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Vernon Dean "Sonny" Metzger


1930 - 2019
Vernon Dean "Sonny" Metzger Obituary
(News story) Vernon Dean "Sonny" Metzger, a longtime car salesman, former business owner, and vintage-car aficionado who was an Army veteran of the Korean War, died Saturday at St. Clare Commons in Perrysburg. He was 89.

He had several health issues common for his age, his daughter, Tina Marshall, said.

Mr. Metzger retired in the late-1990s after many years as a used-car salesman at what now is Dunn Chevrolet Buick in Oregon.

Said Joe Frobase, the sales manager at Dunn Chevrolet Buick and Mr. Metzger's former boss: "He was quite a fellow. He was a true car guy. He knew everything about cars. He could do mechanical work, he could do bodywork, he could diagnose any problems. So being that, as a salesman he had a tremendous following with his customers. They knew he wouldn't sell them a bad car."

Mr. Metzger previously was the used-car manager at the former Richard Chevrolet in Temperance in the 1980s.

He also owned and operated the former Jordanoff Auto Sales in Toledo, originally on Cherry Street and then on Sylvania Avenue. He bought the company in 1949 at age 19 and ran it for at least 30 years until he closed it.

"My father grew up in the Great Depression and he became the kindest, the strongest man I knew," his daughter said. "He [also] treated his clients like family and that's why he had generations of return clients."

Additionally, in the 1950s, he owned car-racing teams that competed in IndyCar events, for which he was famous in Toledo, Mr. Frobase said.

Also in the 1950s, Mr. Metzger single-handedly built a vehicle similar to a Go-Kart but did not patent it, she said, adding that it was perhaps one of the first vehicles of that kind at the time.

About the same time Mr. Metzger built the vehicle, he also created a long-handled tool that allowed to reach in the engine of the race car of the period, facilitating a quick oil change and cutting down the pit-stop time; he never patented that one either, his daughter said. Additionally, he helped develop an electric car prototype.

In his early years, he also had a hobby – collecting and restoring vintage vehicles. His collection included a Model T Ford and a customized '57 Chevy dragster, along with 20 other antique cars.

In retirement, Mr. Metzger worked for his son, Dean Metzger, owner of Metzger Painting, Perrysburg, as a field assistant until retiring permanently when his health declined about five years ago.

Mr. Metzger was born Feb. 21, 1930 to Erwin and Susan Metzger, whose maiden name was Weidner.

He attended Clay High School and Waite High School until his father died in his sophomore year. He then hired on as a lot boy at Jordanoff Auto Sales, washing cars and doing miscellaneous tasks to support his family.

In 1951, he was drafted in the Army and was shipped to Korea, where he in an engineers battalion, repairing equipment until his honorary discharge in 1953 with the rank of private first class.

Upon being discharged from the service, Mr. Metzger returned to Toledo and bought the Jordanoff business.

Mr. Metzger was affiliated with Messiah Lutheran Church in Toledo's Point Place neighborhood.

He was preceded in death by his three sisters.

Surviving are his wife of 68 years, Louise Metzger; daughter, Tina Marshall; sons, Alan Navarre and Dean Metzger; five granddaughters; and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Witzler-Shank Funeral Home in Perrysburg. There will be no visitation.

The family suggests tributes to the Ability Center of Greater Toledo.

This is a news story by Mike Sigov. Contact him at [email protected] or 419-724-6089.
Published in The Blade on Nov. 5, 2019
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