81-year-old mechanic says it’s time to recharge the batteries and retire

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A longtime mechanic, who has worked for Billion Automotive in Sioux Falls for nearly 60 years, is pumping the brakes and calling it a career.

81 year old Dick Gaddis is finally retiring and KELOLAND News was there for his last day on the job.

After working as a mechanic for Billion for the last 56 years, Dick Gaddis decided to retire.

“I just thought it was time,” Gaddis said. “It’s still trying to sink in.”

It’s not that he’s out of gas, he says he just needs to recharge his batteries.

“I want to go out and do some things and just take it easy,” Gaddis said.

A large group of people, made up of family, friends and former co-workers, some who retired long before he did, showed up for Dick’s retirement party Friday.

As you can imagine, he’s seen a lot of changes over the years and cars have come along way from when he first started at age 25 at the Plymouth shop on Minnesota avenue.

“When I first started if a car wasn’t running right you’d pull a little screwdriver out and adjust it you know, it would be running good and away they would go. Now you got to hook them up to all the computers and everything,” Dick said.

“To give you a little perspective I was only 1 when Dick was hired here at Billion and he was actually hired before Dave Billion himself,” KELOLAND’s Don Jorgensen said.

“He does out rank me, yes he does, he out ranks me by two months, he started in April of 1965 and I graduated from college in June of ’65 and that’s when I started fulltime,” Billion said.

Dave Billion says Dick will be missed, because he lead by example.

“Dick has been a tremendous employee and a real inspiration to a lot of people and employees who have followed him and have seen his dedication to work his dedication to customers,” Billion said.

“I just enjoyed it, enjoyed being around people; that’s what I’m really going to miss is being around people,” Dick said.

And now after nearly 60 years of working under the hood, even a longtime mechanic doesn’t have the proper tools to fix the emotions he’s feeling today.

“It’s just been a great life, it’s been fun, I’m going to miss it,” Dick said.

Dick says he loves cars and has a few older models himself and plans to spend a lot of time with them in retirement.

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