Saturday, June 13, 2009

Speed DeVee, Erwin Foltz, George Brooks and others.

This came from Anonymous: "SORRY TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT!!but i'd like to see a thread about SPEED DEVEE! where did he come from?what did he do?WHY THE NAME"SPEED"???"

I'd like to see a post about Speed DeVee myself. I have little direct knowledge of him. I have no pictures. So, I'll do a post and hope that someone will fill in a few of the blanks. His name was Loren M. "Speed" DeVee.

Speed was a fixture in Garberville. He was known a the man to go to if you needed a cheap easy repair done on your car or truck. He had a Garage in Garberville. It was just across the alley from the old Redwood Inn. Today it would be next to George Rolf Real Estate company. It was located where the south end of Ray's Sentry Parking lot is now. Back in the sixties, he had an International Scout Dealership in the building. His garage was a big old barn with a tin roof and tin siding. He had a mechanic by the name of Moody. Between the two of them, there wasn't anything that they couldn't get running.

Back before the Freeway bypassed Garberville, Speed had a wrecking yard just east of where the school yard to the Garberville school was. He also had a used auto parts store, it was called; "Poor Mans Auto Parts". It was the last building on the south west side of Garberville. It was located in the big turnout just at the south end of the southbound freeway entrance. Right across from the Shine Sherburn residence.

I guess one of the things that Speed was most noted for was his "Ambulance". He had an old Cadillac hearse painted up like an ambulance. His wife, Bertha, was his "Nurse". He hauled a lot of people to the Garberville Hospital. He had a C.B. radio for comunication to his "base" in his Garage. He had 100 watt cheaters on his radios, but nobody complained. Whenever you heard Speed's siren leaving town, you would turn on your C.B. radio and get a blow-by-blow description. Stuff like; "Tell Dr. Pierson to stand by, I think that he is going to have to sew this guys leg back on". Gordie Tosten has a funny story about the time he broke his leg in the woods and they had Speed come pick him up. He said that the gurney was loose, and every time Speed would go uphill, the gurney would roll back and slam against the back door. As soon as he went over the hill or hit the brakes he would roll forward and hit the back of Speed drivers seat. He said that he was scared to death that the door was going to fly open, but Speed wasn't worried. He said that; "It does that all the time". Gordie used to tell that story during the drink-outs at the Fire Department barbecues. It got funnier every time he told it.

Speed rented the back of his Garage to Erwin Foltz, a person who was Garberville's equivalent of Thomas Edison. Erwin was a highly respected man in Garberville. He was the one who kept the Garberville Water Company running. He did all of the repairs on the Garberville Fire trucks. When Erwin died they named the new Garberville fire Hall after him. I remember that I had a lift gate on my truck that was broken. The lift gate had a regular old Ford starter motor on it. I went to Erwin to get some parts, but he wanted to know how a plain old Ford starter motor could run both ways. He offered to fix the gate "no charge" if I would let him take my motor apart. The motor had the shunt coils disconnected, and had a separate wire running to them, when the main winding was shut off, and the shunt winding was energised it would make the motor run backwards, and lower the gate. I tried to tell him that, but he had to see it himself to believe it. (I know people like that.) After he took it apart he declared: "They have the shunt coils wired separately. So the motor can run either way." Yeah, No shit Erwin.

Speed sold out to George Brooks, who opened a tire shop that he ran for years. George eventually sold the building to Bob Smith who tore the building down to build a parking lot for his store. George is still around along with "Brooks Enterprises". He delivers Efficiency Service Delivery packages to me almost every morning. He has a motorcycle detail and storage facility up in the Meadows Business park. He is quite busy and energetic.

Speed lived out his last years in Ferndale. He died last year, and they say he was sharp witted clear up to the end. He must have been in his late eighties.

60 comments:

Ben said...

