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Harold Hodges Polk -- Car Dealer, Horse Breeder

Obituary

Harold Hodges Polk, born near Claxton, Georgia on Oct. 5, 1910 passed away in Alexandria on Sept. 20, 2004. His parents were Mollie Viola Hodges Polk and Archie Bascom Polk. He had one brother, Archie Bascom Polk, Jr. who died in 1948. He was 2 years old when his father died in 1912. His mother died in 1976.

Polk grew up in the Claxton, Ga. area living in Daisy and Manassas throughout his childhood. As a boy, he frequently found ways to earn extra money for the family by selling ice, books, milkshakes and his inquisitiveness as an eight year old led him to explore and learn how to pack cotton in a local cotton gin. During his high school years he learned photography and helped contribute to the family income by taking portraits of neighbors and friends.

He graduated from Claxton High School in 1928 and went to Orlando, Fla. in search of work. His work brought him to the Washington area in 1931. His interest in the automobile business led him to Mr. Cherner in Washington, and he started selling automobiles for Cherner Motors. An opportunity to work in Alexandria came when he started selling for Gladney Motors at 1646 King Street.

In the early 1940s he acquired the ownership of this dealership creating Polk Motor Co. He was successful in guiding this company into one of the leading Chrysler dealerships in the east. Throughout its history he sold Chrysler and Plymouth automobiles under the Polk Motor Co. banner. During this same period, he purchased his first thoroughbred race horse, thus beginning a long and successful journey as owner and breeder of many winning horses including the stakes winners, Jim J, Mademoiselle Diane and Mademoiselle Cyane. He became one of the most successful small breeders of thoroughbred race horses during his lifetime. His love for racing and horses led him to Middleburg, Va. in 1960 where he established Polk-A-Dot Farm, a successful breeding farm for thoroughbred mares. In 1972 he opened Heritage Motors in Alexandria continuing the Chrysler line and Volvo of Alexandria at the King Street location offering Volvo and Subaru automobiles.

Polk was also an accomplished pilot earning an instrument rating on twin-engine aircraft. He was a life-long member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Alexandria and a board member at First Federal Savings and Loan in Alexandria. He was a member of the Virginia Breeders Association and rode with the Piedmont Hunt. He has been of member of the First Baptist Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church both in Alexandria.

He was previously married to Anna Mary Cairns Polk. He is survived by his current wife Harriett J. Polk, children Robert Harold Polk of Port Townsend, Wash., Barbara Ann Fay and husband Carl Fay of Bluemont, Va., Linda Elaine Robinson and husband Peter Robinson of Leesburg, Va., step-children Everett Hellmuth, David Hellmuth and Diane Hellmuth of Alexandria, eight grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Visitation will be at Everly Wheatley Funeral Home in Alexandria, Thursday, Sept. 23 from 6-8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 24 from 2-4 p.m. and 6–8 p.m. Services will be held Saturday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria.