Ray Green, 91, of Peoria, Ill. and formerly of Jacksonville, Ill., passed away Wednesday, Aug.7, 2019, at Apostolic Christian Home in Peoria.
Funeral mass was held at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, at Church of Our Saviour in Jacksonville. The family meet with friends from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Monday at the Williamson Funeral Home.
Private interment was held in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria.
Memorials are suggested to the Ray Green Charitable Trust Foundation, (PO Box 13315 Springfield, IL 62791), and may be given in care of Williamson Funeral Home, 1405 Lincoln Avenue, Jacksonville, IL 62650. Condolences may be left online at www.airsman-hires.com.
Ray was born Dec. 2, 1927, in Cascade, the son of John and Mildred Finn Green. Ray married the love of his life, Beverly J. Westermeyer, June 21, 1952, in Dyersville, and they were happily married until her death on Dec. 27, 2012.
Ray attended St. Martins High School in Cascade and graduated at the age of 16. He attended Loras College in Dubuque briefly before he joined the Army and served in Italy for two years. Following his discharge, he returned to Loras College and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Education Administration. Ray began a long and distinguished career in the automotive industry when he was hired as a field representative for General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) in Des Moines, in June of 1951. He left to go to work as a salesman at a Pontiac Buick dealership in Iowa City and was awarded Salesman of the Month his first month there. He was then recruited as a general manager at Flenor Pontiac Cadillac in Mt. Pleasant before coming to Monmouth, Ill. with Barrows-Addleman in 1957. Ray eventually purchased that dealership from Ken Addleman in 1964. While in Monmouth, Ray was active in many community activities in Monmouth, including Rotary and Knights of Columbus. He was president of the Monmouth Community Hospital board of directors and led fundraising efforts which raised $4 million for the construction of the new, modern hospital building.
In 1975, Ray sold the Monmouth dealership and became owner of Ray Green Chevrolet in Jacksonville. Ray went on to form Green Holding Company in 1982 and expanded his family’s business to include his family’s dealerships in Springfield, Danville, Peoria, East Moline, and Davenport.
Highly respected in the automotive industry, Ray earned countless awards and recognitions throughout his career. He served on dealer councils for Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Oldsmobile, and was proud to have served as Chairman of the International Organization of Motor Trades and Repairs New Vehicle Committee, which is headquartered in Hague, Holland, and represents over 20 countries. He was a founding member of the Dealer Election Action Committee (DEAC). Ray was twice a finalist for the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award. In 1973 he was the Illinois Time Magazine Quality Dealer and in 1998 he was selected as one of the top eight dealers in the entire country for the award. Ray worked his way to president of the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association. The honor which meant the most to Ray was being elected President of the National Automobile Dealers Association in 1990. He traveled the world as president of NADA representing dealers and speaking on behalf of them. He was admired by his colleagues for his ability to negotiate, compromise, and for his leadership qualities. Late in his career, he received the distinguished award of being inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Ray was a benevolent and generous community leader. Both personally and through his dealerships he was able to provide charitable support to numerous schools, hospitals, colleges, Boy Scout troops, and other organizations. He served on the Board of Regents at both Monmouth College and Loras College and as Chairman of the Loras College Financial Endowment. During those years he increased the endowment of Loras College from $17 million in 1995 to $30 million in 1997. An avid supporter of Catholic education, Ray was instrumental in the formation of the Routt Catholic High School/Our Saviour School’s DREAMS fundraising campaign, which raised over $800,000 for the schools in the first four years of existence. He was described by his committee members as “the one who made it happen.” Now in its 26th year, the fundraiser has raised nearly $5 million for the schools.
Ray was a longtime member of the Church of Our Saviour in Jacksonville. He was also a member of Legatus, Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club, American Legion, and the Jacksonville Country Club.
Regardless of Ray’s many accomplishments, he would say that his greatest pride was his family. He was admired by his children for his work ethic and he was honored to have them follow him in the automobile business.
Ray was truly rich with the love of friends and family. He was the ultimate optimist; he was able to find the positive and good in all. He touched so many lives with his heart and soul and will be sincerely missed. He will be cherished in heaven as he was on Earth. The one thing Ray always said in closing out a conversation, “Do you need anything?”
Ray is survived by his children, Gail A. Green of Peoria, Ill. Jill A. Green of Bettendorf, and Todd C. (wife, Christine) Green of Springfield, Ill.; one daughter-in-law, Pamela Green of Peoria, Ill.; eight grandchildren who adored him, Eric W. Dresing (wife, Erin), Ashley Dresing Bradshaw (husband, Stephen), Chad W. Dresing (wife, Mandi), Allison Dresing Swain (husband, Stephen), Madison Green, Drake Green, Audrey Green, and Gabriel Green; five great-grandchildren, Sophia, Kiefer, and Ella Bradshaw, Charlie Dresing, and Luke Dresing. He is also survived by two sisters, Janet (Jim) Rigdon of Waterloo and Karen (Paul) Schwaegler of Dubuque, two sisters-in-law, Mary Klein of Cedar Rapids, and Sandy (Bob) Faltermeier of Kansas City, Kan., and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by one son, Jeffrey J. Green, and three brothers, Robert, Richard, and Gerry Green.