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Who Am I?

John Freund

I was born in Windsor, Ontario, in 1936.  My parents immigrated to Canada from Hungary and Yugoslavia in the late 1920s to Windsor, Ontario, where they met and married.  They settled in Leamington, Ontario.  My mom worked part-time, while my dad owned and operated an auto service and body shop for the next forty-plus years.

I had a very active youth spending a lot of time at my father’s business, playing in the local town band, playing high school football and basketball as a Warrant Officer in the Air Cadet program.    Once a year, the Leamington band competed at the Waterloo Band Festival - just across the road from us today at Waterloo Park.


I also came to this area to stay with relatives who owned and operated K-W Frozen Foods.  I’d help deliver products around the area and enjoyed my visits very much.

When I graduated from high school, a part-time job at a local car dealer led me to take advantage of an offer of sponsorship, from this Pontiac Buick dealership, to attend General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan.  This was a


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two-year co-operative program in dealership sales and service management.

After completing the program in August, 1958, I came to Kitchener for a visit and had the good fortune of meeting Jack and Ralph Forbes, who owned the local Pontiac-Buick dealership in Kitchener.  Within a week of that meeting, I was hired and the beginning of a twenty-three year career with them began.


Some of the highlights I experienced working at Forbes Motors included:

  • Managing the service station at Weber St.

  • Managing the Marine Department – in Elmira,

  • Overseeing the construction of the Weber St. location

  • Eventually becoming the Used Car Sales Manager for the next eleven years

Early in 1981 I made a big decision to accept an offer from a relative, John Neil, who was a Canadian Tire dealer in Mississauga.  He asked me to oversee the construction and then to manage the auto service department of this flagship store.  Canadian Tire were building this ‘state of the art’ 18 bay service facility, which had the most up-to-date equipment that was available at the time.  We broke all sales records every year in the store and service department!  During those six and a half years I drove from Waterloo to Mississauga - not an easy task!


My commute to Mississauga ended in 1987 when John Neil and I found out that Canadian Tire were planning to build a new store on Highland Road in Kitchener.  Within a month we were asked to take over this store.  Once again, I oversaw the construction of the

store and service department and for the next few years, managed the auto service department.

Before retiring in 1998 I went out on my own as an automotive service consultant and I managed service departments at two other local stores.  Early in my retirement Canadian Tire Corporation Automotive Department hired me to write a course to train service managers and service advisors.


In 1961 I married my wife, Joline, a Family Studies teacher with the Waterloo County School Board. Our daughter, Sherry, was born in 1962, and our son, Jeffrey was born in 1966.  Between work, and holidays spent with family, I developed my marine modeling hobby by building and eventually racing gasoline-powered radio-controlled model boats. I founded Golden Triangle Marine Modellers in 1970, and various design and race successes led to my eventual invitation to represent Canada in world competitions in South Africa, England, and the United States.

Together in retirement, Joline and I have owned two wonderful West Highland White Terriers, Duffy, and Sassy, which we enjoyed showing in competitions across North America.  We have always loved road trips, and traveling with our dogs, and sometimes even with our children and two grandchildren, by way of ‘RV’, has left us with the fondest of memories.

Today, I belong to the:

  • K-W Woodworking Club

  • Toronto Antique Classic Boat Club

  • Golden Triangle Marine Modellers Club

  • Probus

Thank you for letting me share my life story, so far.

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