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Trucking Roots Run Deep

By on January 1, 2018
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3rd Generation Schroyer Family Pride Shines Brightly

Little did he know at the time he and his wife, Virginia, added a 1928 Indiana huckster truck to their business, Tama Homestore Groceries, George Schroyer, Sr. planted the seeds for a presence in the Ohio trucking business that would grow and prosper for the next nine decades. As the story goes, George started by picking up chickens and eggs for delivery to farms and homes around Tama in West Central Ohio, just across the border from Indiana. Having called Mercer County and the surrounding area home ever since, the business was a good fit operating from Ohio’s number-one agricultural-producing county.

Born in 1934, George, Jr. spent his entire life around trucks, starting with ride-alongs in a ‘41 International K-5 delivery truck outfitted for Tama Groceries deliveries. He remembers trucks his father owned as if they were best friends. He learned to steer and shift gears in a ’40 Plymouth pickup. At age 11, he drove a ’37 Ford 1½-ton to Detroit with a load of chickens. He fondly recalled other trucks his father owned, including a ‘36 International C-30, a ’39 Dodge cabover, a ’41 GMC 1½-ton, a ’40 Ford semi-tractor and a ’41 Chevrolet 1½-ton.

A Business Builder

At age 14, George Junior secured his driver’s license and began hauling livestock and farm commodities. Upon graduating from high school, he purchased a ’51 Chevrolet cabover from his uncle and went into business for himself. By that time, he’d been driving trucks for seven years and knew every road and every livestock producer in the area. An opportunity to haul fertilizer and grain for a neighbor, Ole Sites, opened the door to further expansion when Sites sold out in 1964. Schroyer Inc. was born, and the company began hauling liquid fertilizer in the late ‘60s, followed soon after by anhydrous ammonia and propane. The business also ran some dry vans.

George, Jr. and his wife, Marie, had six children. Three took active roles in managing the family trucking business. Dave eventually became president, Craig managed fleet maintenance, and Cindy took on administrative responsibilities. Another brother, Mark, owns his own small trucking company. Started in 1978, Schroyer Truck and Trailer Sales Ltd. is still going strong.

The museum is a temperature-controlled, relatively dust-free showplace that houses more than 30 fantastically restored trucks from 1915 to the 1980s.

In 1986, Schroyer Inc. signed on with Grammer Industries, dedicating a portion of its fleet to hauling anhydrous ammonia, liquefied petroleum gases, carbon dioxide, nitric acid and other hazardous bulk liquids and materials. The trucking business was eventually sold to Grammer in 2012, and the three Schroyer siblings are still active in their respective capacities running Grammer’s Celina, Ohio terminal, Dave as the Terminal Manager. He maintains his CDL and occasionally makes some runs to serve customer needs.

A Hidden Gem

Dave and Craig own the 12-acre site about four miles north of Celina on highway 127 with a terminal office and truck service shop that are leased to Grammer Industries. Towards the west end of the property, Dave and Craig have assembed a fantastic truck museum, and they oversee a fully equipped truck restoration shop. RoadKing had the occasion to visit on the evening of November 14, when the museum hosted an Ohio Trucking Association (OTA) Political Action Committee event.

The museum is a temperature-controlled, relatively dust-free showplace that houses more than 30 fantastically restored trucks from 1915 to the 1980s. Plus, there’s a mini truck stop dedicated to George, Jr. and Marie. Dave, his wife, Toni and Craig often host extended family events and several outside functions in cooperation with civic organizations, charities, associations and businesses.

On the following pages, you’ll learn more about the Schroyer Inc. approach to truck restoration from Vern Homan, and his son, Rob, an uncle and cousin respectively to Dave, Craig, Cindy and Mark. You’ll also read a short Q&A interview with OTA President Tom Balzer. A dedication to truck restoration and collecting trucking memorabilia was among the many gifts George Junior passed along to his children. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see the museum open, passing away in 2008 at age 73. Marie continues to live nearby in the home she shared with George. The following words of remembrance honor the man who elevated the Schroyer family presence in Mercer County.

This Building is dedicated this day, August 28, 2010, to honor George Schroyer, Jr., and a lifetime of service to the trucking industry and to the preservation of America’s trucking history.

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Rare & Authentic:
Self-Taught Art of Truck Restoration

Anyone who’s ever engaged in the restoration of rare trucks or automobiles knows the importance of authenticity in preserving history and maximizing the value of the finished project. The love of old trucks that Dave and Craig Schroyer developed is directly attributable to their father and grandfather. But it was their uncle, Vern Homan, and his son, Rob, who’ve been instrumental in restoring the gems currently displayed in the Schroyer Truck Museum.

Driving to Restoring

Like most of the extended Schroyer family members, Vern started his career behind the wheel of a semi in 1962. Working for a wholesaler of bulk lubricants, he delivered case goods and drums to distributors in several Midwestern states, first working out of Cleveland and later out of Walcott, Iowa. Most of his 45-year professional driving career, however, was behind the wheel of a Schroyer truck. On days off the road, Vern was known for lending a hand wherever needed.

What started as a time filler in his home garage turned into a passion for truck restoration, and today at age 76, he still works five days a week. His wife, Mary, credits Vern’s dedication to learning his second-career craft for keeping him healthy and happy. After a 13-year Air Force career, Rob Homan followed in his father’s footsteps, first driving a Schroyer truck and then joining him in the restoration shop 15 years ago. Rob’s son, Tim, even added a third generation for a few years.

Basket Cases to Trophy Winners

The self-taught father-and-son team has proven to be a winning combination. Their complementary skills blend together to transform many worst-case scenarios to best-of-show status. The Homan’s magical craftsmanship and penchant for detail are evident across a broad spectrum of restoration challenges, including woodworking, structural integrity, bodywork, mechanical work, parts fabrication, component painting and interior restoration. Finish painting and any specialized upholstery projects are farmed out to specialists. Dave Schroyer is a master at tracking down parts and donor trucks, as well as applying the Schroyer name to the doors of the finished restorations.

The results are on display for those invited to an event at the Schroyer Truck Museum and to anyone interested in seeing some rare and authentic truck restorations. Though not open on a daily basis, you’re invited to stop by should your travels bring you close to the Celina area. Someone is always available to turn the lights on and give you a guided tour, including a bit of history about each of the 30 trucks on display at any given time.

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One Comment

  1. Wendy

    January 1, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Inspirational!

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