Long-time Sonny Merryman Body Shop Technician ‘Pa John’ Retiring

John Evans standing with the last bus he painted at Sonny Merryman
John Evans with the final bus to make its way through his paint bay at Sonny Merryman.

After 45 years, “Pa John” Evans is finally hanging up his paint brush and sprayer at Sonny Merryman. There is no telling how many buses and vehicles John has painted in the past four plus decades – but it surely numbers in the thousands.

John began working for his Uncle Sonny not long after his 1974 graduation from Rustburg High School and he’s been around ever since. John is a meticulous craftsman who took great pride in each vehicle or piece of equipment he painted.

John with his brother David, also a long-time employee of Sonny Merryman.

John epitomizes the family environment that exists at Sonny Merryman. In addition to his Uncle Sonny (John’s late mother, Ann, was Sonny’s only sister), his Aunt Lou. and cousins Floyd, Pat, and Lee Merryman, John also worked alongside his brother, David, for many, many years. John’s daughter, Jackie, also occasionally drives a bus for the company.

Much like John, co-worker Jason Saunders also began working in the Sonny Merryman body shop right out of high school. In his 30 years with the company, Jason has learned a great deal from his older and experienced counterpart. “John took me under his wing and taught me all the ins and outs of painting and body repairs. He’ll surely be missed around here,” said Jason. Quality Control Manager, Josh Silby, echoes Jason’s sentiment. “John is one of the most skilled auto paint professionals I’ve ever worked with.”

John with the Body Shop team at Sonny Merryman headquarters in Evington, VA.

No one ever questioned John’s work ethic. He always did whatever was required to get the job done. “It was routine for John to work extra hours in the evening or on weekends to complete a job to meet customer delivery timelines,” says Sonny Merryman Vice-President of Service and Parts, Brady Childress. “It will be impossible to replace John’s experience and pleasant attitude. He has been one of the most popular and well-liked employees ever with our company,” adds Brady.

In retirement John plans to spend more time with his grandchildren, maintain his greenhouses and garden, and perhaps shave a stroke or two from his golf game. “I’ll miss my co-workers most,” says John. “The work was sometimes grueling but always satisfying to see a completed job well done.”

Thank you, Pa John. Indeed, you will be missed.