Gerard Louis Keinholz - PRR Railroader From Another Era

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Gerard Louis Keinholz - PRR Railroader From Another Era

Postby XC Tower » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:36 am

Gerard "Gerry" Keinholz, perhaps the last employee from the PRR roster of Erie, PA, in his time, passed away this past Tuesday at age 97. He was a class act and what a character! I will never forget his "moniker" of "Spearnose", which he would either write with chalk on railroad cars or permanent marker on signal boxes, etc. Gerry came from an era where most railroaders were kind to kids, taking the time to smile and speak to a boy fascinated by something bigger than life: trains! A kindred spirit, he could see in another the same spirit and desire that was his as a youngster, who wanted to grow up to be a railroader like him.
Hiring out in September 1940, Gerry made $6.32 per day, working straight on through World War II. He witnessed the sights and sounds when Erie, PA, was a busy port on Lake Erie, telling me of the 40 car ore trains pulled by two I-1's with two of the same on the rear with throttles wide open to climb the winding grade out of town, where the pushers would be cut off at "Jackson", a point ten miles or so out of town. He shared so many other awesome stories from another time and day.
I met Gerry in 1973 while he literally rolled by, while hanging on the ladder of a forty foot boxcar in Dock Junction Yard, when he shouted at me, "Hey! What did you do with that radio I gave you?!" Turning to my dear old Dad, I asked what he meant. With a knowing smile, the answer came, "He's a character." Yes, indeed, a true character who for 43 years was the best friend a guy could have.
Thank you, Gerry, from the late middle aged man with the blond-haired and blue eyed boy within him who is still waving. As long as I live, you will always be my pal.


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