Today I wish to write about the passing of a true American entrepreneur.
This man began his working life in his early teens just after World War II delivering ice in Queens and Brooklyn to clients in 5-story walk up apartments.
As the ice-delivery business dwindled in the post-war boom to electric refrigeration, he moved to working at gas service stations as America took to the roads in post-war expansion.
While pumping gas, he found the opportunity to buy the gas station and then to purchase another. All the while beginning to raise a family and moving them out to the booming suburban Long Island.
All this occurred as the country was exploding on college campuses with riots against the Vietnam War by kids 10- to 15-years younger than him. I’m sure he was puzzled by this as he saw plenty of opportunities for Americans especially ones who were not born on third base and thought they hit a triple.
He would take some of the profits from his business to diversify into real estate and selling used cars. There was no analysis or reports made to back up this business decision. He made these investments based on seat of his pants thoughts about the future of the neighborhood he knew well.
Selling quality used cars to people who could not afford a new model helped his gas station revenue and used as a short-term investment, buying property was a longer term venture.
This entrepreneur achieved all this success without a high school diploma. A truly American success story.
Well he passed this week at the age of 82 and I wanted it noted here because he was one of a million middle class success stories of the last century that created the American Century. I’m not sure if there will ever be that type of economic opportunity for so many million of Americans again.
This man was my father-in-law and he will be greatly missed.