EmVP: 94-year-old World War II veteran still serves his neighbors

5 months 2 weeks 4 days ago Tuesday, October 15 2019 Oct 15, 2019 Tuesday, October 15, 2019 6:40:00 PM CDT October 15, 2019 in EmVP
By: Emily Spain, KOMU 8 Anchor
loading

COLUMBIA - From ear to ear, it's hard to miss 94-year-old Elmo Winterhalter's smile.

"I don't know I've always been that way, ever since I was a kid," he said about his positive demeanor. 

You'll find him greeting customers with his signature grin on Mondays and Fridays at Oakland Plaza Car Wash on Vandiver in Columbia. 

"He's always here. He's always smiling," Oakland Plaza Car Wash owner, Joe Wood, said. "It doesn't matter how bad of a day I'm having, anyone's having. Mo walks in with the same smile day in and day out."

You could say Elmo is just tickled to be alive.

"I just thank the good Lord for keeping me around," he said with a laugh.

Known as Mo, he's lived in Boone County for nine decades. He was born in 1925. He's lived through the Great Depression, 16 different presidencies and served in World War II. 

"I was a gunner in the artillery. I shot everything from the 75 to a 240," he said.

In 1943, Mo headed to Belgium with the Army. He was 18 years old. 

"There's a lot of things I like to forget about. I don't like to talk about it," he said. "I was nervous as a June bug when I got home."

Even then, while serving in the war, Mo was smiling.

"There used to be this paper with an article of this guy they called 'Smilin' Jack' and he was always smiling and some of my buddies just started calling me 'Smilin' Jack,'" he said. 

It's not only what Mo has done in his life, it's what he's still doing.

He's still working. He retired after 30 years with Boone County's street division only to pick up a new job at the car wash. This year marks year number 25 there.

"I sit in the house by myself looking at four walls and it gets lonesome. I get to come in here and meet people and talk to them," Mo said.

"When Mo was young that was just part of life, was going to work every day and there wasn't any excuses and he's not about to let his age be one of them," Wood said.

He's also still living alone, driving and serving his neighbors.

"He blades my driveway in the winter time," one of Mo's neighbors, Daryl Isgrig, said. "He takes care of the neighborhood. He takes care of everybody up and down this road. Always has and always will probably."

He's still there for his family.

"He likes to do everything I do," Mo's son, Randy Winterhalter, said. "Never has a bad day it don't seem like or least he don't tell us if he does anyway."

Even after losing his wife ten years ago and one of his two sons two years ago, he's still smiling through the pain.

"I got all these pictures I can look at them and think about all the good times we had...you just got to grit your teeth and bare with it and go on," Mo said. "I guess I'd rather be happy than sad."

If smiling makes your face hurt, then Mo's must be pretty sore.

"He's the happiest person in Boone County," Mo's daughter-in-law, Peggy-Sue Winterhalter, said. "He might be the happiest person in Missouri."

"I'm glad somebody likes me," Mo said with a smile and laugh.

Mo has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was married to his wife, Wanda, for 56 years. After 94 years, he said his advice would be to do what you're told and like his father told him, do it right.

More News

Grid
List
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Dr. Christopher Sampson from MU Health Care about the... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:52:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - As Missouri gears up for a long fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Missouri System leaders are... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 5:38:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
HOWARD COUNTY – As public safety agencies face major personal protective equipment shortages, a local dentist is making sure first... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:34:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Business is slow just about everywhere in mid-Missouri, but one local shop owner is using this time to... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:07:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Eighth grade English teacher Kelsey Roy is ready to be back with her students. Not over Zoom, but... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:32:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, real estate is considered an essential... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:32:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Schools started offering a new way for students to receive meals during extended school closures... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:21:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
CNN - The Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to the week of August 17 in the wake of... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 12:31:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
According to a new study from the University of Georgia, hot weather can take a toll on your mental health.... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 12:00:51 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri announced they will be postponing commencement. The ceremonies were originally scheduled for May 15-17.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 11:10:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Greg Tucker about how small businesses are struggling and... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 10:58:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Two former Mizzou football players are attempting to turn negatives around COVID-19 into an opportunity for the community.... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 10:28:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- The last three weeks have marked one of the most devastating periods in history for the American job... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:52:02 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:12:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Three separate MU Zoom sessions were disrupted by individuals who entered the meetings uninvited and used "discriminatory... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 8:59:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
CUBA, Mo. (AP) — An eastern Missouri man was charged with making a terrorist threat after he allegedly coughed toward... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 8:22:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more people to stay indoors, the beautiful weather is still drawing plenty of... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 6:24:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
12am 64°
1am 63°
2am 62°
3am 56°