Stanley Oscar Oehmen came into this world on January 27th, 1917 at 29 New jersey Avenue, Brooklyn N.Y. to Mabel and Oscar Oehmen. At three years old, he and his brother Lenny were both stricken with Polio, as many young children were during that time, Stanley occasionally recalled memories of painful treatments used to ease the symptoms of the virus but until his later years, (when the residual affects of the disease seemed to get him down) he was an ever moving, ever active human dynamo and here is his story...
As a young boy, Stan watched his father experimenting with amateur radio and became enthralled with electronics and electricity, acquiring his first amateur license at the age of thirteen! Between 1930 and 1937 he and his father operated a free lance radio repair service which entailed designing and building equipment including changing peoples AM radios to FM.
After graduating from Richmond Hill High School, where he earned a scholarship I his freshman year, he went on to study math and engineering during the evening at Brooklyn Poly Tech and Columbia University.
Between 1937 and 1941 Stanley had many jobs involved with radio and engineering, starting out a 20 designing transmitters and receivers. He also acquired his commercial radio license at this time. IN 1939 he moved no to become a radio engineer for various broadcasting stations such as WQXR and WRRL. At WRRL he was the transmitter operator, control operator, remote control operator, program planner, producer of a weekly radio script, and equipment builder. It was at WRRL that he worked with the famous Studio Players who performed live skits on the radio. In November 1939 he took a short hiatus to help out the Little Theatre Group of the local YMCA in their production of "Our Town". The director credited him with making himself invaluable in doing the musical effects for the play. She added, "Stan's instinctive feeling for 'mood' made the stage managers scenes and the last act one that will remain one of the high spots of my memories of the theater."
Stanley and Oscar also operated the W2USA radio station at the 1939 World's Fair.
Through 1940 and 1941 Stan worked for a couple of radio stations and research labs as operator and announcer along with designing magnetic tape recording equipment, wiring and testing ultra high frequency broadcasting for police and amateur equipment, not to mention developing the new "crystal oscillator". He also conducted tests on and was instrumental in establishing, for the first time the existence of sky wave reflection of Ultra High frequencies. "Whatever that means!?
By 1941 he had said of himself in his resume, "I have written several reports for technical papers and articles for engineering magazines have prints with my name on them, hold Radio Telephone First Class and Amateur Radio license W2HG, and a certificate from the Board of Education of NYC to teach radio communication and theory. By the way, in his spare time Stan was said to be quite proficient at dancing on roller skates! Sure would've loved to see that!
IN August of 1941, just prior to the outbreak of WWII, Stanley went to work for the War Dept. in the Signal Branch Second Service Command at Governs Island in N.Y. Starting out as Jr. Radio Engineer, he quickly advanced to assistant, then associate and finally Radio Engineer. During that time he was involved with the design and installation of Communications Plant Facilities. It was in 1943, while working at Governs Island, that he met Janie Foley, who after two years of friendship became what would be the love of his life. During his stint for the Signal Corps he was sent to Bay Shore L.I. to work on the crash boats studying radio interference on ship to shore and ship to ship communications equipment. This is probably what connected him to Bay Shore and led him to settle there with his young family in 1949.
Stan and June were married on June 23, 1945 at the chapel on Governors Island. A year later their first child, Richard Stanley, was born. Their first two years together were spent living in an apartment house on 33rd St. NYC where they befriended a group of people who they made many happy memories with and would remain life long friends.
After the war ended, Stan worked for Albert Electronics Labs designing Stroboscopic Lights and Electronic Photo Flash equipment. With two years of that under his belt he landed what was probably the most exciting and satisfying job of his life working for Allen D. Dumont Labs and Broadcasting Co. in NY. This is when his focus went from experimentation to broadcasting. He was then involved in installation , maintenance, operation and design of TV equipment including one year of color TV research and aided in the design of TV and remote movie equipment. He was also the purchasing agent, instructing personnel in the application of the equipment.
During his time with Dumont he worked with the likes of Jackie Gleason, Art Carney and Audrey Meadows as the audio engineer for the famous "Honeymooners", often recanting one of Ralph's famous lines, "One of these fays, Alice!"
He was also involved with some of the earliest television broadcasting of the NFL and major league baseball.
Other shows were Captain Video, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, talks with Bishop Fulton Sheen, The Jerry Lewis Telethon and the first live open heart surgery. This was LIVE television - What you saw was what you got! No room for mistakes. These were the Pioneers of Television.
