Service Electric Cable Allentown PA

Service Electric Cable TV President John Walson Jr

john walson jr.Contributed PhotoService Electric Cable TV & Communications President John Walson Jr. has died.

Service Electric Cable TV & Communications President John Walson Jr. has died, the Bethlehem-based company announced today.

Walson, 63, son of founder John Walson Sr., died Sunday at his home in South Whitehall Township after being diagnosed with terminal cancer a few weeks ago, according to Andy Himmelwright, general manager of Service Electric Cable TV-2.

Walson had been with the company for 38 years. Himmelwright credited him with continuing the vision of his father, who is credited with inventing cable television.

“John really took his father’s dream … and really grew it to the next plateau, ” Himmelwright said.

Service Electric got its start in 1948 Mahanoy City, a Schuylkill County town surrounded by mountains. Walson Sr. built a line from an antenna tower atop the mountains — the only way to get television in town — to his appliance warehouse, creating the first community antenna television system, according to the company’s website. Walson Sr.’s efforts were formally recognized by the U.S. Congress and the National Cable Television Association in 1979.

Walson Jr.’s illness came on suddenly and greatly shook the company, which is like a family, Himmelwright said.

“It’s like a big bomb went off here, no one was expecting it, ” he said. “John really cared about his employees.”

Prior to becoming president, Walson Jr. had spent a number of years in the company’s field operations, including 10 years as a headend technician, 10 years as a field technician and six years as a chief engineer for the company’s TV studio.

Walson Jr. was very active in community service and he made sure the company was a sponsor of every major attraction in the Lehigh Valley, including Musikfest, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and the upcoming Allentown Phantoms hockey team.

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