My dad’s papers are an ongoing archaeological dig

– Dad, circa 1978

As many people know, cleaning up all the details after the loss of a parent is a complex, time-consuming, and at times frustrating task. For me it has been, and continues to be, all three. Among the most challenging aspects has been the fact that I have loose ends to tie up overseas.

Because of this, I keep returning to file boxes and cupboards and desk drawers and bureaus and closets in search of either missing documents and/or policies I did not even know existed. In a sense, this is an ongoing archaeological dig.

– face value of 200 pounds. Worth anything today? Hope to find out!

I found one life insurance policy, for example, my dad had purchased in 1951, guaranteeing just 200 English pounds in coverage! The company does not even exist any more, and has likely been absorbed any number of times into bigger conglomerates. More research for me…

History Gold mine:

The serendipitous part of all this is the gold mine of historical documents and details I either never knew or had forgotten. This morning, for example, I came across the purchase information for the home where I was born (literally born, in the upstairs bedroom!). And, also, the real estate agent’s listing of the home where I lived growing up (age 8-19).

One interesting find was an article from 1970, from the local newspaper in the town where my dad grew up. Rayleigh (just one letter different from Raleigh), is situated about 35 miles to the east of London, in the county of Essex.

The article, headlined “RALEIGH LANDMARK GOES BUT BUSINESS CARRIES ON”, featured the demolition of the house at 240 Eastwood Road, where my dad and his three sisters grew up. The writer expresses disappointment that local government’s unwillingness to grant planning permission led to expansion of the business in another community (Folkestone, where I was raised).

Community Leadership and Business Ethics:

The old family home had evolved, over time, into the business offices for “F.W. Maul & Son Ltd”. But they were land-bound; so, when my parents married in 1952, they expanded the business and eventually built the new factory 75 miles away to the south in Folkestone.

It wasn’t just the loss of the manufacturing business, and the jobs that went with it, it was the leadership of my grandfather and my dad in terms of a modeling a responsible relationship to the community. What they offered is still – to my mind – the only ethical approach to running an enterprise of that scale.

Both dad and my grandfather felt that God had blessed them with resources and smarts and an entrepreneurial spirit so that they could “provide good jobs for families in the community.” This was a calling for them. Even as captains of industry they saw themselves, first, as servants.

Dad and Grandpa understood the need to make a profit, and to be competitive, but they carefully capped their own salaries at moderate levels as part of an ongoing commitment to improve the pay and the working conditions of their employees.

– Derek Maul in Folkestone, Oct 2022

Consequently there was little to no friction with the workforce (around 150), no unionization, no “industrial action” (strikes), no sense of “them and us.”

Like I said, the archaeological dig is ongoing. Be assured that there are stories to come.

Peace and blessings – DEREK

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