Jack Cardwell, ‘a legend in the truck stop industry’, dies at 89

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The man credited with creating what would become the modern truck stop chain as we know it is dead.

James A. “Jack” Cardwell, died Jan. 23. He was 89 years old.

Mr Cardwell’s obituary said: “Jack’s decades-long entrepreneurial spirit began with Jack’s Super Service in 1954, continued with the El Paso Truck Terminal in 1965, then to the Petro Stopping Centers in 1975, which were known for their user-friendly innovations.He operated Petro successfully until its sale in 2007. (The chain had 69 locations in 30 states at the time of the sale.) Mr. Cardwell has recently been honored in 2021 by Chevron for 60 years as a Chevron dealer and distributor with C&R Distributing.”

Mr. Cardwell’s business philosophy was to put truckers first. He said he wanted to “build them a place where they feel appreciated.” His companies were known for providing truckers with amenities, including private showers and stores, that freight drivers needed.

NATSO marked his passing by calling him “a legend of the truck stop industry”.

“Jack was an innovative thinker and leader who, in many ways, was ahead of his time in assessing what customers want and need,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. in a statement posted on the organization’s website. “He was a friend to many and to our industry who will be deeply missed.”

Mr. Cardwell was born on March 1, 1932, to Agnes Godwin and Aubrey Cardwell in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. From 1952 to 1954 he served in the United States Army, which brought him to El Paso. He was married to Martha Evonne Emmett, who died on August 10, 2019, just two weeks before their 66th wedding anniversary.

He is survived by his three children, Cindi Andrews, Tina Hatch and Jim (Julie) Cardwell; his seven grandchildren, Nathan Roberson (Rashida), Natalie Kunzman (Nick), Richie Hatch (Shelly), Bethany Hatch, Gabrielle Anderson (Luke), Trey Cardwell and Ashley Whittle (Braxton); seven great-grandchildren, Tristan, Trevor, Troy, Noah, Ryker, Sarah and Ezekiel; his sister Wanda Tydingco Clark; and many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Cardwell received the El Paso Community Spirit Award from El Paso Inc. in 2007 and is known for his philanthropy throughout the El Paso area, including through the Cardwell Family Foundation.

A service for friends is pending. Mr Cardwell requested a private funeral service with his family.

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