Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 15, 2013

Carl Van Gilst stays busy cooking, helping others

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THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — When Carl Van Gilst retired 10 years ago after his second career, he decided a third career was needed to keep busy.

“I bought 73 acres and developed North Meadow (in Goshen),” Van Gilst said. “When a person retires, you’ve got to do something. It’s been interesting and a whole lot of fun.”

It wasn’t all fun during the recession, though.

“My development got cut up in the recession and I’m still trying to sell some property,” he said.

There are three zoning sections to the development with single-dwellings, multi-dwellings and commercial, including a strip mall, a gas station, an insurance building and a car wash.

“The car wash was built at the wrong time and still sitting there,” he said. “We have some commercial buildings occupied but not at the rent it should be.”

In 1985, he helped start a company after discovering there was a need for more plastics in agriculture. The company ventured out into custom work with rotational molding and making big parts, such as water tanks, for recreational vehicles.

“We were successful in selling the company to do other things. I did pretty well in my second career,” Van Gilst said.

Family is very important to him. In 1972, he married Shirley and put two families together, he said.

“We have six children, 17 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren,” Van Gilst said, smiling. “We have a lot of fun. I’ve done lots of cooking for the family. I cook for them every Sunday. We might have as many as 30. I enjoy cooking. It evolved as a family tradition and it gets to be a routine now.”

He enjoys charitable work and prepared an annual chicken barbecue for a muscular dystrophy camp for 25 years. There were more than 400 people who were fed during a barbecue, he said.

“I like those kinds of opportunities to help others. It’s more fun than giving money,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of hog roasts, more than a 100. I’ve done some pretty good chicken barbecues, too.”

A hog roast takes 24 hours to roast before eating. His sauce?

“Beer and butter and a lot of other stuff in it,” Van Gilst said. “It’s not a secret.”

His interest and enjoyment in cooking started years ago when he was building livestock equipment and decided to build a hog roaster to promote livestock and then actually used it to cook for customers.

“I built a hog roaster and put a patent on it. I sold some but found it makes for a great party (cooking a hog),” he said. “I’ve catered weddings for my grandkids. I never did it for hire because it wouldn’t be any fun. I enjoy watching the kids have a good time.”

The couple are Methodists and have been members of The Life Center in Goshen.

He enjoys fishing but “has to go somewhere to go fishing.” His favorite place is in Alaska with Florida running second, he said. “Lake Erie and Lake Michigan are good places to go, too,” Van Gilst said. “I enjoy a little recreation now and then.”