After spending 50 years in the car business, Jim Paternoster has found that automobiles have changed quite a bit over time.
“If you went back and looked at a ’69 or ’70 car, you wouldn’t expect to drive those over 60,000-70,000 miles without problems,” Paternoster said. “Today you drive 200,000 and don’t have problems.”
A retirement open house was held in honor of the well-known car salesman at K&S Ford in Fairbury Saturday morning, with cake, coffee and plenty of memories shared.
Paternoster’s father became the Ford dealer in Fairbury back in 1954. After attending college and working as an engineer, Paternoster later returned home to help his father and join the family business.
“He called me and wanted to know if I wanted to come back and join him. I came back Halloween of 1969,” Paternoster recalled.
The father and son worked together 14 years before Paternoster took over in 1983. He then spent the next 27 years on his own and the past nine years at K&S. Paternoster Ford was sold to K&S in December 2010.
“At that time, Ford motor company was going through a lot of changes and they eliminated the Mercury vehicle so that would have left K&S with Lincolns only,” said Paternoster.
Paternoster is officially retired at the age of 77 and plans to enjoy it. His wife, Michelle, retired 10 years ago from teaching and they have two children, Kristi and Jeffery. Two grandsons, Alex and Jacob, will soon be heading off to college.
The former Paternoster Motor Company stood where Family Dollar is located today along Route 24 in Fairbury. Those wishing Paternoster well on Saturday included family, friends, customers and fellow community members.