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Businessman was fixture in local auto industry

Automobiles were not only the family business, but the lifelong passion of Sebastian "Buzz" Eger.

Mr. Eger, of Pleasant Hills and formerly of Elizabeth Township, the founder of a car leasing company in McKeesport, died Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2005, after a heart attack. He was 72.

Mr. Eger was named for his grandfather, who established the Eger Ford car dealership in McKeesport. He even inherited his nickname, "Buzz," from his grandfather.

In 1960, after receiving a business degree from St. Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona, Minn., he struck out on his own and learned the car leasing business, then a nascent venture for most car dealers.

Running Eger Leasing Co. out of a back office at his grandfather's dealership, Mr. Eger leased cars to executives of the region's big firms, such as U.S. Steel. His personality made him a smooth operator of his ever-expanding business.

"He was very well-liked. He was always friendly," said Merrill Eger, his wife of 44 years. "He was very sociable."

When the steel industry began to collapse and doomed the economy of McKeesport, Mr. Eger had to sell his business in the early 1980s. But he never quit the automobile business, working for different car dealerships in the region and serving as a consultant to others.

"He knew everybody in the car business," his wife said. "He always found something to do."

Mr. Eger was born in 1933 in McKeesport to the late Edward J. and Edith Swauger Eger and graduated in 1951 from St. Vincent Preparatory School in Latrobe, Westmoreland County. He served three years in the Army in Germany during the Korean War.

Mr. Eger was a member of the McKeesport Rotary Club, the Mon Yough Chamber of Commerce and the Youghiogheny Country Club.

He is survived by his wife, Merrill Pomey Eger; a son, Michael Eger, of Jefferson Hills; two daughters, Sondra Naber, of Atlanta, and Amy Dombrowski, of Bellevue; two sisters, Wilma Irwin, of South Park, and Mary Catherine Serbic, of Green Tree; and six grandchildren.

He was predeceased by a brother, Edward F. Eger.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home, 301 Curry Hollow Road, Pleasant Hills.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Nativity Catholic Church, South Park, followed by burial in Jefferson Memorial Park.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Greater Pittsburgh chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, 1323 Forbes Ave., Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

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