I was in Geneva when I heard that Frank McCarthy had died.
We had all just seen him at the NADA convention in Las Vegas and knew that he had a fight ahead of him.
I guess I assumed Frank would win the battle against cancer, because he always won. He was a fighter - for his family, for NADA. Nothing rough and tumble, but he enjoyed the fracas.
I met Frank three decades ago, probably at some NADA function. I liked him. But then everyone did. Even when you disagreed with Frank, you still liked him. He was that kind of guy.
Frank McCarthy did a great job of running the National Automobile Dealers Association for more than 30 years. He built the organization into a powerhouse for the benefit of dealers and the industry. And he did it with 32 different dealers at the helm. Frank was the continuity. Frank was the glue.
I enjoyed my relationship with Frank. He had integrity, which is not an easy thing to find these days.
When an important issue faced NADA, Frank was smart enough to let the board be out front. His job was strategy, not limelight.
No one is irreplaceable, and replacing Frank will be tougher than most. But NADA has a great board, and the members will rally around and do what has to be done.
Frank also was a great family man. Whenever you saw Frank at NADA functions, his wife, Pat, was with him. They made a very good team.
At the funeral, the parish priest who obviously had known Frank for a long time talked about his relationship with Frank's family. When it was time to go to the church, the priest said, he had told the kids simply to 'get in the car.' He didn't waste a lot of words, and yet he got the message across without confusion.
Frank got NADA's words across for three decades. He left a great legacy.
NADA has never been stronger or more vital.
It has a pension plan for dealership employees that is among the best in the land. And NADA's members are more involved with the challenges that face all dealers.
I'm not sure why Frank passed away just about the time that he and Pat were planning to enjoy life after NADA.
Maybe someone way up high looked down and said to Frank, 'It's time to get in the car.'