BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The patriarch of an immigrant family who built a Vermont business empire has died.
Paul Handy died Saturday of a brain aneurysm. He was 70, said his son Peter Handy.
Mr. Handy arrived in Vermont in 1954 from Lebanon by way of Canada. He started a car repair business on Burlington's St. Paul Street.
From those modest beginnings, he built up several businesses, starting with a soda distributorship called Champlain Beverage and then expanding into motels, opening Countryside Motel, Travelodge in Shelburne, and other businesses.
The collection of businesses is now known as Handy Family Enterprises.
Peter Handy said his father's hard work and success was a perfect example of the American Dream.
''He definitely lived it," Peter Handy said. ''Whatever he touched, it turned to gold."
The real secret, though, was hard work and not luck, Peter Handy added.
As Mr. Handy became more successful, he brought relatives to Vermont from Lebanon, including his brother Salamin, who also worked hard and built his own business empire.
Salamin Handy died about eight years ago.