Jacob Edward Henegar

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Henegar, Jacob Edward
a prominent Phoenix businessman who was the head of Valley Distributing in the 1960's and 70's, died peacefully on March 4th, 2010. He was 85. Known as Jake to his friends and colleagues, he was born on November 7, 1924 in Osawatomie, Kansas. He was the third of four children born to Mary Haldeman and Larry Lee Henegar. In 1936 the family moved to Denver, Colorado. Like many young men of the greatest generation, Jake served in World War II. He was wounded in the Pacific and earned the Purple Heart. Jake was an entrepreneur from the start. After the war he returned to Denver, married, and moved to Southern California in the early 1950's, selling auto parts in the Southwest. One of his best customers was a small Phoenix company named Valley Distributing. Their Yellow Front stores sold primarily army surplus and discount merchandise. Seeing a business opportunity, Jake joined Valley in 1958 as a buyer and merchandiser. In 1960 he bought the company from Jim Kelly. From there, Jake grew the company from four to over two hundred stores. At the height of Valley Distributing the company employed five thousand people throughout the Southwest. In 1969, Jake also founded Checker Auto Parts, which grew from a single Phoenix pilot store to a national chain. Jake provided not only employment to the region but also created a camaraderie among the retirees that continues to this day. Following the sale of his companies to Lucky Stores in 1978, he continued his working life, consulting with Coleman Company and creating relationships with their manufacturers in Asia. He traveled often to Hong Kong with his second wife Tricia Winn, a designer whom he met in 1982. Jake and Tricia influenced many of Coleman's endeavors throughout the 1980s. They finished their final consulting trip with Coleman in Hong Kong in 1997, and moved into full-time retirement. Jake spent his later years with his wife and their extended families. They enjoyed their homes in Phoenix and Denver, as well as spending time in San Francisco and Portland. Jake is survived by his wife Tricia; his children Susan Henegar, Kevin Henegar and Lesley Henegar from his first marriage, and his stepchildren Christie Winn and Trina Robertson, six grandchildren, three nieces and a nephew. Jake was always kind, gracious and generous with his heart. He touched many people and will be missed by all.
A memorial service will be held 11:00 am Saturday, March 20th 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore.


Published in The Arizona Republic from Mar. 13 to Mar. 14, 2010
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