In Memoriam: Tom Caruso, Pete Lukasiak 

By Staff Writer December 27, 2021

The auction and remarketing world lost two icons recently, with the deaths of Tom Caruso and Pete Lukasiak.


Tom Caruso died Dec. 21 at the age of 61.

He retired last year after 40 years in the auto business. Caruso started at a car dealership before joining Concord Auto Auction and became fleet/lease manager and assistant GM at the age of 20.

In 1992, ADESA acquired the auction and Caruso never left the industry or the ADESA/KAR Auction Services family. He was involved in the Massachusetts Independent Automobile Dealers Association and the National Vehicle Leasing Association. 

Caruso also served as National Auto Auction Association president in 2006 

He won a slew of industry awards, the biggest of which included the NAAA Hall of Fame and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s Ring of Honor.

Tom Caruso.

When he retired, he told Used Car News how grateful he was to spend his long career at ADESA/KAR Global. 

“The people were always loyal and we all had a servant’s attitude,” Caruso said.

Jim Hallett, executive chairman and chairman of the board KAR Auction Services, Inc, provided the following statement on the passing of remarketing industry icon Tom Caruso:

“It is with tremendous grief and sadness that I announce the passing of my dear friend and colleague, Tom Caruso. Tom passed away Tuesday evening after a battle with cancer and leaves a 40-year legacy of leadership and friendship across ADESA, KAR Global and the entire automotive industry. On behalf of the KAR Global executive committee, our Board of Directors and the entire KAR Global organization –we send our thoughts, prayers and support to Tom’s wife, children, grandchildren and loved ones.

“Tom was one of my longest and dearest friends in this great industry. He began his career at the Concord Auto Auction in 1980 and later led the creation of ADESA Boston, our largest and most successful location. That track record set him on the path to becoming Executive Vice President of ADESA, then Chief Operating Officer and finally President and CEO in 2009.

“What always set Tom apart, however, was not what he accomplished, but how he accomplished it. Tom was a true servant leader who believed deeply in the power of people – the ability to get anything done through partnership, collaboration and trust. He approached every challenge with enthusiasm and an eagerness to work with others to find the best possible outcome. That is why people gravitated toward him and why we all enjoyed working with him so much.

“More than anything, Tom was an incredibly kind and genuine person  – a man from humble beginnings who never took a person, opportunity nor idea for granted. He was willing to do any job, anytime, anywhere if he thought it would help one of our customers. On a personal level, he guided me through some of the most challenging decisions of my career, and I will treasure the countless memories and milestones we celebrated together over the years.

“Tom’s industry accomplishments are many – so I won’t repeat them all here. But I would encourage anyone in our industry to read our press press release announcing his retirement in March 2020. His contributions to automotive remarketing are nothing short of inspirational. And it is that inspiration that will live forever at our company, across our industry and in my heart.”


Pete Lukasiak, 78, died on Dec. 18.

Lukasiak was born in 1943 in Oil City, Pa.

He joined the Air Force out of high school and spent 3 1/2 years serving in Germany during the early Vietnam era. Following his time in the service he began his college career at The University of Pittsburgh. He began a career for IBM where he worked for many years as a technical editor, then a writer, ultimately ending up in Frederick County, Md.

Pete Lukasiak.

Lukasiak later started working for different trade associations and ended up managing some publications for the National Auto Dealers Association.

Following his stint at NADA Lukasiak was asked to lead the National Auto Auction Association as its executive director. He led the association for more than 14 years and helped to grow its size and influence.

He transitioned to lead the Pennsylvania Independent Automobile Dealers Association in Harrisburg, Pa., for several years until his retirement.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Vivian Lukasiak. He is also survived by his daughter, Sandy Chaney (Brett).; and his son, Chris Lukasiak (Canyon); his grandchildren, Jessica Chaney, Gabriel Lukasiak (Marta), Joshua, Zachary, Benjamin and Hope Lukasiak; and great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings, Michael and Matt. 

The auction and remarketing world lost two icons recently, with the deaths of Tom Caruso and Pete Lukasiak.


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Last modified on Monday, 27 December 2021 16:39