Auto industry icon Jerry Seiner dies at 75 | KSL.com

SALT LAKE CITY — Auto industry icon Gerald John “Jerry” Seiner, founder of Jerry Seiner Dealerships, passed away Thursday at the age of 75.

Seiner was born in Michigan but opened his first Utah dealership in 1980 with 60 employees and one franchise after seeing the success inherent in the automotive retail business, his son-in-law, Chris Hemmersmeier, said in a news release. Jerry Seiner Dealerships have since grown and now operate 11 franchises on four different campuses with 350 employees.

Seiner’s father, Steve Seiner, worked as an electrician for the Ford Motor Company and eventually became Henry Ford’s personal electrician. However, Seiner got his start in advertising, moving over to the auto industry when he bought his first dealership in Cadillac, Michigan, according to Hemmersmeier.

Soon after buying the dealership, Chevrolet offered Seiner an opportunity to grow his business in Salt Lake City and Seiner made the move, never looking back.

Many of the employees that began with Seiner in entry-level positions years ago are now in senior-level management, a fitting tribute to Seiner’s motto, “Making Friends to Last a Lifetime.”

“Jerry always attributed the success of his dealerships to the support of his family and the loyalty and commitment of his business family,” Hemmersmeier said.

Seiner earned the General Motor’s “Dealer of the Year” award in 2004 and was inducted into the New Car Dealers of Utah Hall of Fame in 2016, according to Hemmersmeier. It was also in 2012 that Seiner sold majority ownership in the dealerships to Hemmersmeier.

And it wasn’t just the auto industry where Seiner found success.

“Jerry had a strong belief in giving back to the community and took many leadership roles on a variety of charitable organizations,” Hemmersmeier said.

Seiner was President of Make-A-Wish of Utah, President of the Financial Board of Trustees for Judge Memorial Catholic High School and President of the Advisory Board of the University of Utah’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He was also honored with the Catholic Community Services “Creative Corporate Sponsor Award” for his contributions to the homeless and refugee populations, according to Hemmersmeier.

He is survived by his wife, Shari, his three children and his four grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, Seiner requests donations be made to the Carmelite Sisters at the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery.

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