Revisiting Profile Series on the Late Don Meadows
In memory of Auto Auction Sevices Corp. president and chief executive officer Don Meadows, who passed away on Monday, Auto Remarketing is sharing a Profile Series feature on Meadows that was included in the May 1–14, 2006 print edition of our publication.
The interview between Auto Remarketing and Meadows for this 2006 story is below:
AR: Tell us where home was for you originally.
Meadows: I grew up an inner-city kid in Indianapolis ... so, I’m a Hoosier, which means that you were born with a college basketball genes in your veins. With no pro teams in Indiana when I was young, Hoosiers tend to be died-in-the-wool Indiana University fans. My wife went to Kentucky, so our kids are naturally predisposed to track bouncing balls across TV screens.
AR: Was that area where your parents grew up as well?
Meadows: Yes. My mom now lives in California and my father in D.C. Historically, both sides of my family came down the Ohio River to settle in Kentucky and southern Indiana. My mom was from a farming family, one of 11 kids.
It is a very beautiful area, and in fact, every summer and during spring breaks until I was about nine years old, I would stay with my mother’s parents on their farm, 40 miles south of Indy.
Everyone in the family called them mom and dad. At their 50th anniversary, they had 56 grandchildren and 78 great-grandchildren in attendance; times have definitely changed.
Since all of my “country cousins” had their own farm chores to do, my grandparents took an interest in me because I enjoyed helping out and learning about the farm animals and planting crops, etc.
I learned a lot about the benefits of hard work. It was a positive time to grow up and have a country perspective for me to blend with city life.
AR: But, you were primarily a city-kid?
Meadows: Yes, once summer was over, I was back in town, but I couldn’t forget my time on the farm. It usually took a couple weeks to stop speaking southern Indiana hillbilly once I got back to Indy.
In fact, I used to coin the phrase, “city hicker!” (laughter) I was a city kid, but I liked to have those country roots.
AR: What type of work did your parents do?
Meadows: My mother did a lot of different things, mostly office work; her best job was working for RCA. My father left when I was six months old, so I really don’t know him; we finally met when I was 23.
That is why I spent so much time with my mother’s dad. He was the biggest male influence in my life in the early years. As a middle child, I felt like I was invisible. That’s one reason I enjoyed spending time on the farm.
When I was nine, my mom couldn’t hold it together, so the state said she couldn’t “play family” anymore. After a stint in a guardian’s home, I went to live with my city grandparents (father’s parents) for a couple years and then I was the only one of six kids who was allowed to move back in with my mom. I really never knew my siblings after that.
AR: It is obvious that you didn’t have the “Father Knows Best” type of childhood. How do you think it impacted you?