CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
STANLEY HEAT & FUEL COMPANY
Stanley Heat and Fuel Company originated with White Mountain Coal and Ice Company and the Wojtkowiak brothers of Camden: Stephen (b.1888;d.1964), John (b.1895;d.1918) (see Pvt. John Wojtkowiak), and Stanley (b.1897;d.1962). These brothers were the sons of Polish immigrants, John L. Wojtkowiak (b.1853; d.1920) and Hedwig Sobus-Wojtkowiak (b.1861; d.1924), who came to the United States in 1884 and settled into the newly forming Polish community in Camden, NJ.
White Mountain Coal and Ice Company first appears in the 1918-19 Camden City Directory under "Ice Dealers" and lists both 1212 Chestnut Street and 1160 Landsdowne Avenue as the company address. Stanley Wojtkowiak's residence is also listed as 1212 Chestnut with Stephen Wojtkowiak residing at 1160 Landsdowne Avenue. This arrangement continued until 1934. In March 1934 Stanley Wojtkowiak quit White Mountain Coal and Ice Company with $50.00 in his pocket to start his own business called Stanley's Ice and Coal Company. Fortunately, Stanley had good credit and he was able to purchase a used ice truck and, a few months later, a new coal delivery truck. According to the recollections of his son Leonard Wojtkowiak, Stanley Wojtkowiak purchased the new truck from a dealer in Union, New Jersey. Leonard also recalled that Stanley's Ice and Coal quickly won over many of White Mountain's customers. Within two years Stanley was selling more ice and coal than anyone else in the South Camden/Whitman Park area. Stanley delivered ice and coal with only one other adult employee, plus his two young sons and one of their friends as "helpers."
In the 1940 City Directory Stephen Wojtkowiak's residence had changed to 1192 Atlantic Avenue in Camden with his occupation listed as "coal." Stanley moved his family to 1306 Thurman Street in late summer of 1941, and in the 1941 directory lists his occupation as "ice." Eventually Stephen Wojtkowiak went on to work for the New York Shipbuilders Corporation in Camden, and became a member of the Boilermakers' Union 801, AFL-CIO. Stephen also moved his residence to Pennsauken, NJ. Stanley Wojtkowiak changed the company name to Stanley Heat and Fuel Company as he replaced ice and coal delivery with heating oil delivery. Most people in the Whitman Park area of Camden referred to the company simply as "Stanley's."
1306 Thurman Street was both private residence and business location for the Wojtkowiaks: Stanley, his wife Eleanor Mickiewicz-Wojtkowiak, and children John, Leonard and Pauline. Eleanor shared her beautifully maintained household with office equipment encroaching on the enclosed front porch and into the living room and basement. A large garage (built by Eleanor's brother-in-law John Strzelski) and driveway for two fuel oil delivery trucks shared the back and side yards with Eleanor's rose bushes. Eleanor often greeted customers coming to her front door to pay their bills as she prepared meals and maintained her family household.
After completing their tours of duty in the Army Air Corps during World War II, John R. White (as he was now known) and Leonard S. Wojtkowiak assumed greater responsibilities for running the family business, although Stanley maintained his involvement in the company until his death in 1962. Later, daughter Pauline Wojtkowiak-Moffa joined the company and provided secretarial/clerical support. Leonard managed the company's accounting functions including payroll and billing, as well as customer service scheduling. John was instrumental in leading the company into the new field of central air conditioning sales and service, in addition to extending Stanley Heat and Fuel Company's client base into the surrounding suburban communities. John also expanded the company's capabilities by adding a sheet metal fabricating shop when he leased the property of the former Garden State Sheet Metal Company at 1313 Chase St. as well as assuming ownership of, and doing business as, Delaware Valley Sheet Metal Company in 1963.
In 1967 John R. White purchased the site of the former Camden Meat Company at 1198 Lansdowne Avenue, Camden. The Camden Meat Company had been in operation from around 1920 until 1961 and was managed by Julius Gazdzinski. In an interesting quirk of fate, John and Leonard's uncle, Roman Mickiewicz, worked as a meat cutter for Camden Meat Company from 1929 through the 1930s.) John transformed the derelict meat processing establishment into modern office space, service department, sheet metal fabricating shop, and garages for a growing fleet of oil delivery trucks and service vans. During the demolition of the flooring in the service area, a hidden basement was discovered. Inside the basement were two old butcher blocks. John restored one of the butcher blocks to use as a table in his new office.
Just a few months after opening Stanley Heat and Fuel Company's new office location John R. White died suddenly on February 8, 1968. The company was later merged with Mohrfeld's of Collingswood, NJ under the name Mohrfeld-Stanley. Mohrfeld operated under that name until about 1977.
Written By: Sandra White Grear, daughter of John R. White, with the support and memories of Leonard S. Wojtkowiak, Richard J. White, and Chris White. March 2004.
Employees of Stanley Heat
May 1967 probably at Chubby's Restaurant
Retirement Dinner for Dave Cotney.
Left to Right: Robert Sherwood, Sheet Metal Fabricator; Walter Omiatek, Oil Truck Driver; Peter Jandura, Installations & Oil Truck Driver; Donald Moffa, Serviceman. At the head of the table: John R. White, Owner.
From John R. White, right to left: Robert Diehl, Serviceman & Oil Truck Driver; Mr. Ambirico, Helper; David Cotney, Serviceman; Leonard S. Wojtkowiak, Co-owner; Alphonso Penna, Sheet Metal Fabricator; Joseph Barneski, Serviceman.
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