Dallas Morning News automotive columnist Terry Box has died at 71

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Terry Box, longtime automotive writer and columnist for The morning news from Dallas, died Monday afternoon at the age of 71.

When he was a young boy, Box used to sit in the front seat of his mother Betty’s car and share what he knew about every vehicle they passed.

“He knew every make, model, year… and we don’t really know how he learned it,” said his daughter, Shawn Flemmer.

Box graduated from Lake Highlands High School and went on to earn a BA in Journalism from the University of North Texas.

An avid running and waterskiing enthusiast, he loved being on the water and especially enjoyed trips to Lake Travis with the family, Flemmer said.

Still Texan, Box first worked in Corpus Christi Call in his early twenties, then worked a brief stint in Austin-American Statesman before landing at The news In the 1980’s.

Box has chronicled the automotive industry for The news during 26 years of his 35-year career with the newspaper. His columns were distinguished by an incredible eye for detail and a sense of humor that elevated his writing far above that of his peers, chronicling trends and criticizing every new product from Ford, GM and others. a way accessible to all.

Not content with just posting a retirement column with The news, Box wrote an additional farewell article in 2016 celebrating the fortuitous retirement of former Collin County Sheriff Terry Box. They shared the same name, age, and interest in cars – and they retired at the same time.

“Everything he did, every breath he took, had something to do with cars,” the host of a nationally-broadcast radio show said. Jerry reynolds said of Box. “And I have never seen someone with so much passion.”

Box’s work has gone beyond vehicle reviews to cover road safety, empire-building dealership owners, environmental issues, scandals, legal battles and the beginnings of an industry stint. seismic to electric vehicles. In 2002, he worked a shift at the General Motors Arlington plant to learn what it looked like and to column it for the newspaper.

After his retirement from The morning news from Dallas, Box worked for Reynolds reviewing the latest vehicles until the start of the year, when his health made it difficult to drive, Reynolds said.

Box has never stopped writing, promising in his last column five years ago “I will not disappear.” Memories either.

And anyone in Dallas would be hard-pressed to find a premier dealership owner or car enthusiast in the metro area who didn’t smile when they heard Box’s name mentioned.

“He always said he wasn’t very social, but he really was,” Flemmer said.

The subjects of Box’s writing describe him as a true professional who had an unrivaled understanding of the importance of the auto industry and the dealership to North Texas.

“Terry really knew, and he took the time to learn and understand the people he interacted with,” said luxury car dealership giant Carl Sewell.

The owner of the Avondale Group and founder of Park Place Dealerships, Ken Schnitzer, described Box as “a good steward of the written word” who was “easy to talk to”. Ford dealer Sam Pack remembered Box as trustworthy and, most importantly, caring.

It was clear that “he enjoyed his responsibilities as an automotive writer,” Pack said.

Before his death, Box had almost finished writing an anthology on each of the 11 Ford Mustangs he owned in his lifetime, his daughter said. Box loved the Mustang more than any other car – it was fun, it was affordable, and it was inherently American.

Box is survived by his daughter, two grandchildren, mother, Betty, ex-wife, Debbie, and siblings, Joni Box and Alan Box.

No service is planned.

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