OWEN SOUND — On October 9, Victor Pettigrew passed away. He was 75.
Victor had been the third-generation owner of Millers Garage, Owen Sound’s former International dealer.
At the time of his retirement, just a few years ago, the company had been operating over 90 years.
In his working years, Victor had a well-earned reputation as one of the most obliging, nicest people you could do business with. More than one brand new truck was ordered with nothing more than a handshake for a down payment.
His yellow-pages ad always had his home phone number, as well as that of least one parts staffer. After-hours parts availability was, in his opinion, a necessity.
"We’re under no obligation to be here 24/7," he once told me "but we damn well better be available 24/7.”
This was mentioned during one of many long conversations I had with him over the years, conversations which occasionally actually concerned business.
If he knew you, and you had time and inclination to solve the world’s problems, he was game.
Countless other small operators can tell a comparable tale.
I can tell you one of my own. The differential in our company’s 20-year old truck gave out shortly after we started operations. Like magic, Victor found room for it in his already full shop. His busy mechanics got us back on the road quickly. This was a common occurance at Victor’s. We had been in business long enough to accumulate a stack of fuel bills and toll receipts, but not long enough to have many receivables flow in.
I sheepishly asked if I could take the truck away, even though I couldn’t pay for a few weeks. He just laughed and said, "you can’t pay my bill if you’re not driving it! Of course you can take it."
He is survived by his mother, Ismay, his wife of 49 years, Virginia Gail (Turner), daughter, Donna, sons Brian and Matthew, five grandchildren, and an older brother, John.
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