true gentleman — never used any curse words, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, always was kind and gentle.”

They were married 65 years.

“We had the American dream,” Mary said. “We met in college, fell madly in love at first sight, had two healthy, intelligent daughters, and four perfect grandchildren. What else can you ask for? Those are the important things in life.”

Follow Andra Stefanoni on Facebook at facebook.com/andrajournalist and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Gubernatorial hopefuls make area appearances

    Three potential candidates for Missouri governor in 2016 made stops in the Joplin area this past week.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • shoalcreekcleanup.jpg Wildcat Glades center puts on service day at Shoal Creek

    About 20 people on Saturday pulled trash out of Shoal Creek as they paddled in canoes and kayaks from Grand Falls to Zan’s Creekside Campground in Joplin.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter