Two sisters and a brother, who co-own one of Southern California's largest Mercedes-Benz dealerships, were honored for community service by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.
Besides Judy Rehwald Richards, Francie Rehwald and Bill Rehwald of W.I. Simonson Mercedes-Benz, other honorees included celebrities Andy Garcia, Serena Williams, Hillary Duff, Verna Harrah, Jose Navarro and Pam Dawber.
Passionate about community service, the Rehwald family has a long standing tradition of supporting causes.
Those include The American Heart Association (for which they received the 2002 Women's Legacy Family of the Year), Project Angel Food, The Venice Family Clinic, Santa Monica/UCLA Hospital, Santa Monica YMCA & YWCA, John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John's Health Center, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Meals on Wheels, Human Rights Campaign as well as the Santa Monica High School, symphony, and historical society. The family also hosts an annual Red Cross blood drive.
“I am pleased to know and honored to recognize Francie, Bill and Judy as Golden Stars at this year's Rising Stars Gala,” says community leader Steve Soboroff. “Not only are they outstanding business leaders, but they are community-minded citizens.”
As the grandchildren of founder William I. Simonson, the Rehwalds represent the third generation of same family ownership.
Their late mother, Mary Simonson Rehwald was one of the first female Mercedes-Benz dealers in the U.S. She served as CEO and president of the dealership from 1976 until her death in 2002.
W.I. Simonson Inc. first opened as a Packard dealership in 1937. It became a Studebaker store when the two now-defunct auto companies merged in the mid-1950s.
In 1957, Studebaker dealers were given the opportunity to sell Mercedes-Benzes when they were first introduced to America. Forty-six years later, W.I. Simonson Mercedes-Benz remains one of the few original Mercedes-Benz dealers in the nation and the oldest in Southern California.