Iconic Car Dealer and Cherished Volun...

Iconic Car Dealer and Cherished Volunteer Dies

There are 6 comments on the www.ocregister.com story from Aug 20, 2011, titled Iconic Car Dealer and Cherished Volunteer Dies. In it, www.ocregister.com reports that:

La Habra, CA - The owner of a longtime La Habra auto dealership was found dead in his pickup on a La Habra Heights street from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Donald Thomas Steves, 70, owner of Don Steves Autoplex in La Habra, was pronounced dead a short time after his body was discovered at 5 p.m. Thursday in his truck parked in the 2300 block of Vista Road in La Habra Heights, Sgt. Dwight Miley of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

"The family is devastated yet surrounded by dozens of friends who are helping us cope with his death," said Steves' daughter-in-law Elizabeth Steves. "It is a tragedy that someone who worked so hard and was so giving to the community would leave his family and friends asking 'Why?' The stress associated with the dynamics of being that guy whom everyone admired and looked up to just overcame him."

Known to everyone as "Tom," Steves ran the dealership with his wife, Linda, and son Don.

"Nobody saw this coming," said La Habra mayor James Gomez, who knew Tom and Linda Steves for more than 30 years. "He was a good friend ... well-respected and loved in the community."

During good times, Don Steves Chevrolet sold 120 cars a month, Tom told the Register in September.

In September, however, the dealership had become a casualty of General Motors' financial crisis, losing a 14-month fight with GM to remain a Chevy dealer.

The trend toward auto malls housing several vehicle brands situated near freeways was the main reason GM opted to close Don Steves.

"When GM took away his franchise, it was like taking away his heart and soul," Gomez said. "He loved being a Chevy dealer. ... That was his life."

Over the years, the family sponsored church groups, youth teams and helped with fundraising for a variety of nonprofit groups in La Habra, Brea and Whittier.

The family provided funding to build a baseball field at Ladera Palma Elementary School, supplied cars to law enforcement agencies for transportation to the Baker to Las Vegas race and supplied cars for drawings at discounted prices.

Steves is survived by his wife, Linda, and children Barbara Burgat, Debbie Kidder, Michael, John and Donald Steves, six grandchildren and six sisters.

Funeral arrangements have not be determined.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.ocregister.com.

La Habrian

San Jose, CA

#1 Aug 20, 2011
A great loss to our community, Tom supported the local high school FFA programs and bought the students livestock at auction. FFA teaches students how to become young business owners.

United States

#2 Aug 20, 2011
God bless you Mr Steves. We will miss your smile and warm hugs. Praying for Linda and your family.

“Exclusive Investigation!”

Since: Jun 07

La Habra Heights

#3 Aug 20, 2011
YouTube Video: A message from Don Steves Chevrolet in 2009 to GM about shortsighted decision to take away their dealership. http://youtu.be/IrLoPX5Kwpg

Whittier, CA

#5 Aug 23, 2011
just saw him at the corn festival parade...but stress can do some weird things to good people
trash talk

Monterey Park, CA

#6 Aug 23, 2011
No place left who understands Corvettes.
Ricker, Harris, Steves: all are missed
RIP Tom Steves

Castro Valley, CA

#7 Aug 30, 2011

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