Jim Yark, Owner
of Yark Automotive Group Dies at Age 62
TOLEDO, OH Donald James (Jim) Yark, Jr., founder and owner of The Yark Automotive Group passed away Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at Hospice of Northwest Ohio after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 62.
Jim graduated from Devilbiss High School in 1968 and attended The Ohio State University where he graduated with a marketing degree in business. During that time Jim was a member of the 180th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard.
Upon graduation, Jim worked in accounting for Papenhagen Oldsmobile and was promoted to General Manager. He purchased the dealership in 1980 and started to expand by bringing in Jeep. Jim had great business vision and strove to create the largest new and used vehicle dealership in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan and reached that goal by acquiring BMW, Subaru, Nissan, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, SRT, Chevrolet, and Fiat. Yark Auto has maintained that position for the past 18 years and created over 350 local jobs.
“For Jim, it was always about his employees,” said John Yark, President of Yark Automotive Group and Jim’s brother. “He always knew Toledo had great people and having the best people work for him would make the business the success that it is today”. This philosophy recently led to recognition by Automotive News as having 5 of the best dealerships to work for in the nation out of a field of 17,000 and earned Jim the recognition as TIME’s “Quality Dealer of the Year” in 2006. In 2011, Yark Automotive received the Torch Award from the Better Business Bureau because of its strong business ethics.
Jim served on numerous boards of local organizations and ensured that his business was active in supporting local events, charities, and the arts around the Toledo area. He supported the Toledo Zoo, the Toledo Opera and Symphony, Make-A-Wish, Toledo Botanical Gardens, United Way, and the American Red Cross, to name a few, as well as local soccer clubs and schools. In recent years Yark Automotive has also supported The Alzheimer’s Foundation of Northwest Ohio.
Jim was a generous man and a loyal friend. His dream was to build a business in which all his children and other family members could be involved. That dream was recognized as 4 of his children and 2 nephews currently work at the Yark family of dealerships. He was a passionate Ohio State Buckeyes supporter and was a member of the Ohio State Presidents Club. In his free time he loved to boat on Lake Erie and relax with family and friends in the Florida Keys.
Jim was a visionary to the Yark Automotive Group organization and a dedicated community leader. He has left behind a company of integrity that is respected in the community and beyond. In spirit, he will always be the foundation of Yark Automotive Group.
Jim is survived by his beloved children Emily, Jamie, Bill, Dan, DJ, and Jack, his wife, Mary, his father, Don, brother John (Karen), and sister Lynn (Dick) Baker, as well as many nieces and nephews. His mother, Marilyn Shuey Yark, preceded Jim in death.
A celebration of his life will be Sunday, November 3rd from 11am-8pm at Walker Funeral Home in Sylvania. A private burial will follow.
The family suggests tributes be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Northwest Ohio or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
Warren Vess, Marketing Director, Yark Automotive Group 419-842-7722 firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 1981, Yark Automotive Group has grown from 50 employees and less than $20 million in sales to more than 300 employees and annual sales of over $250 million. For the last 18 years, Yark Automotive Group has been the Largest Volume New & Used Vehicle Dealership in Northwest Ohio & Southeast Michigan showcasing 10 vehicle franchises: BMW, Nissan, Subaru, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, SRT & FIAT.
The Yark family is originally from Toledo and both Yark brothers, Jim and John, graduated from local high schools and The Ohio State University. After acquiring the organization in 1981, the Yark brothers implemented a detailed business plan and grew the dealership to include its 9 franchises, 6 Pre-Owned vehicle lots, a body shop, a car rental company and the area’s largest retail and wholesale parts department. Today, the business continues to grow and the family tradition continues with 4 of the Yark children now working in various positions within the company.
Yark Automotive Group has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau as the 2011 Torch Award Winner and by Time Magazine as a Quality Dealer. The Toledo City Paper has voted Yark Automotive Group as the Best Place to Buy a Car in Toledo for the past 12 years in a row and all of the Yark stores have been awarded a spot in the top 100 Best Dealerships to Work For in the US by Automotive News.