Speed had a wrecking yard out the East Branch. As I recall, he lived there but I could be wrong. I still have a limited slip rear end for my '52 International Travelall which I got from Speed for cheap. The rig remains stationary as it gets 9 miles to the gallon. He was a terrific guy to deal with and didn't mind hippies a bit as they seemed to share his tendency for innovation. Most of my encounters were at the place just down the Sprowel Creek hill, now being cleared. The Moodys were three brothers and had a garage down in Calpella.
I had a winch run by a starter motor wired the way you mention, but I cheated and bought it from a guy in Fortuna who had a starter service. He rigged it to an old rototiller drive and had a loop of cable on it and it was a powerful thing and could yard a big log right up a hillside. My favorite rig was old Johnny Thomas's thing made of a truck chassis and with two transmissions so that he could hitch an old grader to it and walk alongside as he fixed his driveway up on Fruitlad Ridge. Incredible!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ben
Both of those places are filled with old car bodies. The place on the left going down Spowel Creek road was just under his wrecking yard. Back in those days the only thing that could be sold for recycle was the steel frames and cast iron motors. The bodies were buried in landfills. The flat on Sprowel Creek Road is one of those landfills. Elliots Wrecking Lot in Laytonville had plenty of room and they kept the old car bodies and sold them for parts.

When old cars started to get popular, Speed would kick himself for trying so hard to get rid of them. I used to go out to his place on East Branch Creek, and he would point out where each car was buried. He realized that he had buried a fortune.

One of my cousins in Laytonville (Yeah, Like who isn't) bought the wrecking lot and sold all of the old cars. He did real well, with very little work.

ROSS SHERBURN said...

at one time my dad smashed some cars for SPEED!this was out EAST BRANCH.he was using a D-8 to crush them.

Anonymous said...

I have fond Memories of Erwin, and though I don't remember Speed, my Father spoke highly of him. It seems like I remember George brooks delivering milk when I was a kid. Thanks for helpin' keep our history Ernie!
SoHumBorn

ROSS SHERBURN said...

my dad bought three international pickups from SPEED in the fifties.a 1954,1957 and a 1958!i learned how to drive in the 1957,when i was ten years old.

Ernie Branscomb said...

George also raised pigs at his Sprowel Creek ranch. He would collect produce trimmings from the markets to feed the pigs. At one time it was quite common to raise pigs from Market and Restaurant scraps.
Now, there is some government rule that says that Human food and Pig food cannot cross paths, because of the flu vector thing.

ROSS SHERBURN said...

SPEED GOT LEAD poisoning one time on a local hunting trip.guess he put whiskey in one of those old metal canteens.the whiskey eroded the solder/lead seams and made him very sick.

Anonymous said...

I still remember the time Speed fixed a leaky gas tank in my '57 Chevy truck. He just took a torch to it. I stood well back.

Ben said...

I was buying milk from George about 1972. I'd get two 1 gallpn jars every week. We made good yogurt. Who had the other ambulance? The Shell station as I remember. Lou Barnes worked on one of them. Saved Tim Mooney's life when Chip shot him.

ernie said...

Turk was his last name. He had the chainsaw shop in Legget, then he bought the Gaberville Shell station.

suzy blah blah said...

i luv this ... i really really hope someone finds some pictures of Speed and of Erwin.. such beautiful names --Speed DeVee, Erwin Foltz, i'd like to see a sculpture of Speed and his ambulance in the new town square.. and why doesnt somebody do some youtube interviews to better capture the flavor of the era from some of the oldtimers who are still around?

Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH

If anyone wants to see what , Eureka's former Acting Mayor , JERRY DROZ is up to nowadays just go to ; IMDb - click that and then click " search " when Cast / Crew pops up type in , JERRY DROZ .

Robin Shelley said...

Ben said...

"Saved Tim Mooney's life when Chip shot him."

Well, I guess we know who dunnit but, holy cow! What's the rest of that story?!!

Robin Shelley said...

Also, Ernie... was Erwin related to the Laytonville Foltzes... Charles & Verla & their kids Dick, Duane, JoAnn & Millie?

ROSS SHERBURN said...

ROBIN! IF MEMORY SERVES,they are related.but ERNIE should know for sure.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin
The only one that I know for sure is Lonnie Foltz, who lived in Laytonville. That was Erwins son. Lonnie was killed in a tragic accident. I believe it involved a tractor. Not sure.

Erwin also has a daughter that I went to school with at South Fork High School, she was in my class. She now lives in fortuna.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Link to Jerry Droz for those who are interested, but lazy.

Ben said...

