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Longtime resident looks back on Campbell history

Friday, July 24, 2015

By sarah lehr


Florence Galida’s home on Struthers-Liberty road is part dentist’s office, part museum.

Florence and her husband, John, both 80, grew up in Campbell. John is a dentist who still sees patients in his home.

When patients come in, however, they don’t have to look at sterile, blank walls. Instead, the Galida home is filled to the brim with paintings, photos and newspaper clippings.

Florence, who used to work as a nurse, has always been a collector and an amateur historian. Over the years, she’s amassed artifacts from Campbell’s past.

She also likes to display artwork, including her own paintings and her husband’s wood carvings.

She is the president of the Campbell Historical Society, and in 1976, she self-published a 268-page book called the “Fascinating History of Campbell Ohio.”

Florence grew up on Chambers Street in the historical “Iron Soup” apartments, which were built in 1918 as company homes for workers of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.

She remembered her childhood fondly as a time when children were left to their own devices. “Until our mothers called us in for dinner, we were free as birds,” she said. “We walked everywhere, even to Struthers.”

Campbell was then a hub for immigrants, and Florence said she always heard a mix of languages in her neighborhood. John remembered having a paper route and delivering weekly ethnic newspapers that often were written in Hungarian, Greek or Italian.

Florence also had a paper route. Much to her dismay, she lost her first week’s pay.

“It was a quarter,” she said, laughing. “That was big money then.”

Florence and John met in grade school, when Florence sat behind him. “I used to bother him and blow air on the back of his head,” Florence said.

Florence and John both went on to Campbell Memorial High School in a building that was torn down in 2003. Florence was the editor of the high-school newspaper.

Later on, she volunteered as a reporter for the Hometown Journal, where she mostly covered sports. A signed photo from Campbell-born swimming Olympian Mealanie Valerio, thanking Florence for her articles, now hangs in the Galida home.

Galida’s love of sports began early. As a child, she played softball for a team in Hubbard, back when organized sports for girls was rare.

“They were so tough, I thought they would be mean,” Galida said of her Hubbard teammates. “But they were angels to me.”

Galida’s family has long been a fixture in the Campbell community. Her father was a member of Campbell’s first high-school football team, and he later served on city council and the board of education.

“I would never dream of leaving Campbell,” Florence said.