“Tiger” Retires After 66 Years

By: Stephen McLamb, Blount County Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Blount County Bureau Chief

Alcoa, Blount County (WVLT) - It's the end of an era at Alcoa. When the first shift arrives at the plant Thursday, someone will be missing.

For the first time since May 16th, 1941, Tiger won't be on the job.

Clyde "Tiger" Tidwell began work at Alcoa in 1941. Mount Rushmore was finally carved and the world was getting ready for its second world war. After nearly seven decades, tiger is turning in his hard hat.

After 66 years, Clyde Tidwell has become an Alcoa icon.

Saying goodbye to coworkers, Tiger as he is called decided to retire. He says it was now or never. "All the people that I worked with, I would say half of them are gone. You know, expired."

Tiger began working at Alcoa in 1941. "I never gave it a thought I'd be there this long."

Making 55 cents an hour. "That was pretty good money, really. You know, you could get a great big meal for a quarter."

Times were tough, having to walk to work.

"Was it uphill both ways?” McLamb asks.

“Well, it wasn't too steep you know but it was uphill walking,” Tiger replies.

After a tour of duty in World War II, Tiger came back to Alcoa where he has worked since.

A going away party for Tiger became more of a roast when they talked about how much he liked to work, and work overtime.

"We figure Tiger worked about 36 years of overtime."

Tiger was known for having a full lunchbox, so that was just one of his going away presents.

"He always carried in enough food for two shifts you know, anticipating that he was going to double,” says Bob Long, Tiger’s coworker.

So you would think Tiger is going to have a lot of time on his hands, well maybe not.

"How is he going to handle this?” McLamb asks Tiger’s wife, Floy.

“Oh, he will with my help,” she says. “He's already putting me in a new doorbell."

"I meant to mow my yard this afternoon you know but the rain is going to come on us,” says Tiger.

Tiger rarely missed work, but did six years ago. It was his 60th anniversary party at Alcoa when he fell off the curb and broke his arm, causing him to miss 59 days.

He told us that is why people were holding his arm helping him along.


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