Henry (Hank) Mews, a one time President of the Ottawa New Car Dealers Association and the owner of Myers Automotive Group before selling it to his sons, passed away on October 2. He was 85.
Born and raised in St. John’s, Mews had a long history in the business, including a 50-year association with General Motors. After finishing high school, Mews’ first job was selling cars at a Ford dealership.
In early 1962, he joined GM and for the next five years worked in Toronto and the Maritimes as a District Sales Manager, before returning to the Ford Dealership in St. John’s as GM in 1967.
In 1969, he had the opportunity to become the owner of that dealership but opted to return to Toronto and search for a dealership elsewhere in Canada hoping to become a GM Dealer. After a short stint as General Sales Manager of a Chevrolet Dealership in Toronto, the Ford Motor Company hired him to manage Ford-owned dealerships that had a history of failure. During the next two years he operated Ford Dealerships in Toronto, Montreal and Moncton. Finally in December 1970, GM initiated discussions between Mews and Neil McDonald, who owned Myers Automotive Group, to become the store’s manager. Mews joined in February, 1971 and became the store’s owner in July 1975 and began the process of expanding the company.
He received many awards over the years and sat on several GM Boards. In addition to being a member of the and President of ONCDA, he was also a founding member and President of a LAR Inc., a buying group out of Montreal.
Mews opened a second store in the early 90s. His sons, Rob and Harry, joined the company shortly after and purchased it from him in 2000. Rob and Harry began expanding the company into one of the biggest dealership groups, totaling 16 stores.
Harry said his father had an entrepreneurial spirit.
“He was the type of person that at the end of the day was going to be his own boss,” said Harry. “He worked hard to get different experiences in different fields and then eventually found his way into the automotive field. He enjoyed the business. He really enjoyed giving back to the community, donating his time and money.”
He volunteered his time with the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation as fundraiser and then Chairman as well as serving as Chair of the Hospital Board. He served on committees in his local church and gave generously to causes close to his heart. He was instrumental in donating a lead gift to establish the Acute Care for the Elderly Unit at the QCH through Myers Automotive.
A private family service in memory and celebration of Hank will be held on November 2.