Margaret Walson, co-founder of Service Electric Cable TV, died Wednesday at her home in Boca Raton, Fla., according to an article in the Citizen's Voice news site.
Walson founded Service Electric Cable TV, with her husband John, who is credited with creating one of country's earliest cable systems. Prior to establishing the company in 1948, the couple owned an appliance store in Schuylkill County, Pa., but had difficulty selling television sets due to poor reception from Philadelphia broadcasters. Service Electric built an antenna on a nearby mountaintop overlooking the couple's town and ran a cable to the store, ultimately connecting additional residents and creating the family business. For more on Walson's early efforts, please read this Multichannel News article from 2005.
Margaret served as a secretary and advisor for the company in the company's earliest years, and stayed on as company executive and adviser to her children following John's death in 1993. Her son, John Walson Jr., who was president of Service Electric Cable, died in 2012 at age 63.
Service Electric currently provides service in Hunterdon, N.J., and Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre, Pa. A plaque in Wilkes-Barre's Public Square acknowledges Service Electric's role in making the city "The Birthplace of HBO."
"In November of 1972, 365 subscribers of Service Electric Cable TV became the first subscribers to Home Box Office. By participating in the launch of the nation's premier pay television service, these citizens of Wilkes-Barre became part of communications history," the plaque reads, according to the Citizen's Voice article.
In addition to her accomplishments in the cable industry, Walson was a talented performer. Several news outlets, citing a statement from the company, said she once sang with Frank Sinatra at the Lakewood Ballroom but abandoned aspirations for a music career to build the cable business and raise her family.