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Prominent local car dealer Tom Wood dies

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Tom Wood, one of the city’s most prominent car dealers, died Thursday morning.

Wood, who had been battling lung cancer, would have turned 78 on Friday.

As CEO of Tom Wood Automotive Group, he grew the company to include 12 automotive franchises sold in dealerships in Indianapolis; Anderson; Lexington, Ky.; and Richfield, Minn.

Some of the car brands Tom Wood Automotive Group sells include Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volvo.

Wood started in the auto industry while attending Western Michigan University, according to the company’s Web site. He began as a new-car salesman at a Mercury-Edsel dealer, and he later bought a small Hillman Sunbeam dealership in Kalamazoo, Mich.

He moved to Indianapolis in 1967, to purchase the Hedges Pontiac dealership on East Washington Street.

Wood is survived by his wife, Julie, and two sons.

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