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

1 month 1 day 15 hours 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
BOONE COUNTY - Officials confirmed there was a hunting incident Saturday night. Boone County sheriff's deputies and several medical... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 6:43:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - One person has been detained following a police chase that ended at the Taco Bell on Providence Road... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:11:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested one person after a report of shots fired on Quail Drive Saturday afternoon. Earl Tramail... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:41:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Deputies were dispatched to the Midway Travel Plaza on Saturday for a reported bomb threat, but they... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 12:24:00 PM CST November 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former Kansas City Chiefs football player and eight codefendants have had additional charges filed against them... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, November 16 2019 Nov 16, 2019 Saturday, November 16, 2019 8:51:00 AM CST November 16, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - There have been three water boil advisories in the past week for about 50 people in the Hickory... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 6:57:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors charged a man Friday with child sex crimes which court documents said happened in 2018 and 2019.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 4:05:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
MOBERLY – Moberly City Council approved a $4.6 million bid to replace all of the water meters in the city.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 3:28:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Organizers from ECHO Autism's summit are pushing for more resources for people with autism in rural Missouri. Many... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 2:14:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Housing Authority is looking for ways to give new life to four historical homes. Executive... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 2:14:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Police Department asked hunters and rural landowners for help in locating evidence related to missing person Mengqi... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 1:44:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police have located a 4- or 5-year old girl who was seen running around alone in a south... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 1:13:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in News
MARIES COUNTY- Deputies are looking for a man after he allegedly crashed a stolen car, then ran away Friday morning.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 12:28:00 PM CST November 15, 2019 in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Conversion therapy for LGBTQ young people will not be allowed in Kansas City. The... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 9:40:00 AM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - One man is dead of a self inflicted gun shot while one woman sustained a non-life threatening gunshot... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 8:55:00 AM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The new MU Plant Growth Research Facility is set to open Friday. The building cost just more... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 3:23:00 AM CST November 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia and Boone County are announcing the Boone County Counts Partnership on Friday. This partnership... More >>
1 day ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 Friday, November 15, 2019 3:18:00 AM CST November 15, 2019 in News
GILLAM - Jay Minor is continuing to fight for his son, Jayke Minor, and other families after Governor Parson vetoed... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, November 14 2019 Nov 14, 2019 Thursday, November 14, 2019 9:07:00 PM CST November 14, 2019 in Target 8
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
8pm 42°
9pm 41°
10pm 39°
11pm 39°