Dealership mourning loss of founder

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SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT. – The flag at Prouse Chevrolet is flying at half-mast today.

Long-time General Motors’ dealer and Sault Ste. Marie business leader Franklin Prouse died Saturday.

A brief posting on the dealership’s Facebook page announced his peaceful passing adding: “He will be remembered as a great leader, dedicated and hard-working businessman. We will miss him.”

According to the dealership website, Prouse, a Brampton native, first visited Sault Ste. Marie in central Ontario while working summers as a waiter on the Canadian Pacific passenger vessel Keewatin.

He opened his first GM dealership in Acton, Ont., 1956, and when the automaker offered him an open point in Sault Ste. Marie in 1962, he “jumped at the opportunity.”

According to SooToday.com, marine vessels remained Prouse’s love outside the auto industry. He owned and operated the passenger touring boat vessel Chief Shingwauk, which conducted tours of the locks. He was also president of the Sault Historic Sites Museum Ship Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan in 1971 and 1972.

Local media said Prouse was also involved with the Rotary Club, the Plummer Hospital board, a member of the Sault College Board of Governors, past director of the Algoma Conservatory of Music as well as vice chairman of the Official Board of Central United Church for two terms.

He won the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Award of Excellence in 2004.

Prouse and his wife Nora also supported Sault College’s goal of revitalizing the Waterfront and Tennis Centre. The college announced last May it would rename the facility The Franklin Prouse Centre.

– With files from SooToday.com