The True TJ
by Cate Murway
Thomas Joseph Loughran, Sr. was born on Pond Street and grew up in historic Bristol on the Delaware with his late siblings, WWII Navy veteran James; and Ann, Delores, Gertrude M. and Kathleen. His sister, Elizabeth “Betty” Leinheiser now resides in Langhorne. Patricia Ann Paulaski grew up in the Borough of Ship Bottom, in Ocean County, NJ. Her older sister, the late Marie Pharo was married and living in West Bristol when their serviceman brother, Michael Zimmerman broke his neck in a swimming accident in the Neshaminy Creek, rendering him a quadriplegic. He was hospitalized in Fort Dix, NJ and Patricia stayed with Marie and her family so she could visit Michael.
Tom was the catcher for the youth league in Bristol in the 3rd ward. They played on the Landreth field, current location of Pennco Tech School on Otter Street and at the dual purpose fields at the High School.
Joseph A. Diamenti, BHS ‘24 started the league and his Diamonds Sporting Goods on 134-36 Mill Street sponsored the team.
Mr. Worthington was Tom’s troop leader for the St. James Boy Scouts Troop #25 and for at least 2or 3 months, he even gave the bugle a try.
As a teenager, he joined the Hibernians with his friends who lived in the “Kettle” and started actively again with the AOH when his son, Kevin joined at the age of 16.
Tom has steadfastly lived by the Hibernian motto of ‘Friendship, unity and true Christian charity’, since his teen years.
After graduating from Northeast Catholic High School in 1949, he served in the Air Force for 4 years, from 1950 to1954. His military stint began in TX before he was sent to MacDill AFB in Tampa as an MP prison guard.
The Korean War was a watershed event in the history of the twentieth century, both the first shooting war of the Cold War and first limited war of the nuclear age.
Airman First Class Loughran was stationed in Oxford, England, working in the Air Police, issuing ID cards in the Pass and Registration Office.
“I went in before I got drafted.”
There were firecrackers and parades in historic Bristol when the war was over.
Thomas Joseph, Sr. and Patricia Ann [Paulaski] Loughran have been married for 55 years. They were introduced by Tom’s late brother-in-law, George W. Nelson, Sr., BHS ’38, who proudly built many homes in the Harriman section, as well as in other areas of Bucks County. Nelson Court in Harriman was named in this family’s honor as recognition of their talents.
Tom was the proud owner of a green Pontiac but as he tells it, “I had smashed my car up on Farragut Avenue”. Patricia did the driving on their first date to see “Tobacco Road”, based on the a 1932 novel by Erskine Caldwell. This was the first of many times that they attended shows at the Grand Theater on Mill Street. The theatre opened in 1928 on the site of the former Forrest Theatre and it closed in 1960.
Their times together included pizza at Cesare’s and Pappajian’s Ice Cream for the best hot fudge sundaes and banana splits.
“Stardust” was their song when they went out dancing.
“Just straight. Slow dance,” said Tom.
Pat nodded, “He cannot polka.”
“Two left feet,” he sighed.
“When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago, now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song”
Tom thinks that his clothing from that time hasn’t changed much.
Pat voiced, “Dresses were below the knee. You didn’t wear slacks.”
Fashion in the years following World War II was characterized by the resurgence of haute couture after the austerity of the war years. Square shoulders and short skirts were replaced by the soft femininity of sweeping longer skirts, hot pink cardigans and twin sweater sets with a small neckerchief was typical of casual fashion.
Marty Green's Army-Navy store “sold work clothes and foul weather gear”.
“We started dating and then she asked me to marry her,” Tom shared.
“That’s not true”, Pat shook her head.
“Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you”
Tom was a St. Mark altar boy, attending to supporting tasks at the altar, such as fetching and carrying and ringing the altar bell, so that is where they were married by Father Albert Glass in St. Mark Church. “Everybody loved him!”
Monsignor Baird was the Pastor.
