“There was a great turn-out at Don’s tribute service [in Burlington, Ont. recently],” a letter from the family states. “The many speeches and remembrances confirmed the respect in which he was held by so many in the industry and the many friends he made in his lifetime.”
Numerous speakers paid tribute to Bethune, sharing stories from his sales days in the automotive aftermarket, and expressing their condolences to the family he left behind – particularly his wife Arlie, and his children Brad and Lori.
“None know better than we do what a superb person he was, especially as husband, father and grandfather, and in his chosen profession,” the family said. “We take this opportunity to thank everyone for their thoughts and words at this sad time.”
Bethune, who made his mark on the industry at Dayco, Exide Canada, and AP Parts, died June 12, 2012 at the age of 75.
Born April 11, 1937 in Berwick, N.S., Bethune started his career at the Royal Bank of Canada but soon joined the automotive industry, where his leadership abilities earned him positions as president of AP Parts Canadian division, Exide Canada, Inc., and eventually Dayco Canada.
In 1979, he relocated to Dayton, Ohio USA to take over as president of Dayco Automotive Aftermarket Company. Following the retirement of Don Ross in 1989, Don Bethune was promoted to president of Dayco’s entire business. He retired in 1993.
During his career, Don was elected chairman of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA), was involved with the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA), and received multiple accolades for his distinguished service and contributions to the automotive industry.
In his honour, Dayco is donating $5,000 to the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium to be used for student scholarships. This serves as a small remembrance of a man who was well-liked and respected both within Dayco and throughout the automotive aftermarket.
AIA Canada is also planning a memorial scholarship in Bethune’s name.