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Byline: John Russell
Jul. 16--Every payday for more than two decades, maintenance worker Henry P. Winston set aside a few dollars and put them to work in one of the best investments he could find -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s 401(k) retirement plan.
While he was cutting grass, driving trucks or doing other odd jobs around Goodyear's huge campus, his nest egg grew, helped by a 50-percent match in company stock.
When he retired four years ago, Winston owned more than 1,000 shares of Goodyear stock, worth more than $50,000. His holdings grew to more than $70,000 by the spring of 1998.
Winston planned to use the money to help buy a retirement house.
"I wanted a house with one floor, so I wouldn't have to climb steps," he said. "I've got bad knees."
Now Winston's dream is on hold. In the past 14 months, Goodyear's stock has lost about two-thirds of its value. Today, Winston's stock is worth only about $20,000.
"I've been saving all this time, and then, when it comes time for me to reach in and get the money, the bottom falls out," the 66- year-old said as he trimmed the lawn at his home on Baird Street, on Akron's east side.
He has lots of company. Thousands of Goodyear investors are holding stock that once represented their financial futures.
Many are Goodyear retirees in their 50s and 60s, who …