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Getting to know the owner

Posted on: 08, November, 2016

Howdy do!  I’m Kathryn van der Pol, owner of a full service auto repair shop named Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage. It’s located on North Shepherd about two blocks north of Sears.  We’re a family-operated local business, providing friendly expert care to our clients. We purchased the shop in 2004 from the original family who opened the garage in 1946.

I originally grew up in the Navy. Before I was 18, I had attended 11 schools stretching from Yokosuka, Japan to Alexandria, Virginia. I still love to travel, but when I was 18 I came to Houston and have been here ever since.  I majored in Latin and Greek at Rice and taught for 24 years, most of that time at St. John’s School. I also taught Western Civilization and World History, two subjects that I still love. In fact, it was probably the age of the shop that attracted me to buy it.

I am passionate about cars, ancient languages, and history. Right now I am focused on American history, especially our first hundred years. I collect books, travel to historic places, and entertain our customers with stories. I have seen George Washington’s teeth at Mt. Vernon, his original surveyor’s compass and his wallet at Mercury One Studios, his camping chair at the Henry Ford Museum,  his headquarters in Valley Forge, and  his Gilbert & Stewart portrait rescued by the indomitable Dolley Madison in Washington, D.C.

Often, I am asked if I miss teaching and I say that I never left.  I just teach different things.  Today, I was explaining the danger of spongy brakes to one customer and telling another about living in Japan and becoming friends with a gentleman who survived the Hiroshima atomic blast.

My husband of 40 years and I also take care of our adorable 6 month old grandson.  When you come to visit us, ask for me. I would love to show you around our “historic garage” and tell you some stories.