Rudy Franklin Pelle

rudy pelle
Rudy Franklin Pelle, businessman and humanitarian, passed away at the age of 78 on Monday, June 11, 2012 after an extended illness. Rudy was a retired car dealer, furniture dealer and entrepreneur. Rudy graduated from Lee Edwards High School in 1952 where he was a star athlete. He attended Furman University until being drafted into the US Army where he served for two years. After returning to Asheville he married Dixie Butler who was his devoted wife for 56 years. Rudy was a sharp businessman who worked his way up in the car business from service writer to new car dealer. He served a National President of dealer councils for both Nissan and Toyota and was Sports Illustrated's first Import Dealer of the Year. Rudy always gave back to his community and genuinely enjoyed helping others. His quick wit and infectious spirit will truly be missed by those who had the privilege of knowing him both personally and professionally. He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Rosina Pelle and his sister Linda Facciuto. He is survived by his wife Dixie Butler Pelle; daughters Sheila Pelle, Sharon Pagliaroli and husband Gary, Terri Sands and husband Jeff; son Tony Pelle and wife Dayna; his nine grandchildren, Kelly Rowland, Kristi Kovalcik and husband Chris, Anthony Pelle, Austin Pelle, Taylor Posey, Hannah Posey, Allee Walker, Reagan Sands, and Drew Sands; great grandson Bauer Kovalcik; godson, L.B. Shillinglaw; his constant, loyal companion "Winston"; brother Fred and wife Jeanette and their family; brother-in-law, Ken Butler and wife, Gwen and family; sister-in-law, Wanda Baker and family; and special family members Cricket Haake, Dr. Bill Shillinglaw and wife Michelle Shillinglaw. The family would like to thank the staff at Mission Hospital and Asheville Specialty hospital for the wonderful care they gave to Rudy. Services will be held Friday at 2 pm in the chapel of Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian on Long Shoals Road. Visitation will be immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Eblen Charities, 50 Westgate Parkway, Asheville, NC 28806.

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Memories Timeline


  1. So sorry for your loss, and our very dear friend. God be with you and your family. He will be missed so very much.

  2. I feel incredibly blessed to have known ‘Uncle Rudy’. He was such an influential and well respected member of the Asheville Community. His giving spirit and mind for business is one that will remain unrivaled. The world has truly lost an asset, but heaven has gained a gem. He’ll be up there showing them how it’s done! Rudy, you will be missed!

  3. Rudy was a good man. I thought alot of him. He helped me get started in the furniture business. I will always have fond memories of him.

  4. Dear Dixie,Every day for the past week,you have crossed my mind,today,my sister in law called me with the news of Rudy’s death,so now I know that I had a feeling something was wrong. I will be praying for you and your family in your time of sorrow. You and I were classmates and have a lot of special memories.

  5. Our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences for your loss. The harry burrell family bunt,Nancy, Gail and family.

  6. A legacy that will leave a hole in the hearts of many. God Bless all of The Pelle Family. Sheila, you always had the biggest smile when you spoke of your precious mom and dad. Memories are one thing we can hold on too. Take care of your beautiful mom and rest assured our home here is temporary. We will see our dads again. I will hold you up in prayer.

  7. May God give you great comfort during this difficult time. Bobby Early is a good friend of mine. We were very sorry to hear of your loss. Your loved one will be greatly missed by all.

  8. Rudy sold me my first car in in the summer of 1974 and was one of those men us young people looked up to for a square deal.

    Blessings and strength to you classmate Sheila.

  9. Ramsey familiy sends our prayers and deepest sympathy to the Pelle family! We will miss Rudy as a neighbor, friend, and one who contributed so much to our community! May God grant you a peace that passes all understanding at this difficult time!

  10. Dear Sheila and Family,
    I am so sad to hear of your loss and remember meeting your Dad in high school and how you could just feel his energy and passion. Hang in there, old friend!

  11. Sheila,
    So sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    God Bless,

  12. Dear Terri & Tony,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this most difficult time. Please give Dixie a hug for me!

    Most Sincerely,


  13. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Pelle family. I’m so sorry for your loss. I admired and respected Rudy so much. He helped me out many times during my younger years. He left a wonderful legacy of family and giving.

  14. So sorry to hear about Rudy. we went to high school together and had a good time…..sweet memories…Dixie , I know this is hard for you, but God will hold your hand and guide you thru… Thinking and praying for you and your family Peggy Turner Michael

  15. Rudy will be truly missed by the Harts , a great man always with a positive attitude no matter the circumstances,there are probably not any cars or furniture to sell in Heaven so I guess you will have to go Fishing with Jesus …We will see you in Heaven !!!

