Retired auto dealer Richard J. Gumpp, who was honored for business management and customer satisfaction when he owned the Cadillac agency in Toledo, died Tuesday in Akron City Hospital of ischemic colitis. He was 84.
He’d been ill since February, his daughter, Linda Bird, said.
In 1988, he sold Gumpp Cadillac Inc., 1415 Jefferson Ave., to Stephen Taylor. The dealership, Taylor Cadillac, moved in 1999 from its longtime downtown location to the Central Avenue Strip in Sylvania Township.
Mr. Gumpp and his brother, Charles, bought Pemberton Cadillac, a longtime downtown Toledo dealership, in 1974. The previous five years they owned a Cadillac dealership in Mansfield, Ohio, which they sold to buy the Toledo dealership. They also owned an Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership in Lorain, Ohio. The Toledo dealership was the largest of the three.
Richard Gumpp later ran the Toledo Cadillac dealership, while his brother had a dealership in Canton, Richard’s daughter said.
In the late 1970s, Mr. Gumpp received the Cadillac Motor Car Division’s Master Dealer Award, one of a handful of dealers to be recognized for excellence in new and used car deliveries, service, parts, and business management.
“He just loved cars. That’s all I can say,” his daughter said. “He was a fair person.”
Mr. Gumpp opened a body shop for the dealership at Monroe and 14th streets.
He held on through inflation, high interest rates, and recession.
“There are fewer first-time Cadillac buyers,” Mr. Gumpp told The Blade in 1981, when the jobless rate was 9.8 percent. “We feel the effect of Toledo’s high unemployment just as other businesses do.”
His daughter said: “There were a couple years that were challenging, and they were worried.”
In 1986, Gumpp Cadillac received an award from Cadillac Motor as one of the top 10 Cadillac dealers in the country for customer satisfaction. He received a trophy that was a replica of one given Cadillac in the early 20th century by England’s Royal Automobile Club.
Mr. Gumpp got his start as a salesman for the Cadillac-Oldsmobile dealership in Massillon. He later was promoted to general manager.
He was born Jan. 6, 1929, in Massillon to Jennie and Fred W. Gumpp and was a 1947 graduate of Washington High School in Massillon. He worked for Republic Steel before stateside service in the Army.
He and his wife, Esther, moved from their Sylvania Township home in 1996 to Turkeyfoot Lake in Akron, where they built a home on the site of their longtime summer cottage.
He had a knack for fixing cars and boats, even broken toys. “He was very patient and worked at it until he got it,” his daughter said.
Mr. Gumpp and his wife, Esther, married April 19, 1950. She died Jan. 9, 2013.
Surviving are his daughter, Linda Bird; six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Services were Friday in Massillon. Arrangements were by the Paquelet Funeral Home, Massillon.
The family suggests tributes to First Christian Church, Massillon, where he was a member, or the palliative care unit of Akron City Hospital.