Steelworks Hall of Fame
2019 Inaugural Hall of Fame Inductees
Steelworks Center of the West honors former employees of CF&I, prior to 1993 when the company ceased. Community members, families and friends, colleagues and former workers nominate those they want to see recognized at the annual FACES of the CF&I event. In 2019, a selection committee chose from those nominations five former CF&I employees to recognize as the Inaugural Hall of Fame inductees.
Ted T. Lopez
Ted T. Lopez began his CF&I service as a dedicated, self-motivated and industrious laborer on February 23, 1944 at the age of 16. Starting in the Yard Department, he and the crew worked to unload 25 cars a day while the boss would stay below and build a fire. When it snowed the crew would have to eat quickly so that their lunch wouldn’t get wet. Four weeks later he got a job driving the crew to the Southside Dump where they would dump 2-3 cars loaded with glowing red flue dust, and he would assist the bulldozer operator so he could push the slag over the side.
Gertrude C. (Lipich) Jordan
Whenever you attend an event about the history of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company there is an infamous photo which is always displayed; this photograph is of a woman, operating a buggie on the rail mill, with the nickname “Gertie” written upon her helmet. This woman’s name is Gertrude C. (Lipich) Jordan and she is my great-grandmother. Born in Pueblo on February 14, 1910, Gertie grew up, attended school, and lived in Pueblo her entire life. In 1930 she married Frank Jordan, Sr. and by 1935 she was a stay at home mother raising her and Frank’s three children.
A valued employee at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, having been given his brass check identification number 7438, Hermilo Roman began his thirty-eight year career in 1945 working as a laborer. After some time, an opening for the position of Head-Patcher of the brick ovens, which were used to cook the coke to make the steel, became available. The job title of Head-Patcher was first given to another employee less qualified for the job. After a discussion between his co-worker Pat and the griever, due to his qualifications Hermilo was given the position of Head-Patcher, supervisor of all patchers in his coke plant department.
Jack S. Chick
When returning to his home from the Korean War, Jack S. Chick began his career at the CF&I in 1954, initially as a general laborer in various areas of the plant. With the advancement of technology and an opportunity, he worked in the MIS Department as a programmer analyst. The CF&I was one of the first companies in Colorado with a new IBM 360 mainframe. He traveled to Denver and Chicago for programmer training from IBM. Jack was selected as the department’s representative to the first task force to computerize the mill based on his above experiences.
Matt Peulen was born in 1929 in Heerlen, Holland. He was the oldest son of six siblings. His story is truly an “American Dream” story. He and his parents assisted American soldiers during WWII by hiding them from Nazi soldiers. A family story shared that an American pilot was shot down over Holland and parachuted into a field on the Peulen’s property. Matt, then about 15 years of age, and his father took the soldier to the church down the road. They were hiding American soldiers in the eaves and rafters of the church.