All right Robin, I'll try to be brief.. Tim Mooney had a place on Twin Trees Road down past Benbow. The road to other property out that way ran in front of Tim's place and it was beginning to slide which threatened the house. Chip was logging ou past Tim and Tim wanted him to build another haul road up behind the property. Chip said he had legal access and wouldn't do it. Tim built a gate across the road. Chip came along and took a chain saw to the gate and Mooney ran out the door with an unloaded 22 rifle. Chip reached in his truck and grabbed a pistol and shot Mooney after Tim fell, Chip shot him again. The court case divided the straight and hip communities for some time. There were hard feelings and folks who had been friends stopped speaking. Chip was acquitted as acting in self defense and both he and Mooney have since left the planet. Lou Barnes saved Tim's life in the ambulance probably a good thing for both Chip and Tim. The house slid down the hill.

Ben said...

Suzy... I liked both those guys but my vote for the Town Square statue is the Wailaki Chief Lassik with a rifle in his hands. Maybe his foot on a dead steer.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ben
I'd go for Chief Lassik, but I'd rather see him with a bow in his hand, and his foot on a white deer.

The foot on the steer thing is what justified the conflict in the first place.
"Hanging is for dogs"


"The house slid down the hill."
Didn't the house belong to Jerry Carrico, the building inspector, when it slid down the hill?

I think that it was decided that the first shot was justified, the second shot was the one that was questioned. Chip contended that he thought Tim intended to kill him. That, and he said he would do the same thing again if somebody pulled a gun on him, is probably how he got off.

The code of the land back then was don't pull a gun unless you intend to use it, and Chip fully expected to be shot. I think that the decision was correct by all fair standards. I liked Tim, and I was sorry for what happened to him, but anyone back then would have told you "Don't ever pull a gun unless you intend to use it".

I don't think that Tim would have beat Chip at poker either.

ROSS SHERBURN said...

this logger named "CHIP",did his last name begin with an "N"???

Ernie Branscomb said...

A little bit more bullshistory.

Goforth and Branscomb Logging Co. built the road that the fight was over, back in the '50's. They were logging for a man by the name of Forbee. The property has now been split up, and the Orazems (of the Eel River CafĂ© fame) own some of it. Orazem was smart enough to take his logs over the hill and out by Bigfoot Burl. The part of the road that slid out was old Highway 101. G&B logging had to pay $.50/m to haul logs across Tetherow’s property at the bottom of the hill. I think that was the same property that Tetherow owned at the time.

They considered doing a river crossing to avoid the stumpage fee, but decided that to keep the peace they would just pay the cost. Plus the river crossing would be a summer crossing only, and they made Redwood split-stuff in the winter. It turned out to be a pain in the ass. The loggers had to open and close the gate EVERY time they went through there. It’s amazing how a little bit of power can screw-up peoples minds. There was no reason to require that the gate be open and closed every time, other than to prove they could. By allowing themselves to be ripped off, rather that use their own road, established a continuing mess. Not only has thousands of dollars been spent on right of way fees, many fights have happened over the road. If it were to be done again, there would probably be a road across the river now.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Chip Nunnemaker, Tim Mooney.

No secret.

Robin Shelley said...

What year was the shooting?

ROSS SHERBURN said...

i think there was a fellow by the name of BOB MAIN,mixed in there also????

ROSS SHERBURN said...

ERNIE! once in awhile an old name comes to mind,hope you don't mind me throwing them in???

Bunny said...

Bob Main, do tell.........

Ernie Branscomb said...

Bob Main and Chip Nunnemaker were partners in many ventures. They owned and operated the Greycliff Acres rodeo grounds together, and I'm sure they did a litle gypo logging together.

I don't know to what extent, if any, that Bob was involved in the Twin Trees shooting.

Anonymous said...

Bertha DeVee may have been Speed's "nurse" (as you mentioned in your original post), but I remember her as the waitress at Tarantino's in Miranda. As a 9-year-old, she made me feel pretty special when she'd bring me a Davy Crockett (grenadine & soda) from the bar. She was impressed when I demonstrated for her the art of sucking up a string of spaghetti from my dinner plate through the drink straw. The fun ended when I told her to quit bringing my dad so many gin & tonics.
Hey Ernie, months ago, I posed to you the following trivia question: "What was the name of the restaurant that preceded Terry Tarantino's Garberville restaurant venture?” You answered, “The Silver Spur”. (Rotary met there in those days.) No offense to anyone, but it had the reputation as the town’s greasy spoon. (Their tacky neon sign should’ve been a clue to anyone who wasn‘t from Texas.) When Terry’s restaurant opened, I took my gal there and we were greeted by Terry at the door with menus in hand - smiling - advising us to “try the salmon. They were swimming in the ocean off the cove just this morning.” It was a great meal; the salmon was seasoned perfectly with lemon & dill. Anyway , Terry was somehow related to the owner of the better-known "Tarantino’s on Fisherman’s Wharf" in San Francisco. Terry might’ve become just as famous if his restaurant overlooked San Francisco Bay instead of the Garberville bowling alley.

