William D. "Billy" Lancaster, the longtime owner of two Lexington auto body shops, died Wednesday while spending time at his winter home in Sarasota, Fla., during a break in his cancer treatments, a relative said. He was 65.
He helped his late father, Dale Lancaster, start Blue Grass Auto Body downtown 46 years ago, said his daughter, LeAnne Brooks-Purdon. The business now has two locations: one on West High Street, the other on Ruccio Way.
Mr. Lancaster's mother, Della Atwell, still helps with the operation.
Brooks-Purdon said she and her brother, Wes Lancaster, will run the shops. The downtown store will soon be renovated, she said.
Mr. Lancaster, an elder at Southland Christian Church, was diagnosed with a type of cancer called multiple myeloma in December. He was undergoing treatment at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.
WVLK-AM 590 radio host Jack Pattie said Mr. Lancaster was a friend and Blue Grass Auto Body was a sponsor of his radio show for many years. Pattie called Mr. Lancaster "one of the most honest, fair, decent people I've ever known."
Dan Riffe, who has worked as a manager at the downtown shop for 43 years, said Mr. Lancaster started a Bible study for employees about 20 years ago that still meets. The study has changed the lives of many people, Riffe said.
Besides his two children, Mr. Lancaster is survived by his wife, Jayne Lancaster.
Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on Harrodsburg Road is handling arrangements, which were incomplete Thursday.