Frank Brighton was a stalwart of the motor trade in Huddersfield who fostered incredible loyalty among his workforce.
Mr Brighton, chairman of Hepworth Motor Group, based in Huddersfield, passed away at the age of 77 just two months after the death of his wife Hilda, to whom he was married for 55 years.
Mr Brighton was born in 1940 in Wakefield and began his 60-year career in the motor trade as a technician. He later joined Wakefield Garages, then part of the Thomas Tilling Group, where he rose to become sales manager.
He also taught at Leeds Technical College, which provided him with the money to buy his own garage, Brighton’s Car Centre, which he opened in 1970 in Featherstone.
In 1980, Mr Brighton bought a Honda dealership in Kirkburton and began a career as a franchised retailer. The dealership, which later moved to Queen Street South and now operates from premises at Leeds Road, Huddersfield, is one of the oldest in the Honda dealer network. Over the years, Hepworth Motor Group has also worked with Daihatsu, Mitsubishi and Ssangyong.
Away from work, Mr Brighton, who lived at Altofts, Normanton, was a member of Normanton Golf Club and enjoyed spending time with his family.
He leaves four sons, Stephen, Alison, Jane and Richard, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Stephen, who is managing director of Hepworth Motor Group, said his father was an entrepreneur who would always speak to his employees on arrival at the dealership and before going to his office.
Stephen said: “His legacy will be the number of people in the motor trade he gave a start in their careers to and the strapline ‘The Small Firm That Tries Harder’ which is still the ethos 47 years later.
“My father was extremely keen on helping people develop from young technicians at Leeds Technical College to apprentices and all his employees at work.
“He believed where possible to promote from within and give people a chance. Our current senior management team have come up through the ranks. Many staff have worked for the business for over 20 years, including one technician, Martin Holbrook, who has been with the business since 1969.
“My father believed that, if you looked after your staff, they in turn look after your customers who look after your business.”
The funeral will be held at 1.40pm on Thursday, December 21, at Pontefract Crematorium. The three Hepworth Motor Group businesses will be closed as a mark of respect and to enable staff, past and present to attend. Donations can sent to www.dementia.uk.org .