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By Mike Avitt
It’s likely that more new and used cars have passed through the hands of a man named Glendenning than any other name in Ringgold County history. And that number is still rising.
Lloyd Glendenning graduated from Mount Ayr High School in 1949 and married LaVerne Smith in 1951. Sons Paul and Todd came to complete the family.
Brothers Don and Charles Harvey purchased what was left of the (Myron) Horn Motor Co. in March 1953 at 200 N. Taylor Street in Mount Ayr and Lloyd went to work for Harvey Bros. a couple of months later. The business was a dealer for new Oldsmobile and GMC trucks as well as a repair garage, tire shop, and dealer in auto parts.
But, Lloyd’s passion for automobiles didn’t stop there.
In February of 1959, Lloyd was elected Mount Ayr Jalopy Club President, the organization that sponsored the races at the Ringgold County Speedway.
Lloyd eventually drove car #33, the former number of his good friend Bill Hughes. As a driver, Lloyd had continuous success for nearly twenty-five years.
During his employment, Lloyd bought an interest in the Harvey Bros. firm and the company moved to 204 S. Taylor Street in late 1971. Harvey Bros. added Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler sales in July 1979. Don and Charles Harvey retired in 1988 and the business became Glendenning Motor Company on January 1, 1989 with Lloyd Glendenning as sole owner.
The dealership kept growing and, in 2001, Glendenning Motor Co. bought Jim Jobe Chevrolet on Highway 2 East. The dealership now added Chevrolet, Buick, and Pontiac cars to its long list of new car sales.
Along the way, Lloyd brought his sons into the business at a young age. Oldest son Paul graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1983 and graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1987 with a degree in Public Relations. Paul started washing cars at age thirteen and slowly became familiar with all of the departments at Glendenning Motor Co. Upon graduation from college, Paul started as sales manager.
The business has changed a great deal in the last thirty-fives years with the advances in technology, the financial structure, and the software landscape. More changes are on the way with electric cars becoming more prevalent in the transportation world.
When asked about the most rewarding aspect of the job, Paul chuckles, “Helping the transportationally-challenged.”
Besides the dealership, Paul carries on the Glendenning legacy in the race car arena. Paul has a great passion for racing and has had decades of success racing at Corning, Iowa and Winston, Missouri in the Late Model Class. And, yes, the car number is 33, just like his father.
Todd graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1986 and did odd jobs, parts inventory, and everything else around the garage from an early age.
Today, as Service Manager, Todd enjoys the challenges of his profession. Todd speaks fondly of Charles and Darlene Harvey as they were like grandparents to him. He also recalls the long-term employees, past and present, with affection and appreciation. The Glendenning Motor Co. family extends beyond the Glendenning name.
Todd also takes part in the Glendenning legacy by operating the Glendenning Century Farm south of Mount Ayr. Todd is proud to carry on that tradition.
Lywanda Case began working at Glendenning Motor Co. in 1988 while she was still in high school. After graduating in 1989 she worked with Bob Erickson in the bookkeeping department. She left briefly to attend a semester at DMACC and returned in time to take the bookkeeping department into the computer age.
Lywanda gives much credit to Lloyd, Bob, and Calvin Adams for teaching her about business, matters of customer service and life in general. It has been said Lywanda is the glue that holds everything together.
Although Lloyd turned the business over to his sons, he was always there to provide advice and offer his problem-solving experience. Lloyd passed away in 2021.
New car dealerships are disappearing from the rural landscape, but, as of 2013, there has been a member of the Lloyd Glendenning family offering auto sales and service for 70 years.