Harry Limes

Harry Limes

Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, USA
Death 22 Mar 1988 (aged 83)
Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio, USA
Burial Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio, USA
Plot Map page 13, Lot 5920-B, grave 1 from north
Memorial ID 16370359 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Harry Limes was born on July 27, 1904 in Columbus, Ohio. He was the youngest son of Winfield Scott and Essie Lillian Lombard Limes. He had three brothers: Ernie, Sr. Tom and Albert.

In his early life he was a lather and worked in various cities around the state of Ohio. He did lath work on the Palace Theatre in Lorain including around the beautiful crystal chandlier that graces the center of the theatre's auditorium ceiling. He also did lathing work at several Catholic churches in Lorain including Holy Trinity, St. Anthony, and the Nativity BVM church.

He was a 50 year plus member of the Wood, Wire & Metal Lathers Local 171 in Lorain which later merged with the local Carpenters' Union.

Later, he worked as a foreman for the General Industries company in Elyria, Ohio retiring in 1966.

His hobbies were fishing, boating, bowling, horseshoe playing, and watching the Cleveland Indians games!

Scott and Harry Limes
Father and Son Lathers Who Built Their Dreams in Lorain County, Ohio ©

By Linda Jean (Limes) Ellis
August, 2009

My grandfather, Winfield Scott (AKA Scott or W.S.) Limes, was born January 20, 1875 near Ashville in Pickaway County, Ohio. He was the oldest in the family of three sons and two daughters born to John and Sarah Catherine (Duvall) Limes. John was a plasterer by trade.

At age 17, Scott began working by assisting his father and this experience led him to the lathing end of the construction business. In 1899, Scott Limes became a founding member and first president of the AFL – International Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers Local No. 1 in Columbus, Ohio.

In the January 15, 1904 issue of the monthly publication, The Lather, under the "Correspondence" column, is a report for Local No. 1 dated December 27, 1903, Columbus, Ohio.

"Dear Sir and Brother: The weather is very cold here; it was 5 below zero last night, but it has warmed up some today. Work here is at a stand-still now on account of the cold weather. Some of the boys have not done anything for the last two weeks. There is a good prospect for another good summer's work here. There is going to be two steel buildings here in the spring, one to be 11 and the other 14 stories. The architects are all busy and claim they have more work on hand now than they had last year."

"I hope Local No. 1 will be on a better basis next year than ever before, but right now it looks very discouraging for we have a hard time keeping what few we have in line. With best wishes for you and all the Locals, I remain

Yours truly, W. S. LIMES, Sec'y."

My father, Harry, was born in Columbus, Ohio on July 27, 1904. He was the youngest of four sons born into the family of Scott and Essie Lillian (Lombard) Limes, and followed in his father's footsteps as a full-time lather until 1934.

Sometime during 1904, my grandfather traveled to the Lorain area and joined other tradesmen to work on building the 600 room luxury resort Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point which opened in June of 1905. "He was in the county four years, long enough to have an important role in Local 171's baseball, then went back to Columbus."

By 1920, a major wave of construction ensued enlivening Ohio's economy. A couple of years later, the Limes family returned to Lorain County, but this time they made it their permanent home. My father, however, left briefly to help his uncle and aunt, Homer and Margaret (Lombard) Coats. The childless couple worked a farm in McComb, Hancock County, Ohio. Because of his temporary move, Harry graduated from McComb High School in 1923 but soon afterward he re-joined his family in Lorain.

Below are a few sentences in my father's own words:

"I started the lathing business learning the trade with my father in 1923. My father was a lather. Lathing is a business in buildings; that was material that was put on buildings so that the plasterer can plaster them. We were working pretty steady until 1927. I had become a first class lather by that time, and there wasn't much work, but there was work in Columbus, so my father and I worked on a state office building there. When we got that job done, I went from there to Dayton to work on a big school house. My brother Tom lived in Dayton, and I lived with him while I was working on this big school house. When I got through with this school house, I came back to Lorain and worked for awhile, and work kind of slowed up again."

"I worked on the Palace Theatre, up here, all through it. I worked on when they built the Saint Anthony's Church, I worked through it. I worked for a company from Cleveland in Oberlin on a couple of big college buildings and from there I went to Mansfield and worked on a big millionaire's home down there. We worked over in Sandusky on a big job, my dad and I."

"So, the lathing business, before I went into the General Industries, was either a feast or famine. You made good money while you were working, but when the job would be done, then you'd have to find another job."

During the course of my research, I found the website, "NewspaperArchive.com," and have considered it is a goldmine resource. The site presents almost endless possibilities for finding specifics about events, both large and small, in the lives of people past and present. Following my first search to look up my grandfather, I discovered a colorful biography detailing his work and personal life. His inspiring story starts on page 23 in the July 25, 1956 issue of The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram daily newspaper. A large size photograph accompanies this article showing his left profile while he was seated at a desk. With his left hand holding a telephone receiver up to his ear, he was poised to write holding a pen in his right hand. The caption under his photograph reads: "Still active in his union, W. Scott Limes, 81 of 1234 9th St., Lorain, at work assigning lathers to jobs over a large area. Business agent of AFL-Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers, Local 171, Limes was a founder of the international union and its first president of the first local, No. 1., in Columbus."

