Former owner of Sisk Auto Mall in Hopkinsville Albert Sisk passed at the age of 80 Thursday night after battling cancer for over a year. He passed in his home with his family.
Sisk was a prominent figure in the community, lending his business skills and leadership to help propel Hopkinsville and the community forward.
He was married to Barbara Sisk, and the couple had two children, Wilson and Alison.
According to New Era archives, Sisk, a Hopkinsville resident, is a second generation automobile dealer.
The Sisk Auto Mall company was founded by Sisk’s father Gene Sisk in 1945.
After graduating from the University of Kentucky and serving in the Army, he joined his father’s dealership in 1965 and helped to create the Auto Mall on Fort Campbell Boulevard.
Two of Sisk’s close friends recall the move from Ninth Street to Fort Campbell Boulevard as one of the first businesses to set up shop on the Boulevard, later leading to Hopkinsville’s expansion and helping create the boulevard as the main strip through town.
“He’s the one that made the transition from downtown to one of the first businesses that’s really helped get the growth started out on the boulevard,” Roy Campbell said, who, he says, was one of Sisk’s best friends for roughly 40 years. “It used to be that Hopkinsville pretty much stopped at the overpass and then businesses came in and Albert was the one that made the move to that corner of the Bypass and you just seen everything kind of mushroom.”
He grew the business by adding a series of franchises until it outgrew its downtown location and moved it to the boulevard.
While Sisk was the owner at the time the dealership moved to the boulevard in 1997, he and his son Wilson helped propel even farther forward, garnering the dealership as a staple in Hopkinsville.
At that time, Sisk Auto Mall was the local dealership for Cadillac, Chrysler-Plymouth, Pontiac, Dodge and Honda. His son was the general manager while Albert and his father co-owned the dealership.
Later on, his father handed over the reins to Albert, becoming the second generation of Sisk to own the dealership. Wilson soon after became co-owner with his father.
In 2016, Wilson, being the third generation of Sisk Auto Mall, purchased Garland Nissan, expanding the business.
Just before Albert passed he was able to see his son once again expand the business even further.
In early September 2019, Sisk Auto Mall broke ground on an expansion building to house just the Honda portion of the Sisk dealership on the other side of Eagle Way Bypass from the current auto mall.
“It was great working with my father,” Wilson Sisk said. “We had a great working relationship. We were always aligned in our thinking and how we wanted to make sure we wanted to give back to the community. I couldn’t tell you that we ever had an argument.”
Albert Sisk’s close friends shared with the New Era that he was proud that the dealership stayed in his family and that he was proud of his family as a whole.
Campbell and another close friend of Sisk, Jane McInnis, shared that he was a family man.
“He was very proud of his family,” Campbell said. “He was very family oriented and they did lots of family things and he was very proud of that.”
“He was a wonderful father, I know his children adore him,” McInnon said. “I know it’s been a joy for him to have Wilson in the business with him and taking it over like he has. I know he’s very proud of that and how it’s grown over the years.”
McInnon added that Sisk’s sister as well as his daughter Alison had also been involved in the dealership business and he was proud to have his family in Hopkinsville with him.
“Family was his whole life, his two children, his wife, his grandchildren,” Wilson said. “He spent his free time with his family and if he wasn’t there he was with his friends. That’s really what he valued, his family and friends.”
Campbell and McInnis also shared that he used his leadership skills to better the community, joining various boards and organizations.
Over the years, Sisk had been involved in his church, First Christian Church, the Christian County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Hopkinsville, the YMCA Board, director for Kentucky Automobile Dealer’s Association, Co-Chair of the Heart of Hopkinsville, served on the Foster Care Review Board as well as various others and volunteered with the Hopkinsville Salvation Army.
In 1970 Sisk was voted as Hopkinsville’s Outstanding Young Man and in 2003 he was nominated for the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award.
“I have been so amazed at all the things in the community that he has been involved in or with,” Campbell said.
“Practically anything he was called upon to do for the city or for the individuals, he was there. He was the most selfless individual. I think he served in just about every capacity that there was to serve.
“He was definitely interested in seeing the community move forward and anything he could do to help in that respect he did. If it had anything to do with the community, you could pretty well assume he was involved in it or supported it.”
McInnon added that he used his business skills and forward thinking to help the community.
“I think he was forward thinking in his business and that carried over into other things he was involved with as well,” McInnon said.
“What makes a person prominent? I think that’s a difficult question. I think he was a generous man in supporting various things in the community with his time as well as with his resources.
“He gave up his time and his resources to various activities in the community that he believed in and he did it all as a kind and thoughtful gentleman. I think people are drawn to exceptional examples of leadership in a community and that’s how I thought of him.”
Most of all, Sisk’s friends and family thought of him as a kind-hearted gentleman focused on doing good.
“He always used to tell me, ‘Wilson, always remember the more good you push into the world, the more bad that you push out,’ and i really think that was kind of his creed,” Wilson said.
“I really feel like he lived his life that way and tried to push it a lot of good into the world. Whether it was just being a kind person, donating to a charity, or serving on a board in the community or his church. I think that’s just how he went about things.”