Sam Levine, who co-owns Columbine Ford in Rifle, Colo., with his son Rick, handles the question of age like an expert driver avoiding a collision.
“Old enough to know better,” he laughs.
We hear that Sam is almost 95. He slyly lowers the number to 86. End of debate.
Sam is a daily fixture at Columbine Ford, which he and Rick opened more than 20 years ago.
“Yes, I come here every day,” he attests. “I enjoy it. I like being around people and helping them find a great car.
“I do what I gotta do — and if I don’t need to do it, I don’t. How else am I going to occupy my time? Watch TV? No, that isn’t for me.”
Columbine Ford’s inventory boasts about 130 new cars and trucks and 25 used vehicles. Since its inception, the dealership has donated money and vehicles to schools and other organizations in the community.
“I’d guess about half a dozen Jewish people live here,” estimates Sam, who resides in Battlement Mesa, about 20 miles west of Rifle.
“I go to shul every time I have an opportunity,” he adds. “I perform in synagogue — which means I can daven very well.”
Born in the Brighton area to Fannie and Aaron Levine, Sam grew up under the Viaduct, graduated North High in Denver and attended “a semester or two” of college.
He married Elaine Goodman when he was 21. She passed away eight years ago.
A kosher butcher at Modern Kosher Meats on Colfax and Perry for many years, Sam regularly attended shul on the west side of Federal.
Sam then entered the used car business in Greeley.
For 25 years, he drove back and forth from Greeley to Denver every day without a single mishap.
“Business is good at Columbine Ford, despite the economy,” Sam says.
“I think the secret behind a successful business is kindness.
“If you treat people with kindness, they always come back. Treat ‘em like you want to be treated.”
Regardless of his precise age, Sam has lived long enough to witness incredible changes in the world.
What’s the most interesting one?
“Myself,” he breaks out laughing.
Family — sons Alan and Rick, Rick’s wife Linda and the grandchildren — are his greatest pride and joy.
“The truth is I love everyone, and they love me. I’m a lucky guy.”
Copyright © 2012 by the Intermountain Jewish News