Diver Chevrolet president dies at 63
WILMINGTON – Richard “Rich” Diver, the third-generation leader of Diver Chevrolet, one of the largest auto dealerships for the brand in the region, died Nov. 15. He was 63.
Diver had reportedly been fighting cholangiocarcinoma, a rare bile duct cancer, for the past few years before his passing.
Founded in 1915 by his grandfather, Frank W. Diver, the dealership originally sold brand names like Franklin, Studebaker, Packard, Nash and Mack. In 1935, the company moved to its current location near the intersection off Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilmington.
Frank’s sons, Clifford, Arthur, Frank, Jr. and Richard, took over the dealership from their father and gained the Chevrolet franchise in 1952, turning it into one of the top performing dealerships in the Northeast region in both sales volume and customer satisfaction.
Rich Diver, the son of Arthur, joined the dealership in the mid-80s and had led it for several decades.
Doug Diver, the vice president of Diver Chevrolet, recalled his cousin as “the hardest working guy I ever knew.”
“He was a very hands-on owner in pretty much all aspects and very customer service-focused to say the least. I think that’s really why we’ve really had a multi-generational following. We’ve had a lot of grandchildren come in and say their great grandfather bought cars here,” Doug Diver said.
Diver became a sought-after voice in the General Motors community, serving on the company’s Warranty Arbitration Board, Local Marketing Board, NADA 20 Group, and DMG Mechanical Reinsurance Board. The late dealership president sent a letter to corporate GM executives three times a month to give them a sense of what selling their vehicles was like on the ground and how the company could best support their efforts.
“His communication was great with those in Detroit, and when they kind of needed a kick in the butt, he was always very vocal as to what could be done better,” Doug Diver recalled. “At the same time, he was always very supportive of rollouts, from new products to electric vehicles.”
Locally, Diver was also a longtime member and advocate for the Delaware Automotive Traders and Dealers Association (DATDA).
“He was admired and respected by everyone. Rich was more than just a successful businessman; he was also a devoted family man who loved his family and was dedicated to his employees and customers. He was also active in many community endeavors that helped others in need. Rich was a very kind man who will truly be missed by all of us,” the association said in a statement.
During Diver’s tenure at the helm, Diver Chevrolet charitably supported a number of local causes including the Ronald McDonald House, the Sunday Breakfast Mission, the Breast Cancer Walk, the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, and numerous youth sports teams. In many instances, Diver would personally deliver donations to the organizations.
“Rich was a very generous guy who was loved by those who knew him,” Doug Diver recalled.
He is survived by his wife, Samantha; sons George, Chris, and Trevor; stepsons, William and Jamie Spruance; sisters Deborah D. Kephart (Scott), Ann D. Diehl (Jeffrey), and brother Arthur G. Diver, Jr; and more.