By Wendy Holdren
John Eye’s Big Sandy Superstore is bidding farewell to one of its longest employees — William “Inky” Whitehead is retiring after over 40 years of dedicated service.
John Eye, owner of the Beckley furniture and electronics store, said Inky has been like a brother to him.
“They become more like my family than business associates.”
He said Inky has done a little bit of everything there, from unloading trucks to furniture repair.
“It’s been pretty nice,” Inky said. “I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve met a lot of people here.”
He said he has lived in Beckley all his life and although he has enjoyed his years spent at John Eye’s, he is ready to retire.
He plans on spending more time with his wife, Dorothy, who has been in a nursing home for some time now.
The couple have two sons and one daughter, and so many grandchildren that Inky said he’s lost count.
One of his co-workers and best friends, Randall Parsons, said he has known Inky for 27 years.
Parsons said when Inky started at John Eye’s, he came with a lot of knowledge and experience from working at other furniture companies.
“He really took us under his wing.”
He said Inky knew how to maneuver sofas and refrigerators into homes like no one else could, and if he fixed something, it turned out better than it was before.
“I really enjoyed working with him and I will miss him. He’s the kind of man you just can’t replace.”
His friends gathered Friday for a small retirement party at John Eye’s.
“I’m just not used to stuff like this. Not used to being in the spotlight,” Inky said.
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