Caldwell man was a successful car salesman and pilot

Idaho StatesmanMarch 18, 2007 

Ervin "Smokey" Healy had many sources of pride in his life; perhaps the most memorable was his career as a car salesman. During his 41-year career, Healy sold cars to four generations of families.

"One generation would start and they would keep coming back. He always sent anniversary and birthday cards to good customers," son Mike Healy recalled.

Healy, a Caldwell resident, died of cancer March 7 at age 78.

Born in Blaine County, Okla., Healy moved to Caldwell with his parents at a young age.

As a young man, Healy worked for the Forest Service, where he acquired the nickname "Smokey," which became a lifelong nickname.

"The guys he worked with were all smokers and he was the only one who didn't smoke, so they called him ‘Smokey,' " Mike said.

Healy met his wife of more than 58 years, Agnes, and the pair married on July 18, 1948.

In the late '40s Healy began his career in car sales, working in the parts department for a Pontiac dealership in Caldwell, eventually moving to parts specialist for a Chevrolet dealership in the '50s.

The car-savvy man eventually worked his way up to sales and received several sales awards throughout his career with Burns Chevrolet in Caldwell.

In 1954, Healy built a home in a new subdivision his friend was working for. The friend offered Healy the chance to name his own street. Healy chose Easy Street. Some years later, a family whose last name was Free moved in.

"Mr. Free was interviewed by a local TV station and said he'd like to wring the neck of the guy who named the street, as no one would take a check from the guy whose last name was Free and lived on Easy Street," son Mike recalled.

When Healy wasn't selling cars, he enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting and snowmobiling with family. He also enjoyed riding his horse, Hey You, which was given the name so "they could add anything they wanted to the end," according to Mike.

Another hobby of Healy's was riding his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle, which was a tough buy for the made in the USA fan.

Healy also obtained his pilot's license in 1965 and eventually would own a Cherokee 253 airplane, which he often flew to the Oregon coast.

"He converted from regular to synthetic oil and his engine blew, splashing oil all over the windshield. He was able to land in Corvallis, Ore., but he didn't like synthetic after that," son Mike remembered.

Healy was a devoted husband, insisting on taking care of his wife after she fell ill, despite his own health problems.

"They were together until the end," Mike recalled.

A member of the Elks Club, Healy fell just shy of receiving his 50th Lifetime Member Elks pin. Before his funeral, the pin was put in his lapel.

In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a Treasure Valley resident who has recently died. Contact news assistant Kristi Coffman at kcoffman@idahostatesman.com or 672-6742.

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