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Pepper began his love of gas service stations in 1947 and enjoyed a 32 year career, retiring in 1985.: Kenneth "Pepper" L. Saunders

Kenneth "Pepper" L. Saunders
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The late Kenneth L. “Pepper” Saunders started work at the early age of 9 and his first job was delivering the Des Moines Tribune and the Des Moines Sunday Register. At age 11 Pepper entered the trade of shoe shining and repair.

Pepper began his love of gas service stations in 1947 and enjoyed a 32 year career, retiring in 1985. He was first employed at the Shell One-Stop service station from 1947 to 1949.  Pepper’s entrepreneurial spirits guided him in 1949 when he leased the lube and wash rooms from his employer and worked extra hours to pay the rent and inventory expense of his first business venture.

This plan worked well for him until 1951 when he was inducted into the United States Army. Pepper was stationed in Fort Knox, Kentucky until he deployed to Korea. He was honorably discharged as a Master Sergeant in 1953.

Returning to Grinnell Pepper purchased the inventory & leased the   DX gas service station on Hwy 6 where it curves by Grinnell College. Three years later in 1956, Pepper opened the new DX Service Station at 6th & West St. Not one to sit still Pepper added a DX tank wagon service to his business in 1964 and operated the tank wagon until 1969. Pepper retired from service station business after 32 years in March of 1985. Then Pepper especially enjoyed his final career of 24 years as an employee of Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell, retiring for a second time in 2009.

Pepper was a humble person that believed in the power of hard work, honesty, and good service. Pepper did what he said he would do, for the price he stated, on the schedule he promised. During his 32 years in business Pepper received a variety of awards from the DX Oil and Gas Company.

Pepper, was born in1930 in Grinnell, Iowa. Pepper graduated from Grinnell High School with the class of 1947. In 1951 Pepper and Phyllis Jean Paulson were married and enjoyed 62 years together, with two children completing their family, a son Kenneth and a daughter Diana Mae.

With great honor we recognize Pepper Saunders as a Hero by Example for his loyalty to the service station industry. Accepting on behalf of the family is son Ken Saunders. 

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