Photo of Jack Mendenhall & your comments on his life to you...
Jack Mendenhall sitting in the Barber Chair at Buellton, CA
A start of a few emails we receive : Sunday, June 05, 2005 3:16 PM
I had the pleasure of sitting and talking with Jack a year ago, and we all missed him this year when the Cachuma Lake Vintage Motorcycle Rally paid another visit to your museum.
Just wanted to send my best to Jack, and hope all is well real soon.
Digger Helm D57Digger@aol.com former National #57 member:
Trailblazers Motorcycle Hall of Fame -711 Acacia Ave. Bakersfield, Ca. 93305
Editor's notes: Jack Mendenhall and his family and friends created the Museum of Gasoline Pumps in Buellton, California. The Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club uses this Museum to hold their Annual Gas-Up Party and Dry Lakes Hall of Fame Bar-B-Que and Awards ceremony. Jack organized the Security Team at Black Rock Desert in 1997, for the British and American attempts at the Land Speed Record. He was involved in Jalopy, stock car, oval track, drag and landspeed racing throughout a fabled career. His car, The Pea Soup Andersen Special is on display at the Vic Edelbrock Museum in Torrance. A restored Jalopy, owned by Pete Van Eiderstein, was named in Mendenhall's honor and is on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, in Pomona, California. Jack was a member of the SCTA/BNI 200 MPH Club, and a member of the Dry Lakes Hall of Fame. His museum is one of the best in the world in depicting signs, globe faces and gas pumps from the early decades of American motoring representing what garages and service stations were like. His collections have been displayed in the Petersen Automotive Museum and other exhibits throughout California. For all of his achievements, the one that we will remember the most about Jack will be the twinkle in his eyes and the good natured way he treated people. He was a generous man and a gentleman who made everyone feel welcomed and appreciated. See www.oilstick.com for funeral or memorial services and schedules. Richard Parks
|I grew up calling
Jack, "Poppa Jack". He and my dad (Robert McFarland) were good friends
from their teen years. My brother and I, and Mark and Gloria hung out
together as kids, and it has nothing but fun memories. After my dad died,
Jack helped me remember good times with my dad. We could reminence and not
get maudlen. Jack was a strong roll model for me, like my dad, and
although it took me a few frogs, I finally found a man that could measure
up to my impressions of a good man (Daddy & Jack).
Dana (McFarland) Morrison 03 Jul 2005 DanaofReno @ sbcglobal.net if you are emailing take the spaces out of the before and after @.
*We all thought it would be a nice gesture if the whole country
would set off a load of fire- works, in his memory, today. He sure did enjoy setting his off on
the 4th of July. (Will Scott)
Sorry about your loss Will.............Please give the family my best. Mary July 4, 2005
Evey, Please pass this on to Mark. I spoke to him on Sunday when I tried to call Jack. July 5, 2005
Mark, I will definitely miss your Dad. He's been a very special friend for over ten years now. I really enjoyed his friendship and working with him on the Gas-up, The Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame and sorting out some of the early problems with the Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club.
I hope God got the race track finished before Jack got there, I heard he was re-doing a couple of the turns and putting in a longer straightaway with a little salt on it just for Jack.
I wish for Jack to have a tail wind on the straightaway and just the right wedge in the corners on his newest venture. John Petri
To Evey: Really sorry to hear about Jack, Sara & I knew him and you took me thru his museum in Buellton when I purchased a couple pieces of furniture from you back in ????Bill Moses 05705
I think he had a mighty full life, and had no regrets. I'm sure he will be missed. Ray Morrill 05705
We are tossing the cats in the kitty jail and are on our way... I think we got the last room at the Inn... see you on Saturday... some thoughts about your Dad, for the oilslick site... Robby and Sherry Andersen
Jack Mendenhall… Hoot-Mon was a greeting that was always there… I grew up in Buellton and Jack was, my Father figure… my Brother… my Mentor … my Partner.
My parents taught me to eat pea soup for breakfast… but Jack taught me to enjoy a chocolate sundae…. Memories go back many decades;
Jack was working for Bill Olivera and manning the pumps one day… Rod Chester, Jack and I were at the coffee shop next door (The Riding Academy… I know it had a real name I don’t know why it was called that)… Jack ordered a chocolate sundae, but had a ‘HOT ONE’ on the island (customer)… while he was gone the sundae arrived … Rod produced a can of Permatex and added a little of his flavoring… surprise for Jack..
