Bossler’s Keeps things Balanced in Bristol
by Cate Murway
Wheel alignment and wheel balancing are two totally different things, but many people often get them confused. Now, I do not! I have met Gunner’s Mate Third Class USN [GM3] Gene Fitzgerald Gregory, Delhaas H.S ’62, the owner of Bossler's Wheel Alignment Service on Otter Street since 1996. He has been taking tires off and learning how to balance them and lining up wheels since April 1967.
In his Navy stint from 9-62 to 1-66, Gene was responsible for the operation, maintenance and testing of guided missile launching systems, gun mounts and other artillery equipment. His military service career duty stations had him all over the East coast and throughout Spain, Italy, and Cuba. He was stationed aboard the American Destroyers,
the USS Saufley DD465 and the USS Everglades AD24. The USS Saufley that participated in the filming of the movie PT 109, was named for Lieutenant Richard Caswell Saufley, a pioneer of naval aviation who concentrated on hydro-airplane development. It was sunk as a target on February 20, 1968.
The USS Everglades, named for the Florida Everglades, was one of four Klondike Class destroyer tenders built at the tail end of WW II for the US Navy.
Navy veteran Gene returned home and initially started working at Rohm & Haas, packing Plexiglas, the nearly unbreakable acrylic. His Uncle George Ashton Waldron, BHS ’49, the youngest of 6 children, worked for William Bossler [1904-1988] at Bossler’s Garage from the day after graduation in June 1949 [he worked instead of going on the Washington class trip] until 1966. He started with a salary of $30.00 a week for 5 ½ days. On Saturday, the ½ day, they serviced Farruggio's Express trucks. At that time, Bossler’s Garage did “everything but bodywork and automatic transmissions” and George was sent to Rock Island, IL to attend the Bear factory wheel alignment school.
Bill Bossler retired and George Waldron took over the shop.
p.s. George bought Senator Joseph R. Grundy’s traded-in 1940 black Lincoln with the wide white walls!
Bossler was raised in the sturdy porched home next to the garage on Otter Street, along with his brothers and sisters, Francis George, John V., Hank, Maria and Amelia. [Otter Street derived its name from John Otter, who owned the land on the right side of Otter Creek.] He was a good hunter, taking advantage of the vast open lands now occupied by Rohm & Haas, the high quality supplier of specialty chemicals. He, along with moral support from his wife, Elenora, provided an independent, family-owned, full-service auto repair shop that has proven track records of excellence since 1918.
Per Navy veteran, Alan J.Vogenberg, BPharm,RPh,FASCP, “Bossler was the go-to guy. Honest, fantastic mechanic!”
Bill’s nephew, USN Journalist 3rd Class [JO3] John Francis Bossler, Father Judge ‘59/LaSalle U. is involved in writing the family history. He grew up in historic Bristol on the Delaware on Linden Street and worked on his green 1951 Chevy deluxe with his Uncle Bill, a “tinkerer forever”, who built and raced his cars at the Langhorne speedway. He reminisced, “Joe Cuttone gave me my first haircut and was my father’s [Francis George] barber for years” and shared, “[Mayor] Joe Saxton is the brother of my cousin, Horace.”
His dad, a graduate of the Bath Street School was a Rohm & Haas area supervisor until his retirement in 1970. His grandfather, John V. Bossler, Sr. repaired the looms at the Grundy Worsted Mill.
Current owner of Bossler's Wheel Alignment Service for over a decade, Gene Gregory, said there are still “artifacts” in the shop; among other things, an old roll top desk and a receipt register. Gene exclusively aligns wheels and balances tires, no repairs now. He still has no electronic equipment in his top-quality shop.
He and his wife, originally from Hulmeville, Barbara Lou “Bobbie” [Chamberlain], Neshaminy ’63, [he calls her “big blonde”] reside on Riverview Avenue and profess to be avid Phillies, Eagles and Penn State enthusiastic fans.
Gene is the 4th of 6 children and in the middle of 2 older and 2 younger sisters. His siblings are Paul Jay; TX resident, Dee Kasperitis; Janice Hoffman; Patti-Jane Reeves and Jo-Ann Gregory.
His mother, Dora [Waldron] was raised in Laurel Bend and worked in Norman’s and Company on Mill Street.
His dad, Paul Joseph grew up in Newport and was a Septa bus driver.
Bobbie, who was born in the Radcliffe Street hospital [oh, by the way, happy birthday!], has provided the services of a Neshaminy bus driver for 29 years. She feels privileged to have been a student of the late Neshaminy legend, Joel Baba, the former health and physical education teacher and gymnastics coach. She enjoyed speed roller skating and proudly shared that she was a basketball athlete on the team that won the championship in 1963. [Her maiden name is Chamberlain!]
Her mom, Helen Frances [Marek], was originally from Philadelphia and her family owned the Marek Café. Her father, Edward was a Bristol resident. Her only sister, Phyllis June Pye resides in both CA and Hulmeville.
