Paper mill celebrates career of longtime employee

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014

At 76, James E. Galloway isn’t exactly ready for a rocking chair. His family just recently got him to retire from International Paper Bogalusa Mill after 54 years and six months.

Galloway’s retirement became official today. His last working day at the mill was Sept. 19. The company honored Galloway with a reception on Friday in a conference room at the Bogalusa Mill. For many years, Galloway worked on instruments in the electrical department. He replaced instruments as needed and calibrated them.

Galloway seemed embarrassed by all the attention heaped upon him during the reception.

“I’ve enjoyed working here,” Galloway said. “I saw a lot of improvements. It’s a good place to work. I like work. It’s good on you nerves.”

Electrical supervisor Michael Reed said Galloway will be missed as he offered Galloway his congratulations on retirement.

“He’s a model employee and a hard worker,” Reed said of Galloway. “He’s one of those guys I could always depend on. I wish he could stay longer, but I know he’s going to enjoy his retirement.”

Galloway is the father of five children ranging in age from 46 to 55. He has seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

“If anybody needed a day off, they knew who to call,” his daughter, Gayle Yinger, said. “He’s a workaholic.”

Galloway and his wife, Eretta, have been married 57 years.

“For years, men out here have been trying to get him to retire so they could get his job,” daughter Cynthia Galloway said.

Galloway began working at the mill when he was 19 years old. He worked at the mill on three different occasions.

“When I started out here, I worked on the Bull Gang. That meant you worked where they needed you. It was always the bottom job. I think it was something like $1.40 per hour. Between 1959 and 1960, I was laid off and went to work on a Merchant Marine ship until I got called back in 1962.”

Galloway said the most difficult job at the mill was working on paper machines.

“That was a lot of physical work,” Galloway said. “The machines I worked on didn’t have all the automatic stuff like they do now.”

Galloway also worked as a paper tester in the technical department. He checked the PH of the paper pulp, paper quality and credibility of the paper, or how the paper would take ink.

In 1974, Galloway started work on the electrical crew as an electrician. He did that for four years and then started doing the instrumentation work.

Galloway said he didn’t know he would work for as long as he did.

“I just wasn’t ready to retire,” Galloway said.

But now he said the time is right.

“I’m glad to be retiring,” Galloway said. “I like the paper mill, but I like spare time, too. The Lord has blessed me.”