My first truck: Jack left the station in the hands of a pair of brothers, the Dunsons, and we’d pump gas run tows at night during the summer… a friend and I had worked all night pulling my 1954 Chevy pickup apart to put a Hemi in it, that I’d ‘big dealed’ … Jack arrived just as we were about to cut a large opening in the firewall, as the Hemi seemed much bigger than we had thought… Jack took the torch and put it away and with me in his ‘53 Ford off to a junk yard in LA we went… finding a Chev 283… stopping at Ansen’s for a floor shifter and back in Buellton by a little after noon… of course he was there with the tow truck when the truck was totaled…
My next truck… I got a letter in boot camp… from Jack telling me he’d found two ’49 Fords and what color did I want mine… Red or White? When I got home my Red pickup with the 283 in it was waiting…
My Corvair…. Jack was again there with the tow truck when I 360’d it thru a bridge…
My Mom’s MG…DITTO… when we played hide and seek… and missed a turn
The Tow truck(s)… what fun we had with them… there was the ‘37 Ford and the ’41 which later became a ’58 (I think) in cab only… we raced kids on State Street pulling a car … and won… a friendly ‘Heeeeeeeeeeeeey Wanna Race’ was all it took… sitting on the front fenders when that moving van was a little too heavy… but I’m not sure doing that from the stock yards was legal… saving a cow stuck in the mud… and leaving the Cop stuck in the mud on the flats after getting a ticket, because it wasn’t our towing period… ‘call Olivera’!!!… repoing a car… Mark was the repo driver and wanted to ride in the car on the hook… hey, more room in the tow truck… but when the hood blew off at 60- 70 mph… hmmmm… we only stopped because a good citizen chased us about 20 miles to tell us we lost something… going to LA with a car, we had to stop for water in Camarillo we had the new body on the old truck… and a favorite gas station… where the new guy was sent to check the oil… what is a flat head??
The Buellton Garage… a church in itself… Jack and the many colorful co-workers and people who hung out… a lot of us grew up there… and grew up well… Jack didn’t allow smoking or cussing (well not much)… there were no drugs… I think (for me) we all grew up good people…of course there was the ice box in the back room… with beer and a bottle of champagne... off limits!!!… the radio that played Rock ‘N Roll… the weekend that ‘The Mighty 690’ played the same BAD record from 4pm Friday til 6am Monday when they changed their call letters and format… Tommy Garland had the garage across Zaca Street… he listened for a few hours to the disc jockey say ‘ here’s one you haven’t heard in a while’ and play the record that he’d just played... we’re all doing stuff and Tommy comes in unplugs the radio and puts it in the garbage can… Harold Barthalmew cutting with a torch (the featured implement of destruction) and a Dunson brother washing the islands with gas… we all know gas and fire makes for more fire…WHOOM… Jack is running around saying ‘what happened’…. Think you had to be there…or not…. Never at a loss for excitement … Mark with a charged capacitor when you thought you’d asked for a 9/16 open end… Mark with the key to the cash box when Jack needed money for a service call… betting on cars going past the station after midnight that they wouldn’t make it over Nojoqui grade and hedging the bet by following in the tow truck… and of course the ever famous fire crackers… on the islands… in the storage yard… in the pit…
Bonneville… my first trip at 17… with Yankie and Leon Permassi … Bob and Jack from Santa Maria… and many others we made up the ‘Dirty Dozen’ … Yankie, Leon, and I had the ‘32 coupe… which had been Yankie’s daily driver until Jack traded it one day for his ’34 pickup and turned it into a race car… we had beaten the ISKY CLOWN a dragster at San Luis Obispo for Top Eliminator… and now it was going after the LSR … there are stories about that trip… but without Jack… you’ll have to wait… we arrived and set up camp on scorpion flats just outside Wendover.. in 1960 almost everything was outside Wendover… we were having problems getting any speed out of the car… a call to Jack and with Dino Dunson as a co-pilot… Jack took the short cut thru Tonopah… over a rise he says he was going real fast and ran into a group of cows… literally… if you’ve been to Bonneville that way…you know!!… he and Dino made it but the ’53 Ford was a mess… Yankie was the driver and went thru the clocks at 150mph… looking out a side window… did I say thru the clocks… well the SCTA didn’t have another set and while they suspended racing until Crondex could get a replacement set in from LA… we left not to return for 20 years when Jack went back with Salty the Salt Dancer…
The dragster… many, many…. many fond memories…
The trips to LADS (Long Beach Drags or the BEACH), Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, San Fernando and Riverside… the ‘CREW’ (this is when we became the dirty dozen) loaded up once and went to a Saturday night race at ‘ The Beach’ we ran a couple of times and broke as we were going on to Riverside Jack and Driver Marshall Solise opted to fix the car after we fond a motel… we got into the motel and off to a bowling alley for dinner and a little bowling… from there Jack and Marshall were off and the rest of us headed for bed… at 5am there was a pounding on all of our doors a hearty ‘HOOT-Mon, last one in the pool is…..” We weren’t welcome at that motel again…
Marshall and I took it to the Beach… and broke it… bad.. the scares are still on it.
The end of the race season parties… the movies of what we did and didn’t do… the wish list for a Kent Fuller car… the year that Jack was blamed for following a couple of Hotties all over the pits with the camera… ooops, is that Jack at the hot dog stand…Mark was busted!
