“Nobody didn’t like Uncle Stanley Guttmacher” besides being known as The Mayor of Waynedale and Uncle Stanley, he was also known as THE TANK, The Bionic Man, the Jewish Leprechaun, the Easter Bunny, and just plain Stan. He was best remembered as Waynedale’s very own Grumpy Old Man, an act he put on for many years and carried to the end of his life.
I first met Stanley in the fall of ’72, about 6 months before the company I worked for went on strike. With many mouths to feed, I prepared ahead by asking Stanley for a job as a clerk in his liquor store. I needed to sock some money away to take care of bills once the strike hit. Stanley’s store was called Colony Liquors and it was located in the small shopping mall across from Kentucky Fried Chicken on Bluffton Road. There’s a tanning shop located in the building now.
I worked two years for Stanley and we were ‘friends’ for all the years that followed, although no one listening to a conversation between the two of us could tell. Sure he acted grumpy to everyone; that was Stan. Sure he let you believe that you weren’t important; it was his way. Sure he greeted you with, “What the h—- do you want?” every time someone walked into the store; the customers loved it. When no one was around he would ask each person about the family, their job, and he seemed to really care. Let someone walk in and it would be, “How the h—- are you? Let me get rid of this guy; he’s not going to buy anything else. Good riddance. Now what the h—- do you want?” That was Stan.
In spite of being grumpy, everyone loved Stan and they came from all around the area to shop where they could be insulted. I believe Stan stole customers from other stores in the area just by being Waynedale’s resident Grumpy Old Man. I think Stanley was born, moved to Indiana, and they built Waynedale around him.
Now for all of you who have been insulted by Stanley J. Guttmacher, I want to tell you something, “He was a teddy bear, a grumpy sweet, mean kind, good hearted seemingly bad natured man that tried to cover up the pain and suffering he was going through (cancer and heart problems) by pretending to be our very own Grumpy Old Man.
How come we saw through his gruff exterior and put up with him? We not only put up with him but also went out of our way for his gruff greeting. I guess it’s a feeling about a person. Everyone knew he was putting on an act but not everyone knew why until the last.
After he passed on, several places in Waynedale hosted a “Have One On Stanley Celebration.” The instructions were to give a beer to anyone who mentioned they knew Stanley. Stan’s friends consumed over $150 worth in remembrances. It wasn’t the free beer because toasts were made to the ‘Grumpy Old Man’ long after the beer was gone.
He was buried without fanfare, in a quiet ‘family only’ ceremony; he was laid to rest in Prairie Grove Cemetery not far from where he worked. I don’t think the coliseum would have held everyone who would have come to pay their last respects if it hadn’t been that way. He had that many friends.
Just go down Old Trail Road, turn at the first road, and go all the way to the end of Prairie Grove. Stop by, and say, “Hi.” If you listen real close you’ll probably hear, “What the h—- do you want? Don’t throw your can down; take it home with you.” You’ll know he’s OK. Here’s to you Stan; thanks for the free beer.