Sam Swope ought to be the man of the year if Louisville named one. Really though, he is the man of the century if one is judged by one’s contribution to mankind.
Ohio’s loss was our gain. Born in the Buckeye State, Sam played the saxophone in the Ohio State band. At games the band forms “OHIO” at the end of a performance and the “I” is dotted with an outstanding alum and the honor went to Sam one year.
Last week, Sam celebrated his retirement – after 60 years – with a big party at his huge Lexus dealership in eastern Jefferson County. The Swope Auto Group represents 21 automobile makes, in 24 dealerships in Louisville, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Radcliff and Richmond.
It is a family business he created and it is ranked as the largest dealership in Kentucky and 63rd in the nation. Swope is also the largest used vehicle dealer in the state.
Sam has turned over day-to-day operations to his nephew, Dick Swope, who serves as President and CEO, and his daughter, Patti Swope, who has assumed Sam’s role as Chairman of the Board, and serves as executive Vice President.
Sam may have been a car dealer, but his heart has always gone out to disabled children. He served as a director of Kosair Charities for 23 years and was President three times. He has served on the board of most of the important charity organizations in town, especially the Lincoln Heritage Council of the Boy Scouts. He was honored as “Louisvillian of the Year” by the Advertising Federation of Louisville.
With his leisure time he is a motorcycle nut!
Sam rides with the Kosair Shrine Motor Corps here, the Bahia Shrine Motor Corps in Orlando (where he was riding this past week), the Louisville Tour Riders, Harley Owners Group, and the BMW Motorcycle Club. He has ridden all over the USA and Europe on a motorcycle and, yes, he has had a bang-up or two and is lucky to be alive as a result.
Sam uses his passion to raise money for children in need. Last year was the 12th annual Sam Swope Road Rally, to benefit Kosair Charities and Kosair Shrine Temple. The events have raised over $750,000.
And just drive through the Masonic Home on Frankfort Avenue. There is a reason his name is prominent there.
On top of that, he is a pussycat. Men admire him and women adore him! You would think to hear about him and all that he has accomplished that he would be an O.F. But it is just the opposite. No history of 20th century Kentucky would be complete without Sam Swope being recognized as a Distinguished Citizen Who Made A Difference.
Thank you, Sam for all you have done for our town.
About the Author (Author Profile)
A fixture in Louisville society, Carla Sue Broecker has been writing her weekly column for more than two decades.