Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bob Mathers Ford celebrates 100-year anniversary

The auto dealership that ultimately became Bob Mathers Ford was originally started on September 22,1917. And they will be celebrating that 100-year anniversary from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2017. It has been Bob Mathers Ford since 1973, and here’s the history of how that came about.

A century ago, the dealership was called Northern Auto Company. Bob Mathers worked there during his high school years in the late 1940's. Later, while living and working in Flint, he met Shirley Cunningham, and they were married in her hometown of Charlevoix on December 19, 1953. Bob and Shirley started their family in Flint where Cheri, Trish and Wendy were born. In 1962, they returned to Boyne, where Bob Jr. was born. They opened Mathers Sinclair on the corner of Lake Street and Water Street where Fifth Third Bank is now located. Robert repaired and sold used cars at his gas station and in 1972 they purchased the Body Shop from the Ford garage. The following year in the fall of 1973 Bob and Shirley purchased Dick Coté Ford and changed the name to Bob Mathers Ford. They sold the gas station in 1975 to the William Lindsay, who converted it to an insurance office. Robert G. Mathers passed away at the age of 76 on April 8th, 2005. Shirley passed away March 19, 2008, at the age of 76.

The dealership is now owned by the four Mathers siblings - Robert, Cheri, Trish and Wendy. Robert is now the General Manager, and daughter Wendy Mathers Reidel is the office manager. Robert and Wendy have been with the dealership since 1979 and 1981, respectively. The dealership has gone through several changes throughout the years, but the focus on customer satisfaction has always stayed the same.

> Historic pictures and more family history, including the story of how In 1936 Robert F. Mathers bought a 1935 two-door Ford from Northern Auto, trading in a cow, a 1929 Chevrolet and some cash. To close the deal Mathers then walked the cow to Deer Lake where John Parker, the dealership manager, had a farm.

> News-Review feature story.

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