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The Today File

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February 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Civic leader, car dealer Phil Smart Sr. dies

Phil Smart, Sr.,
car dealer, civic volunteer and philanthropist

Longtime Seattle car dealer, civic volunteer and philanthropist Phil Smart Sr. died Friday night.

Mr. Smart, who operated Phil Smart Mercedes-Benz for more than 50 years, continued to be involved in its operation even after selling it in 2011.

His biggest imprint on Seattle may have come from his volunteer work. For 26 years, he dressed up as Santa Claus and visited children at Seattle Children’s hospital every Christmas morning. He was also a former Seattle Rotary Club president.

Last year, he organized a Rotary event at which  the Distinguished Service Cross was presented to the family of Sgt. Gerald M. Henderson, who died in the World War II D-Day invasion of Normandy. “Mission accomplished,” Mr. Smart told the gathering.

Mr. Smart was an Eagle Scout and a World War II veteran who rose to the rank of colonel in the Army Reserves.

He spoke to employees about the “Rule of Eight” for managing the hours in their lives, said Jason Graham, general manager of the dealership now known as Mercedes-Benz of Seattle: “Eight were for work, eight were for rest, and eight were for helping others.”

Mr. Smart was active in Boy Scouts for 80 years, once saying that scouting “has wiggled itself in all parts of my life.”

Phil Smart Sr. stands near one of his many cars, a 1964 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, in Seattle.

Comments | Topics: Mercedes-Benz, Phil Smart Sr., Rotary Club

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