ROBERT MASSEY 1934-2012; Auto Dealer 'Had a Passion for Learning, Excelling' He Also Launched Charter Air, Real Estate Ventures, Held Many Civic Posts

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Byline: Sandy Strickland

Robert Massey, who helped build one of the largest Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth dealership chains in Florida, died Monday from complications of pulmonary distress. He was 77.

In the 1970s, the chain had 10 dealerships in Florida and South Georgia, including Southside Dodge, Westside Dodge, Massey Dodge, Regency Dodge and Massey-Mixon Chrysler Plymouth in Jacksonville.

But Mr. Massey's interests went far beyond cars, and he later started charter airline and commercial real estate companies.

He was a pilot, raced boats, had a passion for community service, hunting, fly fishing, photography, woodworking, bread making, water skiing, scuba diving, technology, golf, French wines and was "a great tennis player," said his son, Bob Massey Jr.

"He had a passion for learning and excelling," Massey said. "He wanted to be the best he could be. I don't know what drove him. That's just the way he was."

Mr. Massey was born in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., in 1934. The family moved to Jacksonville in 1938, and his father W.W. Massey Sr. started the auto dealership business. W.W. Massey died in 1990.

Mr. Massey graduated from Landon High School in 1952 and with honors from the University of Florida with a triple major in mathematics, physics and astronomy in 1956.

From an early age, he had an affinity for cars, his son said. He liked to say he had the fastest car in Jacksonville at the time - a big Chrysler engine with a smaller Plymouth body.

Mr. Massey started by working in the parts department of one of his father's dealerships. …