By Shelby Shaffer
Working on cars is more than just an occupation for Arthur Shaffer Sr. It is a passion that helps defines him and his family.
“Dad always tells us kids to know how to work on our vehicles ourselves cause it’s the only brand that won’t leave ya stranded on the side of the road on Christmas eve when you’re trying to get home to your family, “says Art Shaffer, a third generation mechanic and son of Arthur.
Arthur Shaffer is a second generation mechanic, originally from Kirksville, MO. His passion for automobiles has sent him travelling him all over the Midwest, as well as across the Pacific for the United States Air Force during Korea.
Arthur mainly ran gas stations and a minor repair station up until the 1990s when he decided it was time to settle down, now that all his kids were grown. So, Springfield seemed like a nice fit.
“Springfield just feels like home to us,” Arthur says. “I’ve travelled all over this darn country, and this was the only place that really made sense to Lorraine and I. Plus we have family in Arkansas and Minnesota and such places, so, that leaves us kind of, uh, smack in the middle of ‘em all.”
Arthur has instilled his love for cars in all of his kids and grandkids. Growing up, he tried to teach his kids to work on their own cars, so that they can be self-dependent and he secretly hoped that some would take over the family business somewhere down the road.
“I don’t know why I love cars, I just do,” says Jim Shaffer, another of Arthur’s sons and a retired mechanic for Executive Motor coaches. “Once all of us kids grew up, cars was all we knew. So, it just made sense that we continue a family tradition in some way.”
“We all grew up at the station,” Jim continues. “We traveled wherever dad thought would be the best place to gain the most customers. The shop he runs with my brother Art is his life, and after spending that much time around cars… how can you not fall madly in love with them?”
Currently, Arthur doesn’t do much at the age of 81. Art has taken over the family business and does most of the repairs himself with the help of a few employees. Although Arthur is not out in the bays working, everybody who comes through the shop knows who’s boss.
Every morning, bright and early at 6 a.m. with a cup of Folgers coffee in his hand, Arthur unlocks the door of his shop, a ritual he has completed basically every day for the last 25 years. He then proceeds to check the books to verify the jobs his employees will have to do that day. Then he walks around the property observing the numerous junkers he has accumulated over the years as he waits for his son and employees to arrive.
After they arrive, Arthur usually goes back to the office to answer phone calls and sneak in a few snores before being caught by a customer or his children. His days go like this until 5 o’ clock, when he shuts things down. He locks up, and he and his son drive home to Lorraine, his wife of 60 years. Their family members come and go just to get a taste of Lorraine’s delicious cooking.
“ Our home is always full of family and friends,” chuckles Arthur. “I don’t think Lorraine and I ever have a moment of peace, but that’s the way we like it. You can’t ever do better than time with family because when everything hits the fan, they’re all that you’ll have left.”
He doesn’t have many plans for the future. He looks forward to watching his family grow up and succeed in life. Even though he spends most of his time around vehicles, he always remembers what’s important by making time for his family. Whenever one of the grandkids has a special event, he takes special time out of his schedule to make it there.
“My family and this shop is my life,” Arthur says. “I don’t know what I would do without either. I’ll probably die with a wrench in my hand, snorin’ away in that darn office chair.”