Community Bids Farewell to Man Who Made his Mark on Business and Community
Friends, family and even those who didn't know him well, turned out today to say goodbye to a man known in the mid Michigan area not only for his business prowess, but for his charitable heart.
Bill Snethkamp Jr. was president of Bill Snethkamp's Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. He passed away on Friday from complications due to a heart attack he suffered 12 weeks ago. He was just 65 years old.
He bought the Chrysler dealership on South Pennsylvania Avenue when he was 28. The building still bears his name and will remain open, family members say. The realize they'll have big shoes to fill, but plan to offer the same type of quality customer service Bill made common--just like his father did and his father before him.
"He was known for his firm handshake, his generous smile and his willingness to do just about everything," said his brother Mark.
But it isn't just his ability to turn the dealership into a success that will live on as his legacy. It was what he did when not under the bright lights of the showroom that will be remembered most.
Shelley Forell, a local media account executive who has done business with Bill since 1980, says it was his dedication to the community that she will remember most.
"Not only did he give time to those at the Dodge Chrysler Dealership, he spent endless hours supporting local charities," she said. "He was always there for everyone and will be terribly missed."
Forell was among hundreds who turned out today for his funeral mass at St. John Church and Student Center in East Lansing.
Tony Sasso, the dealership general manager, told the Lansing State Journal that Bill was always upbeat, even after his heart attack, and was making plans for the future. That future includes an expansion of the Pennsylvania Avenue facility that is already underway.
"He lived for this business," Sasso was quoted as saying shortly after Bill's death. "We're going to do it for Bill."
The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing, 2216 S. Cedar Street.
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