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Marietta man marks 50 years as meat cutter

Gary Wells, 67, of Marietta, places cuts of ribeye into packages for sale at Warren’s IGA on May 29, 50 years and one day after his first day on the job in the company’s meat departments. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

MARIETTA — Two days after he graduated high school in 1970, he donned the same work attire he still puts on today.

“I didn’t like school much so college wasn’t for me,” said Gary Wells, 67, of Marietta.

Wells was hired on just two months before his 18th birthday by Chuck Warren, into the meat department at the family grocery store on Hildreth Lane.

“That was before it was sold as the doctor’s office it is now,” he explained.

That first year was one of learning, he said, spending the majority of time at the grinder and disassembling quarters of beef.

“It’s simpler now that we don’t have to take the whole thing apart,” he chuckled. “And plenty lighter.”

But lightening the load has only made Wells faster, much to the chagrin of fellow employees he still quietly waltzes circles around.

“On those meat sale days all the young guys will be chasing after him, he’s the kind of employee you wish you could do more for because he’s so good,” said Mike Morrison, manager of Warren’s IGA. “Back when he was at Food-4-Less he would use his vacation there to come to another store’s meat department and cover someone else’s vacation time.”

And though Wells’ 50 years at the blade, cutting ribeye, sirloin, chicken and any other slice needed between Hildreth, Seventh Street, Food for Less, Beverly, McConnelsville, Newport and now Colegate, is double the amount of time even the most loyal business employees usually spend with a company, he still doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.

“I have my health, and I don’t really know what I’d do if I wasn’t working,” he said. “This keeps me going, too.”

So for now, you’ll find the spry man quietly at work behind the meat counter at Warren’s IGA, three days a week in Marietta.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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