Neil Retires After 51 Years
Veteran Sanderson Ford Employee Neil Schrock retires after 51 years
After a storied 51-year career with one of the top Ford dealerships in the nation, Sanderson Ford in Glendale, Neil Schrock’s first day of retirement begins Dec. 21, 2012. He started working for the dealership in August 1961 as a lot attendant after school when he was just 17 years old. Over the next half century, he worked his way up through the ranks to general sales manager, a position he’s held since 1999.
After having a few health scares earlier this year, he knew it was time to step down. “I’m not 30 years old anymore and I need to go play while I can,” Schrock says. “My wife and I have trips to Kauai, Hawaii, and Branson, Missouri, planned next year and we’ll probably spend the summer in Colorado.”
Schrock has been selling cars to three generations of families from the award-winning Sanderson Ford dealership, which is based in Glendale at 51stand Maryland avenues. “My customers and my colleagues – some of whom have worked with me for 20 or 30 years – are definitely what I’m going to miss the most. I’m a people person,” Schrock said.
Schrock was employed by Don Sanderson the same year that David Kimmerle, now president of Sanderson Ford, started working at the dealership. They became “best buddies” and both have spent their entire careers at the dealership.
“Neil epitomizes our motto, ‘The Dealership That Service Built,’ and he will be greatly missed by everyone at Sanderson Ford and his many customers,” Kimmerle said. “While I’m definitely sad to see this day come, I know he won’t be far away and we’re happy he’ll be able to spend more time with his beautiful family and do some traveling.”
Schrock has three children and six grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 12. Two of his children and their families live in the Valley, and one lives in Colorado.
Schrock’s plans for retirement include a lot of traveling. He and his wife, Mary, have a fifth wheel and a cabin in Prescott. The first trip on his agenda is to Grand Junction, Colo., to spend Christmas with his daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons, who are 12 and 10.
“My grandsons are looking forward to our visit. They told me, ‘Grandpa, you’ve never stayed more than three days!’ Well, this time we don’t have a schedule and we plan to stay until after the holidays so we can watch their hockey tournament,” Schrock says.
He also plans to catch up on his honey-do list and continue tinkering with cars. He’s been working on a very special project, customizing a 1934 Ford two-door sedan that was given to him by owners David and Sue Kimmerle in celebration of his 50thanniversary with the dealership back in August 2011. They also organized a huge surprise party for him complete with 200 guests, Al McCoy as the emcee, roasts by Valley radio stars Tim & Willy and Gambo & Ash, and a catered dinner.
It’s no surprise, however, that he’ll still be involved with Sanderson Ford on some level. “I’ll come in and give museum tours, participate in the car shows we have out in front of the diner and help David sell a vehicle at Barrett Jackson next year,” Schrock says. “You know, all the fun stuff!”
He feels very blessed to have found his passion – cars – very early on in life. “I started cutting cars out of magazines when I was four and my love for the automobile continues today,” Schrock says. “The best advice I can give is to find your passion and make it your career. That’s how you’ll end up enjoying your job for a very long time!”