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Ervin Hart - Chicago, IL.

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  • Ervin Hart - Chicago, IL.

    Sun-Times salesman was driven by passion for cars

    January 27, 2007
    Ervin Hart's passion was cars -- whether he was driving them, selling them or helping to advertise them.
    When tooling around in his Studebaker sports car or rounding up ads for the Chicago Sun-Times' auto section, Mr. Hart threw his love for cars into his work and free time.

    The longtime advertising manager died of natural causes at his Park Ridge home Jan. 20. He was 83.

    Mr. Hart was born in Duluth, Minn., on Aug. 5, 1923. He didn't have an easy upbringing, according to his daughter, Holly Hart.

    His mother raised him, his older brother and younger sister mostly on her own during the Depression. The family moved to Chicago's North Side when Mr. Hart was a young child. When his mother fell ill, he spent time in orphanages.

    School was similarly tough. Because of dyslexia, Mr. Hart found high school frustrating and spent time in five schools before leaving without a diploma.

    'He could sell anything'
    But Mr. Hart had a gift -- the ability to make a sale.
    He spent his early years selling cars and learning the car industry from the inside out. From there, he moved into newspaper advertising sales, first working for the Chicago American, then the Chicago Daily News and finally the Chicago Sun-Times, where he worked from 1957 until his retirement as a sales manager in 1994.

    His specialty was automotive advertising, but he worked in other areas as well.

    "Every salesman learned automotive advertising through Erv Hart," said Bill Galante, senior account manager for automotive advertising for the Sun-Times.

    "He would teach the guys the right way to do it. It was 'my way or the highway,' he would say."

    In the days before ad agencies were involved, selling meant going directly to the dealers. Mr. Hart had the ability to make and keep those personal connections, Galante said.

    "He could sell anything to anyone," added Holly Hart. "He was a born salesman. One of the things he always told me was you had to have a good story and you had to believe it."

    Mr. Hart married at age 47. When his daughter was 2, he and his wife divorced but remained friendly. Mr. Hart moved to Park Ridge to live with and care for his mother, who died in 1997.

    Owned classic cars
    His interest in cars carried over to his private life. A longtime member of the [u]Studebaker Drivers Club</u>, Mr. Hart still had a gold 1963 Studebaker Avanti sports car with an orange interior.
    Holly Hart remembers attending classic car shows with her dad as a little girl, and recalls that he owned a 1955 Studebaker truck, a 1960s-era Corvette and a Studebaker station wagon, among others.
    In addition to his daughter, survivors include a sister, Pat Gardner, and a granddaughter.

    Services are set for 11 a.m. today at Ivins Funeral Home, 80 E. Burlington St., Riverside. Interment will be at Maine Cemetery.

    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)