In Memory of Marvin MacPherson



This morning Joyce Waite sadly informed me that Marvin MacPherson, a long time Carleton Place businessman, had passed. I have to admit I didn’t know him personally, but the fact I was asked to write about him was an honour. Maybe some think that if you don’t know the individual, you have no right to write about them. But, it’s the legends and tales that folks remember you by, that create your personal story.

There is no doubt in my mind that Marvin has left a huge void in the town of Carleton Place. His brother was a traditional fundamentalist preacher, and Mr. MacPherson, himself, was a deeply religious man. His involvement and support for the Calvary Church on Highway 29 is reminder to all of us of what he stood for. Marvin’s personal convictions followed him to his business. Today, I heard three different stories that swearing was prohibited at MacPherson’s Automotive. Word was, if you lost your tongue in front of him, he would gently remind you that your bill could be doubled if you continued.

The greatest legacy one can pass on to their children is not money, nor material things. Marvin’s wife, sadly passed away a few years ago. Ross, was Marvin’s only son, who married Laurie (Watson) and had three sons: Spencer, Todd and Caleb. Ross’s son Todd and his wife Rosemary are now living out west and have given Marvin the blessing of two beautiful great grandchildren that he was able to get to know before he passed. While they are still babies now, I’m sure they will be reminded of what a loving great-grandfather they had.

His grandsons were all accomplished go-cart and stock car racers because of Marvin. The local businessman loved the excitement of piloting his small plane into the Lanark blue skies. He owned the small airstrip on Concession 9 near the railroad tracks, but sadly had not been there in awhile.

But, it was the automotive business that bonded the family together. In 1947 Marvin brought his radiator business to Carleton Place, and repaired them at his home on Mary Street. In 1953, 133 Antrim Street was the new location, and for 27 years, not only did he repair radiators, but automotive repairs were added. They expanded to their present location at 11 Bell Street in 1980 with a present staff of 8. They are, and always have been: ready, willing, and able, to tackle any automobile problem. Ross, Spencer, and Todd MacPherson, plus their team, are committed to carry on Marvin’s traditions.

unnamed (13)

I could write about those he left behind, but I personally believe that is up to his immediate family. Former Carleton Place Volkswagen dealer Alan Code, one told his daughter Nancy, that a salesman had shared some wise business advice to be a success at business.

“You’ve got to bring them into the garage to play a game of cards” he said.

Marvin MacPherson succeeded in that game with the population of Carleton Place. No legacy is so rich as honesty. As the MacPherson motto says, “Done Right the First Time” — and that’s how we will always remember Marvin MacPherson.

text by Linda Seccaspina with files from Joyce Waite


About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

4 responses »

  1. I cared for Marvin. A gentle sweet man, who wished he could be in Florida. where the weather was warm. He was cold all the time.apparantly had spent many winters there. I never saw his faith side but knew him many years ago as a trusted reasonably priced mechanic. Which is now in his sons hands. god bless you Marvin. You touched my heart. Rest in Peace. Xo


  2. Joyce and I express our condolences on the passing of Marvin into the presence of Jesus. I never had the honour of meeting Marvin but I’ve met his son Ross so I know understand what kind of man he was. Please know we are praying for you during your time of sorrow. Love never fails!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s