‘Honest John’ lived up to name

By Gary Mitchell

When Dorothy “Dot” Pruitt tagged her husband’s new business, “Honest John’s Welding,” it proved to be a exactly right.
“Honest John” Pruitt of Clovis died at 77 years of age on Sept. 29 at Plains Regional Medical Center. He was born on July 2, 1927, in Foreman, Ark., to George and Rose Terrell Pruitt.
Family and friends described him as a great guy who will be missed.
After serving 23 years in the U.S. Air Force, Pruitt had several goals he wanted to accomplish in his life, his wife said.
“He had three goals — to be a master sergeant, to serve 23 years in the Air Force and to own his own welding shop,” she said. “He accomplished each one of them.”
Dot said in 1974 she suggested the name for her husband’s shop, because they didn’t want a name that was be too commonplace.
“When we first started looking for a shop and what to call it, we were going to name it ‘J&D’s’ but he said, ‘There are a lot of J&Ds in town,’” she said. “So, I said, ‘Why don’t we go with ‘Honest John’s Welding Shop?’ It was always ‘Honest John’s.’ Some of his customers probably didn’t know his last name.”
Dave and Barbara Wolsey, owners of Dave’s Coachcraft, next door to Honest John’s Welding Shop, said they had been business associates and friends of the Pruitts for 28 years.
“They moved into that location (next to ours) six months after we opened our shop, so we’ve been pretty close all those years,” Barbara Woolsey said. “It was Dot’s idea to call it ‘Honest John’s.’”
John Pruitt made sure the business lived up to its name, Dave Woolsey said.
“Anyone who knew him, knew he was honest,” he said. “That truly characterized him. You could probably ask any customer he ever had. He knew his business. On those rare, rare occasions if he couldn’t repair something the way he thought it should be repaired, he wouldn’t do it. But that was very seldom.”
“He didn’t hesitate to share his knowledge,” Barbara Woolsey said. “He taught his nephew, Kevin Gamble, the welding business, and he’s carrying it on.”
Pruitt’s military experience molded his way of life, family and friends said.
“Being in the military so many years, he kept military time,” Barbara Woolsey said. “He always was out the door at 4:30 p.m.”
Dot Pruitt described her husband as having “a very dry sense of humor.”
“He developed a special relationship with his customers,” she said. “He was very quiet and very military.”
The Pruitts celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in March.
“We married in the Nazarene church in Melrose, and we went to the Nazarene campground between Capitan and Ruidoso for our honeymoon,” Dot said. “We didn’t have any money. We were broke, but happy.”