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Longtime car dealer Bob Peden, 92, dies

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Robert "Bob" Peden, 92, of Kanawha City, the retired owner of a car dealership in Clendenin, died Saturday.

Peden was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Dorothy Peden; daughter, Janie Peden; and sons, William Ray Peden and Robert "Tom" Peden. Survivors include son P.J. Peden.

Bob Peden first worked for late car dealer "Big Joe" Holland in the 1950s. He also was a truck salesman for Roger Dean's dealership, which became the Tag Galyean dealership. He established Bob Peden Chevrolet Inc. on Little Sandy Creek in 1970 and eventually moved it into Clendenin.

In 1985, Bob Peden established a dealership in Ripley. Son Tom, who had worked at the Clendenin dealership, became the owner of the Ripley business and guided it to become one of the largest in the state. Tom Peden sold the business in 2008. He died at age 60 in 2010.

The Clendenin dealership was closed in 2001 and Bob Peden retired.

Ruth Lemmon, president of the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association, said Bob Peden "was probably one of the most unassuming people I have ever met. He was very serious about everything he did. He wasn't much for chatter."

"He was so smart, if he asked you something, you almost always felt like he knew the answer before he asked," Lemmon said. "I always admired him. He was a gentleman's gentleman."

Lemmon said she once called Peden about bringing some legislators to Clendenin. "He said, 'Ruth, I don't mind if you bring those politicians up here, but I sure wish you'd come up for a hot dog and soda with me.'

"He and the late Giles Musick of Brown Chevrolet-Buick of Montgomery were the best of friends," Lemmon said. "I think they probably had dinner every weekend for many years. Their personalities were very much alike in that they were both very quiet but so in tune with what was really going on.

"His son Tom created a dynasty in Ripley," Lemmon said. "Tom was very big into advertising. His father wasn't. His father was very much into repeat customers, a throwback to customer quality - 'Take care of customers and they'll take care of you.'

"If there was an issue and you needed to call him, he was supportive. He would say, 'I'm going to stay in Clendenin and take care of my business. If you stay in Charleston and take care of my business, I think we'll be OK.' "

Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston. The funeral service will be at noon on Wednesday at the funeral home.

Contact writer George Hohmann at or 304-348-4836.


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