Frank Anechiarico, a passionate car salesman and one-time owner of Baltimore County's Valley Chevrolet, died June 27 at Brightview Mays Chapel Ridge, an assisted-living facility. He was 91 and had suffered a stroke.
"He started out selling used cars as a wholesaler, then worked his way up to be a dealer," said his son-in-law, Lloyd Haak, the general manager of Wantz Chevrolet in Taneytown, who met his future wife while working as a salesman for Mr. Anechiarico at Valley Chevrolet. "What made him special was his spectacular love and care for his customers. He made sure they were taken care of, which is why they came back and back. That's how he grew the business."
A native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., Mr. Anechiarico was stationed in Belgium and France during World War II, serving in the Army as a private first class gun crewman for medium artillery and — most important, in terms of his future career — as a vehicle parts clerk. He studied architecture at Columbia University after the war, but much of his focus remained on cars. He eventually left Columbia and got a job as a car salesman in New York City.
"I think he was drawn to it," said his daughter, Susan Haak of Phoenix in Baltimore County. "In the Army, he worked in automotive parts, keeping the jeeps going. He had an interest in cars from a very young age. That, and his sales ability. He was just a salesman by nature."
In 1959, after being named sales manager at University Ford on Baltimore's 29th Street, Mr. Anechiarico and his family moved to the Stoneleigh area of Towson. Three years later, he entered into a partnership with Harry L. Gladding, perhaps best remembered as the owner of Gladding Chevrolet in Glen Burnie, and took the role as general manager of Valley Chevrolet. The dealership was then located on York Road in Cockeysville, north of the old railroad overpass and near Valley View Farms.
Mr. Anechiarico bought out Mr. Gladding in 1965 and took over the dealership.
"He was just good with people, always very pleasant," said Gene Wirth, also a former general manager at Valley Chevrolet, who worked alongside Mr. Anechiarico for some 10 years. "He knew the car business at that time completely. He knew it better than a lot of Chevy dealers around, because he had brought the practices down from New York, and brought them to the York Road operations."
"My father used to have a saying," remembered his son, Paul Anecharico, also of Phoenix, who worked under his father at Valley and is now sales manager at Bill Kidd's Toyota-Volvo in Cockeysville. "He'd say, 'I may not be smart about many things, but I'm people smart.' He taught us well."
In 1972, Mr. Anechiarico moved Valley Chevrolet into a new facility on Padonia Road in Timonium. Although he sold off part of the dealership in 1983, he remained with Valley until retiring in 1990. The building remains, as the home of AutoNation Chevrolet Timonium.
Ms. Haak remembered that her father used to enjoy having lunch with the men who ran other local Chevrolet dealerships.
"All those local dealerships — Jerry's Chevrolet, Marsden Chevrolet — they were all his peers. He was really the last one living," she said.
After retiring from the auto business, Mr. Anechiarico joined his wife and sold real estate for Long & Foster out of the company's Jacksonville and Timonium offices. The couple were selling real estate as recently as five years ago, Ms. Haak said.
The Anechiaricos lived in the Cambria area of Phoenix, in northern Baltimore County, from 1967 until 2000, when they moved to the Mays Chapel area of Timonium. Mr. Anechiarico had moved into Brightview only weeks before his death.
In his younger days, Mr. Anechiarico enjoyed dancing to the big-band sounds of Glenn Miller and other orchestras at the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, N.Y. After moving to Baltimore, he became a dedicated Colts fan, later transferring his allegiance to the Ravens. He and his family enjoyed vacationing at Fenwick Island and Bethany Beach, Del.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Parish, 100 Church Lane in Cockeysville.
In addition to his wife of 67 years, the former Grace Marinelli, and their two children, Mr. Anechiarico is survived by five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
An earlier version of this obituary misidentified Mr. Anechiarico's daughter. Mr. Anechiarico is survived by his daughter, Susan Haak of Phoenix, Baltimore County. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.
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