Quenton Rahal passes at age 69 after an extended illness.
By Sid Riley
The true measure of a man is the quality of his character. One of the best ways to test that character is through a significant business relationship. There is much truth to the old adage, "The best way to lose a friend is to make him a business partner".
For relationships to endure under the strain of a business relationship requires a unique strength of character. Quen Rahal had the business ethics, personality, and character required to maintain lasting friendships while being involved in a business arrangement with an individual.
Our community has lost a business leader who performed numerous civic and charitable acts while taking a leading role in the automobile community of our region. He left a lasting mark on the business community and many people of our area.
Rahal came to Marianna from Memphis, Tennessee in 1973 when he entered into a partnership arrangement with Creshull Harrison, a required part of transitioning the Chevrolet dealership franchise as Rahal purchased the business. Rahal who had previously lived in Davie, Florida simultaneously sold his Chrysler dealership in Memphis as he bought into the Harrison Chevrolet Dealership here in Marianna. Harrison had become heavily involved in real estate transactions in the area, and had decided to devote his full attention to that business.
Thus, Creshull Harrison was the first local person to be a business partner with Quen Rahal.
"Through all of the negotiations for the sale and transfer of the business, through the year of co-ownership of the franchise, and during the years that followed, Quen always lived up to every commitment he made, always dealt with the highest level of honorable business ethics, and was a continuing friend", stated Creshull Harrison as he reflected on his relationship with Rahal. Once the required year had passed, the final sale was consummated and the dealership became Rahal Chevrolet.
"During the ensuing years, every time Quen had a major business decision to make, he always called and asked my opinion", Harrison stated. "He didn’t necessarily always follow my recommendations, but I appreciated the fact that he respected my opinion enough to ask. Marianna has lost a great citizen, and I feel I have lost a friend."
In the years that followed, Rahal purchased the Marianna Toyota dealership, a Buick- Mercedes dealership and a Toyota dealership in Dothan, and another Toyota dealership in Enterprise. He continued to live in the Marianna area with his wife, Ann. He served on the Jackson Hospital Board, the Board of 1st Bank, was President of Rotary, and was active in many industrial associations.
There are two other Marianna residents who were deeply involved for many years with Quen Rahal … Jorge Garcia and Ricky Miller. They were first involved as sales employees, then as managers, and finally as business partners. Their testament to the type of person Quen Rahal was is perhaps the most meaningful of all.
Both Jorge and Ricky become choked with emotion when they attempt to tell others about what kind of man Quen Rahal was. He positively and significantly changed both men’s lives as he recognized their talents, contribution to the organization, and potential. He opened doors of opportunity for them that might have never existed. "We both have two fathers", Ricky Miller stated in a choked voice, "Our biological fathers, and out business father. Quen meant that much to us both."
Jorge Garcia worked with Quen Rahal for twenty five years, and Ricky Miller for fifteen. They both had deep personal and business relationships with this outstanding man. "At times we agreed to disagree", stated Garcia, "But once a decision had been made, or a problem discussed and resolved…the matter was over. He never bore a grudge or let issues injure personal relationships".
They jokingly stated that there were three things that came to mind when they thought of Quen Rahal… a red tie….a passion for chocolate….and a stronger passion for the car business. He was always positive in nature, motivating those around him. Anytime someone asked "How are you doing?" his stock answer was always…"Excellent!"
Another significant indicator of the character of Quen Rahal was his appreciation for those in his organization that helped create success. Quen had prepared for his departure from the business through his relationships with his key employees. He assured that upon his departure it would be "Business as Usual" throughout the organization.
Jackson County mourns the loss of Quen Rahal, but we will always appreciate his accomplishments, his contributions, and the legacy he leaves behind.