Skip to main content

Cabarrus Magazine

The Baby Boomers: Work to Live, Not Live to Work

Aug 01, 2015 12:00AM ● By Jason Huddle

By: Kimberly Cassell

Baby Boomers are those persons born between 1946 and 1964. These are the individuals that witnessed the first space exploration, and experienced the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights and Women’s movements.  

 According to, “With increased educational, financial and social opportunities, the Boomer Generation is often portrayed as a generation of optimism, exploration and achievement. Compared with previous generations, more young adults pursued higher education or relocated away from family to pursue career and educational interests.” 

Bobby Whitley is 55 and a familiar face in Cabarrus County. As owner of local residential and commercial property, his name and his pick-up truck are everywhere. In a sea of Roberts from his generation, Bobby is his given name.  

CM: Where is your hometown:  

Bobby: I grew up in Concord. I live right down the road, in Kannapolis. 


CM: How would you describe your personality? 


X Outgoing 


X Structured/Disciplined 

X Independent 


CM: What is your definition of family? 

Bobby: Family is mother, father and children, but it’s also close friends. 


CM: Are your parents married, divorced or deceased? 

Bobby: My dad is deceased but my parents were married until my dad died. Dad has been dead almost four years and I don’t think Mom will remarry. 


CM: How old were you when you got your first job? What was it? 

Bobby: My first job was a paper boy for the Independent Tribune. I did that for two years. Then I worked for my dad’s car washes. He had two locations when I graduated from high school. I told him I wanted more car washes so we built one together. We built several together over the years and then I started buying him out when he got older. 


CM: How important is education to you? How far did you go in school?  

Bobby: I graduated from RCCC with honors, with a degree in business administration. Those were the two best years of my life. We had a close group of friends that ran the Business Club. We made so much money…we went skiing, we had mixers. 


CM: Are you married, single, divorced? 

Bobby: I’ve been married for 30 years; I was 25 when I got married. I started dating my wife when she was 15 and we dated for six years. 


CM: Do you have any children? If so, how many?  

Bobby: Yes. We have two children. And one grandson…2 ½. 


CM: What are your thoughts about marriage before children? 

Bobby: I would rather not see it but I know situations happen. 


CM: What is your occupation? 

Bobby: I own five car washes; I own 28 residential properties…duplexes, condos; and I own one commercial property…Danny’s and Hidden Plaza. 


CM: How long have you been in business? 

Bobby: Thirty-seven years. 


CM: What has been your most radical fashion trend? 

Bobby: The short tennis shorts in the ‘70s. Then I switched to Levi jeans without a belt and that drove my dad crazy. I had one polyester leisure suit, a smokey grayish blue. 


CM: Do you rent or own (home, car)? 

Bobby: I own both. 


CM: What do you do for fun? 

Bobby: I like to travel; I like Lake Norman and Badin Lake, and I like sailing. I had a 16-foot Hobie (catamaran) years ago. That’s like a go-cart on the water. I also found a website where I could join a crew. We sailed from Chesapeake Bay to the Florida Keys on a 30-foot boat.  


CM: What is your definition of happiness; success? 

Bobby: A close group of caring family and friends. I want to be financially comfortable. 


CM: How often do you read a book? Physical, eBook or audio? 

Bobby: I enjoy reading travel & leisure magazines. If I can’t read it in 15 or 20 minutes, I won’t. I like a physical book. 


CM: How important are the Internet and social media to you? How often do you use them? 

Bobby: Pretty important. I use them every day. (He does have a Facebook page.) 


CM: What’s your favorite way to communicate with friends/family? Do you have a landline phone in your home? 

Bobby: By cell phone. Yes, I have a landline. I want to get rid of it but my wife likes to have it. All we get are marketing calls. 


CM: With regard to the state of the world, please rank the following’s importance (1-7) to you, no. 1 being most important/of most urgency. 






Social Topics (abortion, gay rights, race relations, transgender, etc.) 


Bobby: They’re all no. 1. Without good health, what good is a great environment?  


CM: Have you thought about your retirement? 

Bobby: Yes, but I don’t know if I do want to retire. I enjoy working. But I do want to slow down.  

My business is less structured. My phone rings all the time and I have guys at the car washes all the time, but I can take off for the lake if I want to. And the rental properties have been very good to me. 


CM: Have you started preparing for retirement? 

Bobby: Yes. Retirement funds, the stock market, etc.  


CM: What do you anticipate your retirement will be like? 

Bobby: I would like to travel and sail, and hang out with family and friends....knowing if I want to go on vacation, I can afford it. 

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Cabarrus Magazine's free newsletter to catch every headline