Probably my best memory was 1996 the year I married Sherry… Jack at our wedding offering us the dragster to take on, what became the 5 year car show… we had so much fun at shows in California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado…
Over the years I never was far from Jack or he from me… he showed up for a tour of the Kitty Hawk when the ship and I were in San Diego… I’d look up at a Denny’s or other restaurant I’d be managing and there would be Jack… even from across the country it was a phone call to or from him… I know the 805-688-3139 (my age to his)… better than any that I’ve ever had…
When I settled down in Reno it was Jack traveling with his trailer full or empty selling his open and closed signs, who would pull up and tell his stories… “I found this safe” he once told me… as the hitch of the trailer drug on the ground…the Bonneville sign that he had to replace with a like one to get and about killed off a friend making the switch…a pair of inline skates (before anyone knew about them) he’d found the guy who invented them… he’d met these rag tag racers from England led by a Richard Nobel, who at the Black Rock Desert set the Land Speed Record… but they wouldn’t keep it… Craig Breedlove would be back… he called once said he was coming to a casino with Glen on a gambling trip… but they really wanted to go to the air races… I met them as they entered the casino and we raced to my car and to a day at the races... back at the casino we slipped into the restaurant and made like we’d just met up not sure that we really fooled the tour lady… but it worked for me… I got a call meet him in Phoenix, he has to pick up a truck and trailer for Paul Vanderley and can drop me off in Burbank to fly back to Reno… what a trip… my flight arrived first I made it to the gate as he deplaned … they guys with the truck were there and had a guy circling the airport parking as this thing was too big to just park… we grabbed it as it came around another circle to be told all about it.. “Don’t go over 3500 RPMs” we were told… why? …’Because that was 105 mph and the trailer shouldn’t be pulled that fast’ of course we had to see if that was true... Paul that WAS a fast truck…
Here is the hard part… all the stories and tears that I have shed writing this… I’ll really miss a SOUPER friend… but know he now has all the time to get everything done and no more ’BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL’ but I know he’s looking down at me and when the thunder rolls I’ll now know he just tossed another cherry bomb….
Robby ‘Pea Soup’ Andersen! http://robbya.chatango.com
If you could, I would appreciate you getting this on your site.
My name is Bob [Butch] Dixon and I have know my old friend Jack since I was a mere child of 14. [a mere 47 years now] and I just wanted to speak a few words about ol Moneyhole... Old Jack The Maneater ----
Jack introduced me to the art of 'speed' in 1958 when I offered to wash the whitewalls of the 32 Ford 5 Window drag coupe in exchange for a trip to the Santa Maria Dragons Drag strip -- Well, that was my indoctrination into Jack's world and life. I worked for him at the then Richfield Gas Station of Buellton Garage, pumping gas and eventually, making tow calls when I got my license. That's where I met some of my dearest companions in Roy Robinson, Robby Andersen, Marshall 'Speedy Pete' Solitz, Yankie Breck, Leon Permassy, Bob Rowe, Harold Rose and a mired of Jack's great friends over the 25 odd years I worked for him off and on. To this day, Robby Andersen and I still communicate frequently and I want to thank him for keeping me posted as to the doings in the Valley and of Jack.
We laughed, cried, got into trouble and shared some great moments together in my life and with his family. I watched Mark and Gloria grow from mere babies, into two grand people and saw the passing of their lovely Mother Dottie, whom I will always remember and keep a fond place in my heart for her as well.
I was fortunate to help Jack on many of the race projects he had including being a member of the Santa Maria Speedway cars like the Pink Piranha, the Mexico cars like the Banshee Olds, the old Chevy Truck and the great time we had preparing those cars for the battle of the Mexican deserts. He was and will be an inspiration to my life as he taught me many things and how to even fix a car or two. I still dabble in the mechanical end of things and have revolved my career out of it.
For the past years however, I lost communications with ol Jack as work, place of residence and other factors eliminated my opportunities to see him. Oh, I would catch him on the back streets near the museum, honk my horn and holler at him something improper I suppose [ha ha], but we did have a chance to talk about four or five months ago and I really feel we buried any hatchets we may have had over the years.
I will miss you my old friend, but I will remember your friendship until my time comes when I can once again visit you. To you Jack -- I pass along my outreached hand in a gesture of my friendship. May you rest in peace and may the god's of street rods be at your side always!
With My Utmost Respect And Thought, Butch Dixon Santa Maria, CA 05706 <DIXCYCLONE@aol.com>
(Thanks a ton Evey. I read all of the entries and it sure proves, ol Moneyhole had the friends. Robby emailed and said he was on his way.. Edith and Roy Robinson also emailed me and I told Edith I would make a part of the services. Looking forward to seeing him. I won't make the funeral as it's my turn in the barrel at work but I will be at the Museum around 12:40ish. Hope to chat with you as well. R.G. Bob Dixon)
For Jack; 05/7/8
Sorry to hear of your loss. Thanks for the excellent web site. LOU WELLS IN IDAHO (CHARLIE WELLS BROTHER)