John Kulyk, former president and chairman of the board of Rogers Brothers Corporation, died on Friday, Feb. 17, 2006, after a long illness.
Kulyk was born in Wellsburg, PA, in 1921 and began his career at Rogers Brothers Corporation in 1939.
In 1941, he married Betty Rogers, daughter of Louis Rogers, one of the three brothers who founded the company.
His career was put on hold when he entered the Army in June 1944. He served with Company G, 276th Infantry Regiment of the 70th Infantry, the “Trailblazers,” during the Battle of the Bulge.
Upon his return from the service, Kulyk resumed his career at Rogers Brothers, serving in the capacity of inventory control manager, plant manager and beginning in 1958, president, a position he held until his retirement in 1986.
He continued as chairman of the board of Rogers until 2005. In addition, he operated J-B Farms from 1972 until his death.
With the help of friends he refurbished a 1-ton capacity trailer that had been built circa 1917 by the company. It had a single axle with hickory wheels. This trailer stood on display for the company’s 100th anniversary celebration in August 2005.
Under the leadership of Kulyk and his wife, the company introduced the first extendible flatbed semitrailer and the Croucher design. The Croucher incorporated a lower front end with tapered mainbeams and a detachable gooseneck that allowed the trailer to load pavers and rollers. This innovation helped to advance detachable gooseneck trailers beyond folding gooseneck trailers.
He also supervised the design and manufacture of some of the largest detachable gooseneck trailers ever built — ranging from 150- to 250-ton capacity.
While fulfilling government contracts for the Vietnam War, Kulyk originated building stock trailers whose dimensions and capacities were standardized. This was, at the time, a revolutionary move for a manufacturer of low bed heavy-duty trailers that enabled the company to improve delivery time.
Other trailer innovations introduced by Rogers during his term as president included: the Scraperneck low profile gooseneck; the Bucket Pocket, a rear-frame cutout which allows the boom and/or bucket of an excavator to ride lower to the ground for greater overhead clearance; and the NoFoot, a non-ground engaging gooseneck.
In addition to his parents, Kulyk was preceded in death by two sisters, Eva Pacak and Anna Kulyk and a brother, Michael Kulyk.
He is survived by his wife, Betty Rogers Kulyk; daughter Connie Quigley and her husband Jim, of Ocala, FL; son Larry Kulyk and his wife Joyce, of Albion, PA; son Mark Kulyk and his wife Joyce, of Fairview, PA; daughter Margaret Kulyk and her partner Wendi Farley, of Decatur, GA; and a sister, June Meaden and her husband Paul, of Fairview.
He also is survived by 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.