Gainesville on Saturday mourns two business icons


Published: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 4:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 4:38 p.m.

Two men who left their mark on the Gainesville business community will be remembered Saturday in memorial services.

Auto dealer Charles Blount died Dec. 28 at 82, and bookseller Harvey Goering died the next day at 90, both in Gainesville.

Blount worked as a farmer and manager of a Kraft Foods cheese plant in Missouri before coming to Gainesville in 1968 to manage the finance and insurance department of University Chevrolet under Latham Davis Jr. In 1971, he bought the Pontiac GMC dealership and would go on to own Honda, Mazda and Isuzu dealerships in Gainesville, as well as auto dealerships in Ocala, Lakeland, Leesburg, Haines City, Winter Haven and Conyers, Ga., and a John Deere dealership in Springfield, Mo. He also co-founded the American Eagle Fire Apparatus fire truck manufacturer, which was bought by E-One of Ocala. In 1990, he sold his Gainesville dealerships to Wade Raulerson, who had worked for Blount as sales manager and general manager.

Blount was a major investor and partner in the development of Haile Plantation and the Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club.

He led fundraising efforts, contributing $400,000 of his own money, to build the Santa Fe College downtown campus that bears his name and contributed $100,000 to the automotive education program.

Goering had chaired the chemistry and physics departments for the Battelle research institute in Columbus, Ohio, before he and Viola Goering, who died in 2003, moved to Gainesville to open Goerings Little Professor Book Center at the corner of West University Avenue and 13th Street in 1971. They sold the business to employees Tom Rider and Betty Ann Rainbow around 1980 and moved to Sarasota. The new owners changed the name to Goerings Book Store and moved to two other locations before closing in 2010.

Blount’s service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall, 5000 NW 83rd St.

Goering’s service is at 4 p.m. at the United Church of Gainesville, 1624 NW Fifth Ave.

Anthony Clark is business editor. He can be reached at anthony.clark@gvillesun.com or 352-338-3171.

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