George Youmans Sr., longtime Macon car dealer, dies

adrury@macon.comNovember 26, 2013 

George Estus Youmans

George E. Youmans Sr., who owned the Youmans Chevrolet dealership in Macon for 25 years and was known for his philanthropy, died at a hospital early Tuesday. He was 75.

Youmans died from a heart attack, his son George Youmans Jr. said.

The longtime auto dealer “never saw the bad side of anybody, almost to a fault,” Youmans said. “There are probably 20 people around town, and he gives them money or he pays their rent,” he said. “I have to stop him from giving away cars.”

The Chevrolet dealership that Youmans Sr. headed for decades was founded in 1929 by his father-in-law, R.C. Dunlap. Youmans bought the dealership in 1983 and later moved it from downtown Macon’s Third Street to its present location on Riverside Drive.

In 2004, the elder Youmans turned over day-to-day operations of the business to his son, but he remained a fixture at the dealership until he died.

“He was there all day yesterday,” Youmans Jr. said Tuesday. “He left at 5 o’clock and said, ‘I’ll see you in the morning.’”

One of his proudest moments came in 1995 when he was a finalist for the Time Quality Dealer of the Year, a recognition from Time magazine that is among the most prestigious for auto dealers. Additionally, Youmans was a past president of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association.

Youmans, a Macon native who graduated from the former Lanier High School, was a 1961 engineering graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the Navy for six years as a flight instructor and personnel administrator. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia.

Beyond his business acumen, Youmans loved extending his hand to help others.

Rick Lanford, president and CEO of the Foundation of the Methodist Home, which raises money for the Methodist Home for Children and Youth, said he first met Youmans Sr. 27 years ago.

“He was a generous man,” Lanford said. “He never told me no. I could call him up about a need for the home, and he would say, ‘Come get the check, Rick.’”

Lanford said Youmans Sr. “wasn’t perfect, but he was a man that God put in my heart so I would learn to be as generous to others as he was.”

Among his other interests, Youmans was a foundation trustee for Wesley Glen Ministries and a board member for the local Salvation Army. He previously served as president of Idle Hour Country Club and worked to raise money for Magnolia Manor, a United Methodist home for older adults. In 2010, he was given the Hall of Fame Philanthropy Award from the United Methodist Association.

Youmans’ funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Vineville United Methodist Church, with Hart’s Mortuary and Crematory handling arrangements.

Among the speakers at the service will be the Rev. Jimmy Asbell of Vineville Methodist.

“If there was a need, ... people knew if (Youmans) heard the story, he didn’t know how to say no. If he could (help you), he would,” Asbell said.

Asbell said Youmans was chairman of the church’s board of trustees, a position he held for a decade.

After stopping by the dealership Tuesday morning, Asbell said he took note of the “deep sense of loyalty and a connection” that Youmans had with employees there.

“You don’t see that everywhere,” Asbell said.

Youmans Jr. said his father always was thinking of others.

“He’s gonna have an awful lot of people missing him,” he said.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. Writer Linda S. Morris contributed to this report. To contact writer Andy M. Drury, call 744-4477.

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