SALEM — They were workers at the Sylvania plant who went off to war and did not come back alive.
They were eight young men, all employees at the former Loring Avenue lighting plant, all killed in World War II.
They had worked together, been separated in war and then reunited in death when a memorial sundial at the Sylvania plant was dedicated in their memory on May 26, 1946. On that day, plant employees and family members gathered to honor them.
The white Vermont marble memorial stood on the plant grounds along Loring Avenue until disappearing, either when the plant closed or after Salem State University acquired the site and turned it into its central campus more than a decade ago. The site is now home to the university’s business school, small business center and two residence halls.
Thomas Mackey & Sons, a local construction company, is credited with storing part of the monument for safekeeping. Other pieces reportedly were kept at Salem State’s marine lab at Cat Cove.
A few years ago, Dan Mackey contacted the Salem Veterans Council about the monument, setting in motion a series of events that will culminate on Monday, Sept. 17, when the memorial sundial is rededicated on the central campus.
Right now, a search is under way for family members of the eight former Sylvania workers whose names are carved on the white stone base: Christ Andrianopolus, Edward Dumont, William Herlihy, Rene Pelletier, Roland Caron, Ralph Fiore, Stephen Palmer and Frank Wright.
“We’re trying to find the families and friends of those eight men so we can invite them back to the ceremony,” said Margo Steiner, a Salem State spokeswoman.
“I’ve tracked down two of the families that will be there,” said Kim Emerling, director of veterans’ services for the city.
A monument preservation consulting company, Fannin-Lehner of Concord, was hired by Salem State to restore the damaged memorial. Only two of the original six pieces, including the marble base with the workers’ names, were intact. The others had to be built, using the same Vermont marble.
When the sundial that sat on top of the original monument could not be located, Ward 2 Councilor Mike Sosnowski donated one.
In addition to the workers’ names, the new monument bears the old inscription: “In memory of those who gave their lives in World War II.”
The memorial is being installed in a sunny spot next to the campus police station.
Anyone with information on surviving family members can contact Emerling at 978-815-1635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.