Harold Hodges Polk, 93, a Virginia horse breeder and car dealer who was known for many years in Alexandria for his advertising slogan "The World's Friendliest Chrysler Plymouth Dealer," died Sept. 20 of complications from spinal meningitis at Inova Alexandria Hospital. He lived in Alexandria for more than 60 years.
Mr. Polk began selling Chrysler and Plymouth automobiles in the early 1940s, and the "World's Friendliest" slogan on the Polk Motor Co. building was a local landmark. In 1972, he opened Heritage Motors in Alexandria, which continued to sell the Chrysler line, and his Volvo of Alexandria at the King Street location sold Volvos and Subarus.
Mr. Polk displayed an entrepreneurial bent early, out of necessity. Born in Claxton, Ga., and 2 when his father died, he eventually made extra money for the family by selling ice, books and milkshakes; he also learned how to pack cotton at a cotton gin. While he was in high school, he learned photography and contributed to the family income by taking portraits of neighbors and friends.
He graduated from Claxton High School in 1928 and traveled to Orlando looking for work. He arrived in the Washington area in 1931 and got a job selling cars for Cherner Motors. He moved to Gladney Motors in Alexandria in the early 1940s and opened Polk Motor Co. shortly thereafter.
His fascination with racehorses and love of racing prompted him to establish a breeding farm for thoroughbred mares called Polk-a-Dot Farm near Middleburg in 1960. His many winning horses, racing under white-and-blue polka-dot silks, included the stakes winners Jim J, Mademoiselle Diane and Mademoiselle Cyane.
He was a member of the Virginia Breeders Association and rode with the Piedmont Hunt. He also was a longtime member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Alexandria.
Mr. Polk's marriage to Ann Mary Cairns Polk ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 27 years, Harriett Hellmuth Polk of Alexandria; three children from his first marriage, Robert Harold Polk of Port Townsend, Wash., Barbara Ann Fay of Bluemont, and Linda Elaine Robinson of Leesburg; three stepchildren, Everett Hellmuth, David Hellmuth and Diane Hellmuth, all of Alexandria; eight grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.