The writer concluded his record of my grandfather's life by quoting his philosophy on achieving contentment: "Fishing – I don't think a man can get too much of that." The hours my dad and his father spent fishing together bonded them in a closeness unlike any other interest they shared.

Scott and Harry were also big baseball fans and watching the Cleveland Indians play, either at the ballpark or on television, was much anticipated by them every Spring. My dad was active in bowling and horseshoe pitching. Again, thanks to "NewspaperArchive.com," I gleaned several published accounts of his bowling and horseshoe pitching accomplishments during the 1930s into the 1950s from competing in Lorain County tournaments. One such story is titled: "Limes is 1936 City Horseshoe Pitching King." I treasure the photographs of my father and his dad, but how uniquely heartwarming it has been for me to read local newspaper stories about them – now preserved on microfilm.

I desired to carry my research further about my grandfather, in particular, when I learned that the Western Reserve Historical Society's library holds a collection of manuscript materials on the subject of Lorain County labor union records not housed anywhere else. It was with this thought in mind that I devoted my December 28, 2004 research visit at W.R.H.S. to exploring the following manuscript collection:

Manuscript Collection No. 4168. One container .40 linear feet.
Three index cards of box contents descriptions were located under the W.R.H.S. Catalog II in the "Lic-Lz" Drawer.
Title: "Lorain City Federation of Labor Records 1932 – 1961."
Cross indexed under: "Lorain County AFL-CIO Federation of Labor."

Six (6) folders were located in this Manuscript box.
The March 23, 1959 Merger Meeting papers are included among other merger meeting papers in folder labeled "Number 6."
Title: "Lorain Co. AFL CIO – merger 1957-1961."

I ordered box No. 4168 and waited for it to be brought downstairs to my table. Immediately after it was delivered, I began to carefully comb through the contents inside each of its six folders. I read through them mindful to keep the sheets in their original order. My goal was to locate even one reference to my grandfather. By the time I began reading the materials in the last folder, my optimism was shaken I admit, but my perseverance prevailed. When I reached the delegate listing for the account of the "March 23, 1959 Merger Meeting of the Lorain County AFL CIO," I quickly saw the names ran down the entire page – 25 of them to be exact. I guided my eyes downward and slowly read the names one by one. Finally, there it was, fourth name from the bottom –W.S. Limes – my grandfather. The discovery was definitely worth the investment of my time and effort! The March 23, 1959 date holds a special significance because my grandfather passed away less than two months later. The results of my findings prove again he was actively involved with the Lathers Local No. 171 until the end of his life. After returning home, I transcribed the information from that page and saved it on my computer for future personal reference. I suggest to anyone who has a Western Reserve relative or ancestor with ties to a local labor organization to research the rare manuscript records that exist on this subject at the Western Reserve Historical Society's Archives.

Essie Lillian (Lombard) Limes, my grandmother, died on December 28, 1948. At the time of her death, she and my grandfather were living at 1234 9th Street in Lorain, Ohio. My grandfather was still living at their home when he died on May 16, 1959 after a fall down the basement steps the day before. He was Vice President of the Lorain County Building Trades Council, a post he had held for 17 years. Additionally, he served as the business agent for the Lathers Union Local No. 171 until his death. In his obituary, my grandfather was quoted as once having stated that he "always knew the labor movement would amount to something."

My father, a 50 year plus member of The Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers Local No. 171, carried his active union card until his death on March 22, 1988. By that time, however, Local No. 171 had merged with the Carpenters Local No. 305. Lathing as a trade was in steady decline due to changes in building methods.

Lorain's location on the southern shore of Lake Erie proved to be the perfect place for Scott and Harry to hone their lathing skills handed down from a father to his son. Here they realized their dreams and helped to build those designed by others. Lorain County was home until the end of their lives. This Limes family of my parents, Harry and Virginia (Zagorsky); my grandparents, Scott and Essie (Lombard); and my uncle Albert and aunt Marie (Weber Drusendahl) ultimately found peace and eternal rest at Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain.

The Limes family tradition of working in the construction trades did not pass down to me. Fortunately though, what has endured are my tender recollections of long ago childhood years; those happy hours spent in the company of my father and grandfather. They taught me how to bait a minnow on a hook to fish for Lake Erie yellow perch, troll for white bass along Lorain's outer harbor east break wall, and cast a line from Lorain's east pier on the Black River.

As far back as I can remember, my father owned a 14-foot Lyman boat. In 1960, he bought a 23-foot inboard Lyman that we used not only for fishing but enjoying evening boat rides before sunset. I gladly echo my grandfather's sentiments when I paraphrase him this way: ‘I don't think as a child I could have gotten too much of that.' I'm sure he and my dad would agree.

They both would be pleased to know that several structures their skilled hands helped to build so long ago still stand today in Lorain County and throughout Ohio.

Family Members


See more Limes memorials in:

  • Created by: Linda Jean Limes Ellis
  • Added: 29 Oct 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 16370359
  • Linda Jean Limes Ellis
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harry Limes (27 Jul 1904–22 Mar 1988), Find a Grave Memorial no. 16370359, citing Elmwood Cemetery, Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Linda Jean Limes Ellis (contributor 46864930) .