J. Eustace Wolfington, the twenty-sixth recipient of the Barry Award of the American Catholic Historical Society personifies what it means to be a Catholic leader in today's world. His life is one of distinguished achievement, personally and professionally, marked at the same time by unceasing devotion to his family, his Church and God.
Professionally, the Wolfington family has been affiliated with transportation for over a century. "The name on your grandfather's Brougham," was the proud slogan of Eustace's great grandfather, who began building carriages in Philadelphia in 1876. Since that time, the Wolfington name has remained at the forefront of one of America's most competitive industries.
After spending two and a half years at the University of Notre Dame and then serving in the United States Army in Korea, Eustace returned to Philadelphia and St. Joseph's University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and is a member of the Class of 1956. At the same time, he joined the family business, a retail automobile dealership and, by 1960, had purchased his own Plymouth dealership and then, in 1962, a Chevrolet dealership.
In the mid-1960's, observing a revolution in business, Eustace began applying many pioneering techniques to his own dealership. The application and development of this innovative thinking laid the foundation for "Trade Cycle Technology," also known as the "lowest cost of driving." This new thinking allowed consumers to purchase more car for their money.
From 1967 to 1972, Eustace was responsible for placing twenty-five hundred GM dealers into the retail leasing business. Shortly thereafter he introduced the concept of the "Mom & Pop" consumer lease to the banking industry. By 1980, this concept had spread to fifty banks nationwide.
Eustace founded the company Half-a-Car, (HAC) in 1980 and, in 1982, introduced the "customer for life" concept to the Ford Motor Company. The HAC Group, Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Credit formed an alliance with one passionate belief—to offer customers worldwide the lowest cost of driving through "Trade Cycle Technology." Between 1982 and 1999, HAC expanded to over eighteen countries, with more than four thousand dealerships in its system.
After selling the HAC Group in 2000, Eustace became president of Cabrini Asset Management in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Eustace's philanthropic commitment to Catholic institutions in the Philadelphia area has been extraordinary. A man of high principles who genuinely "walks his talk,” he deeply believes that "to much that is given, much is expected."
A native of Philadelphia, Eustace is one of ten children born to Mary Margaret and J. Eustace Wolfington. In 1957, he married the love of his life Marcy Dugan. Together they raised ten children and are now the proud grandparents of twenty-seven grandchildren. An extended Wolfington family gathering would reportedly exceed more than four hundred relatives.
No wonder this unique man of faith and service says he prizes, "more than anything in my life, being part of such a fantastic family."