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Lawrence Kull, president of the Burns Kull Auto Group, dies at 70

“Larry was a mensch, guided by his principles, work ethic and warm heart,” said his daughter.

Lawrence Kull
Lawrence KullRead moreCourtesy of the Kull family

Lawrence Kull, 70, president of the Burns Kull Auto Group, died Wednesday, July 21, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania of leukemia and prostate cancer.

A longtime resident of Medford, Mr. Kull was born in Staten Island to Richard and Edith Joan Kull. He grew up in Brick Township, one of six children, spending summers surfing and working at his family’s stand at Brick Beach.

After high school, Mr. Kull attended the University of Vermont on a football scholarship and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. While at college, he enjoyed being a part of the fraternity Kappa Sigma.

It was at college that he met his future wife, Deborah Lewin, in their freshman English class. They got better acquainted during an airplane flight to their New Jersey hometowns. After that, they started dating. They married in 1971.

Mr. Kull got his master’s in business administration from Rutgers University Graduate School of Business.

After college, Mr. Kull went to work for the Xerox Corp. for five years, ending as controller of the Tarrytown branch in 1979.

From there, Mr. Kull joined his father in the automobile business, starting as fixed operations director of Burns Pontiac Honda. Mr. Kull’s father had started out in the car business as a salesman back in 1958. Mr. Kull’s own first automobile business job was cleaning the undercoat bay at a Newark dealership where his father was in management while he was on spring break from college.

“He did every lowly job first,” said his wife.

Like his father before him, Mr. Kull progressed through the business. A strong work ethnic was important to him.

“The whole family worked hard,” said his wife. “They only expected something that they had earned.”

Over his many years, Mr. Kull was instrumental in growing the family business to include multiple dealerships in several South Jersey towns with several hundred employees and many thousands of vehicles sold and serviced a year. Many of those employees turned out for their boss’ funeral to pay their respects, which touched his family.

Mr. Kull was well-respected in the business community. He was a leader in numerous professional trade organizations, including serving as chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association in 2014 and its director from 2008 to 2015.

In 2020, he was selected by Time Magazine as the New Jersey Car Dealer of the Year.

He was admired for his character, as well as his success.

“Larry was a mensch, guided by his principles, work ethic, and warm heart,” said his daughter, Jamie Galemba. ”Larry will be remembered fondly by all who knew him for his kind and generous spirit. He was an eternal optimist with a big, bright personality.”

For all his hard work, he didn’t forget how to have a good time. In addition to his business activities, Mr. Kull enjoyed summers down the Shore and winters in Florida. He was an avid golfer, a serious birder, and loved karaoke.

Above all, he was dedicated to his family. He was proud when son David, after success in the corporate world, decided to also join the family business, his wife said.

In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Kull is survived by three grandchildren, four siblings, and other relatives. His parents and a sister died before him.

A funeral was held Sunday, July 25.

Contributions in Mr. Kull’s memory may be made to the National Audubon Society, Attn: Donations, 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10014 or to the Evesham Education Foundation, 25 S. Maple Ave., Marlton, NJ 08053.