A Legend's lifetime in the Construction Industry
Leo Alphonse Moyneur was born in Los Angeles in 1936 and lived his days in Orange County. A larger-than-life kind man with a bellowing laugh you can hear from the next room.
He was a union man-440L.
Loved fishing with friends and taking the Kashmir to Catalina with family. In his later days volunteering at Mary’s Kitchen, active in the Knights of Columbus, 3rd Degree, as well as an active Cursillo follower, teaching his family everything he knew with his trustee dog Sparky by his side.
Married to Patricia for 64 years, he was a man of highest character and faith. Loyal devoted husband and father to 8 children – Victor, Richard, Anette (Bill), Joe (Peggy), Vincent (Cathy), Daniel (deceased), Jacque (Michael), and Dave (Becky). He was a loving Papa to 17 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
A letter from Anette, Leo’s daughter taken from their conversations
In 1965 I was able to get a license to be a lathing contractor. I started off with very little money, never took anything from anyone I did not work for. I was doing jobs and I was not in the union. I was hiding from Jack White because he kept after me. Then he finally caught me. He took me to breakfast and convinced me that I needed to be part of union. I joined the apprentice, health and welfare and lathers association. From then on able to be in the glory of the union really helped me conduct business.
In about 1972, I saw my brother Bob get a start on his own and that got me going, it was time to take the world on.
Ray Richmond started giving me side jobs and got more and more as time went on. Of course, this was on the side with very little back charges. All cash, after work and on Saturdays. I always liked the smaller jobs, big was never my thing.
Finally got my license to do lath and plastering. A very big step was when I met Dick Peckham at Westside Building Material. He was able to introduce me to a lot of good clients. His word was like gold. Once he introduced me, I started doing a lot of work and earned trust in the industry. To name a few memorable people and companies I worked with - Mike Zellner, Joe Krader, Berger Brothers, CK Varner, AD Hoppy, Gold star Plastering and the Bolster Company.
This made me become a harder worker. Trying to get more jobs was my goal. I had a lot of loyal people that stuck with me - Smitty, Rick Williams, Barney and Lee Lesser. Lee has been my best friend for many years, and I could not have done without all his hard work.
Sometime later I incorporated LAM Construction, Inc.
I loved hosting the many lathers’ barbecues at my house on Victoria Drive. My daughter Annette and her husband Bill did all the preparation and cooking.
I had many people trying to teach me to golf and I did not do very well at listening but played a lot and enjoyed a lot of laughs. I would have liked to do more but family always comes first.
I would not have been able to succeed the way I did without the support and love of my wife Pat and my beautiful family.
My advice to the younger generations would be to keep your head down, work hard, be honest and fair.
A letter from a friend, Frank Arnold
In the early 1980’s I was recruited to become the General Manager of Stockton Wire Products and Poza Corp by Henrietta Holsman (today she is the Executive Director of UNICEF). It was a great challenge as the former GM had been Bert Webster a renowned salesman who had helped CornerAid® become the new way that stucco corners were made.
Since I was new to the industry, Henrietta and I sat in her office she informed me that there would be four people I needed to “win over”. The first was Lew Winchell, the owner of Canoga Builder’s Supply and several stucco companies in California and Arizona. The second was Kenny Thompson who was beginning to be the most dominant dealer and manufacturer in the industry. The third was Max Carreon, the Lathing Superintendent for the Raymond company. The last, and according to Henrietta, the one that would be the most fun and that was Leo Moyneur, the owner of LAM Lathing and the power behind the Santa Ana / Orange County lathers.
Lew was a project and it took years to mend old scars created during a lath shortage a few years earlier. Kenny was a slap on the back kinda guy, but his bottom line was getting the cheapest price. Max thought the world of Henrietta and so if I was her GM, everything was fine! And then there was Leo!
Leo was the kind of guy who respected a person for their ability and he and Henrietta had really hit it off well. I remember the first time I met Leo. He was up on a scaffolding as I introduced myself. He hoped down and walked over to me and shook my hand. His hand seemed twice as large as mine and for someone nearing fifty, he looked like the kind of guy you’d never want to mess with … except for the big smile on his face. From that moment forward, if I went to any gathering and Leo was there, I had someone I really wanted to see. In those days, the lath and plaster conventions were primarily in Las Vegas or Reno and candidly they became a blur of good times as they all melted together. One thing was always certain, Leo A. Moyneur would be there with his wife Pat and he always seemed to bring sunlight into any room. If he saw you across the room or in the lobby of the hotel he would call out in his booming voice to come over and sit down.
Often Leo would have Bar B Ques at his house on N Victoria in Santa Ana where lathers, plasterers and vendors would gather. I remember vividly that when Karl Hutchins (K Lath), Jim Oros (Davis Wire) and I drove up to Leo’s mansion I was impressed, but the first things you noticed was the squawking of what seemed like hundreds of parrots in the big trees in the neighborhood. It was a magical like place to visit and Pat and her helpers served a feast at each meeting. It was the opposite from the typical association meeting, but the business of relationships took place there. For many of us, that was when the lath and plaster industry was reaching a new pinnacle.
My time at Stockton was a brief 10 years and then I started my own manufacturer’s representative company and moved a small ranch outside of Auburn where I have sold lathing accessories for the last 30 years, but I always looked back with fondness at all the great times we had with Leo. Occasionally we would see one another at a meeting, and it was as if we never had been apart. He was the kind of person that made every gathering a great time and made every person feel very important. He was a Giant in more than one way!