Carl Meriwether – … a person of character
CONSIDERING, he was in the service station business in Baton Rouge for almost 40 years. He is an institution. He opened his Esso station in 1960 where the Southdowns Shopping Center is now located. In 1973 he changed to a full-service Mobil station and moved to the corner of College and Perkins. He knew Baton Rouge families well, gave candy to the children and kept up with local current affairs.
CONSIDERING, his marquee on the corner served the city in posting announcements of weddings and other celebrations. “Sometimes, I would go out and change it three times a day, I had so many requests.”
CONSIDERING, the teenage boys who worked for him later, as grown men, approached him and thanked him for the work ethic he instilled in them. “If you are going to succeed, you are going to have to work hard. We just took care of people, one customer at a time.”
CONSIDERING, retirement is not a goal for him. After leaving his Mobil job in 1996, he served as a “Pink Lady” at Baton Rouge General until 2003. The Pink Ladies are members of the hospital’s auxiliary who work in various departments and raise money for expanded facilities.
CONSIDERING, he has driven a golf cart or van around the 52 acres of St. James Place Retirement Community since 2003 to shuttle residents to and from their rooms. He knows many of the residents from his service station days and keeps up with their families. “I just like to be with people.”
CONSIDERING, he offers a car clinic once a month in the parking lot of First Baptist Church “for little ole ladies,” he says, smiling. He checks tires, looks under hoods and inspects spares. He has been doing this for 10 years.
CONSIDERING, he received the Golden Deeds Award in 2000. The award is given annually to a local philanthropist.
CONSIDERING, he enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 and served eight years. He experienced World War II and the Korean War. “It was privilege to serve, not a duty. A privilege.”
CONSIDERING, he has been married to Nell for 60 years and has four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “My wife keeps things going. She’s part of everything I do and everything I’ve done.”
CONSIDERING, this 86-year-old has no plans to slow down. He owns a cell phone whose ringtone is “Anchors Aweigh,” and he’s quick to pull it out to share photos or call his wife. Every morning, he looks forward to getting out and interacting with others. “If I slowed down, I would die.”