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.
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