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GODSPEED DAVE MUNGENAST

August 29, 2006
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GODSPEED DAVE MUNGENAST

According to the St. Louis Dispatch:

Dave Mungenast Sr., a motorcycle enthusiast, racer and stuntman who built a network of car and motor sports dealerships, died September 20, 2006, of brain cancer at the St. Anthony’s Medical Center Hospice. He was 71 and had lived in Sunset Hills.

In 1965, Mr. Mungenast pooled $6,000 in savings and a $5,000 loan from a friend to open Dave Mungenast St. Louis Honda in a storefront on Gravois Avenue, near Kingshighway. His business grew to include vehicles by Honda, Lexus and Toyota, and pleasure boats on the Lake of the Ozarks. His first ride on a motorcycle didn’t go so well. At age 16, he bought a 1946 Indian Chief – and crashed it on the way back home. He got back up and kept riding. After graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1953, he worked in an auto shop and joined the Army, where he served in the Green Berets.

Returning home, he began riding off-road and entered enduro races. He worked as a mechanic for Bob Schultz Imported Motorcycles while attending St. Louis University. He opened his own business selling the Japanese motorcycles that were just then becoming popular in America. He married the former Barbara Jean McAboy of St. Louis in 1959. He sponsored off-road competitions around St. Louis. In 1967, his team won a gold medal in the International Six-Day Trial in Poland, the oldest international motorcycling competition.

His friendship with movie stuntman Stan Barrett, also of St. Louis, took Mr. Mungenast to Hollywood. Among his roles and stunts was portraying a motorcycle gang member in “Cannonball Run,” a movie that starred Burt Reynolds and Farrah Fawcett. “I guess it’s not what you’d expect of your average car and motorcycle dealer,” he said in 1980.

In 1966, he opened a Toyota dealership on Gravois, half a mile from his cycle shop. He moved the cars to 5935 South Lindbergh Boulevard in 1972 and added a Honda car dealership there in 1975. He moved his cycle shop to Lindbergh the following year. His Honda dealerships remain at that location. His Dave Mungenast Automotive Family grew to four dealerships, including Lexus in Manchester and Toyota-Dodge in Alton. Six years ago, he opened the Dave Mungenast Yacht Club Marina, a marina and boat dealership near the Grand Glaize Bridge at the Lake of the Ozarks.

ÿHis three sons work for the family business.

ÿMr. Mungenast served on the boards of St. Anthony’s Medical Center and the Boys Club of St. Louis.

In 1999, Mr. Mungenast founded the Dave Mungenast Classic Motorcycle Museum at 5625 Gravois Avenue, originally the site of his Toyota dealership. The museum features nearly 200 antique and restored motorcycles.

There will be no visitation. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at the Old Cathedral, 209 Walnut Street. The body was cremated. Besides his wife, among the survivors are three sons, David F. Mungenast Jr. of Sunset Hills, Raymond J. Mungenast of Wildwood and Kurt A. Mungenast of Kirkwood; two brothers, Andrew J. Mungenast of Montgomery, Ala., and Carl J. Mungenast of Eureka; and 13 grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to Ride for Kids Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, 302 Ridgefield Court, Asheville, N.C. 28806; Boys Club of St. Louis, 2524 South 11th Street, St. Louis, Mo. 63104; or the American Brain Tumor Association, 2720 River Road, Suite 146, Des Plaines, Ill. 60118.

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