97-year-old Avon former tool & die maker Edward Wilding visits Lorain County JVS

OBERLIN, Ohio - A 97-year-old Avon resident who grew up in London, England was hosted by the Lorain County JVS to share his life's experience in the trades.

Edward Wilding wasn't sure why anyone in the television world would be interested to share that experience Wednesday, but with a quick wit and sharp memory, Wilding took everyone - including students and staff - who would listen at this vocational school on a journey that few walked away from without learning something new about work and the right attitude.

That included Wilding himself.

"I don't know what they want to know, but all I can tell them is that my grandfather taught me as a kid, if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well. If you can't do it well, leave it alone," said Wilding.

Doing the job well were students and staff here, dedicated to teaching skills often not thought of for jobseekers in high schools.

LCJVS senior Hayley Balmert wanted to go into education and get a degree in that field but after talking to her dad who works in the trade field opted to at least acquire machine-shop skills to fall back on after her graduation.

"I might go into the field, after maybe the military in this kind of field, but it does give me the chance to realize what I do want to do and what I don't want to do for the rest of my life. It does give me a step into the future," said Balmert.

Wilding wove in and out of the school's machine shop Wednesday afternoon. He may have been using a walker, but he gets around quickly for having century-old legs. His mind still incredibly sharp, he answered every question from his first job at 14 years of age after having to drop out of school during tough economic times in 1930.

With his original wooden, handmade toolbox in tow from his 1951 arrival to Cleveland from London, few will forget a humble man's visit to a busy classroom machine shop building futures, piece by piece.

For Wilding, he has few regrets, other than not getting math classes before he went to work so young.

"I left school without an inkling of trigonometry, and you probably realize it most essentially in a machine shop. I learned bit by bit. I started to go to night school but I quickly found out that they were teaching us stuff that I had learned two years previously, so I just gave it up," said Wilding. "I realized It doesn't take a genius to put stuff together, and it doesn't take a genius to take it apart. And if you take it apart, you can find out why it's not working."

Wilding's memory is still working, and students here soaked in every last bit of it.

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