How We Started
The following story is told by Pickups Limited member Lee Hill, who was the last of the original members to leave his active member status with Pickups Limited Orange County in September 1998. He moved to Arkansas for retirement. No one has come close to matching his perfect attendence award for making every meeting for over 20 years. (At least until recently we found that Bob and Cherie Ward of the former Burbank Chapter, attended meetings from August 1976 to October 1997) He was an active member for 30 years total. This particular interview is in the Special 20th Anniversary Issue of our Newsletter in 1988.
An ad appeared in a March 1968 PennySavers issue. It had a phone number and urged anyone interested in trucking to call. That ad was Placed by a man named George Dietz and his wife,Judy who worked at the PennySaver. Judy took a lot of calls, did some PR work, and gathered together a group of 6 or 8 guys. Because of the similar body styles of the Ford F-100’s from 1953 to 1956, they had decided their Pick-Ups Club would be Limited to those years. They started meeting in the Dietz’s garage in Garden Grove weekly on Tuesday nights, and sat around discussing their trucks, getting to know each other, and deciding whether to form a club. They met 2 or 3 times like this, then decided in April to go for it. The goal of the club was to promote these classic trucks, and in doing so, to have a social club providing family fun. Of the original 6 members, 4 had to be Board Members. The President was George Dietz, the Vice President was Dave Juhl, the Secretary was Bob Williams, and the Treasurer was Gene Davis. There were only a few other members. Of these original guys who spent much time and effort in setting up the club, only one is left today… he’s still in the club and other than one excused absence, has not missed a meeting in 20 years! This man is Lee Hill.
Lee Hill was born on Dec. 10th(We’ll let you wonder what year)! in Butler, Oklahoma. He came to California when he was 10 years old, and has lived here since that time. (Rumor has it he greeted the Spaniards! They thought they found the North Pole when they saw Lee in his Santa suit)! Lee’s a girlwatcher, but when he’s not doing that, he’s admiring old cars, driving his ’56 truck, or proving just how ageless this tall, lean, silver-bearded gentleman is by cruising cross-country on his motorcycle or dancing up a storm. He likes to try things; he likes to do things. Lee Hill is a man who faces a challenge and gives it his best. In fact, when Pick-Ups Limited was only a year old, Lee Hill became President when George Dietz unexpectedly retired from the club, and Lee moved up from VP. Lee left George’s house that night and says, “I had never held a position in any club like that before, and I basically didn’t know what to do with it. I had roughly 30 minutes to determine what I was going to do… could I take the club and run with it, or should I walk in and face those people and tell them “I’m sorry folks, it’s all over’ … We had about 20 members then and the interest was starting to pick-up. We had growing pains then. So I opened the meeting, and told them what happened.” The members voiced their faith in Lee as President, a new VP was elected, and Lee was off to his 1st term as Mr. President. Since then, he has served in that capacity 4 times, along with multiple other positions.
Lee recalls that in the beginning the guys had trucks with few modifications, but some nice paint jobs. But as each new member came in, they became very competitive, and got ideas from each other. Each member wanted his truck to be more than “just a truck”. Lee acquired his truck in June of 1960, and is only the 2nd owner. He’s had that truck 28 years. He’s managed to hang on to it through a divorce, and hang on to it in times when he couldn’t afford to eat. One of his strongest desires is that his final ride to his resting place be in the back of that truck. He feels that truck is a direct representative of himself. And, indeed, if you look at them together, you can see it. The silver paint on Lee’s classy truck is as shiny a’s his silver hair, it’s neat, and it’s not quite finished yet …. just like Lee.
Lee has 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren at last we heard. He’s always popular with the kids, even when he’s not Playing Santa Claus at the malls and at parties during the holidays. Lee stresses that PUL has always had mostly family outings, and that could be one of the keys to it’s longevity and success. The original members’ wives felt left out in the beginning, but once they started attending, they caught the excitement and contributed greatly with ideas, time, and work. Things haven’t changed!
Lee used to work traveling around an extensive area of So. Calif. servicing fire extinguishers. Even today when he is at home, he relaxes with a little TV and his “tranquilizer”…that is, his pipe. His apartment displays many memories from all his years in the club. There are plaques, gavels, and even a desk set that sports a F-100 taillight that turns on or flashes! Lee still has George Dietz’s original briefcase filled with club memorabilia. He even has saved several letters from swingers who thought Pick-Ups Limited was an exclusive dating club for other people like themselves! His bookcase is filled with every newsletter ever written, and addresses for everyone who has ever been a member, including worldwide associate members. Lee would like to see the associate member program rebuilt. His dream has always been to see the club expand. He has a vision of a nationwide club with an office building and a paid staff there to handle the club’s business. Lee says that it use to be in his travels across the states that when he mentioned Pick-Ups Limited, people were familiar with the club. Now he finds that people say, “Yes, I remember them. What ever happened to Pick-Ups Limited? with the popularity of the mini-truck, most of the publications are concentrating their coverage on them. Lee forsees that we had better start a promotion of our classic F-100’s to keep the interest growing or we may find our suppliers going under or converting to the more profitable minitruck business.
In the beginning, Lee couldn’t know that 20 years after he’d joined that he’d still be with Pick-Ups Limited, but he says, “Pick-Ups Limited has been a large part of my life because I like the people. The truck is what brought us together.” Lee is a proponent of club unity and for us working together still promoting our classic F-100’s. He says “I’m glad we have a National Council. It’s a big burden on them, but it’s made all the chapters more cooperative and equal.” And afterall, we’re all Pick-Ups Limited, and with the strong foundation that Lee has been so active in helping to lay, maybe.we all can make Lee’s dream come true and make Pick-Ups Limited the largest nationwide club!!!!!!!!!!!