Author, Columnist, Landlord
AGE: 90 (I feel like 75, and I’m shooting for 100).
YEARS IN COLUMBIA: 1935-1940, 1946-1980 and 2007 to present.
ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: Wentzville, Mo., then population 592.
EDUCATION: Graduated from the University of Missouri in 1939 with a degree in geography.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: President of the Jaycees, 1949-1950; president of the Lion’s Club, 1950-1951; president of the Quarterback Club, 1954; and district governor of the Lions 26C, 1959-1960.
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: I was in retail sales at Suzanne’s from 1946 to 1974 and the Columbia Mercantile Co. from 1971 to 1978, and then I was a landlord/lease holder from 1966 to the present.
A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE: Charles Digges, or, as I call him, Charlie Senior (because there is a junior). He’s just a great Columbian and a killer in business and the community for 60 years. I’ve only been here 61, so we’ve both stuck strong to the community.
WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY LIFE IN COLUMBIA: My roots are here. It’s where I raised my eight children with my wonderful wife, Pat, and where most of my business has been for 61 years. I just love the town and area.
BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME: My biggest business career obstacle would have to be the recovery from a fire loss when Harzfeld’s (woman’s clothing store at 10th and Broadway adjacent to Sunzanne’s) burned down in 1971. I had to totally build back up from the loss caused by smoke damage that wasn’t covered by insurance.
A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: I’ve helped remodel two older buildings in the recent years. There was the Dalton Building in 2005 and the Booth Building in 2005 and 2006, with partner Dell Keepers.
WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MY WORK: Well, I’ve written two books. One was my autobiography, A Time of Life, which sells at Poppy’s. Then there is my handbook on health called It Is Never Too Late, which is supposed to be published later in 2007. I’m not a doctor, just an old man, but it’s never too late to change your lifestyle. I’m proof of that.
WHAT I DO FOR FUN: I play golf, which is amazing for anyone my age, and I like to research history for my column in the Columbia Daily Tribune.
FAMILY: I had a wonderful wife, Pat, for 40 years. We had eight children: Bob, Dick, David, Don, Mark, Bill, Rich and Gina. I also have four brothers and three sisters—a big family.
FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: My favorite place would have to be downtown Columbia. It’s my beginning, middle and end. It’s where I started in 1935, my middle with Suzanne’s, and then now where I’m taking care of two buildings.
ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: Of course, it’s raising my eight children. My son Dick is now my editor for all my books and writings.
MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT I: always take a one-hour nap in the afternoon, daily. I play golf two days a week, and I work out at a gym every other day for at least 45 minutes.
WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD DO: Think positively, always. Exercise, exercise exercise. And read, read, read. It can only help you live better and longer. I give other tips in my book.