Their mortgage was $48.00 a month for their $7,100 home.
They bought their own first car together, a white station wagon, at Bristol Ford on Beaver Street across from the Post Office.
They are the proud parents of Patrick Michael, BHS ’74; carpenter Thomas Joseph, Jr., BHS ’75; Borough resident, receptionist Veronica Marie [Loughran] Ragan, BC’80 and former accountant Grace Mary [Loughran] Barone, BC’82, who resides in Chester Springs; and their youngest, the twins Kevin Patrick, Sr. and Terence Michael “Terry”, BE ‘86.
Tom has always worked hard to support his family.
He learned his business, TJ Loughran & Sons, to professionally remodel, do siding and roofing, and make contractor repairs by working with local builders, Angelo Rago and his own brother-in-law, George W. and George’s father, Carl W. Nelson, Sr., the original owner and operator of Carl W. Nelson, Builder.
Kevin recalled, “My father bragged that "Pops" Nelson, Carl Nelson, was a huge influence on him. As a young teenager, my father begged him for a job from 12 years old. Mr. Nelson finally hired him. My father worked with him and his children building homes around the Bristol area until he left for the Air Force at the age of 18. Mr. Nelson taught my father the building trade and was as straight as an arrow. A very honest and decent man.”
Tom replaced flooring at The Grundy Mill for Marvin Hirschhorn who ran the National Tea Packing Company. The wood floors, and the concrete floors for the machines, were very old. He made about $1.15 an hour.
He also worked as a utility man who served in any of several capacities at Rohm and Haas and developed slatted natural wooden crates for shipping at the Kaiser Metal Products, Inc.
Tom started working in the Manhattan Soap Company, stamping the die to make “Sweetheart” toilet soap, the streamlined pink oval bar with the elegant filigree border when he was just 14 years old.
Twin son, Kevin stated, “My father worked hard and long. I always said he would work a 2-minute silence if he could. My father always found time for his children and I feel it was in incredible ways. Dad worked as a carpenter and we were there right along side of him swinging a hammer. I look back fondly at the sun beaming and dad and us working together on a job site. It is heart warming. Dad taught us many things: a trade, hard work, and value of work ethic. He showed love at the same time. It was rare not to see dad with one of us or as time went on, a grandchild.”
There was very little money during the Depression era, 1929-1933, but people did not feel poor because everyone was in the same situation.
Merry Christmas. Here's your orange. No joke. An orange was a pretty common Christmas gift during the Great Depression.
“I was born and grew up during the Depression. Christmas Day you came down the steps and there was no tree, no gifts, nothing.”
He and his family accepted the reality of Depression holidays and never felt any different from anybody else.
His mom cooked, roasts on Sunday, and they were glad to get it, too.
Twin son, Terry shared a humorous holiday memory, “When I was young my parents bought me a drum set [and] a skate board for Christmas. 30 minutes after unwrapping those gifts I was standing on the skate board and it slipped out from under my feet and went though the bass drum. Not good for the drum or me.”
did you get anything else that year?
“Nope...but I think the skateboard is still at my parents’. My parents really tried to instill good values and hard work into all their kids....they are the best parents in the world, did all they could for their children.”
Tom’s father, the late WWI Army veteran, Sgt. James Patrick Loughran was born in Philadelphia and raised in Bristol and lived on Pond Street in the house that belonged to his parents who came here from Ireland.
He was a forman at the Corona Leather works, where leather was “tanned, curried and finished”, undoubtedly one of the oldest crafts known to man. The Leather Works was one of the companies founded by industrial pioneer, Joshua Peirce and his Bristol Improvement Co.
Tom’s dad also labored at the Patent Leather Company.
The Corona Company plant was on Beaver Street and U.S. Route13, above Mansion Street. During WWII, it became the third plant of the Fleetwings Aircraft Company.
The Bristol Patent Leather Company that opened in 1906 was located on a 30-acre plot about a quarter of a mile above the town, between the railroad and canal.
