Cornelius Martin, who operated one of the nation's largest black-owned auto dealership groups, died in a traffic accident this month. He was 57.
Martin was the president of Martin Management Group in Bowling Green, Ky., which operates 15 dealerships in six states.
The company ranks No. 87 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 dealership groups in the United States.
Police said Martin was killed June 3 when a pickup traveling north on U.S. 79 in Logan County, Ky., crossed into the southbound lane and struck the motorcycle he was riding. The driver of the truck, a 54-year-old woman, was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree man-slaughter, driving under the influence, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Martin's company sold 8,895 new vehicles at retail in 2005. Its dealerships sell brands from the Big 3.
Desmond Roberts, president of the General Motors Minority Dealers Association, called Martin "a friend, mentor and inspiration to minority dealers across the country."
In a statement, Roberts said: "This is an enormous loss for all of us. We will honor his memory by continuing his legacy of hard work, determination and generosity."
Martin graduated from GM's minority dealer program. He bought his first store in 1985, a Cadillac-Oldsmobile dealership in Bowling Green.
Martin also owned two Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships. He founded Co-Mar Aviation Inc., a regional corporate aircraft service.
Martin was chairman of the Board of Regents of Western Kentucky University. He was serving his second term on the board of the Louisville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Martin was a member of the General Motors Minority Dealers Association, Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association and National Automobile Dealers Association.
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