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In Memoriam

November 17, 2010

Bert Weinman, 82, who opened a Ford dealership in Chicago in 1957 and was one of the pioneers of local television advertising, died Oct. 15 in Florida after a short illness.

Bert Weinman Ford stood at 3535 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, from 1967 until it closed in 2006. The dealership typically was the sole sponsor of programs on WGN-TV and used rare two-minute spots to position the dealer as "Bert Weinman, your TV Ford man."

The spots featured spokesman Linn Burton, who many confused as Weinman, said son Lee Weinman, who was chairman of the CATA in 1995. But Lee Weinman said his father was a private man who enjoyed the ability to move unrecognized in public.

Bert Weinman served in the Army Air Corps in World War II and later worked as a hurricane hunter in Florida. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Rickie; and another son, Jeff.

The family asks for donations to the Chicago Auto Show’s First Look for Charity benefit. Call the CATA at 630-495-2282.

Robert R. Hawkinson, who founded and operated Hawkinson Ford for more than 30 years, died Oct. 10. He was 84.

Prior to opening the Oak Lawn dealership, Hawkinson served in the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion during World War II and graduated from Knox College.

He is survived by sons Bill, Bob, Tom and Jim; daughters Mary, Sally, and Margie; 20 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Memorials accepted by the Knox College Robert R. & Marion Hawkinson Scholarship Fund (309-341-7100) or the American Cancer Society (312-372-0471).

Donald N. Schimmer, who operated namesake dealerships in Mendota and Peru, died Oct. 6 at age 79.

Schimmer’s father founded Schimmer Pontiac Co. in Mendota in 1945. Over the years, the dealership added Buick, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet franchises.Schimmer served on the Buick Dealer Council in the 1980s. In 1991, with his son and daughter Dona, Schimmer purchased the Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Peru. That store has since added Hyundai.

Schimmer was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Elks Lodge 1212, Mendota Moose Lodge, and Knights of Columbus; and he was a charter member of the Mendota Rotary Club. He was also a member of the Mayan Beach Club and the Lago Mar Club, both in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Mary; daughters Sheree and Dona; a son, Jeff; and four grandchildren.

Memorials may be directed to Holy Cross School in Mendota, 815-539-7003.