Obituary: Louis R. Colussy / Owner of Chevrolet dealership used a kind approach
Oct. 30, 1928 -- Dec. 6, 2016
December 15, 2016 12:00 AM
Louis R. “Skip” Colussy with sons, Jonathan, left, and Tim.
By Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Louis R. “Skip” Colussy wasn’t your stereotypical high-pressure, in-your-face car salesman. If anything, he preferred the kinder, gentler approach in talking to customers.
It certainly seemed to pay dividends. Mr. Colussy’s dealership, Colussy Chevrolet in South Fayette, will turn 99 years old in 2017. It is considered one of the oldest family-run Chevrolet dealerships in the country by General Motors.
Mr. Colussy’s son, Tim, attributes its success in large part to the tone set by his father.
“He was not a typical hard, flashy kind of guy. He had a laid back, gentle kind of demeanor. He was very friendly. People kept telling us how he made them feel welcome, how he was always very appreciative of a customer’s business,” he said.
Mr. Colussy, the retired owner of the Chevrolet dealership, died Dec. 6 of a heart attack. He was 88.
Thanks to its longevity, the car dealership, located on Washington Pike, and nearby Bridgeville were the subjects of a feel-good video produced for Chevrolet’s centennial celebration in 2011. It was a proud moment for Mr. Colussy.
“He was really pleased about all of that and that the dealership was being recognized by Chevrolet as one of the oldest dealerships in the country and that they could document not just our history but the community as well,” Tim Colussy said.
It was around 1968 that Louis Colussy took over the business from his father Albert, an Italian immigrant who had started the dealership in 1918.
He ran the business until his own retirement in 2000, growing it from a small dealership in Bridgeville to a much larger one just outside of the borough in South Fayette. During his years as owner, Colussy was one of the bigger volume Chevrolet dealerships in the Pittsburgh market, consistently ranked in the top 10.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Skip 29 years ago, and he immediately impressed upon me what a great businessman and true gentleman he was. His legacy continues to live on in his children who emulate his philosophy of putting customers in the forefront of everything they do,” said Steve Siwy, district sales manager for Chevrolet.
Mr. Colussy got his start in the family business as a teenager. He pumped gas and changed tires and oil before attending Washington & Jefferson College, where he graduated in 1950.
That was followed by a two-year stint in the Army serving in Korea, where, appropriately enough, he ran the base motor pool.
Before going to the Army, he met Ginny Keefner on a double date arranged by a friend. In 1953, after Mr. Colussy returned from the war, the two married, commencing a union that lasted 59 years until Mrs. Colussy died in 2012.
While Mr. Colussy had other employment options, he decided to stick with the family business, serving in sales and as general manager before taking over the ownership when his father retired.
Mr. Colussy kept in touch with employees and customers after turning the business over to Tim and his other son Jonathan with his retirement. But his real passion the last decade of his life was a car — a 1918 Chevrolet 490 touring sedan that Mr. Colussy bought when it was in pieces and restored it to its original condition, right down to the wheels with wood spokes, with the help of family friends. The car is now displayed in the Colussy showroom.
Outside of the office, Mr. Colussy was active in community affairs. He was a Bridgeville councilman from 2004 to 2006 and a member of the Bridgeville-South Fayette Rotary Club for 62 years, including a stint as president. He also was a member of Bethel Bible Chapel in McMurray for more than 40 years.
“He really wanted to be an example for what he thought a Christian business person should be like. He ran his business with a lot of integrity.
In addition to sons Tim of Upper St. Clair and Jonathan of South Fayette, Mr. Colussy is survived by a daughter, Nanci Noon of Bridgeville; a sister, Iris “Billie” Mawhinney of South Fayette; and eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Arrangements were by the Warchol Funeral Home, Bridgeville.
Mark Belko: email@example.com or 412-263-1262.