Robert E. Mitchell, a Long Island automobile dealer for more than 50 years and a World War II veteran, has died.
Mitchell, who lived in Jupiter, Florida, died March 2 of natural causes, his family said. He was 94.
He opened Mitchell Cadillac Oldsmobile on West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington in 1958 with one car in the showroom, said Antoinette Mitchell, his wife of 59 years.
“It was a lavender-colored Oldsmobile,” she said. “I don’t remember if it sold, but we needed it for the showroom. It was nerve-racking. There were many anxious days until we got a couple cars. From there, it was history.”
Mitchell ran Mitchell Cadillac Oldsmobile for more than 25 years, and afterward moved the Oldsmobile business to a separate dealership he opened on East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington. Later, the two dealerships merged, Antoinette Mitchell said.
Mitchell served as president of the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association and president of the National Cadillac Dealer Council.
He was the president of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce from 1964 to 1967 and again from 1973 to 1975, according to the chamber.
Mitchell, who grew up in West Hempstead, enlisted in the Army Air Corps on the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, according to his family. He became a pilot and airplane commander who flew for the First Photo Reconnaissance Group assigned to the 20th Air Force Unit during World War II.
The Mitchells lived in Huntington before moving to Florida full time.
In addition to his wife, Mitchell is survived by his five children, Cynthia Kopprasch of Lloyd Harbor, Janet Mitchell of Boulder, Colorado, Michael Mitchell of Pinellas Park, Florida, James Mitchell of Jupiter and Patricia Posillico of Huntington Bay, and five grandchildren.
A private interment is scheduled for Sunday at Riverside Memorial Park in Jupiter.