Lonnie Sherrill reflects on 60 years
of life and business in Walterboro.
“I had a good life, a good life,” said 85-year-old Lonnie Sherrill.
Sherrill came to Walterboro in 1960 after marrying his wife Louise and spent the last 60 years operating his passion, Sherrill Automotive.
Lonnie and Marie met at a church function in Sherrill’s native North Carolina. They started talking, he went to lunch with her and “ever since then, we’ve been together,” Marie said.
They moved to Walterboro on a Wednesday, and by Saturday, Sherrill had a job at Breland Chevrolet. He worked there for a while, but he really wanted to start his own business.
“I’ve come a long way because I didn’t have nothing,” he said.
And through hard work, in the past 60 years the business expanded to include his sons at four separate locations: the original on Sidneys Road, one in Round O, one in Walterboro on Robertson Boulevard at Wichman Street, one on Sniders Highway and another on Highway 15 near Pleasant Grove Church. The businesses cover every aspect of a car from repairs to parts, transmissions, towing and used car sales.
And Sherrill enjoyed every minute of it. “I enjoyed working. I worked hard all my life, night and day. I like my job,” he said. “My favorite thing was transmissions.”
He always knew he wanted to work on cars. “I watched my daddy work on cars and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.
He worked full time until January 2015, when “a stroke got me, really got me.” But after he recovered, he’d still go to the shop, give business advice and work alongside with his grandson Justin.
But today his sons —William and Anthony — and his grandsons Anthony II and Justin run the family business. “I’m proud of my boys,” he said.
They continue to build the businesses using Lonnie’s philosophy of treating people right. “I treated people nice and they treated me nice,” Sherrill said. “It doesn’t cost nothing to be nice. The life you build speaks for you. I treated people like I wanted to be treated. I can look and see what God’s done for me.”