In Loving Memory of Papi: “Grandson buys Hillsboro man’s truck and returns it after 21 years
Things came back full circle recently for a local family on a journey that has spanned two decades, multiple generations and a lot of hard work. It’s a story about a truck, but more than that, it’s a story about a grandson’s love and his tireless efforts to continue the family tradition.
In 2002, Larry Sprinkle, a Hillsborough native and self-employed truck driver, purchased a nearly brand-new Kenworth in Cincinnati. According to his wife, Linda Sprinkle, “Larry was a successful businessman. He owned L & L Trucking, a small fleet of trucks that he leased to Superior Carriers. He drove millions of miles coast to coast throughout his career.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Sprinkle died a few weeks after this purchase, in February 2002, and Mrs. Sprinkle sold the truck shortly after her husband’s death.
Sprinkles’ grandson, Nathan Hall of Sydney – who was 5 when “Pappy” died – still remembers the beautiful brand new semi.
“I think he drove it for two or three weeks,” Hall said of his grandfather. “I remember seeing the truck, but never being in it. My father remembers having it in it. Three weeks after he got it, he passed away, and my grandmother sold it immediately.
More than two decades later, Hall – now a small business owner – wondered what it would be like to add his grandfather’s truck to his fleet.
“We have a small dedicated agricultural company here in Sydney, and we had our half of Kenworth, about the same year,” Hall said. “I’ve always loved the semi-final, and I’ve always wanted to find it.”
Twenty-one years later, Hall decided to track the truck down, and after much trial and error, he did just that — six miles from his grandparents’ home.
“I’m very excited about it,” Hall said. “I definitely didn’t need another truck, but being able to drive it down the road in something bought new is great.”
Physically locating the truck was a more difficult task than Hall originally thought, as he said his grandmother no longer had any information about the truck, since so much time had passed. He encountered similar problems when he contacted Kenworth and the dealers who sold the truck to Mr. Sprinkle.
“My grandmother didn’t have pictures or the VIN or even remember where she sold it,” Hall said. “I was calling the DMVs, trying to get the VIN numbers. She couldn’t remember anything, so I couldn’t look up the license plates or the name until I ever found them. I was calling Kenworth, the dealers who sold the product, and they didn’t have any records.”
Finally, Ms. Sprinkle found some old photos in a photo album in March, Hall said, and shared the photos with a Facebook group for truck drivers.
“The guy who went to school with my mom knew where the truck was,” Hall said. “He gave me the guy’s number, and I called him and left a message. It ended up six miles from my grandmother’s house.”
Between that owner — John Bloom of Hillsboro — and Mr. Sprinkle, Hall said the semi “had more than three owners and more than a million miles.
“The guy who told me about it had been trying to buy the truck for several years and couldn’t get (Bloom) to sell it,” Hall said.
After hearing Hall’s story and the amount of work he put in to find his grandfather’s truck, Bloom agreed to sell the truck, beginning the next phase of Hall’s hard work.
“I was very lucky to find it and it wasn’t destroyed or in a junkyard,” Hall said. “It was still in good condition, and the engine was brand new. The guy bought it for the engine as a backup.”
“He had it for six years, I think, and left it like that, so the paint was peeling and the tires were dry and rotting.”
Although the truck had been parked for several years, Hall said the engine and transmission were in good shape, mostly “just needing cosmetic things” to bring them back to normal. His father, Craig, and his cousin — Jacob Burton, of Hillsboro — helped him outfit the truck, as Burton worked at Hall’s business.
“It turned out really well,” Hall said. “It’s been in the shop all summer, getting painted and a bunch of parts. It all adds up really quickly. We haven’t even really touched the interior.”
Hall repainted the truck, paying tribute to Mr. Sprinkle. It reads “In Loving Memory: Larry Sprinkle’s Pappy” with a drawing of a likeness with angel wings and Sprinkle’s birth and death dates, May 26, 1949 – February 1949. February 22, 2002.
“His dad would be so proud of him and so honored that he restored his truck and memorialized him on the sleeper sides,” Ms. Sprinkle said. “What a wonderful tribute.”
Now that the truck has been repaired, it’s back where Mr. Sprinkle wanted it to be — on the road, for his family’s business.
“We put it on the road and carried quite a few loads with it,” Hall said. “So far, it’s doing well.”
“I am so proud of my grandson and his work ethic and dedication,” Mrs. Sprinkle said. Highland County Press. “He is a successful businessman at a very young age. He not only located the truck, restored it, but also operates it for his company, Hall Ag Services.”
Ms. Sprinkle knew he had bought the truck, but he kept his plans to renovate the truck semi-secret, Hall said, until he was able to surprise her in person at her home. On October 15, a group of friends and family gathered at Mrs. Sprinkle’s home to be part of the big reveal.
Hall laughed and said he didn’t think his grandmother would come out because she was “distracted” by Hall’s newborn, as his wife and their child had arrived before him to “try to get her out” to see Hall’s arrival.
“As soon as I stopped and honked the air horn, she got out while I was stopping,” Hall said. “They were all surprised and excited.”
He said his aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members were there, as well as Bloom and some other friends, who wanted to see the reborn semi. Hall said that throughout his visit with the family, he was taking family members on a ride in the truck.
“My grandmother wanted to ride it, my aunts, my mother and my cousin wanted to ride it,” Hall said. “For two of them, it was the first time they had ridden a semi since riding with their father. It was neat. They wanted to blow the horn across town.”
Sprinkle added that she appreciated everyone who came out to see the truck and celebrate the redesign with her.
“It meant a lot to all of us,” Ms. Sprinkle said. “This was all a complete surprise to me. It was an amazing day. I loved every minute of it.”
She spoke again about how proud she was of Hall and how important it was to have her husband’s truck back in the family.
“(Seeing) the truck at home restored to its original glory, it was a very emotional day,” Sprinkle said. “The truck is absolutely beautiful. I’m so proud of Nathan, and Papi will be too.”
“I have to say that when the truck was here the first time Nathan was there, we got a little rain, and the same thing happened (reveal day),” Sprinkle continued. “Just a few tears from heaven in love and support for a job well done.”