Archive for Friday, February 20, 2009

Jim Ellena, former auto dealer, dies at 61

February 20, 2009


Jim Ellena

Jim Ellena

During his decades in the car business in Lawrence and elsewhere, Jim Ellena liked to attract attention to his dealerships to get people on the lot.

“He was quite a promoter in his day,” said his brother John Ellena. “He had a knack for promotions and that sort of thing.”

Before he returned to Lawrence to partner with his father Jack Ellena in the early 1980s, Jim Ellena turned a Honda Accord into a limousine to attract attention outside his Honda dealership in the St. Louis area.

Jim Ellena, who ran several dealerships in Lawrence until the late 1990s, died Tuesday at his home in Cathedral City, Calif. He was 61.

In 1983, he partnered with his father in Lawrence, and in 1985 they separated the business. Jim Ellena took over the Oldsmobile and GMC dealership at 2112 W. 29th Terrace.

Jim Ellena also purchased and sold several other franchises, and he was best known for the Jim Ellena Autoplex, his brother said.

He semi-retired in the late 1990s when he sold his franchises, and he began to split time between Lawrence and his home in Naples, Fla. Three years ago, Jim Ellena moved to California, and he also worked as a general sales manager for a Volvo dealership in Palm Springs, Calif.

Jack Ellena, the patriarch of the family, died in 1995.

In a Journal-World interview at the time, Jim Ellena said his father was his mentor.

“He always did well with people. It was important to him to make sure the people that worked for him were taken care of,” Jim Ellena said.

John Ellena, the current dealer principal for Jack Ellena Honda, said his brother also developed his own style over his business career.

“My brother and my father were two different styles of managers and leaders,” John Ellena said. “They were both examples of different attitudes and opinions of how you run a business.”

A Mass of Christian Burial for Jim Ellena will be 10 a.m. Monday at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6001 Bob Billings Parkway.


lawthing 9 years ago

He did not live to be really old, but he did make the most of the years he had!

kasper 9 years ago

jim elena was a lawrence icon. i graduated with his daughter and his son was one year older than i. i wish them and all of the family peace in this difficult time.

geniusmannumber1 9 years ago

Hey, let's all pat Marion on the back for countering Gina's insensitivity with his typical brand of misogyny!

Clickker 9 years ago

is there an Obit? did he have any siblings/kids? This article is incomplete

Jersey_Girl 9 years ago

Gina - Jim was a big Lawrence business owner, whose name was well-known around Lawrence. I think that rates a story. How many people in Lawrence know who you are? If his death doesn't deserve the small story it got, then you don't deserve an obit when you die.

Gina Bailey-Carbaugh 9 years ago

Oh for crying out loud. I was commenting on the reporting....all it listed was the businesses he owned. Big whoop. What about any charitable work? What made him any more special than any other business owner in Lawrence. Cartainly, my condolences to the Ellena family, meaning no disrespect. Just thought the article was lacking, in other wise, not news worthy (and yes I meant to spell it that way).

Gina Bailey-Carbaugh 9 years ago

Did, real mature to "investigate" posters on here and hide behind your own anonymous self. Being an nurse is what I do not who I am. And, having a hyphonated name doesn't mean anything. Now go lay at Marion's feet and wait for your pat on the head.

llama726 9 years ago

I see where Gina's coming from. I don't think people are their job, at least I hope people don't solely identify themselves by the work they do. There's a lot more to life than the job. As usual, though, the hyper reactionary forces of Lawrence's online commentary army are responding with their usual character attacks.

Best wishes to the family.

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