The couple had owned The Lighthouse Christian Gifts since 1999, when they purchased it from Ricky Drennan, who had purchased the store a few months earlier from the original owner, Bonnie Lovett.
The Lansdale’s Lighthouse Christian Gifts was originally located in the building on Titus St. that had formerly been the home of Lansdale TV. They later moved the business to the downtown location on Buffalo Street.
The Old Brick Creamery, which offered ice cream and sandwiches at lunch time, was also housed in a portion of the Lighthouse building at the Buffalo St. location.
“What’s going to hurt most is missing the people,” Larry Lansdale said. “We’ve met a lot of wonderful people, and I hope we have made a difference. I wouldn’t take for the time we’ve had here.”
“I’m sure the Lord has something in store,” Mrs. Lansdale said, adding that Larry will now have more time to devote to preaching.
The Lansdales are members of Latch Baptist Church, where he teaches a Sunday School class. He said he plans to devote more time to that ministry, also.
The Lansdales opened their TV sales and repair business on Titus St. in 1971 after Larry had completed training for TV repair at Kilgore College.
His father, Junior Lansdale, constructed the building.
The business soon grew to the point that Larry needed help, and his father retired from LeTourneau and joined him in the business, which they operated together for a number of years.
This was the time of the big console television sets in beautiful wood cabinets. If your set went out, a quick call to the TV repairman usually had you back in business in a short time.
These sets usually lasted a long time, being replaced only when the picture tube went out.
Then VCRs came on the scene. At first they were quite expensive. Our first one was purchased at Lansdale’s at Christmas time in 1983. It cost $499.99, plus tax. It lasted a long time, though, and I think it was probably the best one we’ve ever owned.
Like the earlier televisions, the VCR could be repaired, and I carried it to Joe Henry for repair several times before he told me he thought it was time to retire it.
But then came the day when all that was available was portable TVs, and you could most of the time buy a new set as cheap or cheaper than having your old one repaired.
So as the older sets faded from the picture, so did the television repairman.
Now we are in a “throw away” society, and most televisions, DVD players and other such equipment are simply replaced when they cease to work properly.
“Some folks have told me that I’m going to enjoy being retired, others say I’ll hate it,” Larry said. “I’m just going to take it a day at a time and see where the Lord leads.”
Larry and Junior Lansdale were also members of the Gilmer Volunteer Fire Department for many years until health issues forced retirement.
Junior Lansdale still enjoys doing woodwork at his home at Bettie, and has made some beautiful porch and lawn swings. He and his wife are members of Oak Hill Baptist Church.