In 1960, Ron Tonkin, a native of Portland, became the youngest Chevrolet
dealer in the nation. He had had an early start in the auto industry when, as
a boy, he began doing odd jobs at his father’s used car lot. After World War
II, Edward Tonkin opened one of the first Kaiser-Frazer dealerships in the
United States, and that is where Ron, who did not yet have his driver’s
license, learned the car sales business.
In 1954, Ron Tonkin, then a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and graduate
of the University of Washington with a B.A. in business administration, officially
joined the family business, following in the footsteps of his brother, Marv. Ron
died Friday of end-stage renal failure.