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Jay David Okon, CEO and founder of BLS Limousine Service Worldwide and JDO Leasing died on Feb. 2, 2018 after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He was 69.
Known by his middle name, David was born in Poland in 1948. Okon moved to America in 1970 with little more than $200 in his pocket. He learned English by watching television and doing word puzzles. He worked in a factory and eventually bought his first limo, a 1969 Cadillac, to earn money to buy an engagement ring for his future wife, Phyllis.
He fixed the four-year-old car and within a year landed a steady client who paid him a weekly retainer to drive him to Manhattan. This client taught him the fine nuances of being a professional chauffeur, and during weekends he would supplement income with weddings and proms. The company was called Four Star Limousine.
By the time they married in 1977, they had two cars and a steady wedding business. In 1978, Okon was approached by an operator on the West Coast who needed an affiliate in New York.
Los Angeles-based BLS Limousine booked their New York work exclusively with Okon. Within four years, Okon's fleet grew to six cars and he changed his company's name to BLS of New York. Thus began a forty year relationship with the entertainment industry. The owners of the LA operation eventually closed, and the Okon's entered a new partnership with a small limo service buying them out in the late 90s.
Today, BLS Limousine has four offices, that including three dispatch centers in Astoria, New York, Los Angeles, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, and corporate headquarters in Hicksville, New York. They employ hundreds of people and run a large fleet. They also have an affiliate network allowing clients to book worldwide.
"In everything he did, he never did not pay a debt, or stick anybody," his wife, Phyllis Okon, told LCT recently. "He helped so many people, especially people in trouble. He would go out of his way to hire people who maybe made mistakes in life. He gave them a new home and trusted them."
Phyllis Okon said her husband was a very private man who shied away from publicity, but cultivated many friends and loyal associates over his lifetime.
BLS is a family business and Okon's two sons, Michael and Eric, have worked beside him and his wife for over 20 years. He leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Phyllis, his sons, daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren.
Source: Okon family / BLS Limousine
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