rss
7

Memorial Set for Auto Parts’ Store Owner

Part of an informal shrine for Jerry Piper erected in the rear of the auto parts store.

Hundreds attended a memorial service  for Jerry Piper, the longtime owner of Laguna Auto Parts, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, in Bluebird Park.

Piper died last week from a heart attack he suffered in the shop at 1796 S. Coast Highway, which he described in ads as “the last useful store in Laguna.”

“If you had a problem, Jerry was the go-to guy,” said 20-year customer Brad Charlton, who consulted with Piper when the transmission in his truck quit working. Piper advised a 16-ounce, $8 carburetor cleaner rather than replacing the transmission. “A 100,000 miles later, it’s still running. Every 5,000 miles I add Chemtool,” Charlton said.

At an informal shrine of mementos in the shop’s rear yard, friend Neil McQueen left a note describing Piper as possessing “a Ph.D in auto parts” and “an expert in everything, humble in all.” Cans of Piper’s beverage of choice, Miller beer, decorated a tree and kept company with lit candles and fishing gear.

Piper, who would change out his customer’s windshield wipers in a downpour, looked out for his customer’s interests in others ways also.

The shop hosted an annual fish fry begun by Piper’s friend and fishing partner Steve Battaglia, a local resident who frequented the store daily and shared his haul after deep-sea fishing. The event outgrew the store’s rear parking area and more recently was held at Bluebird Park early in the fall.

Though the shop’s fishing-gear decore “looked like an extension of his living room,” Charlton said, Piper proved an innovative merchant, refocusing the store’s merchandise to suit the needs of residents that loathe leaving town.

Car parts made way for home hardware. Piper stocked work clothes. Savvy beach-goers could also rent boogie-boards.

And loyal customers felt treated by a cold brew delivered by Piper’s trained hound, Holly, who knew how to open and close the refrigerator. “It is such a welcoming place,” Charlton said.

Piper owned the store with his wife, Jennifer. The couple lives in Mission Viejo. Their  daughter also worked at the store.

 

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Twitter
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • PDF
  • Reddit
  • RSS
  • Digg
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • Yahoo! Buzz

About the Author

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. mervyn jones says:

    What a shock!! One of the nicest men i ever met. My heart felt condolences to his family and friends. Merv Jones.

  2. James M. Lawson says:

    Jerry was a true gentleman. He not only found the parts to keep my pathetic motorcycle working, but more importantly took an interest in all who walked through the shop’s door. He challenged my kids to hide the tennis ball where Holly couldn’t find it (she did, of course), and later introduced them to Lil’ Bit. He made the store exactly what a neighborhood hardware store should be. He will be sorely missed.

  3. John Davis says:

    Jerry was an amazing individual – kind, samrt, funny, sympathetic, supportive and, well, just nice. He embodied the character that Laguna Beach should have been. I left the town, but my friend stayed with me. RIP JP.

  4. John Davis says:

    PS. Wish I could have made it down to this particular event, today, Wednesday.

  5. James Henry says:

    Jerry has been a fixture in this town since I was a kid. He always had a funny story, and was inventive with his ways to help on whatever project you were working on. I work on my cars, and Jerry always went out of his way to get me hard to find parts for my old Datsuns.
    A small example of the way he ran his business was when I called him, 5 minutes AFTER he should have been closed, and told him I needed a battery – but couldn’t get there for another 30 minutes, he said – “I’ll leave it out back for you – pay me next time you’re in”.
    My kids love going to the store to play fetch with the dogs, or grab some free popcorn.
    I will miss Jerry in his store – which is truly the last useful store in Laguna Beach.

  6. francesca says:

    I HAVE KMOWN JERRY MY HOLE LIFE. MY FATHER CISCO AND HIM WENT FISHING ALOT TOGETHER…HE CAME OVER ONE DAY WITH A KITTEN HE HAD FOUND WHEN I WAS 7. BUBBA LIVED TO BE 18 YEARS OLD. JERRY WAS AN AMAZING MAN,FRIEND AND FATHER.. I DONT SAY THIS MUCH ABOUT PEOPLE BUT HE WAS THE MOST KIND PERSON I EVER HAD KNOWN..HE WILL BE MISSED SO MUCH BY ALL OF THE FARIAS FAMILY…

  7. Cisco and Kim Farias says:

    Jerry what will we do without you in our lives? Now Cisco will have to change my windshield wipers! We could always count on you. We will miss not having you over to the house on Friday nights. I will miss your smile and laugh. It just won’t be the same without you in our lives. You will never be forgotten. Love and miss you,
    Cisco and Kim Farias

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.


six + = 15