E.T. Reyna Auto Sales of Victoria owner dies at 60
Jan. 18, 2011 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 25, 2011 at 7:26 p.m.
Edmund Thomas "E.T." Reyna, a Victoria native and owner of E.T. Reyna Auto Sales of Victoria, died early Tuesday after pulmonary complications.
Family huddled around the 60-year-old during his final hours - a man his brother Ron Reyna said, would always go the extra mile.
"His reputation meant everything to him," his brother said. "It wasn't about making a quick buck, but giving people what they wanted and expected."
The Reyna family is still figuring out how to handle the business, his brother said.
Reyna was first introduced to the car business in the early 1970s when Jack Swain and Leonard Kovar, owners of Swain-Kovar Ford, saw his aggressive work ethic at a loan finance office.
He was hired onto Swain-Kovar Ford, where he met David Loa, one of his best friends.
At the time, Loa was a salesman, Reyna was just working odds and ends washing cars, changing light bulbs and cleaning the dealership.
"He was very passionate about the car business," Loya said. "He was very ambitious and a very successful guy."
The passion eventually pushed him up the ranks.
Reyna rocketed to success as a car salesman.
He ranked 16 out of 1,261 Ford dealer salesmen in the 163-dealer Houston district in 1985.
Reyna worked at the dealership until the mid-80s, when he moved to Legend Lincoln Mercury. After the Mercury dealership, he moved to Port Lavaca Ford and then opened his own dealership in 2003 on John Stockbauer Drive.
Frank Quirasco worked with Reyna at the Legend Lincoln Mercury dealership in the 90s.
Quirasco would sell cars, but became a true salesman because of Reyna's guidance.
"He was like my pop," Quirasco said. "He taught me everything I know in sales."
Quirasco never lost contact with Reyna, he said.
Reyna's brother and Reyna's widow, Martha Flores Reyna, received many condolences Tuesday from people who knew the late Reyna.
"There was nobody like him," his brother said, his voice-breaking.
"He had a God-given talent of gab," Reyna's widow chimed in. "He would say, 'You must know your product in order to be a good salesman.'"
Reyna's son, Gerald Joshua Reyna, who is attending school at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, was his true pride and joy.
His son is on his way to receiving his pharmaceutical degree, something his father supported him 100 percent, his brother said.
"That was his dream, for his son to get his degree," Reyna's brother said. "He said, 'Don't worry about nothing, daddy will make it happen.'"
Reyna made a lot happen in Victoria, said Billy Jurkash, who owns Northpoint Auto Sales.
Reyna convinced Jurkash to open his dealership on John Stockbauer Drive.
Jurkash and Reyna worked together at Swain-Kovar Ford in 1978 and the two had kept in touch ever since.
Jurkash would receive frequent referral calls from Reyna, as did other dealerships, Jurkash said.
"He was a machine," he said. "He always had more numbers than anybody. He was the hardest working salesman I'd ever seen."
Rudy Cardenas, at Victoria Nissan, also worked with Reyna and Jurkash and agreed that Reyna was the strongest salesman in Victoria.
Even today, though Reyna became competition, he was still the king car salesman of Victoria.
"He's the best. I'm good; he's better," Cardenas said. "No one can say anything else different."