  16. Our condolences to Sheila, Dayna and the entire family. Rudy was a good friend, a great story teller and a generous contributor to the Community.
    I feel that my life has been blessed
    having had the opportunity of being
    blessed with his friendship. George Couch

  17. Please accept my condolences on behalf of the Dandeneau family. I have never met anyone like Rudy before and will probably never met one like him ever. He was an absolute jewel of a man.He will ne missed by a lot of folks.

  18. i am so sorry to hear about Rudy .. i know he will be greatly missed by many people…my thoughts and prayers are with you all ….

  19. Our sincere condolences to Dixie, Sheila, Sharon, Terri, Tony and their families. Rudy has been a long-time friend and will be missed a lot. He never hesitated to help whenever asked. A lot of fun fishing trips were enjoyed with him. A lot of laughs were shared! He had a quite sense of humor! We will be missed.

  20. Tony and Dayna, Peace be with you at this difficult time. Let your memories be your comfort.

  21. OMG!!!! Another loss to our community. Another friend to all of the very best….and loved by all…No one like Rudy! Thanks to him for all he did for the people of Asheville. Dixie…and family. Rudy was the best and we are so very sorry for your loss as well as ours….Dewey and Susan

  22. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all the family. May God comfort you all during this very difficult time.

  23. Dear Jeff and Terri and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you . Remember the
    good times and hang on to those memories.

  24. Terri, Jeff, Drew, Reagan and the entire Pelle Family,

    Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. All of the memories that you have will be with you for a lifetime and I know that you will cherish every single one.

  25. My life is forever Blessed because I was fortunate enough to be called family. Uncle Rudy and Aunt Dixie added to the quality of my life from the beginning. My gratitude can never be expressed in meer words. I love them and their children beyond explaination. We suffer such a great and painful loss …Yet heaven has gained a generous and amazing ‘character’. May God pour out His blessing and grace to sustain all of you as you pass through this difficult journey. All my Love, Cricket

  26. Dear Dixie and Family,
    Our Love, thoughts and prayers are with the entire Pelle family during this sad time.
    Rudy was a wonderful person and will missed by so many.
    Love, Tom and Jeranne Sands

  27. Rudy i want to thank you for giving me the chance to get to know you and work for you as well. god bless.

  28. May you Rest in Peace, You were a great boss and a great person, im glad i got to know you. You will be missed by all

  29. It seems only yesterday we were classmates at LEHS. I often think of the good times and wonderful memories, especially the football games. I can still see Rudy laying on the sidelines ‘faking injuries’ because he was tired. My best to all the family at this difficult time.
    Claudia Fisher Benson

  30. Dear Sheila and family – my sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to all of you at this time of loss. Mr. Rudy was always such a fine and funny gentlemen around me and a wonderful friend to Dad. He will me missed by many! Love to you all.

  31. A great loss, one of my best friends.
    A great athlete of the Mighty Mites!
    A great giver to Eblen Charities and always there when needed.
    Condolences to a great family.

  32. Rudy was in my graduating class at
    LEH and attended Asheville-Biltmore
    College with me and my husband, Gene McGaha. Our thoughts and
    prayers are with you and your family.
    Jenny Lind Erickson McGaha and Gene

  33. Dear Sheila,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. He was a great man and I know you will miss him. Dads are special and losing them is not easy. My prayers and sympathies are with you.
    Gail Collins McEntire

  34. Uncle Rudy will be missed dearly!! Aunt Dixie, Sheila, Sharon, Tony and Terry our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We wish we could be there for you. Please know that we love you and are praying for you.

  35. Dearest Dixie and The Pelle Family,
    Riding the wave of grief with you. One hour it is the deepest sorrow we have ever known, and the next, laughing so hard it hurts, thinking of something so crazy funny Rudy said or did. He truly was a once in a lifetime character. Bill and I, just keep looking at each other, either crying or laughing, and say over and over again: We were so blessed to have him in our life. So blessed.
    Dixie, you were such an amazing care giver to Rudy. That devotion is seldom seen. Let those of us who love you so, now take care of you.
    Forever Love, Bill and Michelle

  36. Sorry to hear about Rudy’s passing. My toughts and prayers are with the family.I am in the Class of ’52.We all will be thinking of him at the reunion

  37. It’s with great sadness I learned of Rudy’s passing. My condolences to the family. I shall
    remember Chorus at LEHS, Rudy as a rising
    businessman and as a valued high school friend.

