Rimkus: Thomas ‘Tuck’ Walsh recalls history of Tuck’s Service Station

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By Rosemary Rimkus, Hudson Columnist

Rimkus: Thomas ‘Tuck’ Walsh recalls history of Tuck’s Service Station
Patty Curley of West Medford, left, and her sister, Patty (Curley) McEachen of Holden, seated with “Tuck” Walsh, were among those greeting him after his presentation on March 29 at a Hudson Historical Society meeting. (Photo/submitted)

HUDSON – Longtime Hudson businessman Thomas “Tuck” Walsh traced the history of Tuck’s Service Station on Broad Street from 1936 to 2022 at a meeting of the Hudson Historical Society on March 29 at the First Federated Church Hall.

Many former employees and customers crowded the hall to hear him, gathering just a matter of months after the station closed last year.

Walsh, who retired in 1998, said he was humbled to be asked to tell the station’s history, “because I thought my friends and customers might have forgotten who I was.”

Walsh took over ownership of the then-Economy Gas Station in 1952 and retired when he sold it to his son-in-law, Marty Libby, in 1998. “The seeds to what eventually became Tuck’s Service Station were planted by my uncle Francis ‘Sid’ Walsh in 1936,” Walsh said.

Walsh operated Warmer Fuel Oil Co. and Economy Gas Station on Broad Street, opposite Forestvale Cemetery, and eventually purchased Brigham’s gravel pit at Broad and Washington streets.

The original facility included a small block building, an open pit for service and two ancient gasoline pumps out front.

Walsh became a Texaco dealer and accepted credit cards after he bought the station in 1952. He recalled that a grease job in 1953 cost $5.20. Retread tires cost $19 and new
tires were sold on a $2 per week installment plan.

Rimkus: Thomas ‘Tuck’ Walsh recalls history of Tuck’s Service Station
Former employees of Tuck’s Service Station were among those attending “Tuck” Walsh’s presentation at Hudson Historical Society meeting March 29, seated from left: Marty Libby, (Tuck) and Lee Murphy: rear, from left: Jay McQuillan, Nancy Mailett, Ken Patton, David Daigneault and Bob Comacho. (Photo/submitted)

In the 1960s, he became an International Harvester Dealer and Fisher Snowplows were
added. Through the years, extra revenue was created by renting cargo trailers, Hertz trucks and pop-up camping trailers.

In the 1970s, Walsh and his employees dealt with the oil embargo, when oil quotas were imposed on Western nations.

He said the embargo brought “limited supplies, long lines, short tempers and out-of-control fear.” He remembered that his daughters were “brave enough to put a sign designating the ‘last car’ in the line.”

During the 1980s, when truck sales and service business began to grow, “Tuck’s Truck Sales” was created. A new, adjacent building was built and, in 1981, the GMC truck line was added.

“Tuck’s Truck Sales” was sold to an outside buyer in 1997.

After 1998, the service station operated under Marty Libby’s ownership until it was sold in October 2021. Notably, “Tuck’s Service Station” was always a full-service station.

Walsh, now 92, noted that he was proud of creating a profit-sharing plan for employees, which was company-funded and encouraged employees to stay for the long term.

The Hudson native and lifelong resident praised the loyalty of his part-time and full-time employees, and “the amazing number of loyal customers.”

Stating that he has seen many changes in the past 70 years, he said two that stick out to him are the facts that full-service stations are now “nearly extinct.”

“[It’s] pump your own gas, no free air, no window washing, no knowledgeable person to diagnose an unusual sound,” he said.

He also noted that “the cost of an oil change in 1953 is now the cost of one gallon of gas!”

In addition to employee loyalty, Walsh further attributed the success of the business to: “great partnerships with NAPA, General Automotive, Peoples’ National Bank, Radio station WSRO, Hudson Sun and the amazing number of loyal customers.”

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