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    HomeBusinessMark Smail, leader of Smail Auto Group in Hempfield, dies unexpectedly

    Mark Smail, leader of Smail Auto Group in Hempfield, dies unexpectedly

    Mark Smail, a prominent Westmoreland County automotive sales executive whose family has been associated for half a century with selling cars, died Saturday after falling ill during a ride home from Seven Springs Mountain resort.

    He was 62.

    Smail, of Greensburg, was a passenger in the car. He was transported by first responders from Donegal Township to Independence Health Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant after he became unresponsive and the driver pulled over in the 1400 block of County Line Road and sought help, authorities said.

    Smail was pronounced dead at 10:59 a.m., according to Westmoreland County Coroner Tim Carson.

    An autopsy was performed Sunday morning, and the cause is pending.

    “There is nothing at all suspicious about the death,” Carson told TribLive.

    Smail was the general manager of Smail Auto Group in Hempfield.

    “The Smail family has done so much for Westmoreland County,” Carson said Sunday. “People are definitely shook up about it.”

    His daughter, Taylor Smail posted this on Facebook this morning: “As many of you have probably heard, we lost the baddest man on the planet today. It was a totally unexpected accident and we are all in complete shock.

    “I appreciate everyone reaching out and supporting our family through this difficult time. We’ll be taking some time to mourn the loss of the greatest man, I want to thank you all for understanding.

    “We love and miss you so much Dad.”

    Dan DeBone, president and CEO of the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce, was still struggling with the news on Sunday evening.

    “I’m devastated,” DeBone said. “He was a tremendous entrepreneur and friend, not only to the chamber but to residents of the community.”

    DeBone said Smail kept up the family tradition of giving back to the community where they do business. He said the trust that Smail engendered from the public is part of the reason why his company has been so successful.

    “Any time that the chamber of commerce needed a venue, or we needed someone to help with a community event, he and his employees were always there,” DeBone said.

    The chamber CEO said Smail navigated the pandemic without laying off any of his 500-plus employees.

    “I’m at a loss for words,” he said.

    Funeral arrangements are expected to be handled by Clement L. Pantalone Funeral Home, Greensburg.

    In February 2022, Mark Smail was continuing to expand the autogroup’s presence along Route 30 in Hempfield.

    Supervisors approved site plans for new Smail Ford and Lincoln dealerships.

    The new facility opened Jan. 15.

    The buildings are part of a multi-phase project. It involved moving the company’s Kia dealership into the current Ford and Lincoln store near Eastgate Shopping Center.

    Mark was a son of the late Clarence “Bud” Smail, who for decades ran the dealership. Bud died at age 81 in 2018, sparking an outpouring of grief in the Greensburg area and beyond where they did business.

    “Bud” Smail was a philanthropist active in community organizations, including the boards of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Westmoreland County Community College, the Westmoreland Cultural Trust, and the American Heart Association of Western Pennsylvania.

    Bill Schackner is a TribLive reporter covering higher education. Raised in New England, he joined the Trib in 2022 after 29 years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team. Previously, he has written for newspapers in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. He can be reached at bschackner@triblive.com.

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