Heutel Family is Built Ford Tough
Five generations of Sunset Auto ownership were honored by the Sunset Hills Historical Society Monday.
Storytelling was at a premium at Monday night’s Sunset Hills Historical Society meeting. The packed house came to reminisce with the Heutel family, who was celebrated for five generations at the helm of Sunset Auto. It also was the 100th anniversary of the business.
Justin Heutel (fifth generation) introduced his dad, Tom, and his cousin, Pete, who also is a fifth generation, who manages the Waterloo, Ill., location. Justin currently is the accessories and service manager of Sunset Ford in Sunset Hills.
Tom presented the birth and history of Sunset Ford, adding in the 100 years of family history. He joked that the family tree was a work in progress.
Sunset Auto Repair and Supply Company, a gas station and auto repair shop on Gravois Road, was started by Peter Heutel in 1912. Prior to this Peter was a laborer, working odd jobs. Four years later Peter and his son Joseph turned the business into a franchised Ford dealer.
After World War I, Peter’s other son John joined the family business. Today there are five generations comprising one of the oldest family-run dealerships in the country. The dealership was handed to Jack and his sons John, James and Tom. Today the fourth and fifth generations of Heutels helm the Sunset Ford on Lindbergh and the Waterloo, Ill., location. When asked what the plans are for the old building on Watson, Tom said they are waiting for the economy to “kick in.”
A lively question and answer period followed the family history portion along with a reception.