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Monday, 30 March 2020 20:45

A Full Service Life

Written by Skye Pournazari, Maryville Forum
Charlie Roush, of Hopkins, MO, stands in his living room. Roush spent 65 years serving his community through auto body repair, but also in numerous other ways. Charlie Roush, of Hopkins, MO, stands in his living room. Roush spent 65 years serving his community through auto body repair, but also in numerous other ways. Skye Pournazari

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“‘You don’t want to wash cars all your life do you,’” Charles Roush, of Hopkins, MO, recalled being asked in 1953. “So that’s how I got started into doing body work.”

In September of that year, after graduating high school, Charles Roush began his auto body mechanic career by washing cars for the Bill Duke Pontiac dealership, located where Walker’s Body Shop is now in Maryville, MO.

 

After a few employee turnovers, Roush was asked to switch jobs, and just a few months later, Roush said the dealer consolidated stock in Independence, MO, and closed up shop.

 

Roush then started working in Hopkins, at Rosecrans Chevrolet for $40 a week.

 

"That sounds crazy now, but in those days it wasn’t a big wage, but it was enough to scratch by living wage,” he said.

 

It was the first week of May in 1954 when Roush went up to start the job. Later that year, he married his wife Barbara, moved up to Hopkins and began to grow his family, eventually adding four children: Rick Roush, Darla Thompson, Deena Poynter and Tim Roush.

 

Just a beginner auto body man, Roush said he learned more and more on the job during his seven years and eight months at Rosecrans Chevrolet.

 

Eventually, an auto body worker at Glenn Woodruff and Erville Allison’s Ford dealership decided to go out west, and Roush’s name came up as a possible replacement.

 

“They offered me a little more money,” he said.

 

For 21 years and 11 months, Roush said he worked on cars at the Ford dealership until it went out of business. He said Allison had already bought out Woodruff by that time and a man by the name of Paul Beason then purchased it.

 

Then, as a lot of the small town businesses at that time did, the dealership closed.

 

Roush, who needed to support his growing family, said he hated to uproot them, like he’d been moved around as a child.

 

“There were still things I missed out so much by not getting to stay in one place longer,” he said. “So if there was any way possible, I wanted my kids to get to go to school in the same place.”

 

So he spoke with his banker and in January of 1983, Roush Body Shop opened in Hopkins. For 35 years, until 2018, its namesake worked hard fixing cars to feed his family of six.

 

“We got to be members of the community,” he said. “People around Hopkins have known me long enough, they didn’t push too hard to finish up something.”

 

Roush said not having that pressure really helped him put his family first and the job second.


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