ROSS SHERBURN said...

SORRY!!!didn't mean involved in the shooting,just mixed in with that group of GYPOS!!and like ROBIN asked,when did this happen???

Dave Kirby said...

When I was on the planning commission. Bob Main and his neighbor Hardy (Western Auto) came before us in a lot line dispute. It seems one of them, can't remember who, had built a structure, part of which, was on the other guys property. After hearing the staff report and some lengthy discussion we were about to rule when Bob stood up and said he hadn't heard a word of the proceedings. He then produced a parcel map purporting to back up his claim. The appearance of that map brought the whole thing to a halt as staff wanted to review the map before we went any further. It turned out the map was a phony that Bob had drawn up himself. He was a real character.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Dave
When Bob said that he didn't hear anything, It was true. As you know, Bob was a Garberville Rotarian. My good friend Bunny, who is a screaming liberal but walks-the-walk, would sit next to him and pass him notes about what was being said at the meetings. I always thought that was sweet of her.

Dave Kirby said...

Yep Bunny told me about her being Bob's hearing aide. Actually I'd say she is left of liberal on some issues. But it was she that got me interested in getting involved with Heider's "92" campaign. She had nothing but good things to say about his honesty and integrity even though she and Roy were far apart politically.

suzy blah blah said...

last night or thereabouts there was this dream i had and it was in the future, or maybe it was an alternative universe or something like that i dunno, totally, and but anyway Suzy was lost in Garberville cuz i didnt know the new way things were laid out and everything cuz there was a lot of gnew buildings and stuff like that and it was a dark night with just a slivver of moon that i glimpsed between the buildings and trees once in a while.. i walked on and on and on and i was sooooooooooooooooo lost and no matter what i did Suzy couldnt find my way cuz all had changed like that and everything was a maze and i went down all these infinite chanells and passageways and streets and bridges and catwalks and so forth but then anyway after this really really looooong strange part of the adventure where Suzy crawled over and under and through reeferigeration chambers and black-hole like thingys forever and ever and ever passing by the houses and cottages and cottage cheeses and the milks and sour creams and yogurts and butters and eggs (i saw this one egg that had a lizard person coming out of it but thats another tail lol) and eggnogs and everything.. til finally, i staggered out into the open and somehow stumbled upon the brand new town square wiht all green grass and fflowers and it smelled nice and the dew was on the punkin and the r frost online and i stepped over a little stone fence and lit a candle to see better the truth and when i lit the candle night turned into day and lo and behold.. there was this bronz statue in the middle of the square and i walked over to it and looked up and there was this man on horseback, a hero of some sort or other or maybe a superhero cuz he wore a cape.. and then as i gazed at him he turned his statue head LOL and looked down at me and... And it was Ernie!! .. and he winked at me... i dont know what that means ... (youd havta ask Dr.Frued)
LOL!

kymk said...

Ernie as statue would be great but it wouldn't have his voice and his stories and that's my favorite part of Ernie.

suzy blah blah said...

but Kym, if a statue can wink, it can tell stories.

Ben said...

Oh Suzy... what a dream! I'm not much of a LOL type but I caught myself heh heh ing there. Was Ernie wearing a hat? I don't think I've ever seen him with a hat....
Ernie, I had forgotten that was the old highway with the bridge further north. Carrico's had a place further out that road. Jerry designed it and I thought it was terrific. It burned years ago. Did you ever see it? Really clever.

Ben said...

Ernie... Chip had a Eureka lawyer who was considered the best. I can't recall his name but he was a real bulldog.

Ernie Branscomb said...

"Moose" Mathews?

McKittrick?

Anonymous said...

Learned a couple of classic auto repair items from Speed--we had a car that wouldn't make it up the hill because the compression was no good--Speed told us to pour a beer can full of kerosene down the carb while running it up a little, then try the hill--made it every time! Also he had a deal that probably died with him about blowing out the carbon by removing one spark plug wire and reversing a couple others...he had a bunch of those tricks...cars now are too complicated for all that though. Anyway, RIP Speed, you were cool...

