Jim and Shirley Bass, owners of Jim Bass Electric and Refrigeration, observed their 50th year of ownership in May, but the company has been in Monett for far longer.
"My dad, Elisha, started the electrical part of the business in 1928," Bass said. "I was in the Navy, and after I was discharged, he decided to retire, so my wife and I moved up here to take over the business, and I added the heating, air conditioning and commercial portions of the business."
Bass noted how much had changed in his 50 years of business.
"Back then, if you had four things on a truck, you could fix about any furnace," Bass said. "Now days, you have to order different parts for each brand. It's a lot more complicated."
|In 1962, not many people had air conditioning units, and it was not uncommon for families to sleep in their yards at night.||"I had a '53 Chevy pickup and gas was 40-cents a gallon," Bass said. "We lived in a good time. You did what you wanted and no one bothered you."|
Once air conditioning became a popular addition to area homes, business became brisk.
|"People will go a lot longer without heat than they will without air conditioning," Bass said. "They might call and ask me to come the following day because they have a fireplace or some other way to have some sort of heat."|
After starting the commercial line, Bass said he would get calls at all hours of the day or night, and in all types of weather.
"When they need you, you go," he said. "Sometimes I haven't wanted to, if it was 20 below or if it was 120 degrees on a roof, but I went."
Bass admits he is slowing down these days.
"My grandson, Tyler Priest, is learning the business," Bass said. "I can't do some of the heavy work, so he's there to help with it."
Also helping, for the entire 50 years, has been his wife, Shirley.
"She's the bookkeeper, accountant, scheduler, she does everything," Bass said.
The two have also been very active in the community. Shirley has volunteered with the Barry-Lawrence County Development Center and the Barry County Youth Camp for 40 years. They have also been active in the Jaycees, the Monett Area Chamber of Commerce board and the Sportsmen's League.
"Over the years, we've done about everything," Bass said. "I'd like to slow down and go fishing and play a little golf. I didn't even start golfing until I was 66 years old."
Shirley does have one wish to fulfill.
"I'd like to take the whole family to the ocean for a trip," she said.
"We've met a lot of people and made a lot of friends in the past 50 years," Bass said. "The people of Monett and the surrounding communities have been very good to me. Without them I couldn't have stayed in business."
Very few people can say they have no regrets about their lives, but Bass is unique.
"I wouldn't change a thing," he said. "It's been a good life."