It was here that James Loughran stretched animal skins on wooden frames to prevent shrinkage during the drying stage. The leather was sold to shoemakers and factories.
His mother, Mary Ellen [Donhehy], a cook and housekeeper at St. Mark rectory, migrated from Ireland. Irish immigration to Bristol had begun in the mid-19th century but his maternal grandparents remained in Ireland.
His parents never owned a car.
Patricia’s father, Edmund F. Paulaski, a professional basketball player, was a cabinet maker. His family helped build the Holy Cross Church [est. 1891] on South Trenton's Adeline Street in 1910.
Her mom, Grace [Garrity] was a secretary in Burlington, NJ.
Tom and Pat have taken family vacations to LBI, Ship Bottom and Beach Haven, and the two of them have been to Ireland many times.
“Nice place to visit. Wouldn’t want to live there. It’s lovely but they don’t have the freedom.”
They both agree, “Bristol is still Bristol. We love it. It’s old. It’s friendly and you know everyone. It’s a lovely town.
When we moved here, we were the young ones on the street. We’re the last original family.”
“Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by”
Italicized "Stardust" lyrics
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas J. Loughran
Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2014 4:00 am
Thomas J. Loughran passed away Friday, Feb. 28, 2014,
at Chandler Hall Hospice, Newtown. He was 84.
Born in Bristol Borough, son of the late James and Mary (Donaghy) Loughran, he had been a lifelong resident.
Mr. Loughran was a graduate of North Catholic High School, and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.
He was employed for more than 35 years as a stationery engineer at Rohm & Haas, retiring in 1994.
Mr. Loughran was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Div. 1, Bristol, a lifelong member of St. Mark Church, and most especially he enjoyed spending time with his family.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia (Paulaski) Loughran; his children, Patrick Loughran, T.J. Loughran Jr., and his wife, Lucy, Veronica Ragan and her husband, Joseph, Grace Barone and her husband, Stephan, Kevin Loughran and his wife, Arleen, and Terry Loughran and his wife, Victoria; his 16 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. Mr. Loughran also is survived by one sister, Elizabeth Leinheiser; and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Friday, March 7, at St. Mark Church, Bristol Borough. Interment will be in St. Mark Cemetery. Friends may call from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, at Wade Funeral Home, 1002 Radcliffe St., Bristol Borough.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mark Church, 1025 Radcliffe St., Bristol, PA 19007. Wade Funeral Home, Bristol Borough www.wadefh.com
Helen Grace Lafferty passed away Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, at Attleboro Nursing Home, Langhorne. She was 82.
Born in Ship Bottom, N.J., she was the daughter of the late Edmund F. and Grace (Garrity) Paulaski. She resided most of her life in Manahawkin, N.J., prior to moving to Langhorne, four years ago.
Helen loved to dance, and enjoyed going to the casinos.
Wife of the late Paul Lafferty, she is survived by her sister, Patricia Loughran of Bristol; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Funeral services will be held privately at the convenience of the family.Wade Funeral Home,Bristol Borough
Patricia Loughran passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. She was 80.
Born in Beach Arlington, N.J., daughter of the late Edmund F. and Grace (Garrity) Paulaski, she was a Bristol Borough resident most of her life.
Mrs. Loughran especially enjoyed spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Wife of the late Thomas J. Loughran, she is survived by her six children, Patrick Loughran, TJ Loughran Jr. (Lucy), Veronica Ragan (Joseph), Grace Barone (Stephan), Kevin Loughran (Arleen) and Terry Loughran (Victoria). She will be sadly missed by her grandchildren, Joseph, Jeremy, Ryan, Tommy, Jen, Meg, Ang, Jul, Carolyn, Patricia, Kevin, Nicola, Caitlin, Sean, Nick, and Jackie, and her 17 great-grandchildren along with many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to United For Her, P.O. Box 351, Pocopson, PA 19366 would be appreciated.Wade Funeral Home, Bristol Borough