  38. We are very sorry about Rudy’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the family. May God bless you in this difficult time.

  39. We were so sorry to hear that Rudy had passed away. We send you our love and deepest sympathy.
    Nan and Charlie Wilson

  40. Dixie, Toney, Dayna,Sheila and all of Rudys family. May GOD wrap his every loving arms around you all, During this time of your loss.

  41. Dixie and family,
    So sorry we cannot be there. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    I will always remember Uncle Rudy’s generosity and kindness toward us. I hope we can visit you soon. We will be moving back to our home in Bulls Gap, TN next month and working again with Wellmont Health System in Kingsport. So we will be closer and hope to reunite again soon. God Bless You All with His Peace in the days ahead. Fred, Lisa and Oliver Pelle.

  42. Our condolences to all the family…having rehab classes with Rudy was a pleasure…and knowing our wives were gossiping in the waiting room of the class was most memorable…kindred souls…May God bring all of you peace. and comfort…
    Gerald & Linda Baker

  43. Dixie and family,
    As he did in life, Rudy fought the good fight with his illness and made a positive impact on others. I am thankful to Frank Dorato for many reasons but especially for introducing me to Rudy when I came to Asheville. It was a blessing to know Rudy. He always treated me and my family with kindness, respect and generosity; he was a true southern gentleman and a joy to be around. He was a man who never met a stranger and personified hospitality. My prayer, Dixie, is that God will continue to bless you and your family in accordance with the faithfullness and care you have demonstrated through the years.

  44. Tony and family. So very sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. It was a pleasure growing up around him and your Mom. Ken McMahan (formerly Parkway Auto Sales)

  45. I was very saddened to hear of Rudy’s death. I knew he was really sick, but I always thought he would get better. When I came to work at Rudy’s, I wasn’t treated like an employee, I was treated more like family, by Rudy, Dixie and all of the girls. I will always remember Rudy as smart,funny, generous and kind.

  46. My Dad bought my first car (1977 280-Z) from Rudy…Although I did not personally know him, only Sharon,(from the furniture store) I do know this:
    Rudy has been an Asheville icon, well loved, highly respected, for many years, and will not be forgotten.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

  47. I will miss a very good old friend. Rudy and I had some friendly and memorable conversations regards business and life. In general. I will miss his wit and sharp business sense.

  48. We are sorry for your loss and we are thinking of your family and our prayers are with you.

  49. Dear Pelle Family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. My husband worked for Rudy several years. He was a fare and good man to work for. May God Bless each one of you.

  50. Please accept our most sincere apologies for your great loss.

    Jason, Jill & Trey Davis
    Gary Davis
    Matthew & Elizabeth Freeland

  51. Our sincere condolences go out to the entire Pelle family. Rudy was a fine man who will be missed greatly. You are all in our thoughts & prayers.

    JT & Jeff Brown

  52. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of your family. We are so sorry for your great loss. Rudy was a good friend of my father and will be missed very much. God be with you!

  53. To the Pelle family. Please accept our condolences in the loss of Mr. Pelle. My wife and I worked for Rudy in the mid-80’s( Building Maintenance), and found him to be an agreeable and friendly business man, who became more like a friend while we were employed there. I am sure he will be greatly missed by family and friends.

  54. Terri & Pelle Family,

    My sincere condolescences on the loss of your father. I know how much he meant to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  55. May God lift your family up during this time of grief. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  56. With our deepest sympathies~ We could not even begin to imagine your loss. ~How blessed each of you are to be blessed with a man who cared so deeply for his family and others~lifting you up and thinking of the Pelle family~ Keith Ownbey

  57. We send our kind regards and best wishes to the Pelle family. We were neighbors more than once during our years in Happy Valley. We have always enjoyed fond memories of Rudy, Dixie and the children.

  58. We are so sorry about your loss. Rudy was a great guy. All the years he came to our store, he was always smiling, happy, and talking. We are thinking about your family with our sincere condolences.

  59. Condolences to the family of Rudy, we have known him through the car business, he was a very nice man and we respected him. We are keeping the family in our prayers.

  60. Our deepest condolences to the family. Cecil thought so much of Rudy not only as his employer but as his friend. He will be greatly missed.

  61. May The Lord give you Peace, and comfort during this time in your lives.
    I bought many cars from Mr. Pelle, and so did my Dad, Scott Burge. I loved all the cars, esp. the 280Zs and Celicas. Dad usually gave me his ‘old’ Celicas, and so they stayed in the family. Thanks for the great memories.

    Dottie Burge
    Asheville, NC/ Charleston, SC

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