In the continuing series of famous people who met my grandfather… there’s a colorful story of a real life gunslinger in 1930’s Los Angeles, whom Tip encountered while trying to find a job as a young aviator.
Tip was job searching, and he had help from family. It was networking, old school:
Tip’s wife’s father, Harry Hossack, had a brother who worked in the Los Angeles, California, sheriff’s department. Harry’s brother had married a lady officer who reported directly to the Sheriff. The Sheriff knew every businessman in Los Angeles, particularly Mr. H. H. Wetzel, who was the Vice President of Douglas Aircraft. Douglas Aircraft was exactly the kind of company that Tip wanted to work for. So a connection was made for a woman’s brother-in-law’s son-in-law.
Sheriff Eugene Warren Bicailuz wrote a letter of introduction for Tip on June 9th, 1936, and Tip got the job. He was a junior project engineer at the Douglas aircraft factory, as the fantastically popular DC-3 was rolled out and away.
Tip’s account of the job is delightful, and the letters in his archive from Sheriff Bicailuz are treasures. Tip included his experiences on the factory floor in his memoir, which is almost ready for publication.
Biscailuz is mainly known to history for his creation of the California Highway Pattrol, the best of its kind then and now. He joined the LA County Sheriff department as a clerk, after graduating college with a law degree, and moved up. He was proudly Hispanic, descended from Spanish Basque settlers with roots deep in the pre-American culture of Los Angeles. Biscailuz’s grandfather was one of LA’s first lawman and died in a shoot out on the muddy streets in the 1800s.
Sheriff Biscailuz, in his own time, faced down a hail of bullets and braved a live bomb to talk down a labor dispute.
There’s a story there… of Sheriff Biscailuz and his father, and his grandfather. Grandfather stories are my specialty… perhaps one day.
If you are interested in being on the book announcement list, please email me. It’s a richly detailed journey through an amazing period of history.