Gail Monthei graduated from Rippey Consolidated School in 1958 and began his first job in Elevator construction that summer. Later that year he worked for Reuter and Zenor as a mechanic and Bauer Body Shop doing fender body work. He later worked for I.J. Burk as a mechanic when he was drafted into the US Army. After he returned from basic training he continued working with numerous companies such as Boone Tractor and Equipment, and Charters in Perry, IA. Gail realized he wanted to be self employed so after he and Carolyn started their family and bought their first house in Rippey he set up his own business as a mechanic and Monthei Repair was born. When his youngest child arrived in 1975 they moved around the corner to a bigger house and a Morton building was built on the property which was where he owned an operated a thriving business until his retirement in 1993. Through the years Gail built his reputation as a "can fix anything" mechanic serving all of Rippey and surrounding communities and was relied on to fix anything from cars, trucks, tractors, lawn mowers and even performed snow removal for the whole town including the Rippey school for nearly 20 years.
The shop still stands on the Monthei property at 508 3rd street and still bears the old rustic sign advertising the business name. Not only was the shop a business but it served as a good meeting place for all the area men to meet. They would sit for hours enjoying 25 cent bottles of pop and 5 cent candy bars in chairs and recliners telling stories and shared details about their day. Many stories were told in that building including one of Gail on his way to Jefferson, IA the day prior in a blizzard to pick up car parts when a gentleman jumped out in front of his truck exclaiming his pregnant wife needed a ride to the Greene County Hospital. Since Gail was driving just a small pickup, off to Jefferson they went with Gail behind the wheel, the pregnant woman at his side and her husband and Gail's dog in the bed of the pickup! From what is understood they made quite the arrival. Gail drove up on the sidewalk, so close to the hospital in fact that the automatic door came open paving the rest of his riders way in to see the much needed doctor! When I asked what his most memorable job was when working on a vehicle he responded simply by saying "I had to change a tire once that had hit a skunk the day prior" I can only imagine how the old shop smelled that day!
Gail has had many fond memories, one of course is camping which he still enjoys today in retirement with his loving wife Carolyn and the other being the Guthrie Center Saddle Club. He always participated with his red wagon and team of 2 Shetland ponies Midge and Molly and team of donkies Jack, Jill, Jenny and Teddy. Every Rippey Fun Day celebration you can bet Gail participated in some way. Rippey has and always will be Gail's home!!
In 1960 Carolyn (Schriefer) Monthei graduated Iowa School of Beauty in Des Moines. For the next 5 years she worked at an area salon in Perry until their oldest child Marc was born. She returned to work in 1967 for Overman's Beauty Salon on Main Street in Rippey which was quite handy since she and her small family lived right next door in an upstairs apartment! Many ladies from Rippey and surrounding towns came to know Carolyn not only as Eloise Overman's employee but as a valued and respected Beautician. They knew the little salon was always a nice place to go to visit and to have their hair cut, permed and styled to perfection. The ladies would call to make their next appointment daily with the cheerful answer of "Beauty Salon" when she picked up the desk phone. Carolyn continued to work until Eloise retired and then purchased the salon and renamed it "Carolyn's Beauty Salon" where she continued work for 2 more years before retiring in 2006. Her whole life she's been a devoted christian woman, helping countless times at the Rippey United Methodist Church where she proudly was able to see her daughter Carrie get married in 2002. She was and always has been a devoted farmer's wife taking supper to the field when her husband Gail was busy tending to the crops. As their daughter, I still remember how my father would hop out of the tractor and into the front seat of my mother's car very thankful for the wonderful meals she'd prepare for him. Today she's enjoying life, spending her days with Gail and actively remodeling their new home almost right across the street from the family home where they currently reside. She looks forward to the rest of her retirement years traveling and going camping. I think they both are hoping to experience warmer weathered states during the long cold Iowa winters!
Written by Carrie Monthei - McCain