Schmitt suffered a heart attack while having lunch Saturday, said his son Jay Schmitt. He died Wednesday morning at Southview Medical Center.
“We spent the whole morning working together when he suffered the heart attack,” Jay Schmitt said.
The elder Schmitt dealt with his share of health issues. In 2016, his son donated a kidney to him.
“Everyone who knew him said he had a new lease on life,” the younger Schmitt said Thursday.
The story of Schmitt’s auto dealership business in the Dayton area was generally one of growth. In 2003, Schmitt’s Auto Group owned three dealerships — a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership , along with Nissan and Mitsubishi stores — in addition to the Stapleton Buick-GMC store in New Carlisle.
A former dealership general manager told industry publication Automotive News in 2013 that the group sold 7,800 new and used vehicles in 2012 and was on pace to move 10,000 vehicles in 2013.
In 2015, Jeff Schmitt Auto Group purchased Langs Chevrolet off U.S. 35 in Beavercreek Twp., Greene County, renaming the dealership Jeff Schmitt Chevrolet East.
He started as a sales employee at what was a Langs dealership in the 1970s. He became a partner in a Jack Huelsman dealership, a business that became Schmitt-Huelsman.
“He brought that full circle,” Jay Schmitt said.
“I’ve long admired the Langs organization for its customer service,” Schmitt told the Dayton Daily News in 2015. “As far as Langs customers are concerned, the transition should be seamless.”
Schmitt in 2015 said he expected employment at the newly acquired store to grow over time.
At the time, Schmitt owned Cadillac and Mazda dealerships near Langs, a Nissan dealership nearby, and a Jeff Schmitt Lawn and Motor Sports business. Other Schmitt dealerships in 2015 included Chevrolet and Mitsubishi in Fairborn and another Chevrolet dealership in Miamisburg.
In all today, the company has eight locations in Southwestern Ohio, with about 450 to 500 employees.