Hinesville native William Dasher celebrated 45 years of employment with a retirement barbecue Thursday at Downs Lumber and Supply.
The smell of hot dogs, hamburgers and smoked sausages wafted through the lumber yard as Dasher reminisced with family and friends, who turned out to help celebrate his last day of work.
“You couldn’t meet a meeker, kinder man,” said Claudia Woodward, Dasher’s niece. “Anyone in Hinesville will tell you the same.”
Dasher, who grew up two doors away from Downs, began working at the lumber and supply store in 1969. He served as yard foreman, but also made deliveries and assisted customers — “Whatever needed to be done,” he said.
“He’s been a faithful servant, so to speak,” said Isaiah Benjamin Downs, founder and owner of Downs Lumber and Supply. “He never missed a day in this length of time. He was sick one day and I made him go home. Now, if you find another person to work like that for you, you’ve found somebody.”
Downs has known Dasher since he was a young boy and said he considers him family.
“I call him my young’un because he used to stay at my house with my boy, about the same age,” Downs recalled. “I’d look in the room in the morning and I didn’t know who was going to be there … we didn’t know whose young’un was whose, so I claimed them all.”
Dasher recounted memories of good times with colleagues and regular customers throughout the years. He spoke of one recurring joke he and his coworkers liked to play on a particular truck driver who hailed from Alabama and harbored an irrational fear of dogs.
Dasher — known for his spot-on dog-bark impression — said he would hide behind the lumber stacks and begin barking when the driver pulled in.
“He used to say ‘I’m not coming out until y’all tie up that dog!’” Dasher remembered with a laugh. “He’d sit in that truck for 15 minutes, until he was sure the dog was tied up … but there never was a dog, it was me the whole time.
“We had a lot of fun, a lot of good times out here,” he said.
Dasher looks forward to volunteering more time at his church, Crossroads Holy Church of God in Hinesville.
“I appreciate him a whole lot,” Downs said. “He’ll never know how much I appreciate him.”