FULTON, Ill. — Warren McEleney, a second-generation dealer and former president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, died March 23. He was 90.
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II and receiving a degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, Mich., he joined the family business, McEleney Motors, in Clinton, Iowa, in 1946. He was named dealer operator in 1951 and chairman in 1985.
A 1977 Automotive News story cited some of the many industry positions McEleney had held. He was chairman of Chevrolet's national dealer council twice; was chairman of Oldsmobile's national dealer council; and also was a member of the General Motors President's Advisory Council.
McEleney also was active in NADA for many years. In 1966 he served on the organization's board as the director from Iowa. In 1971 he was elected president, which is what the top elected official was then called. In 2009 his son John was elected NADA chairman.
Among the many honors Warren McEleney received over the years: In 1977 he won a national Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award; in 1985 he received a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame; in 1995 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from GMI Engineering and Management Institute for his contributions to the industry and to GMI.