Hunter retires after 41 years at Vern Johnson Motors

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 07/15/97.

Charlie Hunter, 62, retired July 3 after working 41 years at Vern Johnson Motors, Paynesville.

Hunter recalls starting work on July 3, 1956, then getting a day off right away. He started work as a mechanic, then switched to body work and has been doing body work full time since.

ďCars were a lot easier to work on years ago. Today every thing is plastic or fiberglass. However, plastic and fiberglass are cheaper to repair than metal body work,Ē he said. Hunter added body work hasnít changed much over the years but that mechanic work was easier years ago.

ďIíve worked on a lot of cars over the years. Some cars with only little dents to cars that were totaled in accidents. Spending a week on a repair job was real easy. The time it takes to repair a car depends on how badly it was damaged,Ē Hunter said. He added that roofs are among the harder parts of the car to fix as you have to cut out a lot of layers, weld and replace everything.

Hunter found body work interesting as a person could watch the progress from a totaled vehicle to its looking like new again. ďItís always satisfying to see the before and after,Ē he said.

Now that he is retired, Hunter hopes to spend more time hunting and fishing. ďMy wife also has a lot of work for me to do around the house,Ē he added. The couple has five grown children and 10 grandchildren.

On Friday, July 18, from 1 to 4 p.m., an open house will be held at Vern Johnson Motors to honor Hunter and Mary Ann Chladek, who retired as a secretary this year after 24 years.

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