Recently, Kansas Truck Equipment lost a beloved family member. Richard “Zack” Zackula passed away on September 15, 2018. Along with his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, our staff mourns his loss and cherishes his memory. He was a visionary within the company and a champion for people with disabilities.
Zack was just 21-years-old when he started working for Kansas Truck Equipment. This was years before our second building and mobility division were even a speck on the horizon. As a mechanic, Zack worked in the shop installing farm bodies on trucks for rural customers. He also worked in our fledgling bus division, delivering Blue Bird buses across the state of Kansas.
In an article featured in School Bus Fleet, Zack talked about the booming bus business and how he was able to deliver so many at a time:
Service Manager Karl Gragg would rent a small plane and fly Zackula and other staff members to a Blue Bird plant that was in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
“He’d land in a cornfield — literally,” Zackula said. “We’d drive the bus back to Wichita. The next weekend, we’d deliver the bus somewhere in Kansas.”
Zackula recalled a time when they delivered a bus to Tribune, Kan. “Karl landed on a sod airstrip to pick us up.”
Mobility Division was Inspired by Zack’s Ingenuity
Today, our mobility division is housed in a second building and features a showroom where customers can view products in a climate-controlled environment. Zack’s ability to fabricate real life solutions for mobility issues was the impetus for our mobility line. When he retired after 48 years, the mobility department had become his legacy. Over the years, Zack touched the lives of thousands and considered many to be his friends. He enjoyed our annual Mobility Rodeo because it gave him a chance to chat with customers new and old.
Heart and Soul of Kansas Truck
During his nearly five decades at Kansas Truck Equipment, Zack built long-lasting relationships with coworkers. He was a foreman, mentor, manager, and friend. He may have had a lack of patience at times, but he was also known for his “great big heart” and mischievous smile. President of Kansas Truck, Maurice Linnens, described him as the “Heart and soul of our business. He was authentic and you always knew where you stood with him.”
To our friends and customers who have reached out over the last few weeks – Thank You. We love hearing your stories and we know you’re hurting too. Thank you for helping us celebrate the life of Richard “Zack” Zackula, a person who showed us the importance of helping our fellow man and paying it forward whenever we can.