In Memoriam: Wayne Schmidt Sr.

Please join us in honoring the life of Suncoast Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM founder Wayne Schmidt Sr., who passed away peacefully on January 1, surrounded by his family.

Wayne was a pioneer and leader in the automobile industry whose hard work and dedication will live on through his legacy. Since first opening in 1975, the dealership has become a local institution overseen by three generations of family. He will be greatly missed.

Below is his obituary:

SCHMIDT, Wayne Franklin Sr. 88, of Largo, Florida, passed away peacefully Wednesday, January 1, 2020 surrounded by his family. Wayne grew up in Millville, New Jersey and served in the Marine Corps from 1948 to 1952.

After moving to the Tampa Bay area in late 1974, he established what is now known as Suncoast Chrysler Jeep Dodge. Since first opening its doors on January 2, 1975, the dealership has become a local institution overseen by three generations of the Schmidt family. Wayne’s 65-year career in the automotive field was highlighted by an impressive series of accolades and accomplishments. He was twice honored with the Walter P. Chrysler Award recognizing the top Chrysler dealer in the United States. He was also nominated for “Time” magazine’s Dealer of the Year. A former president of both the St. Petersburg Automotive Dealers Association and the Southeast Chrysler dealers’ advertising association, Wayne served on Chrysler’s Executive Committee.

He is survived by Joyce, his wife of 65 years, and their four children, Philip Schmidt (Jean) of Seminole, FL, Wayne Schmidt Jr. (Marisa) of Seminole, FL, Elizabeth Schmidt of Seminole, FL, and Tom Schmidt of Raleigh, NC. He had two sisters, Patricia Ferus of Millville, NJ and Nancy Feltes who is predeceased. Wayne is also survived by seven grandchildren, Alicia, Wayne III “Trey” (Lori), Caitlin, Ian, Josh, Savannah and Lily; and three great-grandchildren, Wayne IV “Drew”, Asher, and Eliannah.

There will be a visitation Sunday, January 5, 2020 at the Hubbell Funeral Home, 499 N. Indian Rocks Rd., Belleair Bluffs, FL., from 1-3 pm. Service will begin at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Wounded WarriorsAmerican Heart Assoc., or Morton Plant Mease Foundation.