Richard Niello, Sr.
June 14, 1922 - June 4, 2022
Sacramento, California - We said goodbye to our beloved patriarch, Richard Louis Niello Sr., born on June 14, 1922, and passed away on June 4, 2022. We celebrate his very nearly 100 years of life remembering him and his legacy with so much love and many fond memories for the amazing man he was. Father, husband, grandfather and great grandfather, known to many of us as "Papa" or "Papa Richie", he was a man of honor, integrity and great generosity, looked upon by those who knew him, loved him, worked with and for him in such high regard and great respect.
Richard graduated from Lowell High School in San Francisco in 1940. He went on to the University of California, Berkeley from which he graduated in 1943. While at Cal, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and Skull & Keys.
He joined the Navy and first attended Officer Candidate School at Northwestern University near Chicago. His high school and college sweetheart, Ellen Louise Fay, joined him in Chicago where they were married on May 13, 1944. He was commissioned an Ensign and served aboard a Destroyer Escort in the 3rd Fleet in the Pacific Theater during the war.
Returning from serving in the Navy, Richard joined his father Louis Niello at the Packard & Pierce Arrow dealership in San Francisco. After that dealership closed with the discontinuance of Packard, he joined the sales force of a Cadillac dealership in San Francisco. There he met Wes Lasher and within a few short years they together started a Volkswagen dealership in Sacramento.
Richard eventually purchased the other VW dealership in Sacramento when that dealer passed away. He and Wes separated as business partners at that time but remained very close life-long friends.
Niello VW became Niello VW-Porsche and then split to add Niello Porsche Audi. In the 1970s, his sons, Rick, Roger and David joined him. From there, the business he founded has expanded to ten locations representing nine franchises.
Richard was very active in the industry. He was a founding director of what is now the American International Auto Dealers Association. He served on Dealer Councils and was a member of the Board of the Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
Richard loved boating on Lake Tahoe and was an active member of the Tahoe Yacht Club. He was also a member of the Bohemian Club, the Sutter Club, Del Paso Country Club and the Grandfathers Club.
Richard was predeceased by his beloved wife Ellen, with whom he will be interned at East Lawn Memorial Park. He is remembered by his three sons, Richard, Jr. (Teresa), David (partner Soyoung Lee) and Roger (Mary), grandchildren Amy Ryan (Matt), Kelsey Armstrong (Dave), Jenny Larson (Niels), Derrick (Lauren), Camille, Carson, Matt (Jenny), Eric (Carrie), Kevin, Lisa, Patrick, Jessica White (Sam), Amanda and David, Jr., 19 great grandchildren and very dear friend Clarice (Clissy) Hyde. He will be deeply missed.
A private funeral service will be held with family members.