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Monday 24 April 2017
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RIP: John Wiesner, Longtime Houston Car Pro Dealer    


pic_john_wiesner1Longtime automotive dealership owner and longtime Car Pro Show dealer John W. Wiesner is being remembered as a pillar of the community and philanthropist who established a legacy.

Wiesner died last week in Conroe surrounded by family.  He was 88.

“This is a great loss for our family and to our community,” said Falon Wiesner-Jones, Wiesner’s granddaughter and the director of Public Relations for Wiesner Auto Group. “He will be missed dearly. Thank you for your condolences.”

Wiesner was the chairman of the board and chief executive Officer of the Wiesner auto dealerships, including the flagship Conroe location at Interstate 45 and Wilson Road and the Huntsville location, with around 275 employees. Wiesner had been a Car Pro Certified Dealer for close to a decade.

Wiesner started his automotive career in 1949 and bought the business in 1954 from his father-in-law E.D. Sorsby, who built the Sorsby Motor Company in Hempstead back in 1928. Born in Richmond on Nov. 13, 1928, and raised in Hempstead, Wiesner moved to Conroe in 1972 and purchased the Buick Pontiac Dealership in 1977, which is now John Wiesner Inc., with 10 employees on 2.5 acres located at Texas 105, according to a previous Courier article, the Conroe/Greater Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce and the Conroe Wiesner Dealership’s website.

The Wiesner Conroe dealership company runs on a 27.5-acre facility at one of the highest points in Conroe. April 1, 2017, will mark the 45th anniversary in Conroe. His son Don Wiesner, 63, has been working at the dealership full-time since 1974. Don Wiesner’s daughter Lauren marks the four generations of service to the family business. She is the dealership’s finance director and has worked there since 2012.

“There are several words that come to mind, but he was a true gentleman,” said Conroe Wiesner Sales Manager Mark Novak, who has worked at the dealership for about 25 years. “He was also a philanthropist to the extent that we will never know. There was a lot of goodwill that came out of the kindness of his heart.”

Willis City Manager and Immediate Past Chamber board Chairman Hector Forestier first met Wiesner more than 20 years ago as a city administrator in Cleveland, TX when he came to Conroe to purchase a vehicle.

“He was one of the first men in the county who had the foresight to look at economic development and make sure Conroe had a plan for progress,” Forestier said. “I bought a number of vehicles from him. He always treated me with respect. It’s a sad moment.”

Wiesner served as the chairman of the Chamber in 1989. His involvement in the Chamber and the community has “played a key role in Wiesner’s activities since moving to Montgomery County,” according to the Chamber.

“He was a strong supporter of the creation of North Harris Montgomery Community College (now Lone Star College System), having chaired the committee which created North Harris Montgomery Community College District in 1991,” the website stated. “He continue(d) to serve on the Foundation Board. He support(ed) the YMCA, Montgomery and Walker County Fairs, along with other youth activities in the area. He believe(d) by investing in the youths of today we are helping to build a strong tomorrow.”

George Waggoner, president of First National Bank Texas in Conroe, served with Wiesner as an active member of the Chamber and a board member of the Conroe Symphony Orchestra, which is one of the many organizations Wiesner supported over the years.

“He was very supportive of the community and performing arts,” Waggoner said. “We certainly will miss him. He was a good, good man. He is very well known and liked.”

Waggoner worked side by side with Wiesner and witnessed “how generous he was” including as a presenting sponsor, underwriter and benefactor for numerous events throughout the years.

“This was his home, where he had a very successful business,” Waggoner said. “I think that was just part of who he was,”

Current Rotary Club President Ron Saikowski connected with Wiesner through the organization, which Wiesner joined on April 1, 1983, and was a Paul Harris Fellow.

“He definitely is a special man,” Saikowski said. “He is a model for all people to follow as far as the generosity of his heart for his community and his fellow man. Through his generous smile and eyes, I’ve seen him help in the downtown Conroe Christmas events, (Conroe) KidzFest, the Conroe Art League, scholarships and sponsorships with the Rotary Club for a lot of our endeavors. His heart was out there for all. He hardly ever said no to any request for assistance.”

Wiesner is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, according to information from the Chamber. He is married to the former Elizabeth Sorsby, of Hempstead, and they have three sons, Don Edd, Howell and John III (deceased). They are the grandparents of seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They are members of First United Methodist Church.

On a personal note, I knew John very well from my days as a Ford dealer, he was everything all these people said about him.  He was a great Ford dealer, and a true gentleman.  You will be missed John.

Source: The Courier of Montgomery County