When the name Robert Pumpelly is mentioned in conversation, many people smile with admiration. Known for his long association with the oil and gas distribution business, he's been a friend to many. His first service station was in Sulphur on Highway 90. And before World War II broke out, Pumpelly operated the Conoco station on Lakeshore Drive, across from what is now the Lake Charles Civic Center.
"I was working at the bulk plant when they built the first station on the lake front," recalled Pumpelly. "That was the first Conoco-owned station in the state of Louisiana. First one that they built. They put me in it."
Then Pumpelly was called to service and stayed stateside in the U.S. Navy Air Force.
"Most of the time I was training others. After we would put a new engine on a plane, we had to fly with the pilot, so you better do it right!"
After the war, his business grew to include an oil distribution facility, gasoline stations, tire dealerships and convenience stores. He's been honored by many organizations like the Boy Scouts and Rotary for his contributions to the community.
"I learned a lot on how to deal with people. It did something also for me. I'm hopeful I was an asset to the community."