Joseph Holman, who grew his family business from a single New Jersey dealership into a global automotive services organization, died Thursday at age 93.
The business was founded by his father, Steward, in 1924, and Holman joined the Ford dealership in Maple Shade, N.J., in 1950 after graduating from Princeton University.
For the next 69 years, he oversaw the development of Holman Enterprises, which today employs nearly 7,000 people internationally and has seven business segments, including financing, insurance, parts distribution, and fleet leasing and management.
Its dealership business, Holman Automotive, ranks No. 23 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 31,337 new vehicles in 2018.
"My father lived a vibrant, extraordinary life, embracing and enjoying each day to its fullest for more than 93 years," Mindy Holman, chairman of Holman Enterprises, said in a release Wednesday. "My family and I have been incredibly blessed to work alongside my father for so many years as he taught us about the privilege and responsibility of stewarding a family business.
"He treated employees, customers, business partners, and the community like part of his own family and together, we will continue to live the Holman Way and build upon his legacy."
Holman, who was chairman emeritus, was a fixture at the various company locations until days before his death, and he enjoyed connecting and engaging with his colleagues, the release said.
"Words cannot begin to express our collective sadness for the passing of Mr. Holman," Carl Ortell, CEO of Holman Enterprises, said in the release. "He truly embodied the core values that have guided our company for 95 years and his memory will continue to inspire the entire organization for many years to come. His unwavering passion for life, his family, our people, the community, and his company will forever be the foundation of our organization."