HIGH POINT April 17, 1927 - March 30 2019 William "Vann" York passed away on Saturday, March 30 at Pennybyrn in High Point. He was 91 years old. York was born at home on Hawthorne Street in High Point on Easter morning, April 17, 1927, to Kate Surratt York and John Gurney York. He had one brother, John Charles York, and two sisters, Mary Ann York Laurence and Kathryn York Shaver, all now deceased. Though his childhood coincided with the Great Depression, his boyhood was full of love. There was hard work and bounty from his family's small farm, as well as frog gigging, paddling in a homemade canoe, and other escapades with boys whom would remain his friends for life. He attended public schools in the city, graduating from High Pont (Central) High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17, serving as a telegraph operator in Seattle and San Diego until the end of World War II. York attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the GI Bill. He studied business and lived in the Old East Dorm. He was, and forever will be, a Tarheel. After college, he began a short stint in the insurance business, and it was during this time, in what he considered his greatest good fortune, he met Ann Lee Gregory in line at the dining hall of the Lake Junaluska, a Methodist retreat. They were married on November 26, 1953. They have three children: Elizabeth York Schiff (James Schiff), and Lynn York (Alan Hirsch), and Gregory Vann York (Caren York), who remember their parents' lifelong union as an integrated partnership that worked for the benefit of family, work, and community. York spent several years working for GMAC and then worked with his father-in-law at Gregory Chevrolet in Pilot Mountain, NC. In 1970, he purchased Neill Pontiac in High Point and founded Vann York Pontiac. This first dealership, originally located at Montlieu and Main Streets, became the cornerstone of the Vann York Auto Group. Son Greg York joined the business in 1987, and together over the years, the Yorks added ten franchises. Under York's leadership, the business thrived, and the dealerships received awards from both local customers and national industry groups. York was blessed with work that he loved, from the first day at Vann York Pontiac until the last, at his desk at Vann York Toyota this past fall. He considered the people of the Auto Group the very best part of his job. He revered his employees, many of whom worked at his side for decades. He also loved his customers, and was always ready to sell anyone he met a new car. In 2009, the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association presented Vann York with a Lifetime Achievement Award, its highest honor. At a Duke Fuqua School of Business symposium in 1996, the Vann York Auto Group was named the Family Business of the Year. York loved his hometown of High Point, and devoted his time to his community through a number of local organizations. He and wife Ann were named High Point Citizens of the Year in 2013. He has been a leader for decades in the United Way, receiving the Tocqueville Society Fleur de Lis Award and the Chairman's Award for Campaign Excellence. He served on the Board of Directors for High Point Bank for 18 years, as well as on the Board of Trustees for High Point University, the board of directors of High Point Regional Hospital (now Medical Center), High Point YMCA, Westchester Academy, and on the Executive Council of the Uwharrie Council of Boy Scouts. In 1968, York and his fellow Sunday school class members founded Greensboro Urban Ministry. He continued this service in a variety of roles at the Macedonia Family Resource Center and on the Board of Directors for the High Point Open Door Ministry, receiving the Opening Doors Award in 2015. York was a lifelong Methodist, growing up in the First United Methodist Church, and more recently, a member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, where he served faithfully in a variety of roles. At Duke University Divinity School, he served on the Board of Visitors. With his three children and several grandchildren graduates of Duke University, he cheerfully served on the Duke University Parents' Committee Leadership Fund, despite his affiliation as a Tarheel. A lifelong fitness enthusiast, York spent many hours working out with friends at the High Point YMCA. He was particularly grateful in later years for his training sessions at the High Point Medical Fitness Center, where Rodney Simpson and staff helped him remain active past his 91th birthday. He was also grateful for the fellowship of the men with whom he shared John Willett's Wednesday morning bible study. Friends and family will remember Vann York as person with a passion for life and the people around him; as a man of deep faith who endeavored to live his life accordingly; as enthusiastic athlete who still ran five miles on the beach in his late seventies; as the proud owner of a 1974 Carolina blue Pontiac Granville convertible; as a loving father, grandfather, and husband; as a man who loved big band music, the Lake Junaluska Singers, and a good homegrown tomato; and as the most positive person they ever met (as he always said, "Yeah, boy!"). In addition to his wife Ann and three children, he is survived by eight grandchildren: Ben Schiff, Hayden Schiff, Walker Schiff, Anna Lee Warasila, Will Warasila, Charles York, Catherine York and Grey York. The family wishes to thank the wonderful individuals who helped so faithfully with his care during last years: Carolyn and March Singleton for many years of devoted care, the steadfast caregivers of Coleman Care, and the entire community of Pennybyrn. A memorial service celebrating Vann York's life will be held at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church on Wednesday, April 3 at 2 pm, with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Open Door Shelter Ministries, 400 N. Centennial Street, High Point, NC 27262, opendoorministrieshp.org or to the Wesley Memorial Missions Fund, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 1225 Chestnut Drive, High Point, NC 27262. Cumby Family Funeral Service in High Point is assisting the family. Condolences may be made through www.cumbyfuneral.com.

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