Dennis McCoy, better known as “Mac,” has cleaned out his toolbox.
After 59 years of working in Claremore, the 80-year-old former business owner officially retired last week.
Born and raised in the Chelsea area, McCoy graduated from Chelsea High School in 1944. He then spent two years in the United States Navy working in aviation mechanics. But it wasn’t for him.
“I never felt like I’d feel confident working on airplanes but I could work on tractors,” he said.
He moved to Claremore in 1949 and went to work for Jim Rosson as a “parts man and mechanic” at Rosson Farm Equipment, located where Pixley Lumber is today.
He remembers making house calls in the early days.
“Jay Rosson — Mr. Rosson’s son — was my helper in the hayfield during those hot summer days,” he said. “Then Claude McClendon was my buddy in shop and parts.”
In 1965 the business moved to a new location — the current site of Burger King.
“Then in ‘68, (Rosson) got into real estate and asked me to buy him out,” McCoy said. “The name changed to McCoy Supply but we stayed at that location until the fall of ‘79 when we moved south to a new building at 1702 N. J.M. Davis.”
In 1984, McCoy sold his business to Tim Cottrell, who later sold to Howard Johnson, the current owner of what is now Cutter’s Edge — at the same location on J.M. Davis.
“I was the owner for 18 years, but I needed to let up. I really got tired of it all of a sudden,” McCoy said. “I continued to work for both the new owners all the way through, but I didn’t want to be the boss. They wanted to give me a key to the building but I didn’t want one!”
Until last week, McCoy could often be found at his workbench, with his toolbox nearby.
“I’ve been doing benchwork — small engine work on chainsaws and trimmers,” he said. “I still like to tear them apart but it takes me longer to put them back together!”
McCoy was planning to retire last November but then the ice storm hit.
“It was a really busy time. There would be 30 saws on the floor. I’d work all day then come in the next morning and there would be 30 more,” he said. “In November I wasn’t ready to quit. Now I’m ready.”
In his retirement, McCoy said he’s looking forward to enjoying a cup of coffee in the mornings and taking each day as it comes.
“I’d like to maybe start golfing again and I like auctions and garage sales,” he said. “I thank all my customers and friends we’ve made over the years.”
Of all his accomplishments, McCoy said he’s most proud of his children and grandchildren.
Dennis and his wife, Monta Lee, have three children, Denise of Stigler, Deanna of Claremore, and Doug, of Mansfield, Texas, and nine grandchildren. Several family members are in public school education.
The McCoys are longtime members of North Park Trinity Baptist Church.
Although his tools are now at home, they haven’t been put away for good.
“I don’t think I’ll let them get rusty,” he said.