DETROIT -- Henry "Hank" Stanford, who co-founded Varsity Automotive Group, died Friday, the dealership group announced Monday. He was 70.
The group, which includes Varsity Ford in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Varsity Lincoln in Novi, Mich., was founded in 1981 by Stanford and his brother Lou Stanford.
"Lou and Hank took a chance, risked everything, borrowed money from family and just kind of struck out on their own," Matt Stanford, Henry's nephew and Varsity Ford general manager, told Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
"He was delivering cars, he changed his own plates," Matt Stanford said. "He did own the dealership ... but he was a car salesman. He truly loved his customers; he had a huge customer base."
Henry Stanford's son, Joe Stanford, a salesman at Varsity Ford, is "carrying on his father's legacy" at the dealership, where they both worked, a news release said.
Stanford is survived by his wife, Arlene; sons Jeff Stanford and Joe Stanford; daughter April D'Antonio; and five grandchildren.
Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Anselm Catholic Church in Dearborn Heights, Mich. Interment will be at St. Hedwig Cemetery in Dearborn Heights.
Memorial donations may be made to the St. Anselm School Education Fund.