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Auto executive Daniel Towbin dies of heart attack

Towbin spent three decades in Las Vegas auto industry


Leila Navidi/Sun File Photo

Dan Towbin, chairman of Towbin Automotive Enterprises, sits in a Smart Fortwo at his car dealership in Las Vegas on Sept. 18, 2008. Towbin was the first dealership in Las Vegas to sell the car.

Updated Friday, June 12, 2009 | 4:57 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Dan Towbin

Beyond the Sun

Daniel Towbin, a Las Vegas auto dealer for more than 30 years, died Thursday night of a heart attack, a family spokeswoman said. He was 54.

He had owned and operated car dealerships in Las Vegas since 1989. Towbin was chairman of Towbin Automotive Enterprises, which owns Towbin Infiniti, Prestige Infiniti, Towbin Dodge and Towbin Motorcars.

His car business was a family affair.

He co-owned Towbin Dodge with his son, Josh "Chopper" Towbin. Jesika Towbin-Mansour, his daughter, is the director of operations at Towbin Automotive Group. His wife, Carolynn Towbin, is co-owner of Towbin Automotive Enterprises and will take over her husband's chairman role, the family said in a statement.

"We are heartbroken over the loss of our loving husband and father. He loved his family, his friends, his employees and this community," the family said. "Nothing made him happier than when he could help other people, he had the biggest heart of anyone we know. As a family we will work hard to carry on in the manner we know will make him proud."

Daniel Towbin was born in Lakewood, N.J. He had been recognized by General Motors as a Dealer of the Year and received a nomination in 2007 for Time Magazine's Dealer of the Year award. He also was the recipient of the Jack Smith Leadership Award.

Josh Towbin brought the family business into the limelight with the reality television show “King of Cars,” which aired on the A&E channel until 2007. He still hosts a car sales infomercial series called “The Chopper Show.”

In addition to his children and his wife of 34 years, he is survived by his brother, Joel Towbin, of Aspen, Colo., and sister Linda Baker, of Princeton, N.J. His brother and sister are both car dealers, the family's statement said. He also had three grandchildren: Abraham, Rocco and Enzo.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Three Square Food Bank or Keep Memory Alive, supporting the mission of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

Plans for memorial services are still pending.

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