In 1949 the Oehmen's moved to 1362 Richfield Blvd in Bay Shore NY. It is there that they met their neighbors the Johnson's. Jane and Thelma and Stan and Ford became fast friends sharing many happy times together including parties and barbecues. Richie and their son Peter were friends through school while their daughters Lynda, Merry and Crissy babysat. Walkie Talkies were connected between the two houses so that they could keep track of the kids while they entertained. Kids being plural since in 1951, along came Jane and Stan's second child, Nancy Jane. To this very day the Johnson's, half of which joined Jane and Stan in Arizona, remain such close friends they've become family.
In 1952 the Oehmens moved to 1387 Potters Blvd. where Stan and Jane set up their basement, 11/2 playroom, ½ ham station. They bought a full grand piano in 1960 and had to chop out the basement stairs to lower it into the basement. It was then that Stan taught himself to play piano a little rough but-hey!! Over 20 years they enjoyed many parties, Stan planted garden after garden and played Christmas music outside for the neighborhood during the holidays.
Stanley played a leading role in the development of Dumont's Electronicam System which enabled the motion picture industry to reduce production costs. The system was contained in a pair of trailers that could be moved from studio to studio and set to set. In 1956 Stan was asked to accompany the mobile system to the Paramount Sunset Studios in Hollywood. Stan and Jane packed up the car and headed west on the first of many trips across the country, 13 altogether. Along the way they saw many great American landmarks and tourist attractions. It was on the first fateful trip that they got their taste for Arizona when they stopped to see their old friends from the apartment house on 33rd street, Russ and Ida Sholtz.
Stan worked with Dumont for 9 years until 1957 when the company folded. After leaving he spent a year or so working at Munston Manufacturing designing ship to shore communications equipment.
It was in 1958 when Stan was hired on at WNEW TV Metropolitan Broadcasting Corp in NYC. There he was an audio engineer in charge of designing, installing and operating the TV and audio facilities. Sometimes when Stan was home for the weekend and the reception on the station went bad the phone would ring and it would be the station asking Stan what to do.
He worked for Chanel 5 from 1958 until 1972 during which time he was involved with many of the popular shows of the time including, Soupy Sales, Sandy Becker, Fred Scott, Sonny Fox and Wonderama to name just a few. Richie and Nancy were lucky enough to be part of some of those shows because of Stan's connections, able to brag to their friends about being on TV.
Stan also played a huge role in designing some of the first computers which at that time was called automation. These machines, unlike the laptops of today, took up entire rooms.
Periodically Stan would have to go to the Empire State Bldg to work on the WNEW transmitting antennas. The observation decks were at the 80th floor (1050') and the 102nd floor (1207u') but Stan went further up the tower by ladder to a height of 1365', AMAZING!!
Stan retired from WNEW after commuting on the LIRR for 20 years. Richard married in 1967 giving them their first granddaughter, Janet, in 1968/ Nancy took off to live in the Caribbean In 1971. With the kids both grown and gone he and Jane then moved to Scottsdale Arizona and he hired on at Motorola. He worked on classified government projects including the F14 fighter plane and the Phoenix Missile, the latter of which was almost scrubber until Stan came along to offer expertise. After that, he had carte blanche to experiment on just about whatever he wanted. At Motorola they highly respected his knowledge and never refused him the equipment or parts to experiment with. He reveled in that although he always commented that the engineers of the day were book smart about electronics but didn't understand the "living nature" of electricity.
Arizona was quite a change for Jane and Stan. With barely a mile to work, it allowed them much more time to recreate in the beautiful Arizona weather and entertain by the pool and in the living room with many friends and relatives who came to visit.
Stan never learned to swim as a child but with the pool in their backyard he taught himself and could be seen sporting his straw hat with the sunglass brim as he dog paddled from the steps to the love seat.
He was quite a handy man too, almost always seeming to try to do things himself from sprinkler systems to solar pool heaters to building furniture and stereos speakers in and out, light fixtures - heck - just about anything he could do himself, he did.
Although slight of stature, Stanley was larger than life. He was a man ahead of his time and everyone who crossed paths with him had only kind words and praise. So Generous, So Friendly, So Kind, So Smart, So Funny, So Natural - just a great guy.
The man who replaced him at WNEW when questions about Stan recently exclaimed, "Stan Oehmen.. that guy is a legend around here" He was a genius! I still find drawings with notes he left behind\."
We will miss him but rejoice in the gift of his life and the time spent with us and are comforted in knowing that he is finally at peace and reunited with this loved ones. Especially Janie!. As they dance through Eternity!Nancy Jane (Oehmen) Henderson.