Gerald “Jerry” Seavey, longtime owner of Seavey’s appliance store in Windham, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 81.

In his early years, Mr. Seavey operated a service station at Boody’s Corner in Windham. He later worked as a mechanic at Courie Pontiac in Portland and drove a truck for Mobil Oil and Merrill Transport.

In 1961, he joined his father in a business formerly called Seavey’s Automotive TV and Appliance at the rotary in Windham. They sold and serviced automotive parts, appliances and electronics. In 1966, the family tore down the store and built a 10,000-square-foot building.

Mr. Seavey, along with his longtime business associate, Dick Morrell, built four Seavey’s appliance and automotive stores. The store in Windham became Seavey’s Furniture TV and Appliance Inc. The stores in Gray, Cornish and Fryeburg primarily focus on auto parts.

His son Tim Seavey, who started running the business in 1986, said his father was a respected and trustworthy businessman who had a loyal following of customers. He handed the business over to his son in 1991.

“He did things old school,” his son said. “He was well used to doing business with a handshake. His integrity was impeccable.”

Tim Seavey said he admired his father’s integrity and work ethic. He worked long hours, seven days a week, to provide for his family.

“I learned a long time ago that your word was your bond and you never go back on it,” he said. “I certainly gained respect for the man because I saw how other people admired him.”

Another son, Toby Seavey, who is now a business owner in Ogunquit, worked in the appliance store for about 15 years.

“He taught me everything I know about retail and how to deal with people,” Toby Seavey said.

Aside from work, Mr. Seavey was a loving husband to his late wife, Joan Seavey. The couple raised four children. In 1976, he married Penelope Seavey.

Toby Seavey said they shared a great life together. They loved to entertain guests at their lake house for family celebrations and company gatherings.

“Penny referred to my father as her hero,” Toby Seavey said. “My father idolized her. She was not only his wife, but they were best friends for sure.”

Another hallmark of his life was his passion for auto racing. He and Morrell, his business partner, teamed up with local racing hero Homer Drew to tour Playboy Racing Team Chevrolets from Virginia to Canada.

Over the years, they won many championships at Beech Ridge Speedway, and dominated the open competition classes at Bangor, Unity, Wiscasset and Oxford Plains Speedway. They also toured the Northern NASCAR ranks in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Virginia and Canada. A highlight of his life was recently being inducted into the Maine Racing Hall of Fame.

Mr. Seavey was a founder of what is now the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. He received numerous business awards over the years, including The Windham Business Person of the Year Award in 1989.

“Everyone you met had this incredible level of respect for him,” Toby Seavey said. “You would never find someone that didn’t like him. People respected his handshake as his word and that’s how he lived his life.”