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GRADY LAMAR QUINN

Grady Lamar Quinn – family man, car enthusiast, natty dresser and collector of things both curious and cool – died on July 6, 2016 at the ripe old age of 77.
You might know the name from the Lamar Quinn Auto & Body Shop sign painted on the tall brick walls of the old garage on Franklin Blvd. Cracked and weathered, it's a moment frozen in time more than 20 years after he hung up the drills and buffers for good. He'd spray paint some wheels for Cale Yarborough, strip down a used-up Chevy El Camino then pull out a dent someone brought home from the Food Town parking lot, all before lunch.

He once worked with the Ashbrook auto shop class, dropping a bad-to-the-bone supercharged hemi they worked on all semester into a Camaro he knew his daughters would love to drive. (Never mind they weren't old enough for a driver's permit.) All summer, they roasted the tires and drag-raced up and down the driveway, trying hard not to fly over New Hope Rd. and into the Green Wave parking lot. (Estelle put an end to that.)

Lamar smoked Pall Malls as a younger man but traded them for Mountain Dew and Krispy Kreme down the stretch (chocolate glazed, of course). He was fine with Steak n' Shake, preferred Longhorn on special occasions and felt like Outback was international fine dining. He didn't drink much, but every Friday night he'd have a single beer out at dinner, then pretend to be drunk and crack up Estelle and the girls all the way home. 

He was a Gaston County rascal to the core who lamented that NASCAR died when Dale Earnhardt did. He thought Arnold Palmer was the last golfer worth watching. John Wayne might have been his hero but the guys on American Pickers had the dream jobs. Lamar had a hat for every party and was cool in a pair of shades. Man, was he fun to be around! 

Truth be told, Lamar would not want us to make much of a fuss over his passing. But he would want you to know that Estelle was the love of his life, and he missed her every day after she was gone. Fear not: They're together again, exploring God's universe the way they did before.

He'd want you to know that the happiest times of his life were spent flying down the back roads of Gastonia in a souped-up '58 Pontiac with Lea Ann and Lisa jumping up and down on the bench seats. "Faster, Daddy! Go faster!" He'd press that pedal to the floor as his precious cargo cackled and laughed until they were exhausted. (You could do that in 1971.) Now it's a dream shared only by those three, special and unique and a gift from the man who loved them most.

Lamar would brag about his grandsons, Lee, Matt and Nick. He loved that only Matt could truly appreciate his fantastic sword collection. He was so proud of Nick's military service, though he worried while he was in the desert. And he would give Lee, the oldest, anything he wanted if he only asked. Derick was his son, Amanda was his grand-daughter, there was no need for an "in-law" designation for Lamar. And he'd certainly want you to know that he got to hold great-grandson T.J. in his arms just a few weeks ago, with a grin wide as a hubcap and a heart swollen with devotion. He was, after all, the baby boy in his own family to older sisters Aline, Frances and dearly departed Dot. He'd want Sid to know he respected him a great deal, and there was a special place in his heart for longtime friend and companion Helen. He missed every day the family who'd gone before him: Benny, Lester, David, R.L. and his mom and dad, Janette and Grady. And Lamar loved his mother-in-law, Belle, who's going to outlive us all. 

He'd also want all of his family and friends too numerous to mention here to know he loved them, too, and he's sorry if you ever surprised him with a visit only to find him in his tidy whities and not much else. 

So if Lamar were still around today, he'd wonder what the big deal was all about. He wouldn't want you to grieve, but instead, do yourself a favor: Tell the people who mean the most to you how much you love them. Fill your days with joy and gratitude. And for goodness' sake, have some fun.

If you're a friend or family and you'd like to swap stories about Lamar with a bunch of like-minded people, we'll be at Carothers on New Hope this Sunday, July 10 (that's today). Visitation starts at 2, service starts at 4. 

In lieu of flowers, make a donation to Loray Girls Home, located just down the street from his old garage in West Gastonia.

Carothers Funeral Home at Gaston Memorial Park is serving the family of Lamar Quinn with Dignity and Compassion.
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