EGOLF Family Auto History

Mid 1920’s - Around 1925, at age around 25, Dar Johnson formed a Hudson, Essex, Terraplane dealership in Aurora, IL, the Hudson Johnson Company, building a dealership building which as of this writing still stands and has the Johnson name on the head stone. His father, John Edward Johnson, was a majority investor and Vice President, Ewart Crowe, brother to Dar’s wife Ruth, was Secretary-Treasurer. Around the early to mid 30’s this dealership went out of business because of the Great Depression but in subsequent years Dar was able to pay all creditors, not going into bankruptcy, and as related to me by Dar Jr., Dar Sr. became such that he never wanted to own property again. (Maurine (Mo) was born in 1922, son Dar Jr. 1927.)

30’s decade - the Egolf family, John F., wife Glenna, or “Duway,” daughter Glenn Lee, born 1912, and son John F. Jr, Bud, 1920, were relatively prosperous with John Farris holding executive positions with various utilities including the CA&E Interurban. Bud’s interest in cars was evident as he bought and sold a few older cars from the house on 851 Downer Place. His first new car, at age 14, was a 1934 Plymouth roadster, rumble seat and all.

After closing his dealership Dar Sr. was employed during the 30’s with various newspapers and did articles for different publications. In the late 30’s, early 40’s he was associated with Grimm-Hansen-Treland, Inc. in Chicago and helped in writing the “1940 Used Car Problem Bureau Manual” which I still have. Around 1941 Dar found employment in Peoria, IL at a Ford dealership, Dayton Keith & Company, where Bud bought his new 1941 Ford convertible from Dar. (Bud and Mo married in Aurora in 1942 with Bud immediately leaving for Army service, Mo to live with her parents in Peoria.)

Ewart Crowe stayed in the car business with Underwood and Houge, a Hupmobile dealership in Aurora at 70 S. River, prior to forming his own DeSoto Plymouth dealership in the late 30’s, early 40’s at the same address. (Dar Sr. found employment with Hyster Corp. in Peoria and was transferred to Portland, OR around 1945 where he subsequently became National Sales Manager.)

After being discharged from the Army, Bud, Mo and son Jeff (born 1944) briefly moved to Lake Oswego, OR and lived with Dar and Ruth. Bud worked for Wally Worthington, owner of a lake marina, prior to moving the family back to Aurora, first finding employment at Al Binford’s, a downtown Aurora service station before being employed as an ad salesman for the Aurora Beacon News. He sold ads to various businesses including Crowe Motors. Ewart saw Bud’s selling potential and hired him in 1947. Bud soon became the dealership sales manager and bought the dealership from Ewart in 1960, dropping DeSoto Plymouth and acquiring the Lincoln Mercury franchise just in time for the revolutionary new 1961 Lincoln Continental. (Sally was born in 1947, Patti 1956.)

Bud sold the Aurora dealership in 1970 and after negotiating the purchase of Pete Folsom Dodge moved the family, Patti, to Hendersonville, NC in 1972. This agreement also included Jeff moving his family from Portland, OR where he had been working as Inside Sales Manager, Western Sales, at Esco, a sister company of Hyster, after Viet Nam service. The dealership was incorporated with Bud, Mo and Jeff each having a 1/3 share with an agreed upon buyout by Jeff. Bob and Sally Wilson moved from San Francisco in 1975 and Bob subsequently joined the dealership becoming Vice President. Bud fully retired in 1986 having just turned 65 and Jeff became sole owner, completing purchase of Bud and Mo’s shares.