Clinton Baulch's staff and business partners have released a statement on the business' Facebook page after his shock death.
"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of our leader last night Clinton Baulch," the post said.
"To say Baulchy was a legend in the automobile industry is a vast understatement.
"Known and respected across the country his death leaves an entire industry and community numb with grief.
"He was our larrikin and our leader, but he was more than that. He was a family man, a mentor and a true leader in every sense of the word.
"He was always the first into the fight. The fight against adversity, a challenge , to lend a hand to the little guy who just needed a shot.
There's a long long line of people he nurtured, trained and mentored. He believed in people and always gave everyone a fair go.
"We send our love and support from the Clinton Baulch Motor Group, to Jacquie, Tom and Indi.
"We are gonna miss you forever Baulchy."
Earlier: Warrnambool's business community is in mourning after the shock death of leading car dealer Clinton Baulch.
The 48-year-old died at his Illowa home on Monday night.
He ran the Clinton Baulch Motor Group on Raglan Parade for about 15 years and was heavily involved in local sport.
That dealership moved from a previous site at west Warrnambool to east Warrnambool in 2017.
The family owned business was a multi-award winning dealership selling Nissan, Kia and Isuzu.
He also set up his Jaclinton Hereford stud at Illowa.
Mr Baulch and his family moved from Bendigo to take over what was then Gleeson Motors in Warrnambool during 2007.
He also had a strong connection with the Old Collegians Football Netball Club and served as chairman of the club board.
Mr Baulch is survived by his wife Jacquie and two children.
During a previous interview with The Standard, Mr Baulch revealed he had been dogged by hamstring injuries during his footy career.
He missed the 1997 Hampden league grand final with Cobden when the Bombers beat Port Fairy by 15 goals.
The dealer said Sean Lever came up from playing in Geelong to be captain coach of Cobden, taking them to successive flags in 1997 and 1998.
Mr Baulch said at that time he was milking cows at Simpson.
"Peter 'Moose' Manouel saw me in the pub and said we had this new centre half-back from down Geelong way and he was going to be a top player and coach for the club," he said.
"I thought I would go to training. I can still remember there were 10 blokes at training. I was looking for the new coach. In my mind I was thinking he would be about six foot four or six foot five (193-196cm) in the old measurements.
"The next minute this bloke was standing there and he looked like a scrawny looking toothpick. I walked away and thought 'This bloke is not the answer to Cobden's problems'. I soon learnt he was the answer.
"Lever was talking to the players before the season and he said if we don't make the finals he was not going to get paid.
"I think straight after that statement he won the respect of the players. Lever taught the players to respect the club. He never swore.
"If he wanted to get his message across to any individual player, he would take them away from the group. Lever showed a new style of footy to other Hampden league teams. He had silky skills himself, had a passion for footy and was always switching play. He was a very keen student of the game."
Mr Baulch said he played his first senior Hampden league game with Camperdown in 1990 when I was 17.
"I had a few mates playing at Cobden and I didn't agree with everything which was happening at Camperdown," he said.
"I was in the best players in the seniors at Camperdown and got dropped back to the under 18s. The reason I was given at the time why I got dropped was team balance.
"I told Camperdown officials Keith Stephens and Pat Meade I wanted a clearance to Cobden. They told me the club would not give me a clearance. I sat out the season.
"When I look back at what happened I was pig-headed and a hothead. I had an ego but I suppose there are plenty of other footballers who have an ego.
"I can't change what happened when I was 17 but the Camperdown Football Netball Club was right in not giving me a clearance.
"Hindsight is a great thing but once again I look back and agree the club is bigger than any individual."
Mr Baulch said he started selling cars in Ballarat in 1998.
"I played a few games up there but Jacquie and I moved to Bendigo and I got a job with Bendigo Toyota. I ended up taking over as general manager of the dealership in 2005," he said.
"I heard that Pat Gleeson was thinking of selling his dealership in Warrnambool in late 2006. Jacquie and I wanted to come back to home territory so we purchased the Nissan dealership from Pat and the rest is history.
"It's been a great move for us to shift to Warrnambool. We've received great support from all around the region. Daniel Beard, one of my old Cobden teammates, was out at KoloraNoorat in 2007. He asked if I wanted to play with them. I played there for two years.
"One of the main reasons why I joined them was my brother Coleman played there and I just wanted to play in the same side as him.
"I found out I put on a bit of weight when I was not playing footy. My weight ballooned out to 101 kilograms when my career was over but I've been working out with Frank McKenzie and I got my weight down to 91 kilograms. I've made a comeback to footy this year (2009) with Old Collegians."
The car dealership principal said the best players he had seen play during his career was Timmy Chatfield.
"He was one of the best players that I've every played against. He was a freak player. He had the ability to sit on blokes' heads when he was taking marks.
"I should know. He did that to me on more than one occasion. Shane Garner was a polished player but pound for pound Stephen Hammond was a great player.
"I've admired him as a player and as a person to play out his career with Cobden. He's been a sensational player for Cobden."
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