Occupational ties

Grand Valley fathers and sons talk shop

Bob Mueller, left, and Clint Mueller are second and third generation at the Mueller’s Auto Service, which was started by Bob’s dad, Frank, in 1962.

Casper Maurer, left, and Bob Maurer are both dentists. Bob practiced in Alaska and is in the process of moving to Palisade, and Casper sees patients at Appleton Dental in Grand Junction, where he and his wife practice.

Father and son Sgt. Phil Stratton, left, and Deputy J.C. Stratton both serve with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Stratton started full time in 1994 and J.C. joined in 2013.

Facebook data researchers mined millions of accounts on the social networking system trying to find out if sons followed their fathers in occupation.

The study results, which included mother/daughter career choices, were released in March 2016 and revealed: Sometimes, maybe.

The data is worth a look and can be found online in multicolored graphics with career lines going many different ways. However, what the data shows most clearly is just how difficult it can be to analyze or quantify the relationship between parent and child.

A pie chart can’t show how much it means to be told by your father how proud he is of who you are or what you’ve done.

A bar graph can’t explain just how good a hug or pat on the back from dad can be.

With this in mind, we present these profiles of several Grand Valley fathers and sons who happen to share the same occupations.

Happy Father’s Day.

So standard, 
it’s automatic


If it’s a weekday between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and you’re looking for Bob Mueller, you’ll also find Clint Mueller nearby. And vise versa, unless Clint is out picking up a customer with the tow truck.

The father and son represent the second and third generations at Mueller’s Auto Service, 753 Ute Ave.

Father/grandfather Frank Mueller was the first and started the downtown Grand Junction business in 1962. Bob, 61, might have long ago considered an occupation other than that of an automotive technician, but not seriously, he said.

“I’ve never gotten a paycheck from somewhere else,” Bob said.

And like his dad, Clint, 42, grew up with the business. “As a kid, everything I did was mechanical,” he said.

He was 12 or 13 when he began working at the shop, and Grandma Flo, who answered phones and greeted customers before Bob’s wife Sandy did, was always finding things for Clint to do.

Then he “ran away” for a few years and worked in the restaurant business. “I had to have my own adventures for a while,” Clint said with a smile.

These days Bob has moved toward the customer service and management side of the business, and Clint has picked up where Bob left off in the shop. But both men enjoy diagnostics, figuring out and fixing automotive issues.

“It’s always a challenge,” Bob said.

“I take as many classes as I can,” Clint said. “A lot of this stuff you can learn by doing and we learn together.”

Clint is a hard worker, Bob said. When his son is not at work, he’s an easy-going, outgoing guy. Clint likes Jeeping, rafting and camping with his kids.

Bob is into drag racing, and Clint used to join him, but “it’s not my thing, really,” Clint said.

There’s some give and take in the dynamic of a family business, and “there is so much I’ve learned from him,” Clint said of Bob. “He’s honest. He works his butt off.”

There also is a lot of juggling that comes with making sure customers are taken care of in a timely way, that issues with cars are caught, that employees are working, Clint said, and his dad does it well.


It’s an adventure, bicuspid

Bob Maurer was a junior at Palisade High School when he decided to become a dentist.

So after he got his DDS, he began practicing in Anchorage and Sitka, Alaska. “I wanted to go to a place where I would be a general dentist,” he said.

And Alaska is where Casper Maurer was born. “He was born a dentist,” said Bob, 72, teasing. “It was amazing.”

Casper, 41, recalls being in his father’s dental office quite a bit while growing up, but it probably was while he was in high school that he actually decided to become a dentist himself, he said.

Casper met his wife, Amber, while the two were studying at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and after practicing for a couple years in Washington state, the couple moved to the Grand Valley and opened Appleton Dental, 2478 Patterson Road, Suite 24.

Bob retired last year and is in the process of moving back to Palisade, which puts him and his wife closer to Casper and his family, as well as their daughter, Dr. Tara Marshall, a pathologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, and her family.

With three dentists in the family, “my mom has to curtail the conversation sometimes,” Casper said.

But it is nice to be in the company of family members who share your occupation, the father and son said.

Along with dentistry, the two share a number of interests and hobbies: football, tennis, skiing and fly fishing. They are both divers and like to take trips together.

“My dad could be friends with anyone,” Casper said. “Always happy. Always up for adventure.”

Dentists as a whole are often rather social people, he said.

Both father and son said they enjoy hearing their patients’ stories and being a part of a community, while also being there to help people with their dental health, be that alleviating discomfort, maintaining health or making a cosmetic change. “That can change people’s lives,” Casper said.

“There is nobody who should have been a dentist more than Casper,” Bob said. “It’s been a joy for me to have Casper as a dentist.”


Enforcing friendship, 
by law


A number of years ago, there was a report that a man who had shot a cop elsewhere in Colorado had been seen in Glade Park. The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office needed to quickly respond and there happened to be a Black Hawk helicopter in town that day, so the department quickly arranged to use it to take a team to Glade Park.

Sgt. Phil Stratton, 54, was on that team. “Back then I was trying to be a tough guy,” he said.

However, when he got back, he discovered that his young son, J.C., had been extremely upset about his dad’s mission.

Now, deputy J.C. Stratton, 29, is in the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office’s street crimes unit, and times being what they are, sometimes “it scares me,” said Phil, who serves at the Mesa County Justice Center.

Phil joined the Sheriff’s Office full time in April of 1994 after a number of years working in construction. He and his family were living in Colorado Springs, when a friend suggested Phil go to the academy and become a cop. “That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Phil thought, and then he changed his mind.

“I grew up here at this office,” J.C. said. “I used to come to SWAT training.”

After high school, J.C. served in the U.S. Navy for five years, then went to the academy and joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2013. He wanted to serve in a community that appreciates its law enforcement. “I wanted to work here,” he said.

J.C. is “tenacious,” Phil said. When J.C. was in wrestling as a kid, he was 85 pounds and he would take down guys who were 103.

“He’s a better cop than I will ever be,” Phil said.

And when J.C. looks at his dad he sees someone who is “honorable and courageous. Respected. That would be a big one,” J.C. said.

His dad is “a good friend,” J.C. said. “We do everything together.”

When they go out for dinner, their wives know that at some point Phil and J.C. are going to talk shop. And J.C. has been thankful that his mom and stepmom are there as a support system for his wife.

The Sheriff’s Office cultivates a feeling like family, the father and son said, but for them it really is family. In fact, the first guy J.C. arrested looked him over and said, “Your dad arrested me.”


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