Ron and Marlene Hooker

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Roland “Ron” Hooker
Interviewed by Sue Poole

Ron was born in Bemidji, Minnesota. He grew up in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and attended Grand Rapids Elementary, Junior High, and High School.

Why did you go to work at Rohr?

We moved from Minnesota to California and I needed a job.

How did you get your job at Rohr?

Just went in and applied for it.

When did you begin working there?

October 24, 1956. The reason that I remember is four other guys started the same day, including John Donnelly.

In what department did you first work?
Maintenance. I was an Electrician. I was promoted to Supervisor in the middle of September 1967.

What did the Maintenance department do?
It was a composite group of people – Welders, Mechanics, Electricians, and Air Conditioning Sheet Metal Workers.

What was made?

Many things such as ice chuck for milling Honeycomb core, phosphoric acid and anodized tank.

What shift did you work?

Days. I worked other shifts occasionally for vacation replacements.

Did you have the proper training or skills?

No. I took many classes at the junior college, in plant courses and at RCC. I received a certification in supervision.

How long did it take to learn your job?

Many years. I was a General Supervisor in Maintenance from 1979 to 1981. I also worked as a Construction Superintendent with Plant Engineering, beginning April 13, 1981.

What did you do there?
I was involved in major building construction products.

How many hours did you work per week?

Forty plus.

Was it hard on your family?

No. It was hard on me. 


The stress of it. Coordinating construction at that time, working with contractors and making sure everything happened on time.

I went back to Maintenance as a General Supervisor, from July 25, 1983 to 1985.

What did your job entail?

Supervising maintenance operations for all of the Riverside plant.

How many hours did you work?

Forty plus.

Was that hard on you?

Not bad. Much less stressful than construction management.

After that I was a Facilities Specialist assigned to Material Handling, from September 2, 1985 until I retired.

What did that job entail?

Doing plant layout work, and laying out department operations.

I was a Facilities Specialist assigned to Material Handling from July 15, 1988 until 1990.

What did that job entail?

I was a Supervisor over Material Handling Design Engineers and some Maintenance people. Responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of Material Handling items.

How did you get to work?

Carpooled with others when Marlene was working downtown. Then we rode together until her hours changed and we drove separately.

What did you drive?
56 Dodge, and old Mercury.

Did you have family members working in the plant?

Yes, my wife worked there.

Did family members help each other get jobs?

We helped our son-in-law.

Did you meet your wife there?

No, we were high school sweethearts.

Did you make friends working in the plant?
Yes, lots of them.

Did you see your fellow co-workers outside of work?


We would go out to dinner, play cards, golf, and party. There were department parties. We used to party at the Salton Sea weekends with my boss and some of the guys that worked for me, just a group of buddies.

I also belonged to the Moose Lodge on Picker Street in Riverside, off of Cypress.

Were there any places in town that co-workers went to regularly?

On Van Buren, Housty Vegas Bar usually. It had a soffit painted in black light like in old Vegas. It was a popular gathering place for couples.

What Rohr company sponsored social activities did you participate in?

Company picnics. Bowling teams – men’s team in Maintenance, and a couples league with my wife. Fishing and hunting with co-workers. Rohr night at Disneyland.

How long was lunch?

Half hour lunch plant-wide.

Did management and non-management eat together?

There was an executive dining room for the higher level managers. The others went to the cafeteria.

How were new co-workers coming in treated?

Alright. Fairly.

How did you get along with the managers?

Good. A good relationship with everyone I had contact with.

How often did employees get raises?

Salaried people on their anniversary. Yearly for bargaining unit people. In between there were merit raises for outstanding performance.

Rohr also had Employee of the Month selections. I got one and received three Supervisor of the Month awards. You had your picture taken and it was hung on bulletin boards throughout the plant.

Did you know people who were laid off?

What happened to them?
They got other jobs. I think Rohr helped them sometimes.

Did you ever have to deal with a strike?

Yes, when I was salaried. Every time I had to go into the plant and work. During the last strike, I had to work 75 hours steady before I got to go home.

Did you have to cross the picket line?

Yes-once.  When it was on lockdown, before it was fenced in.

When did you leave Rohr?

January 1990 was my official retirement date.

Why did you retire?

Tired of work. We had a plan for me to retire early and build a house and then go back to work on a part time basis.

Marlene Hooker
Interviewed by Sue Poole

Marlene was born in Cohasset, Minnesota, and grew up there. She attended Cohasset Elementary and Junior High. Cohasset did not have a high school so she went to Grand Rapids High School which was about 10 miles away.

Why did you go to work at Rohr?
Because Ron worked there and there were several openings.

When did you begin working at Rohr?
January 3, 1957.

What department did you first work?
Purchasing and Materiel.

What was your job?
Started out as a Beginning Steno, then went to Purchasing Clerk, etc. from January 3, 1957 to 1959.

What did that entail?
Typing purchase orders, quotations.

What was your department responsible for?
They bought parts, components and material for production use.

From 1959 to 1962 I was a Steno Secretary. I worked temporarily in the Modular Components Division.

What did that job entail?
Secretarial work. I worked for Glen Guerin.

What was your department responsible for?
Rohr was in the modular housing prefab housing business.

What was your next job?
From January 1963 to June 1963 I was a Materiel Steno Secretary for the Department Manager. In 1969 I became an Administrative Secretary. In February of 1973 I was a Senior Secretary. In January of 1976 I became an Administrative Secretary Senior. 

What did that job entail?
Secretarial duties for general supervisors, managers and directors. I was fortunate to have excellent rapport with all of my bosses and enjoyed working with them.

In 1982 Marlene received her 25 year anniversary pin with 5 diamonds. The presentation was held at the plant. Marlene received her 30 year Rohr anniversary pin and clock in 1987.

My next and last job was in the Space Products Division as an Executive Secretary to the Vice President Keith Gentry from 1987 until June 30, 1992 when I retired.

What was made in the Space Products Division?
Rocket motor sections for Titan missiles and booster motors for the space shuttle.

Did you see your fellow co-workers outside of work?
Yes. Bowling, parties, dinners. We used to have some good times. We had company picnics which were held at the Hemet Fairgrounds, in the mountains, various places. I joined the women’s bowling team and also the couple’s league.

How long were you on the bowling teams?
A couple of years. Two to three years on the Vegas leagues. Each week a part of our bowling fees went toward a trip to Vegas for everyone.

When did you leave Rohr and why?
In 1992 to retire. To stay home and enjoy my home and family. Also to travel.

Did you think that you would stay that long at Rohr when you started?
I was only going to work for six months. I stayed 35 years.

Marlene with a nose cowl part. Photo courtesy of the Hooker family.

Marlene passed away in 2022.

Ron with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, advertising Rohr Night at Disneyland, March 1976. Photo courtesy Hooker family.

The November 25, 1981 issue of Rohr News mentioned Ron's 25th Rohr anniversary (p. 6).


Written by Sue Poole April 17, 2007.

Ron passed away in 2010.




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Last updated: 01-11-2024