Jim and Louis Slack ran the Texaco Station (left) at the junction of old Maricopa Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. Courtesy of Maricopa Historical Society

Written by Harry C Brock for Maricopa Historical Society

Jim and Louise Slack and their three children came to Maricopa in 1956 from Casa Grande. They leased the Texaco Station from Harry Little, which included a bay for auto repair and lubes. Jim was formerly service manager for Blinky Wilson Lincoln Mercury in Casa Grande and Walter Pontiac, too. Their home was in the old Dallas Smith big house, located just south of today’s Business Barn.

Jim repaired the autos, and Louise pumped the gas – at least until 5 p.m. when the cocktail hour began. His favorite drink was Calvert whiskey and coke. The Calvert bottle had a picture of a cavalier wearing a large hat on it. Therefore, at 5 each day, Jim would announce, “It’s time to kiss the man with the hat.” All were welcome to the party in the back room…and many attended.

Both were friendly and big-hearted people with many friends. When a repair job was not charged, Jim would say, “Write it up to repair to the hammer.”

Andy Cole worked in the station for a short while and always remembered Jim at Cocktail Time by his habit of stirring his drink with his thumb.

Substitute mail carriers were always hard to find in Maricopa. I was glad to have Jim as mine on Route 1 for five years. He was always available and never said “no” when I needed him.

One time Pat and I and another couple were on our regular trip to Mexico in a Volkswagen Beatle and ran short of time returning. Therefore, I called the Slack number from a service station in Magdelena, Sonora, and Louise answered the phone. I said, “I am stuck here in Sonora and can’t make it back in time to work in the morning.” I overheard Louise shout to Jim, “Brock is in jail in old Mexico.” The phone gave out before I could correct her, but Jim carried the mail anyway.

The Slacks had some bad luck during their years in Maricopa. In 1959, they lost their oldest daughter, Mickey, in an automobile accident. Then a lady from Casa Grande drove a 1959 Oldsmobile into their station, which caught everything on fire and burned to the ground, including Jim’s jeep and two other cars. Dick Stensrud, Louise’s nephew, was behind the cash register, and suffered a broken leg. Jim and Louise were living in the back of the service station when it burned. Prior to this, the big old Dallas Smith house where they lived (built by Perry Williams in 1884) was destroyed by fire [in 1960].

After the fire at the station, they built two Jim Walter pre-fab homes on McDavid Road west of Maricopa High School where they lived for several years.

Jim and Louise Slack did not get rich while living in Maricopa but had a lot of friends and fun. After leaving Maricopa, they moved to Grants, New Mexico, and after that returned to Casa Grande, where they each fought a courageous battle with cancer before passing away.

This recollection was written by the late Harry C. Brock, husband of local historian Patricia Brock, who wrote “Reflections of a Desert Town.”

This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.


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