Louis Conrady, longtime Tulsa service station owner, dies at 88
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Friday, January 25, 2013
1/25/13 at 5:18 AM
JENKS - He was the next to last of his parents' 14 children. But for Louis Conrady, nothing unlucky followed from it.
For much of his life, the 13th Conrady kid enjoyed good fortune. And even when he didn't, he had learned to persevere.
Louis, who grew up on the family farm near Wakita, survived the Depression and World War II, eventually landing in Tulsa to stay.
He started his own business, Louie's Conoco, a full-service gas station and garage, in Brookside.
And for half a century, through industry change and economic downturns, he continued to demonstrate a knack for surviving.
Conrady's success had less to do with luck, though, than his work ethic and personal philosophy, family members say.
"He was always smiling and always honest," his son Louis Conrady Jr. said, adding that it wasn't unusual for drivers to come to him for a second opinion and leave as his customers for life.
"Once a lady pulled in and told him that another place had told her she needed new brakes and shocks and it would be $700. He checked it out and turned out she didn't need anything. And he told her that.
"I remember him saying later: 'I can't do like these other guys do. I've got a conscience.' "
Louis Herman Conrady Sr. of Jenks, who was in business for nearly 50 years in Brookside, died Jan. 12. He was 88.
A service was held Jan. 17 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tulsa under the direction of Stanleys Funeral Service of Tulsa.
When Conrady opened in Brookside, it was the era of the "Restless Ribbon."
The stretch of Peoria Avenue had earned that nickname as a popular cruising strip for high school kids. In fact, many of them gassed up right there at Louie's.
There were some things about the all-night teen traffic, though, that Conrady could do without.
"He would have to go out and clean up a lot of beer bottles and cans the next day," Louis Conrady Jr. said. "It made him a little upset. But he put up with it."
Conrady opened Louie's Conoco in October 1956 after previously running a Phillips 66 station up the street. He occupied the new site for the next four decades, and for much of that time, Louie's was full service.
"You'd pull in and he'd fill you up with gas, check the air in your tires and wash your windows. Then he had a little broom that he'd sweep your car out with," said his son, who, at age 10, began riding his bike to the shop to help his father.
While growing up, all of Conrady's four children helped out at the shop, which for years their father ran from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sunday.
Louis Conrady Jr., who went on to work there with his father for 30 years, remembers the family waiting to have dinner until after 9 p.m., when his father got home.
Conrady was accustomed to the "family business," having helped out on the family farm as a boy.
After high school, he served in World War II in the Philippines and then, after Japan's surrender, in South Korea.
He finally closed Louie's in about 2001, operating it the last few years as a garage only.
Conrady's survivors include his second wife, Sophia; three sons, Michael Conrady, Louis Conrady Jr. and Joe Conrady; a daughter, Katherine Chancey; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: Honesty was gas station owner's best policy
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Louis Conrady (left) and an unidentified employee service a car at Conrady's service station, Louie's Conoco, in Brookside. Conrady, who operated the business for more than four decades at the same location, died Jan. 12. He was 88. Courtesy