John Quirk Sr., who founded the eponymous chain of car dealerships in Bangor that now have locations across the state and ran them with his six sons, has died at the age of 89, his son said Friday.

John Quirk Sr., who founded the Quirk Auto Group, appears in an undated photo. Credit: Courtesy of the Quirk family

Quirk Sr. died in his sleep of natural causes at his home in Belfast on Wednesday evening, his son, Jack Quirk Jr., said. Quirk Sr.’s death was not unexpected, his son said, noting that his father would have turned 90 next month.

Before running Quirk Auto Group, Quirk Sr. first entered the industry as a salesperson at a Darling’s dealership on Oak Street in Bangor around 1953. He eventually became general manager of that location before starting Village Subaru in Bangor with Ron Verow in 1973, his son said.

Quirk Sr. and his sons proceeded to take on numerous other franchises across the state, including those that sold Cadillac, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Saturn, Hyundai and Mitsubishi, among other brands.

Quirk Sr. retired in 2005 after 50-plus years in the business, with Quirk Jr. taking over. Quirk Sr.’s five other children continue to work within the auto group.