Owner, mechanic at R&R Truck and Auto Repair retires after 52 years
KITTANNING TOWNSHIP — Richard Smith is not a name most people in the Kittanning area might associate with auto repair.
But mention Smith's nickname, and it's likely that a friend, neighbor or family member will remember him from taking a vehicle to R&R Truck and Auto Repair along Graham Road sometime over the last three decades.
“Everyone knows me as Fletch,” he said. “My brother gave me that name when I was a kid, and it stuck.”
For all of his loyal customers, Tuesday marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new phase for Fletch.
It was the day the 76-year-old mechanic officially retired after working in the business for 52 years. He opened his own repair shop in 1984 after working for several other businesses and named it R&R after his name and that of his son, Rick.
Raymond Cashdollar of South Bend has been a customer since Fletch first opened his doors.
“You can't find anyone more honest than him,” Cashdollar said. “I got my car inspected a month earlier than I should have, just so he could do it.”
Fletch said he never had to advertise and that his business grew from word of mouth.
“I've had very good customers and thank them for their loyalty,” he said.
Although Wednesday was the first day of his retirement, Fletch has not exactly hung up his wrench for the last time.
“I'll still take care of family,” he said.
In addition to fixing and maintaining family vehicles, Fletch plans to devote more time to his hobby — fixing up old tractors and mowers. He has 14 in his collection, including a 1956 John Deere Tractor and a selection of vintage and newer model garden tractors. It is a passion he and his son share.
Fletch, who grew up in Dayton and graduated from Dayton High School, said his mother told him that he was always mechanically inclined.
“If I got a toy truck for Christmas, I'd tear it all apart,” he said.
And now that he has some extra time, he plans to help his daughter, Kimberly, as a part-time flower delivery man.
Kimberly owns Kimberly's Floral and Design shop just a few minutes down Route 422. Her mother, Ruth Ann, helps her run the store.
She said that her dad has been well-loved by his customers.
“He became — not just their mechanic — but their friend,” she said. “I've had people call the flower shop asking ‘Where's your dad?' ”
Kimberly said she believes the success of R&R was a result of her father's good character and the family's unity. Her parents have been married for 52 years.
“It's been a good life,” Kimberly said.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Armstrong River Hawks to debut alma mater, fight songs tonight
- Lions Club hosts second Worthington race for charity
- Company supplies industry worldwide with products made in South Buffalo
- Defense seeks delay in start of Kittanning Township teen’s murder trial
- Hacker stuns Dayton family with computer takeover
- EDA rejects Ford City’s offer to repay debt over 50 years
- Adrian man sentenced to 10 years in prison for sex crimes
- Spontaneous street celebrations marked WWII’s end 70 years ago
- Kittanning traffic snarls expected as bridge renovation work wraps up
- Kittanning fundraiser to help homeless pit bulls
- Christian radio station off air while on the market