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Founder of auto group who opened dozens of dealerships in Atlanta dies

The Jim Ellis Automotive Group has 20 dealerships, comprised of 17 brands.

ATLANTA — A man whose name is known to everyone in the Atlanta area died on Friday. According to an obituary, Jim Ellis, founder of Jim Ellis Automotive, died at the age of 90 at his Duluth home "surrounded by his loving family."

Ellis worked on a farm growing up and held many jobs, the company's website said. He had a milk and paper route, did construction, ran a concessions business at Grant Park and had a laundry route.

"Ellis was known for his generosity, his concept of giving back is something that he and (his wife) Billie instilled in their children and it now has carried on from generation to generation to become part of the Jim Ellis Automotive Group DNA," they said on their website.  

The Jim Ellis Automotive Group has 20 dealerships, comprised of 17 brands. The company's current brands include Alfa Romeo, Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Genesis, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

His very first car dealership opened in 1971. He Billie, "took the biggest financial plunge of their lives," the website said. The two sold several of their assets, used all of their savings, cashed in Billie's retirement fund from over 15 years at Georgia Tech, and borrowed the balance to open the dealership.

Just last month, his son Jimmy Ellis died at 67. He had become the President and CEO of Jim Ellis Automotive Group in 2015 when Jim and Billie stepped away from the business. 

Funeral services for Jim will be held on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 11:00 AM, at Johns Creek Baptist Church with Dr. Shaun King and Rev. David White officiating. Burial will follow at Peachtree Memorial Park, Peachtree Corners, GA. The family will gather on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM, in the Peachtree Corners Chapel of Crowell Brothers Funeral Homes & Crematory.


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