We want to welcome our followers to get to know Gary Erdos, one of our Research volunteers at the Presidential Library!
Gary grew up in Hudson, Ohio in Summit County and moved to Canton in 1970. As a child growing up in Hudson, Gary remembers going outside as soon as the sun was out and playing until dusk with other neighborhood kids. He played football, basketball, and did a little bit of wrestling growing up.
He attended Hudson Elementary and went on to Hudson High School, where he graduated in 1964. After high school, he began working in his dad’s machine shop, Norton’s Machine Company, doing managerial work in the office. To help him gain more knowledge of running the machine shop, he started to take business classes at Akron University and Kent State University.
After he started taking college classes, he enrolled in the National Guard where he would remain for the next 6 years. After his service, he continued to attend business classes until 1980, while also running his father’s shop.
In 1998, Gary sold his business and started to work at other companies as a sales representative and later on, became a sales manager for another company.
Since retiring in 2008, he enjoys hiking with his wife and their friends. He also loves spending lots of time with his 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Gary began as a volunteer at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum about 4 years ago when his neighbor asked if Gary would like to cover some shifts with him. He agreed and began as a volunteer for the train exhibit. After some time, he found himself drifting to the Presidential Library and started working as a researcher in his free time. One of his favorite pastimes throughout his life was learning and exploring the genealogy of his family, and now he gets to do what he loves as a researcher here.
His role in the McKinley Presidential Library is to handle inquires about people who want to know if they are related to William McKinley or Ida Saxton-McKinley. Since the Presidential Library is also the home of the Stark County archives, he also handles inquiries about Stark County citizens.
Currently one of his ongoing projects for the library is creating a database of Stark County residents from 1809-1850.
Gary loves being a volunteer here because he finds there is always something new happening every time he comes in. He loves working with the other volunteers because they are great people to talk to and be around. There is a shared love of genealogy and history within the library and he finds it very interesting to listen to the different stories of people researching their own lineage.
He encourages more people to become volunteers, especially if they are retired. Since he himself is retired, he finds that volunteering keeps him active, involved with people, and never becoming bored with his research requests.
Gary wants people to know that although genealogy can be hard, the rewards are life-changing. As a researcher, he says that he feels like a detective when he discovers something people didn’t know about their history. Being a part of that discovery, he loves to help people find the answers to the questions they’re looking for.
We want to thank Gary for letting us interview him and allowing us to share his story on our social media. Our team at the McKinley Presidential Library loves being able to share stories of our volunteers with people outside of the museum and we want you to be apart of that too!
If you would like information on how to become a volunteer, be sure to private message our page or call the museum at: (330) 455-7043