Dallas Lester Summers, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Dallas Lester Summers


Dallas Lester Summers was born in Edgerton, Ohio, in 1902. His sister, Neva, in 1904. About 1906 their parents, Lester Edward Summers and Julia Strosburger Summers, brought them to Chesterton, at 216 Grant St., where the La Casa Morena is now. Lester was a telegrapher for the New York Central Railroad. About 1908 or 09 they moved to 418 S. 2nd St. Julia died in 1943. Lester remarried Maria Wistler. Lester died from burns in 1955.

Neva married Arther Gibbs and moved to Kokomo, Ind. They had four children: Lester Bill, Mary Jane, Jack, and Sandy.

Dallas L. married Ruth L. Spencer Dec. 20, 1925. Their son, Dallas Burton, known as Jonny, was born Sept. 28, 1926. Dallas and Ruth belonged to the First Methodist Church of Chesterton. He worked at Youngstown Sheet and Tube in East Chicago, Ind., as a safety inspector. He worked there 45 years and retired in 1967. Ruth worked at Wilbar Manufacturing Co. in the early 1950s. They bought a cottage in 1945 at Indian Lake near Dowagiac, Mich. They still own it.

Dallas liked to work with wood and he made quite a bit of their furniture. Ruth liked to knit and crochet. They still live at 706 So. 2nd St. since about 1929.

Jonny married Ila Joan Saidla, known as Jo, Oct. 18th, 1947. They lived at 226 N. Calumet Rd. where their son, Collyn Burtus, was born Oct. 3, 1948. They bought a house at 126 Chesterton Blvd. and daughter, Julie K. was born April 25, 1950.

Jonny had worked at Michigan City for Pulman Standard before he went into the Army in 1945. He served with the 25th. Division in the Philippines and Japan. After he came home in 1946 he went to work at Youngstown with his dad, Dallas L. He went thru the apprenticeship for instrument repair man. He now is looking forward to his retirement in 1977.

Jo was the first paper girl, in 1943-44, that Chesterton had. After the children were 4 and 3 she worked with her father, J. C. Saidla, in his Studio until about 1958. Then she started as a Brownie Leader, then Girl Scout leader at their day camps and as Neighborhood chairman for many years. Jonny worked with her in Scouting too and they both are still registered Girl Scouts.

In the Chesterton Centennial, 1952, Jonny won an award for the smallest sideburns.

Jonny has had Ham radio station W9VAY since 1952. He belonged to the Chesterton and Valparaiso Ham clubs. He also taught youth of Chesterton and Porter the basic requirements for Ham radio.

In 1954 they bought their home at 127 So. 15th St, where they still live.

Jonny also enjoys wood working and has made all kinds of things. Together Jonny and Jo have made and built Barbie Doll houses, Heathkit stereo radios and record players, Heathkit 25" color TV and the wood cabinets. A 10'x18' room on the back of their house and a 8'x12' dark room in the basement for their amateur photography. They both belong to the Valpo Camera Club.

In 1967 Jonny was one of the first to graduate from the Chesterton High School Adult Night classes. In 1971 he took a 2-year course with the National Camera, Inc., in Denver, Colo. In 1974 he started the Chesterton Camera Repair Shop part time. Will run the shop, here at 1420 W. Indiana Ave., full time when he retires from Youngstown. He is a Master Camera Craftsman.

Jo has worked for Akay Garment Co. since 1970 as a seamstress. She also enjoys sewing for her family, crocheting and all kinds of needlework. She and son Collyn belong to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Jo has worked with the Altar Guild for about 10 years.

Their daughter, Julie, married Ernest Edward Esgate Oct. 4, 1968. Ed was in the Army and went to Germany. Julie followed him there and their daughter, Sara Dawn, was born March 14, 1970. She was 5 weeks old when her mother flew home with her. After Ed got out of the Army he went to work for the Lambshire Food Processing Co. of Calumet City, Ill. In 1974 they moved there to be near Ed's work.

Julie had been a Brownie, Girl Scout and a 4-H'er.

Collyn had been a Boy Scout. In 1968 he went into the Navy. He served aboard the USS Buck and USS Pritchard. He was in and around Vietnam several different times. On Dec. 13, 1969, he married Justina Catherine Styonavich. They were stationed at San Diego, California. Collyn got out of the Navy Sept. 15 and their son, Steven Michael Wayne, was born Sept. 14, 1972.

Collyn went to work for Bethlehem Steel Corp. He is now taking a course in TV repair and hopes to open a shop in the far future. Cathy, his wife, works for Price Mobile Home Centers, Inc., in Burns Harbor. They just bought a 14'x70' house trailer and live in the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park, Portage, Ind.

Submitted by Mr. and Mrs. D. B. Summers

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 165-166

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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