A white floral wreath hangs from the door at Gary’s Drive-In at 2220 Veach Road. Gary Pickrell, the owner, died Friday.
On Friday afternoon, Cathy Short shared special memories of Pickrell, her boss and friend for the past 20 years.
“I’ve been with Gary from day one, he was an outstanding man,” Short said. “He was the type of person who helped you before you even asked.”
Having purchased the small restaurant formerly known as “Carl’s” in 2000, Pickrell opted to change the restaurant’s name to “Gary’s Drive-In” the location has been serving up timeless diner staples ever since.
Patrons Pete and Patty Johnson having been dining at Gary’s Drive-In for years and both speak fondly of Pickrell’s integrity as a friend and business owner.
“He loved his customers, and his customers loved him right back,” Pete Johnson said. Having known Pickrell since childhood, Johnson recalls how Gary often used humor to bond with folks who frequented the drive-in.
“Gary loved to laugh, and tell jokes,” Pete Johnson said. “He loved good food, and he loved to laugh!”
An active presence within the Daviess County community Pickrell was no stranger to organizations as the Shriners Clowns and Shiner’s Hospital. Cathy Short recalls how Pickrell sought to help others in peculiar ways.
“It wasn’t out of the ordinary for Gary to enlist help from places like the Boulware Mission when he needed to hire someone for odd jobs,” Short said. “He wanted to provide opportunities for other people as much as he could.”
A family man, Gary Pickrell was a husband, a father, and a “Poppy” to his grandchildren that friend Pete Johnson noted meant “everything” to him.
“His family was his world,” Pete Johnson said. “He devoted everything to his family.”
Having recently replaced the marquee sign atop the drive-in, it is apparent that Pickrell had intentions of continuing the small business he loved, serving up much more than cheeseburgers and fries.
“Pete and I would look for Gary’s truck before stopping in,” Patty Johnson said. “We love the delicious food here, and we enjoyed Gary’s company just as much.”
Personable, approachable, and friendly Pickrell was such a fixture at his restaurant that patrons felt at home inside.
“Gary was the type of man who went out of his way to make you feel like somebody,” Patty Johnson said. “I think he will be most remembered for that.”