LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Gene Messer died last Wednesday at age of 79.
Funeral services were held Monday afternoon and all Gene Messer auto dealerships in Lubbock were closed from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. to remember a great business man and more importantly a family man. "When I think of Gene Messer I think of Papa, he really had a huge impact on all our lives," said Gene Messer's grandson Brandon Guinn.
Guinn remembers his grandfather as someone who was always there. "He was the person who held our family together," said Guinn.
After suffering from Parkinson's, Messer died at the age of 79, but his family says his character will live on. "He believed in people, he believed in his family and he really wanted what was best for everybody. He was just an amazing man, as far as family as far as grandfather as far as husband and I think people need to see him for that instead of just Gene Messer the business man," said Guinn.
But Gene Messer the business man will not be easily forgotten. "In the car business we kind of have a stigma attached to car dealers and I think with Mr. Messer it was a thing where customers knew they would be treated right," said Market Director for Gene Messer Auto Group Pete Ruiz.
Ruiz knew him for more than 25 years, and says he is someone he always looked up to and admired."He walked through all the different departments on a regular basis and he knew everyone's name asked how their family was doing, really genuinely cared about all of our people," said Ruiz.
Messer was from Lockney and started his first dealership in Amarillo. In the mid 70's he opened a Ford dealership in Lubbock at 19th and Texas. Today six local dealerships bear his name. "We use to say amongst ourselves all the employees that he had the golden touch, whatever he was involved in, whatever he bought, whatever he got involved in, it just turned to gold and he had that ability," said Ruiz.
Ruiz says he will never forget the man "people loved working for." "Having somebody that you work for, but is also a father figure and a friend figure as well that you have ultimate respect for," said Ruiz.
He is a man who will be greatly missed.
Gene Messer's wife of 54 years, Carlene, preceded him in death. He leaves behind two children, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.
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