James W. Earp

EARP-James “Jim” Willis, age 83 years, Omaha, passed away Monday, 1/7/08, at Clarkson Hospital. He was born October 18, 1924 in Baird, TX, to Ida and John Clarence Earp. He was raised in Baird, TX, and received his education at Baird High School. He proudly served in the Army Air Corps as a gunner and radio operator during World War II. After serving his country, he began his long and successful career in the automobile business. His career started in Wichita, KS, as a body shop mechanic restoring and selling one car at a time. With his sales volume increasing he soon opened his own used-car lot. He spent the next eighteen years working to improve his status in the new-used car business. In 1965 he was presented the opportunity to purchase a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Omaha at 26th and “L” Sts. Three years later a new, larger dealership was built on 55th and “L” Sts. and his business expanded with the addition of Jeep, Dodge, Volvo and Mercedes Benz in Omaha and Nissan in Bellevue and, later, a Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Mazda dealership in Grand Island. A final dealership was added in Auburn, NE. His dealerships were awarded several honors by Chrysler Corporation including the Pacemakers Club and Pentastar Club awards. He was active in the Nebraska New Car Dealers Association and he was a founding member of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Jim retired in 2005. Jim “Old Smiley” was famous for his advertising slogan “Nobody But Nobody Undersells Jim Earp” and his personal favorite, “Early To Bed, Early To Rise, Work Like Hell and Advertise.” In 1971 he was presented an award for the best advertising of all Chrysler-Plymouth Dealers nationwide. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, J. C. Earp of Baird, TX; sister, Christene Stockton of Henrietta, TX. Jim is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Shirley; sister, JoJuan Rogers of Clyde, TX; daughters and sons-in-law: Janet and W. David Gregory of Tabor, IA, Judy and Dr. Gerald B. Simons of Omaha; grandsons: James A. Simons, Jonathan B. Simons and wife Heather, all of Omaha; several nieces and nephews; many friends and a multitude of former loyal employees. Visitation Thursday, 1/10/08. 3:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., with family receiving friends 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the West Center Chapel. Services Friday, 1:00 p.m. at the West Center Chapel. Interment, Hillcrest, 5701 Center, with full military honors by Benson VFW Post 2503. Memorials to Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, Madonna School, or charity of your choice.


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