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Million-dollar year reflected salesman's spark

| Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 12:16 p.m.
John Edward 'Jack' Drylie, 88, of North Huntingdon, died Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, at Golden Heights Personal Care, Harrison City.

Mary Drylie is still impressed that her husband, John Edward “Jack” Drylie of North Huntingdon, sold more than $1 million worth of shoes in one year as manager of the Fort Pitt Shoe Store in Jeannette in the 1950s.

“Most of the shoes then were just $4 or $5 or less at that time. That's really an accomplishment and shows what a good salesman he was and how hard he worked,” Mary Drylie said.

Jack Drylie, 88, died on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Golden Heights Personal Care, Harrison City, of complications from lung cancer.

The couple met while growing up in Irwin.

“He lived just down the block from me, and I was a year younger. We used to play together with other kids in the neighborhood ... skating, sled riding. And eventually, we walked to school together,” Mary Drylie said.

Mr. Drylie joined the Army in 1943 and earned the Bronze Star. He served in Greensboro, N.C., and made it to Germany toward the end of the World War II, working as a military policeman.

He returned to Irwin in 1946. The couple married in 1948 in Winchester, Va. Throughout their marriage, they laughed about an excursion during their honeymoon in New York City.

“We went to the theater, I believe it was The Ritz, and got there early and ran to the front, so we could get good seats right next to the stage,” Drylie said.

The newlyweds were startled when the show began and the stage arose before them. “We had to look up the entire show. We laughed afterwards and never forgot that experience,” she said.

Mr. Drylie retired in February 1987 after more than 33 years with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. He began as a toll collector and became assistant district manager for the area from Irwin to the Ohio border.

He worked for a year in the 1950s as North Irwin's first paid policeman.

Mary Drylie said her husband passed along his work ethic to their daughter, Rosemary Drylie, who is acting postmaster in Larimer in North Huntingdon.

“Jack was proud of her,” Mary Drylie said.

He was preceded in death by a son, Charles “Chuck” Drylie, in 1996. In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday in William Snyder Funeral Home, 521 Main St., Irwin. A service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in the funeral home. Interment will follow in Union Cemetery, North Huntingdon.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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