The collision repair industry lost a staunch advocate for quality repairs with the passing of Greg Coccaro Jr., age 44, co-owner of North State Custom (Bedford Hills, NY) on September 25 due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
His colleagues remembered him as “a regular guy with a big heart, generous and kind,” in a statement on Facebook. They added, “He made some friends here at North State Custom. He will be dearly missed.”
As a second-generation repairer, Coccaro Jr. followed in the footsteps of his father, Greg Coccaro Sr. – not only through the career path he chose but also in the fight for proper repairs and certifications. Coccaro Sr. was known throughout the industry for his proclivity to fight for consumer safety and shops’ rights, gaining national attention when he triumphed over Progressive in a groundbreaking lawsuit that benefited the entire industry. After his death in 2016, his son took up the mantle, continuing his father’s work to fight for what is right.
His untimely death rings as tragic for all who knew him.
“He was certainly a warrior and a champion for standing up for the right repair for the right reason. He never pulled away from that. He would never back down from that right,” Ron Reichen (Precision Body and Paint; Beaverton, OR) speaks highly of his friend.
“He was very intent on getting the latest and greatest equipment, the latest and greatest training,” Lou Dilisio (Automotive Industry Consulting Inc.) recalls Coccaro Jr.’s passion for running a high-quality shop. “He did a lot of highline automobiles and had a lot of certifications. He was a fanatic about making sure he followed all of the OEMs’ procedures. That’s something that everybody should be doing, but it’s not something that everybody does.”
Dave Gruskos (Reliable Automotive Equipment) largely knew Coccaro Jr. as his father’s son, and he remembers how proud Coccaro Sr. was that his progeny chose to work at his side.
“Greg Sr. was honored by his son’s actions and was looking forward to Jr. walking in his shoes, so as Jr. took over, he immediately pushed to be better by embracing the EV revolution and the increasing certification as well as training. This allowed him to maintain himself as an industry leader…never a follower.
“Greg was a fighter for the industry to help all shops to be compensated for their certifications and training. His goal was to attract only the best workers to our industry. I know Greg would like to be remembered as the man who gave the industry and his community 100 percent at all times. As we all fight the fight for proper repairs and compensation, we should all thank Greg and his dad for helping pave the way for all of us.”
Coccaro Jr. was born in Sleepy Hollow, NY and spent his career working at his father’s side, learning everything there was to know from Coccaro Sr. He is survived by his mother Debra Ann Coccaro (Servello); his brother James Coccaro; his wife Bridget Muzzillo and a young daughter.
AASP-MA and New England Automotive Report send their deepest condolences to the Coccaro family.
Want more? Check out the November 2023 issue of New England Automotive Report!