HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – John Rock, former fleet director, divisional general manager, and vice president of General Motors passed away from cancer on Nov. 16 at Fall River Hospital in Hot Springs. He was 71.

Rock began his career with GM in 1960 as a district manager trainee with Buick, upon graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1959 with a degree in psychology, Rock’s father, a Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealer convinced him to work with GM.

Rock was fleet director for Buick Motor Division from 1967-1968. From 1970-1973, Rock was director, fleet and government sales for the General Motors Fleet Section.

During his career, Rock was promoted to a series of managerial positions within GM. In 1979, he worked in Australia as an executive director of marketing for Holden’s Automotive Limited, a GM business unit. A few years later, Rock relocated to Detroit to manage GMC Truck Division. In 1992, Rock became general manager for the Oldsmobile Division.

He also held board positions with the South Dakota Board of Economic Development, Regional Health Network, Inc. of Rapid City, The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, Chamber of Commerce of Hot Springs, Black Hills Economic Development, Inc. of Sturgis, Rush Enterprises, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas and Vice President and Director of Groton Auto and Tractor Co. of Groton.

In addition to these and other past boards, Rock took the time to care for the indiviudals in the area as a volunteer for Senior Meals Program in Hot Springs.

Rock was best remembered by his time at Oldsmobile when he tried to save the brand by using Saturn’s sales tactics of customers-first and no haggle sales with import-orientated vehicles.

In 1991 John was named Vice President of General Motors, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.

No funeral or memorial services will be held to honor Rock's wishes.

Rock is survived by his wife, Bonnie, of 39 years.

Written condolences may be made at

Originally posted on Fleet Financials