Drag racing community mourns loss of Rusty Threadgill

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – Community members mourn the loss of a longtime local entrepreneur in Blue Springs.

Rusty ‘Giant Killer’ Threadgill was known and loved in the drag racing community around the world. Threadgill recently lost his battle with COVID-19 after spending 15 days at St Mary’s Hospital and five days on a ventilator.

Last August, he had retired from running his bodyshop in Blue Springs, Rusty’s Truck and Auto off US Highway 40. Threadgill was nicknamed ‘Rusty’ because of his deep passion for working on cars.

He became known all over the world for his 1973 Datsun 1200 with a rotary engine.

Threadgill’s daughter Maghan Threadgill said it was incredibly difficult watching her father battle COVID-19.

“My father, the strongest man I’ve ever known, unafraid to drive 180 miles an hour in a car, was terrified, absolutely terrified,” said Maghan Threadgill.

Maghan, her brother, Logan Threadgill, and mother, Cathie Threadgill, never gave up hope that Rusty would make it. However, they had to make the difficult decision to let him go.

“He was the anchor in our lives, and I miss him, I miss him every day,” said Cathie Threadgill.

Now his family is determined to make sure he is remembered.

“Rusty was a great husband, a great father and a great breadwinner,” said Cathie Threadgill.

The two had been married for 36 years. She said his death was shocking because in all that time together he had never had a serious illness.

His family said he leaves behind a community that has come to know and love him.

“As the years went by, my dad’s body shop became a place that many people trusted, and they knew that when they got to Rusty, he would take care of them,” said Maghan Threadgill.

Threadgill said she cannot confirm or deny her father’s vaccination status, but she does have a message for others.

“Do your research, do your own research, come to a conclusion and a plan that you’re comfortable with in your soul because you really don’t know when this will come and tear your whole family apart,” Threadgill said.

Since the loss of Rusty, the family has been showered with love and support. His wife said hearing about the people he’s touched over the years makes things a little easier.

“I’ll be fine knowing Rusty was loved,” said Cathie Threadgill.


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