Story by Ronald Ahrens, photo from the Neil A. Lieb Archive
He was called Tiny, and he could always put one over on the locals.
Neil Lieb couldn’t recall Tiny’s full name during our telephone conversation on April 29, when we sought to identify people shown in photos from Tillotson Construction Company’s job at Alta, Iowa.
As a young man just out of high school, Neil was part of the crew, and even sixty-five years later he still marvels at the older, wiser Tiny.
Members of the crew would go into the beer parlor after hours.
“Tiny would bet you he could drink a bottle of beer in 10 seconds,” Neil said. “It takes eight seconds for the bottle to run dry by itself. He would bet five or ten dollars, and he would find some sucker.”
Tiny was 6 feet 2 inches tall, Neil recalled.
Neil couldn’t identify the man at the rear of the photo, nor could he express details of the job they were undertaking because he had moved on after the Alta Cooperative’s new concrete elevator was finished.
Photos document the construction of a chimney that rose from a small building next to the old wooden elevator. We don’t know this stack’s purpose, but Neil (and my Uncle Tim Tillotson) don’t suspect it had to do with grain drying.
What a fun story – all the shenanigans! A neighbor of mine who was a WWII combat vet was not much taller than 5′ 5″ by the time he passed in 2011 but he also had a friend named Tiny. Believe me, he was huge and towered over Jack… But they were at odds with each other in the 50’s while working at Northrup. Jack was QC chief on the F-86 Sabrejets and Tiny worked on them. Jack told me they duked it out once (wouldn’t tell me who won) but soon thereafter, they shook hands and became the best of friends.
It seems Tiny was a common nickname in the 1950s. Besides the Tiny of this story, and your neighbor Jack’s Tiny, there was a famous NASCAR driver named Tiny Lund, and of course he was massive.