Ray Lambrecht was born in Pierce, Neb., on January 31, 1918.
He served in the U.S. Army for four years, rising to sergeant, in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands during World War II.
When he left the service, he married Mildred Heckman, and they moved back to Nebraska, where he joined his uncle’s new garage-based General Motors dealership.
Lambrecht designed and built the dealership from the ground up. Two years later, his uncle became ill and was forced into retirement. Lambrecht bought out his share and became the sole owner of the franchise, his daughter, Jeannie Lambrecht Stillwell, wrote in a 2013 essay.
Lambrecht and his wife operated the dealership, which started with an annual allotment of just 16 vehicles, with one other employee, a mechanic, six days per week for 50 years, Stillwell wrote. They lived across the street from the dealership and walked there together for 50 years, Eberhardt said.
Lambrecht didn’t try to negotiate prices. He gave customers the lowest price the first time.
“After doing all of the legwork and the homework comparing prices from surrounding dealers, the conclusion was always the same,” Stillwell said. “Dad had given them the best price right from the beginning.”
Lambrecht is survived by his wife, daughter, son and three granddaughters.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the location where some of dealer Ray Lambrecht's best vehicles were stored prior to being auctioned; mischaracterized the number of bidders and enthusiasts the auction attracted; and incorrectly described the number of hotel rooms occupied in Pierce, Neb., as a result of the auction. Pierce had no hotels at the time of the auction.