About 15 years ago, I couldn’t get the tailgate to unlatch and open on my pickup truck. A friend recommended a friend and former classmate of his that owned a shop on Oberlin Avenue and Cooper-Foster. “Good guy, he won’t take you for a ride.” I stopped by and showed the proprietor my issue. He said, “Do you want the cheap fix or the pricier one? I can fix the issue for $15 and you have to push the latch back down, or for $50 it will spring back on its own.” I told him I thought I could deal with pushing the latch back down. He agreed and a new friendship was formed.
There’s a line from the movie “Con Air” that I always smiled at. “…there’s only two men I trust. One of ‘em’s me, the other’s not you.” Al was the one you could trust. After the tailgate repair, I started taking my vehicles there for oil changes. Al always gave the vehicles a once-over, and would warn that “You’ll need new brakes soon,” or “Might be time to start thinking about tires.” He never tried to talk you into something like those quickie oil change places would. He gave you a heads-up, and then looked around for deals on the tires, or would order a part for installation the next time I was due for an oil change.
With relatives in North Carolina, we would travel there every summer to visit. Knowing Al pretty well by now, I would schedule a drop-off with the instructions, ‘Go over it, front to back, and make sure it’s capable of getting me to NC and back. And let me know what I owe when you’re done.’ Not “Call if there’s issues or if you find something.” If Al felt it needed addressing, then it did. If he didn’t, I wasn’t worried about it.
One summer he found my shocks were leaking and needed replaced before a trip. I was planning to leave on Monday morning and this was Friday. He worked on them Saturday for a few hours to be able to get me the truck early Monday to leave.
When my kids were old enough to drive, their vehicles went to Al. He would change the oil and let me know I could pay him the next time I could stop in. He always like to play the crotchety old crank, giving me a hard time about things when I stopped by. Deep down was a guy that loved his daughters and his grandchildren. He’d talk about his trips to Massachusetts for visits and about his granddaughter in North Ridgeville. He’d always show my daughter photos and talk about how they loved when he came over.
A while ago, I asked if I could get him a bottle of something for Christmas. Whiskey? Scotch? Rum? Nope, Bud Light. Come on, let me get you something good. Nope, a case of Bud Light. Ok, bottles, right? Nope, cans, so they fit in the fridge in the back. Very simple pleasures. Very down-to-earth.
I bought Al his Bud Light this Christmas but he was out getting his chemo for leukemia when I stopped by. I planned to stop again before the holiday to see him and deliver his gift and check up on him, but I never found the time. Saturday night my Aunt called to check on me, and to deliver some sad news. Al missed a dinner date with someone and was found in his home. He had passed away the day before.
I had a dream last night about Al. I was with my family and was stunned to see him while we were out. It was the day before he died (in the dream) and I was trying to convince him to meet up with someone so that he wouldn’t be alone the next day. I couldn’t tell him I knew he was going to die if he was alone. I woke up with tears in my eyes.
There are other little stories I could tell but they can all be summed up here: The world has lost a good man. Someone who was honest, caring, trustworthy, and loved his daughters and grandchildren dearly. Someone the likes of which this world needs more of.
God Bless You, Al Perhot. You will be missed dearly.
From the Morning Journal:
Alan Paul Perhot carved his name in the lives and hearts of those who had the privilege of calling him a father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, and of course, mechanic.
Al passed away peacefully at his home on Jan. 7, 2016.
Al was born on Nov. 28, 1946, to the late Elizabeth (nee Zebruski) and John A. Perhot in Burgettstown, Pa. Al grew up in Lorain, graduated from Admiral King High School in 1946, and was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1967.
Al was the wonderful father of Marjean of Boston, Mass., Nancy (Vincent) of Ashland, Mass., and Paula of North Ridgeville, and a dedicated grandfather of three. He was the youngest brother of Rudy Perhot of Longview, Texas, Sandra (Perhot) Nahm of Amherst, and Elizabeth (Perhot) Bomback of Tega Cay, S.C. He was an uncle to two nieces and four nephews.
Al is best remembered for his jokes and honest work done on cars as the owner of Perhot’s Auto Service, first on the East side of Lorain and for the past 28 years on Oberlin Avenue. In his free time, Al loved taking motorcycle rides with his favorite passenger, Jean Karnik, and his favorite moments were spent with his grandchildren, Aurora, Chloe, and Hunter Alan.
The family will receive friends to celebrate Al’s life from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the Dovin Funeral Home, 2701 Elyria Avenue, Lorain, where funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. Rev. Robert Sanson, pastor of St. Peter, North Ridgeville, will officiate. Burial will follow in Ridgehill Memorial Park, Amherst Twp., with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, please eat at Jackalope Lakeside or Diso’s Bistro and get an oil change every 3 months or 3,000 miles.
To send online condolences go to www.dovinfuneralhome.com. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/morningjournal/obituary.aspx?n=alan-paul-perhot&pid=177225697&fhid=3361#sthash.vFYfVAgR.dpuf