Metro East’s oldest bricklayer celebrates 100th birthday

GLEN NICHOLSON, who turned 100 on July 30, receives a 75-year service award from Bricklayers Local 8 President Matt Braun (left). The designation makes him the oldest bricklayer in the Metro East. Celebrating the occasion with Nicholson are (left of Braun) his children, Dennis and Richard Nicholson and Doneeta Kallal and (right) Nicholson’s wife Mary. – Labor Tribune photo

Glen Nicholson honored with Bricklayers Local 8 service award

Missouri Correspondent

Bethalto, IL – Decked out in their finest St. Louis Cardinal’s apparel, family and friends of Glen Nicholson recently celebrated his 100th birthday and his designation as the Metro East’s oldest bricklayer.

Nicholson, a die-hard Cardinals fan, is a second generation member of Bricklayers Local 8. The Godfrey, Ill., senior was presented with a 75-year service award from the union at his 100th birthday party July 30 at the Bethalto Senior Center.

“It’s an honor for me to present this plaque,” said Local 8 President Matt Braun. “I’ve been president for seven years, and I’ve only presented three of these awards in that time. This is special.”

Nicholson graciously accepted the award, and family and friends gave him a standing ovation.

“I enjoyed bricklaying, and I like the fact that I can drive around and still see my work on churches, schools, factories, business and houses,” Nicholson told the Labor Tribune. “At one time there were six of us working for the union – me, my three brothers, my dad and my brother-in-law.”

Nicholson began working off and on at the Alsey brickyard after he graduated from high school in 1940. He joined the Bricklayers union full-time when he was 24 and retired at age 62 in 1985.

“I remember him coming home from work on a particularly hot day in the summer,” said his oldest son Richard Nicholson. “He changed into his swim trunks and sat in front of the air conditioner, and I remember him telling us kids to ‘get a job where you’re cool in the summer and warm in the winter.’

“None of the three of us kids went into the construction trades,” he chuckled.

Richard Nicholson and his sister Doneeta Kallal both credit their dad’s good health to staying active. He enjoyed hunting and fishing when he was younger and still visits the casino with his wife Mary every couple of weeks.

“We’re really proud of him,” Kallal said as she flipped through a scrapbook she made commemorating Nicholson’s 90th birthday. “Bricklaying is hard work and he’s survived to be 100. He’s my hero.”

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