Ben said...

McKittrick it was. He was the guy to see if you were in big trouble. It happened around '75 as I recall. One of my exxes was a witness.

ROSS SHERBURN said...

after about 1963 my dad went into the MOTEL BUSINESS,there was still more GYPO problems!LOL!! my folks had a good lawyer in REDDING !

ROSS SHERBURN said...

i think CHIP was already in the MOTEL business at this time, in REDWAY. FORTY WINKS????

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Link to " Droz " ,
Ernie !

Computer dummy said...

PS - How did you to that ?

Signed ,

Computer illiterate

regular dummy said...

to make a link you type
the word you want underlined

same regular dummy said...

i warned about the dummy part... take two:

type


the first gap gets the link address
the second gap gets the word you want underlined

let's see what blogspot does with this

dumm and dummier said...

i quit...blogspot stole my important details....

ernieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
help

Ernie Branscomb said...

This is hilarious! The reason that you can't show somebody how to make a HTML hyperlink is because, when you type it out, it converts to a hyperlink and obscures everything that you are trying to demonstrate.

The best way to show you how to make a link is this spot Click Here.

dim and dimmer said...

Now i see why you wrote it down on cardboard for me.

Anonymous said...

Bet Susy have somethin ta say bout that hyperlink thing a bob. what know if ya cud read the abrevia tion an ships you could link a thing. Like one a Suzy's trips. come on Suzy we waitin tell us how ta be dummer and dummier. hyperlink is your post.You gots to no how ta link.

Anonymous said...

what about FRED EVANS,LOG TRUCK DRIVER and that LOUIE GUY with the log TRUCKS???lived in REDWAY!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Fred Evans moved away years ago.

Louie Scaafsma died last year, but he is posthumously the grand Marshall of the Rodeo Parade Saturday (tomorrow).

Anonymous said...

did you spell louis's last name correctly???

Ernie Branscomb said...

Nope, It's really spelled "Schaasfma". At least that's how the Newspaper spelled it.

Jenna said...

Speed was with my grandmother, Margret Ray for I want to say at least 10-15 years before he moved back to California from Southern Oregon. I don't remember much about him except that he moved away on my 13th birthday(I'm 20 now) without even a happy birthday. He was a great man from what little I remember of him. If you have more info about him, please email me, jenmelyssa@aol.com I want to know about who he was. I know he isn't my blood grandfather but he was the only one I had. My dad's dad died 8 years before I was born.

Anonymous said...

ernie, speed devee's grandson works at redway liquor store his name is dave not the owner dave his employee dave

Anonymous said...

Anyone recall that, before Speed was there, there was an oil "strikelet" on that East Branch property? Crumbly geology kept it from being worth developing.

Anonymous said...

It was the 40 Winks Motel in Redway. Chip is/was (who knows) my cousin! Thanks for the memories! My uncle and aunt owned the Brass Rail at the time.

Nuclearn Dave said...

I can remember some of the best times of my life had Speed DeVee very involved in them. He really was a great man, I even got to go out with him on a couple of those high speed ambulance rides with him and I just had to spend as much time with him as I could. He taught me how to drive tow truck. We recovered an old wreck out at the river one day. It was in the middle of Summer and it was over 100 degrees outside. I think it was 1972 and I was 12 years old. The wrecker had an "Arm-Strong" winch. Arm-strong is what I called it because the winch was a hand crank device with some gear reduction so that if you turned the crank one full turn, the cable reeled in about 6"! There was no way I would let Speed down and I cranked that old wreck in all the way and we hauled it out to East Branch. He didn't live out there 'till much later when he was with Margaret. I've got so many fond memories of Speed and I doing things together when I was grown up whenever I could get the time to see him. Whenever I wasn't deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq or Afghanistan, I'd try to get back to California to see him. If anyone out there remembers Speed's laugh, It was one of those things that would make you join in and laugh so hard it hurt. Sometimes I had no idea what he was laughing about but I was laughing at him laughing. I am the person who called him Papa. He was my grandfather and I loved him dearly. He was 99 years old when he passed andd I still miss him very much. Rest in peace Papa. Your Grandson, David