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Biography

Leslie Earl Flory was born on March 17, 1907 in Sawyer, Kansas.  His parents, William and Anna Flory, were farmers and members of the Old German Baptist Brethren, one of the plain sects.  His father was also a construction contractor.  Grandpa(Les), like most farm boys, was fully employed in all sorts of practical work around the farm. I have a picture of him at age 5, up on a grain wagon, raking the grain as it came out of the thresher so that it wouldn't pile up and run over the sides.
 
Grandpa went to school right in Sawyer, and graduated from Sawyer High School in a class of a half a dozen or so.  The small size of the schools had interesting implications.  It meant that just about everyone was on the basketball team, the drama club, the debate team and any other activity that required a group effort, so students were stretched in directions that they might not otherwise pursue.  In the elementary school, the different grades studied in the same class room, so if you were bored with your work, you could listen to what the older kids were learning. 
 
Grandpa's physics teacher got him interested in radio, and Grandpa built his first radio in 1921, when he was a freshman.  At some point either right before or right after graduating, Grandpa ran a power line from town, 1/4 mile to his parents house, and wired the house, probably on admonition from his father to do something useful with all this electronic stuff.  Grandpa told me he rigged electric lights on tractors for nighttime farm work, too.
 
After graduation from High School, Grandpa studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Kansas.  He had to pay his own way, and ran the Kappa Eta Kappa Electrical Engineering fraternity house(laundry etc.) to pay expenses.  He worked summers harvesting wheat, and even took a semester off as a cream separator dealer for International Harvester. 
 
The demands of working to pay for school left Grandpa little time for projects, never mind homework, so his grades were not stellar.  He did excel in Electronics, as I have an exam booklet of his from Radio Theory, with a 99 percent grade on it, which is very interesting in its content.  One part of the exam deals with transmitting photographs over wires, and describes a full facsimile system with helical scanning on a drum by a light source and photocell modulating an audio oscillator, and a receiver using magnetic repulsion of 2 closely-spaced wires that cover a slit through which a light source shines.  His Senior Thesis, which he described as "a simple-minded project" was the conversion of an RCA medium frequency transmitter to amateur frequencies.
 
On graduating from KU, Grandpa received job offers from RCA, GE, Westinghouse, and Bell Labs.  He chose RCA and moved to Camden, NJ because they offered the best pay, $30 per month, and for only a 5-day week.  Grandpa rented a room from the mother of another  new RCA employee, Bud Kezeler.  Not too long after, Grandpa married Bud's sister Helen.
 
Les and Helen had two children, Robert Earl and June Flory.  They all moved to Princeton when the RCA Lab opened there, and Robert and June graduated from Princeton High School.  Robert went to Cornell and then was hired at RCA in Princeton, where he and his wife Eleanor raised me, Robert Gyfford Flory, and Janice Eleanor Flory.  June married Manuel Cebollero and they raised daughters Linda, Christine, and Ellen. 
 
Grandpa travelled quite a bit for work, and often took Grandma along.  After they retired, they travelled quite a bit together, including an around-the-world trip.  Grandpa and grandma were active in music box and clock collecting, orchid growing, and crafts.  Grandma taught arts and crafts to wounded veterans during the war, and especially liked making jewelry. 
 
When Grandpa died in 2002, he also had a great-grandson, Noah Flory Engelmann, son of Linda and Eric Engelmann.  Not long after Grandpa's death, my son Martin Oliver Flory was born by my wife Pamela Jean (Horsley) Flory, and my sister Jan married Eric Stabb.
 
More to come.
 
Robert G. Flory

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