J. Irving Whalley

Inducted 1981

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1970

Established a chain of 13 automobile dealerships in central and western Pennsylvania

Served two terms each in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, state Senate and the United States Congress

Was instrumental in the development of legislation for better highways

J. Irving Whalley never stopped succeeding. A go-getter from the start, Whalley took his first job at age 10 in a Windber, Pennsylvania grocery store. By age 14 he was working at the local Ford garage. Twelve years later he owned the dealership, after having worked as a mechanic, salesman, bookkeeper, delivery man and driving instructor. Whalley purchased a second dealership three years later, and would open or acquire 11 more before World War II. An interest in community service prompted Whalley to run for elective office, where he campaigned on issues related to the automotive industry. He fought against taxes that were considered unfair to new car buyers. Whalley also secured support for improvements to the Pennsylvania turnpike and campaigned for better highways everywhere. Not surprisingly, Whalley’s personal motto was: “If you want it, go after it.”

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Class of 1981

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