Members of the automotive aftermarket community in Canada gathered in Burlington, Ont. yesterday to pay respects to Don Bethune.
Bethune, who made his mark on the industry at Dayco, Exide Canada, and AP Parts, died June 12, 2012 at the age of 75.
Numerous friends and colleagues 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.
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.