BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Community members are mourning the loss of a long-time local business owner in Blue Springs.
Rusty 'Giant Killer' Threadgill was well known and loved in the drag racing community around the world. Threadgill recently lost his battle with COVID-19 after spending 15 days at St. Mary's Hospital and five days on a ventilator.
He had retired last August from running his auto body shop in Blue Springs called Rusty's Truck and Auto off U.S. Highway 40. Threadgill got the nickname "Rusty" for his deep passion for working on cars.
He became known around the world for his 1973 Datsun 1200 with a rotary engine.
Threadgill's daughter, Maghan Threadgill, said it was incredibly difficult to watch her father battle COVID-19.
"My dad, the strongest man I've ever known, not afraid to go 180 miles per hour in a car, was terrified, absolutely terrified," Maghan Threadgill said.
Maghan, her brother, Logan Threadgill, and mother, Cathie Threadgill, never gave up hope Rusty would pull through. However, they had to make the difficult decision to let him go.
"He was the anchor in our lives, and I miss him, I miss him every day," Cathie Threadgill said.
Now, his family is determined to make sure he's remembered.
"Rusty was a great husband, a great father and a great provider," Cathie Threadgill said.
The two had been married for 36 years. She said his death was shocking because in all that time together, he had never suffered any serious sickness.
His family said he leaves behind a community that has come to know and love him.
"As the years went by my dad's body shop became a place that a lot of people trusted, and they knew that when they came to Rusty he would take care of them," Maghan Threadgill said.
Threadgill said she can't confirm or deny her dad's vaccination status, but she does have a message to others.
"Do your research, do your own research, come to a conclusion and a plan that you are comfortable with in your soul because you really don't know when this will come and tear your whole family apart," Threadgill said.
Since the loss of Rusty, the family has been overwhelmed with love and support. His wife said hearing from the people he has touched over the years is helping make things a little easier.
"I'm going to be OK knowing that Rusty, he was loved," Cathie Threadgill said.
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