SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Gene England, the president of C.R. England, Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City, doesn’t like to slow down.
October 24th marks his 100th birthday, and England still goes to work almost daily to contribute to the company he founded, which is now one of the largest refrigerated carriers in the U.S.
“I’m darn proud of it,” he said.
Friday will be no different – employees, friends, and family, will gather at C.R. England headquarters to join England in celebrating his birthday- at work.
For England, C.R. England has always been a family venture. He developed a love of trucking from spending time with his own father, who was a trucker and the company’s namesake.
“We loved our dad and we wanted to do that business… and so when I got into the army, I had the intent to try to raise money during that time to get into the trucking business,” he said.
England said as a soldier in Okinawa, he sold his cigarette rations and returned home with $5,000. That money bought the company’s first truck.
Though the years ahead were filled with the challenges of any growing business, England was happy with the developments that C.R. England experienced.
“We became known as a beautiful fleet of trucks that we’re so proud of, and that’s part of the fun of us developing this company, is we’re a different bunch,” he said.
After 40 years of running the company, England turned it over to his sons, who he said gained their love of trucking from him, just as he had from his dad.
“My sons love it… I wanted to be with them; they wanted to be with me, and we have worked together all our lives,” he said.
England stopped driving trucks at age 90. Not because he wanted to- his Commercial Driver License was still usable for another year and two months, and England said he wanted to ride it out. However, the company’s attorney decided it would be the safest option.
Though England’s trucking days were over, he wasn’t yet ready to retire. He said he started another company, G.B. Leasing, with his brother.
“It’s a lot more fun to work than to retire,” England said. “I’ve enjoyed every day of my life,” he said. “As I reflect back over everything that’s happened, it was just a series of challenges and some good experiences… what a life it’s been.”
In all the success that C.R. England has experienced, England hasn’t forgotten the backbone of the company.
“The thing that has made this company has been wonderful people.. you can’t do it without good drivers, and we’ve had so many people that have been so wonderful,” he said. “They’ve driven those long, long hours through awful weather and all conditions…”
England also reminisced about other workers and partners C.R. England has had throughout the years which have added to its improvement.
Always the family man, England had six sons with June Daniels. Gene and June have 32 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild. Following June’s death in 2009, Gene married Dorothy Nielsen at age 92.
“I love them all,” England said.
His message to his large family?
“Remember that goodness is a route to happiness,” he said.
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