William W. Felts; Auto Dealership Owner

William W. Felts, who rose from delivery boy to owner of Pioneer Oldsmobile-Hyundai in North Hollywood, has died at his Studio City home. He was 65.

Felts died Wednesday after accidentally shooting himself while cleaning his gun, said a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Born in Santa Maria, Calif., Felts came to the Los Angeles area as a teen-ager and graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1944. He served as a Seabee during World War II and studied business at USC. He started as a delivery boy at Pioneer Oldsmobile in 1950 and five years later was new-car sales manager.


Felts began buying into Pioneer in 1963 and by 1972 was sole owner of the auto dealership. He started the Hyundai franchise in 1988.

Felts was president of the Oldsmobile Dealers Advertising Assn. in 1985, president of the Greater Los Angeles Motor Car Dealers Assn. in 1983, and was past president of the Los Angeles Oldsmobile Sales Manager Club and the Lankershim Auto Dealers Assn.

He was a 21-year board member and past vice president of the North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, past vice president of the All Valley Chambers, past president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Toluca Lake Kiwanis Club and a past honorary deputy sheriff of Los Angeles. Felts belonged to the Native Sons of the Golden West, U.S.C. Support Club, the Elks Club in Santa Maria and Burbank and Lakeside Golf Club. He also was a board member of a private equestrian club called Saddle & Sirloin and a member of an equestrian group called Rancho Visitadores.

In 1973, the North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen of the Year.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Joie Felts; son William Carter of West Los Angeles; daughters Jodie Kresl of Long Beach and Debra Consani of Manhattan Beach; sister Beverly Rosellen of North Hollywood; and six grandchildren.

Services will be private. The Valley Funeral Home in Burbank is handling the arrangements. Donations can be made in Felts’ name to the USC Athletic Department.