Tom Crogan, 75, Gives Up Leadership Of Local Charity Group After 32 Years.
Coming from a humble upbringing as the son of a coal miner, Crogan has worked closely with church organizations all his life.     Youngstown, O-- P-h contractor Thomas W. Crogan Sr. has spent much of his life helping the poor.

     Crogan, 75, recently retired as president of the Mahoning Deanery's Particular Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a Roman Catholic layman's organization for helping the poor.  He served 32 years in the post.

     He will, however, remain active in the society.  He is chairman of a committee for building a home for unwanted aged persons and is president of a local conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

     Crogan compared the retirement from the council presidency to running his business: "There are younger men coming up and I want to see how they work out while I'm still around."

     He has by no means retired from the presidency of Crogan Plumbing & Heating Co., which employs 22 mechanics at present.

     Two of his sons, Thomas W. Jr. and Joseph, are helping run the business as vice-president and secretary-treasurer, respectively.  Three grandsons (two of them are Tom Jr's sons) are also in the firm.

     The company does all types of plumbing-heating work --residential, institutional, commercial and industrial--in both new work and repair.

     Crogan, one of 10 children,  was born in Simpson, Pa.  His parents were natives of Ireland, and came to the United States in the 1880's.

 Worked as a Boy

     At age 12, Crogan worked in the mines with his father.  During a coal miners' strike, he got a job in a silk mill.

     His father urged him to learn a trade and Crogan left the mill for a job as a plumbers' helper at $2 a week.

     At first, he walked five miles each way to work.  He bought a bicycle as soon as he could.

     When he was 19 and making  $18 a week , he got his license.  He opened his own plumbing shop, and soon was making a relatively comfortable income of $25 a week.

     At 21 he married his boyhood sweetheart, Mary Roche.

Steel Job

     Later he moved to Scranton, Pa.  There he took a job as superintendent of the pipe department of Crucible Steel Co. at $200 a month.

    However, he was soon bothered by an illness which was to trouble him from then on, and he moved to Youngstown in 1917.  He operated a sheet metal business from the basement of his home until he got a Youngstown plumbers' license.

    His present quarters, into which he moved 15 years ago, has a 40' x 60' showroom.

    Always active in his church, he soon became especially interested in helping the poor and needy.

     He often visited hospitals and institutions to distribute Sacred Heart badges, rosaries and Catholic literature to his people.  On many occasions he has acted as sponsor at baptism and confirmation for those who have no family or friends.

    Crogan believes that "no matter how little or how much you have, you can always help the other fellow."

 His Men Helped

     Before the society got its own vehicle.  Crogan frequently had his own men  and trucks pick up used clothing and furniture for redistribution to the poor.

    Before this past Christmas, his shop was headquarters for assembling and wrapping packages for the poor.  "Eight of my men worked until 8:30 one night to get the baskets ready,' he said.

    At one time, Crogan was president of the Mahoning Valley plumbing contractors' association and was active in the National Association of Plumbing Contractors.

     He served on the association's National Apprenticeship committee and was instrumental in the establishment in Youngstown of one of  the first apprenticeship schools in the country.

     His son, Tom Jr., is at present a director of the Ohio State Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors.

Keeps Up With Times

       Crogan prides himself on keeping abreast of trends in the plumbing-heating business.   He has a reputation among plumbing contractors of being one of the first merchandisers.

     The inroads of electric heat don't faze Crogan--he plans to become an installer of electric heat eventually if acceptance of this heating method continues.

    The Crogan shop has a huge selection of repair parts and tools for sale to do-it-yourself homeowners.

Largest Stock

     "We have a larger stock of repair parts than any of the hardware stores and other places selling these supplies,' Crogan said.  "Sometimes the other stores send their customers here.'

     "We're willing to help the homeowner this way in his minor repairs.  Then when he gets into trouble  or need plumbing fixtures, he comes back to us."

     Once when a man inquired about the repair of a leaky faucet, Crogan told him, "If  you can bring it in here it will cost you a nickel.  If I go to your home it will cost you $7.'

     The man brought the faucet in and another measure of good will was won.

Has a 'Snap'

     Written up recently by a local newspaper, The Youngstown Vindicator, Crogan was described as having a snap to him.  "There is snap in his step, in his eyes, in his voice and the the way he does things," the writer said.

     Crogan's non-plumbing-industry activities have included these positions:  chairman of the USO, construction superintendent of the Assumption House, fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and member of the South Side Merchants' and Civic Association.  he was man of the year in 1959 for St. Patrick Church.

     He helped organize the Retreat league for Youngstown men at Cleveland, O., and one for women at Villa Maria, Pa.  He was the first president of the Ursuline PTA.

     He has been active in the Boy Scouts all his life.

     Five of his seven children are living.  He has 28 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Contractor in the News    The Contractor, January 15, 1964