We had some sad news break here in the Capital Region this week when the news broke that the legendary car dealer Anthony DePaula passed away unexpectedly in New York City. DePaula was known for building a dealership empire here in the 518, starting off with a small shop in Schenectady before making his way over to Albany, where now there are multiple DePaula dealership selling cars from Chevys and Fords to Alfa Romeos and Maseratis.
As reported by the Albany Times Union (header photo credit: TU):
ALBANY — Anthony DePaula, whose enthusiasm for cars and horses marked the Capital Region for four decades, died from a heart attack on Tuesday while in New York City.
The businessman, who built DePaula Auto Group on Central Avenue into one of the largest car dealerships in the region, “died suddenly and without any pain,” according to Anthony Ianniello, a longtime friend.
DePaula was involved in numerous local charitable and civic causes. “He was very, very gregarious … a gentleman of the first order and well-liked by everyone,” Ianniello said. “He was the first one to respond to any kind of philanthropic request.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. DePaula a few times by way of introduction from my close family friend, Jim Loiselle. I was in the market for a new car a few summers ago (after inevitably screwing myself over by going over miles on my lease), and Mr. Loiselle sent a note to Mr. DePaula himself asking for him to take good care of me when I visited the dealership. After having some less-than-stellar experiences at other local car dealers, the folks at DePaula treated me like gold and made sure I got a great deal on a safe, reliable car with all the bells and whistles I wanted. Mr. DePaula and his associate Dario made my SUV, sunroof and heated seats come true and to this day I am still very thankful for that.
After getting my car from DePaula Chevrolet, Mr. DePaula became someone I’d recognize and see quite frequently out and about in Saratoga, especially during the warmer months. If I was out with the Loiselle’s, I’d have a few minutes to say hello to him and he’d ask how our night was going and what else was new. Other times, I’d see him from afar having a good time, socializing, and most definitely going a few buttons deep. The last time I saw him was this past August at 9 Maple, and let me tell you he was certainly enjoying himself around the company of others on a beautiful night in downtown Saratoga.
It’s always such a shock to lose someone unexpectedly, and my heart goes out to all who knew Mr. DePaula much better than I did. But even the few times I had a chance to interact with him, I could tell that all the love and stories pouring out about him now are most certainly true. It’s one thing to build an auto empire and cash checks from all the people who are driving off in one of your vehicles, and it’s another to use your prominence in the community to do good, give back, smile and enjoy life. That’s what Mr. DePaula did to make a difference in his life and to make sure he left a mark on the world he’s now left behind. Rest in peace Mr. DePaula.