Thomas F. Reedman Sr., 81; helped run Auto World

Thomas F. Reedman Sr.
Thomas F. Reedman Sr.
Posted: January 17, 2011

Thomas F. Reedman Sr., 81, of Belleair, Fla., whose older brothers established what is now Reedman-Toll Auto World in Langhorne shortly after World War II, died of pneumonia on Monday, Jan. 10, at the Indian Rocks campus of Largo (Fla.) Medical Center.

Mr. Reedman, who turned 17 in 1946, the year the business opened, eventually joined his five brothers in running the firm, which was sold in 2004 to Bruce Toll.

A 1994 Inquirer story credited the Reedmans with "the mall concept of selling cars - several showrooms in close proximity - decades before it was successfully imitated by others."

The story, which marked the death of a brother, Ralph R. Reedman Jr., reported that he "began selling used cars . . . in 1946, from space rented at the old Langhorne Speedway.

"World War II had just ended and new cars had not been manufactured during the war, so the boom was in used cars."

Soon the firm moved toward new-car sales. In 1952, it moved across Route 1 to the current site, east of I-95 and in 1954 opened a Chevrolet dealership, the first of several.

The story reported that by 1994 the family "had a total of nine car and truck dealerships in 20 showrooms," at the Langhorne site.

Born in Bristol, Mr. Reedman grew up on his family's Bucks County farm and, son David said, had only a grammar school education because he was needed for farm work.

By the time he was 14, his son said, "he had a feed business; he would deliver feed to farmers."

While helping run the car dealerships later, his son said, Mr. Reedman lived on a seven-acre farm in Wrightstown, where he raised animals as a hobby.

"The car business was his career," his son said, but "his passion was farming."

Later in life, he bought and ran a 60-acre Christmas tree farm near Schuylkill Haven.

A member of several car-dealer associations, Mr. Reedman retired in 2004, when he moved to Belleair, Fla.

Besides his son David, Mr. Reedman is survived by his wife, Lorraine; sons Thomas F. Jr., John, and Ralph; a daughter, Lisa Reedman; two brothers; 12 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his former wife, Alice. His former wife, Frances, died in 2004.

Viewings were set from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, and from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the Joseph A. Fluehr III Funeral Home, 800 Newtown-Richboro Rd., Richboro, before a 10 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, 999 Reading Ave., Yardley, with burial in Sunset Memorial Park, Feasterville.


Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or at wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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