They are sincerely proud of their 5 children.
Edward Charles who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and worked for the Borough in the Public Works and Streets department; wrestler James Anthony; [both were inducted into the Neshaminy Hall of Fame]; Otter Street resident Gene Fitzgerald, Jr.; NJ resident Lynn Harris and the youngest, Sharon Bloom. They have presented them with 7 grandchildren and another due in April! The oldest grandchild is 21 and the youngest are the almost year old twins, Asher & Ella. Life is great for the “big blonde” and “Dr. House”!
The beautiful classic lace curtains in their home are from Richman’s Window Treatments on Mill Street. Gene vividly recalls seeing the early pioneer of rock and roll, Jerry Lee Lewis at the Grand Theatre in the late ‘50’s. He danced the Bristol Stomp at the Goodwill Hose Company No. 3 Fire Hall. “I’m not a good dancer but I didn’t hurt anybody!”
The Bossler's Wheel Alignment Service business belongs to the Bristol Cultural & Historical Foundation.
Gene and Bobbie enjoy going out for dinner in historic Bristol on the Delaware.
“We love “Cesare’s Italian Specialties Ristorante” [the closest thing to home cooking!]. Never got a bad meal there!” Bobbie’s #1 choice is the delicious mussels marinara seafood dish. Another favorite spot is Annabella’s for “Flat iron steak”; a nearly perfect deep, richly flavored steak for the grill.
Their mutual admiration for each other is truly apparent.
Gene collects and carves decoys, he whittles in his basement! Bobbie exuberantly gushes, “Nothing is ever too much trouble; Gene can do anything! He’s brilliant!”
They won the Ward Museum Antique Decoy blue ribbon for best in category for their 50-year-old Joe King Delaware River style decoy [part of the Barbara Gregory collection] and $100.00!
Gene gardens behind the Bossler garage and produces bountiful crops of corn, tomatoes, and asparagus spears that leave behind beautiful ferns.
p.s. He shares his birthday with Thomas William "Tom" Lester who played the farmhand, Eb Dawson, in the television series Green Acres.
For relaxation, they kayak on the river early in the morning before the boats are in.
Gene’s trade proficiency and expertise turns casual customers into loyal and enduring fans. His credibility is constantly kept in demonstration mode, reminding the customer that he/she made a smart decision coming to him! He knows trust is a verb!
Bossler’s, a best-kept secret, is a family owned businesses with a great reputation and deep roots in the community. Saturday's child works hard for a living.
His furthest customer lives in FL, comes up to PA twice a year and schedules his appointment.
His former employer, Uncle George said, “Gene didn’t know anything about cars when he started but he listened and was a good student. Also there’s nothing like his homegrown tomatoes!”
In its most basic form, a wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. These adjustments maximize tire life and ensure a vehicle that tracks straight and true when driving along a straight and level road. Gene maintained the cars owned by Radcliffe Street resident, Dr. Hood and willingly shared his amazing perennial vegetable crop with him also!
If a wheel is out of balance, it will cause a vibration at highway speeds that can be felt in the steering wheel and/or the seat. If the alignment is out, it can cause excessive tire wear and steering or tracking problems.
It’s a good idea to have your alignment checked periodically.
Alignment is one of the key maintenance factors in getting the most wear and performance from your tires.
If the tread is deeper on the edges than in the center, the tire is over inflated.
If the tread is deeper in the center than the edges, the tire is under inflated.
If the tread is deeper on one side than the other, have your wheel alignment checked soon.
If any of these concerns exist, call Gene!
Every car owner wants a great car alignment shop they can trust, one that's located close and offers value and integrity. Now there is really no challenge to find one easily and without trial and error. Call Gene!
Bossler's Wheel Alignment Service
Tuesday – Friday 7:30 a.m- 4:30 p.m.
563 Otter Street
Recommend a Business Spotlight: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
George A. Waldron
Bucks County Courier Times
May 14, 2010
George A. Waldron of Bristol passed away Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Lower Bucks Hospital. He was 79.
Born in Bristol, he was the son of the late H.B. and Lavinia Ashton Waldron. George was a lifelong resident of Bristol and was a graduate of Bristol High School.
He was the owner of Bossler's Wheel Alignment in Bristol for more than 40 years until his retirement.
He was a member of the Masonic Lodge 25 in Bristol.
George enjoyed going to the Penn Warner Club, boating, and going to his home in New Hampshire.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, John, Robert and William Waldron; and his sisters, Dora Gregory and Lillian Waldron. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Ellen Waldron with whom he resided; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are invited to attend his viewing from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday, May 17, at Molden Funeral Chapel, 133 Otter St., Bristol, where a service will immediately follow at 10 a.m. Interment will be in Tullytown Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the William E. Waldron Scholarship Fund, C/O Bristol High School, Wilson Ave. and Garfield St., Bristol, PA 19007 or to the charity of the donor's choice.
Condolences may be sent at the Web site below. Molden Funeral Chapel,