John Jude Tracey, the founder of the National Automotive Finance Association (NAF), died June 21 after a brief battle with leukemia.
Jack, as he was known to the industry, was 74 years old.
Tracey founded the NAF Association in 1997, and it mainly served the alternative auto finance sector, including subprime and nonprime lending, advocating for more responsible and knowledgeable lending practices. The association is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
A very tall man, Tracey would be immediately noticeable upon entering a room. Invariably, he carried his sideways smile in with him.
In 2015, Auto Finance News recognized the NAF for its contributions to the industry. “While the regulatory compliance noose has tightened around the industry’s neck, so to speak, one organization has done so much to loosen that rope,” AFN said at the time.
It was Tracey who rose to accept the award with his Baltimore accent.
Tracey was also active in the American Society of Association Executives.
Tracey is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen Tracey, who was long at his side at industry trade shows; and his daughters, Megan Elizabeth Carroll (Sean); Cara Jean Pyles; and Maureen Aimee Hudson (Chris); and eight grandchildren, Ryan, Grady and Molly Carroll; Lizzy, Kealy and Joey Pyles; and Caroline and Nathan Hudson.
A funeral Mass was celebrated today at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Long Green Valley in Hydes, Md., with interment immediately following at Saint John the Evangelist Cemetery.
On a personal note, it was remarkable that Jack was actively engaged with the industry until the end, despite relinquishing the NAF stewardship to Joel Kennedy a couple of years ago. Just a week before his passing, we traded emails. I had sent him a note to congratulate him on NAF’s 25th anniversary.
“It just seems like yesterday when I began the association and its first conference,” he wrote in reply.
He signed the note “Jack.”
Details on donations in lieu of flowers can be found here.