Perce Hankinson. Courtesy of Elgin County Archives.
Perce Hankinson (1902–1987) served the railroad industry for 68 years, finishing as a director of the Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo Railway Company Limited (TH & B).
Hankinson’s career began in 1917, when he was hired as a Call Boy at the Michigan Central Railroad, St Thomas. He worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for $32.50 per month. For the next 35 years he held various positions including Trainman, Relief Yardmaster, Train Master and Senior Train Master. In 1951 Hankinson became Superintendent of the TH & B, owned by the New York Central Railroad.
Hankinson’s fondest dream was realized when he was appointed as Vice-President and General Manager of the TH & B on 17 June, 1965. The responsibilities of the new position took him far from his hometown of St Thomas. He travelled to Hamilton for community affairs, to Ottawa for government meetings, to Montreal for labour relations and to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York for meetings with the Board of Directors. In 1962, he travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, as the representative of Canadian Railway Management at the annual conference of the International Labour Organization.
Five and a half years later, he retired after working for the railroad 53 years. However, his retirement was short-lived. He accepted his election to the Board of Directors of the TH &B in 1971. At his retirement from the Board on 2 June, 1987, he had served the railroad industry a total of 68 years.