Leslie “Bud” Perry, longtime owner of the Bud’s Tire & Wheel business in Springfield, Missouri, that’s often photographed because of its Route 66 murals, died Monday. He was 79.
According to KY3 in Springfield, Perry in 2013 received the John T. Woodruff Award, which recognizes Springfield residents’ contributions to Route 66, during the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.
Perry had owned Bud’s Tire & Wheel at Grant Avenue and College Street (aka Route 66) since 1958. His business was one of Springfield’s first to offer custom wheels. He welcomed visitors to his shop and invited them to take photos of those murals.
The company posted this message on Facebook on Monday evening:
It’s a sad day on Route 66. Bud passed away today at 4:10 pm. His family is at peace, knowing he is with his “Heavenly Father”. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. The Bud Perry Family.
The business will be closed tomorrow.
Perry also was known in the area as a racer. In 2002, he was inducted into the Ozark Area Racers Association, Racing Pioneer Award.
A blogger, Curtis Green, once stopped by Bud’s Tire & Wheel and described this experience:
I was lucky enough to find Bud sitting in the shop. To my surprise, he was scrolling through something on his iPhone when I first walked in. Not wanting to interrupt, I politely nodded my head his direction.
“How are you,” he responded the way a grandfather might speak to a long-lost grandson. He tossed his iPhone to the side.
We started with the weather, naturally. Then we slowly moved on to cars and Craigslist. Eventually this led to old cars, Route 66 and the fact that he’d started Bud’s in the 50s and how glad he was to hear they had such a great reputation among my co-workers.
Like so many of the retail experiences I’ve described here over the years — especially the barber shops — I went to the business for something specific, but wound up getting an experience out of the transaction. After all, if you’ve got to spend money, you may as well spend it where people treat you like a human.
The obituary listed Greenlawn Funeral Home says the visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Greenlawn Funeral Home East, with Masonic services at 4 p.m. that day.
The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Greenlawn Funeral Home East, with burial at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
Memorial donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children of St. Louis.
(Hat tip to Mark Mahy; image of Bud’s Tire and Wheel mural by RonTheTurtleMan; image of Bud Perry via Facebook)