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Donald James "Jim"
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.
Most recently, Jim's dealerships were recognized 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 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. at Walker Funeral Home in Sylvania. A private burial will follow.
The family suggests tributes be made to the
of Northwest Ohio or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
Published in Toledo Blade from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3, 2013