By Ellen Babin
Pilot staff writer
An open house on Friday was held to celebrate Cecilia and Layne Worlton's 30 years in business as Worlton Auto Body.
When Layne and Cecilia were married, the business, located on Memory Lane in Brookings, was four years old. The Worltons lived above the shop and put on many hats while the business got on its feet for the first 10 years, vacations were not included in any plans.
In the years to come, the growing family moved into a home and the shop kept taking different shapes through remodeling - until there just wasn't any more room to grow.
In 2003, the Worltons moved to a large, comfortable workplace which they designed, including a andquot;realandquot; office and hired andquot;a really good staff of six.andquot;
Their building on the corner of Pacific and Railroad in Brookings is a far cry from where Layne began in the auto body business.
A native of Brookings and a andquot;talented artist,andquot; according to his wife, Layne spent his high school years painting cars: He just wanted them in a form to be andquot;dinged and painted.andquot;
Layne attended college for a year and it just emphasized that his hands were made for a job he loved best: body work and paint jobs. andquot;I don't care what they looked like (cars, trucks, etc.), I just wanted to paint them,andquot; he said.
Cecilia had been raised in Thurston and Springfield, and came to Brookings because she was ill. andquot;After lying around for three months,andquot; she said, andquot;I told myself I'd get up and do something.andquot;
Cecilia came into Layne's life while she was working for the first attorney in Brookings and moonlighting as a waitress.
It all started when Layne came in to take his mother to dinner. After, Layne and Cecilia dated for three years, were engaged for one year - and she was involved in the business all but two years of their 26-years of marriage.
Cecilia has been with him through most of the transitions as janitor, parts orderer and office manager.
The biggest change in the auto body repair world has been difficulty in dealing with insurance and remaining able to do the top-notch job people have come to expect - and will get - as long as the Worltons stay in business.
Currently, the Worlton home is located 14 miles up Gardner Ridge supplied by solar and hydroelectric power.
Cecilia said there were times when the entire family was home and everything on the dinner table, including the meat, came from their small farm.
The couple have three children Brooke, 25, Summer, 21, and Kyle 15.
When asked how long before retirement, or if they were going to keep working for ever and ever, Layne answered, andquot;I don't know, I still enjoy the (auto body work) field.