Father's Day event at Greenleaf Cemetery
Remember a time when life was slower, men loved their cars and they gathered at the local auto shop or filling station to swap stories about their vehicles? That was the way it was in Brownwood, in the bygone days when an outing with dad or granddad to the local filling station was a time for bonding and included an ice cold bottled Dr. Pepper and a bag of peanuts.
Well, nothing says “Happy Father’s Day” like a family outing to a car show and today is a day for car-loving dads as the First Annual Edna Mae Banks Memorial Car Show gets underway at Greenleaf Cemetery.
And, why not celebrate those guys who loved the automobile, and standing around, shooting the breeze in the garage, with other like-minded guys.
Well, that’s just what is in store for the car lovers who come out today, and there will be frosty bottles of Dr. Pepper and peanuts available for a small donation. All proceeds benefit the Greenleaf Cemetery Association.
The event is for those who want to honor their dads, granddads or any guy who is a gear-head by nature. And it is a great way to spend Father’s Day celebrating the men we know, love and remember.
The show, which runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at the front of the cemetery, will feature a selection of classic and novel cars, which are welcome at the event, and there is no entry fee. Steve Harris will be celebrating his grandfather, Joe Spurlock, who had auto shops on what was known as “the Traffic Circle,” in an area where Kroger and Walgreens are today.
“This may be an unusual place to have a car show but we think it’s perfect,” Harris said. “It’s a perfect place to celebrate their memory on this holiday.”
The idea came to Harris when he started thinking of his granddad, “Papa Joe,” who died at only 47 in 1959, before Harris was born in 1961.
“He had a one pump shop for many years but he was a well respected mechanic for over 25 years in Brownwood,” Harris has discovered through family members, records and from folks who knew his grandfather.
Spurlock would then open a larger station called “Col-Tex One-Stop Service” station just a few years before his death. Spurlock operated the station, located at 200 W. Commerce St. with Harold Anderson, according to a story that ran when the station opened.
“For the past 25 years Brownwood has come to know and depend on Joe Spurlock as one of the most dependable mechanics,” the article said.
They were open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and offered auto accessories, car washes and mechanic services and all the coffee you could drink on opening day.
Harris got most of the history on his grandfather from his grandmother, Olivia Spurlock Dudley and his mother, Brenda Charlene Spurlock, who are both buried at Greenleaf.
“Cars were his life,” Harris said. “I wanted to honor those who have come before us.”
Papa Joe was friendly with other mechanics, like the Stokes Brothers, who’s shop was located near his.
“They both lit up when speaking of him and their friendship and working relationship,” Harris said.
Joe Spurlock is buried at Greenleaf, as is Ancie “Fred” Day, who was a mechanic at Weatherby Motor Company, a legendary Brownwood car dealership that opened in 1912.
“My granddad worked with cars all of his life,” said Freda Day, who manages the office at Greenleaf and is a longtime volunteer. “And he worked on a whole lot of cars in Brown County.”
Her grandfather toiled in the shop at Weatherby Motor Company, way back before WWII. He was a mechanic at Camp Bowie in 1932 and in 1947 he worked as a mechanic for Matson-Eaton Motor Co. located at 100 West Commerce St., while apparently moonlighting at Maxfield Garage & Machine Shop in Bangs.
“I found the car receipt for the purchase of a 1937 Ford Tudor sedan purchased from Matson-Eaton for $500,” Day said.
Freda Day said having a car show at the cemetery is quite a fitting tribute to these car-loving guys especially those that are buried and memorialized at Greenleaf, like her grandfather and her father, Bobby Day.
Her dad, who died June 13, 2016, also has automobile history – he was a salesman at Holley Chevrolet.
“He won the best salesman award several times,” she recalled.
Freda Day said the car show is a great event to bring people out to Greenleaf Cemetery.
“I think it is a place where families can bring Dad and at the same time pay tribute to the fathers they loved before,” she said.