July 27, 1939 – April 4, 2017
Russell F. Marong, an Orchard Park automobile dealer for more than 35 years, died April 4 in his East Aurora home after a short illness. He was 77.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Grover Cleveland High School. A lifelong car enthusiast, he first worked at the Landes & Blackwell service station on Elmwood Avenue, then became a salesman for Ray Weil Chevrolet.
Mr. Marong went on to become a sales leader at Seivert Rambler and in 1967 was offered an opportunity to purchase a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership on South Buffalo Street in Orchard Park. At the time, he was the youngest Chrysler dealer in the nation who did not enter the business through a family connection.
He moved Marong Chrysler-Plymouth to Southwestern Boulevard in the 1970s, the second dealer on what became known as the Motor Mile. At different times, he had franchises for Imperial, Isuzu and American Eagle. The dealership was Marong Chrysler-Jeep when he sold it to West-Herr in 2003. In retirement, he continued to work as a consultant to West-Herr Automotive Group.
A longtime member of the board of directors of the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, he served as chairman in 2001. Also a member of the NFADA Wholesale Distributors, he was president in 1987-1988 and treasurer from 1993 to 1997.
He was the Western New York regional director for the New York State Automobile Dealers Association and served many roles with the Chrysler Corporation Dealers Council, including chairman of the Service and Parts Committee.
He was active on the boards of directors of Our Lady of Victory Hospital, Our Lady of Victory Infant home and Baker Victory Service, holding many positions.
An East Aurora resident since 1969, he was a life member of the East Aurora Fish and Game Club and an avid skeet shooter. He was a certified instructor in the sport and a medalist in the 1996 U.S. Open Skeet Championship competition.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, the former Carolyn Tracy; a son, Russell C.; a daughter, Lisa A.; and a granddaughter.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Tuesday, April 11 in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora.