Longmate, Les

Charles Leslie (Les) Longmate was born to parents Lena and Charlie Longmate on July 31, 1922 in Holden, Alberta. Shortly after Leslie’s birth his father, Charlie, moved his young family to Big Valley then settled in Drumheller where he opened a Ford dealership. Upon graduation from Drumheller High School, Les pursued a diploma in Business from the Alberta College in Edmonton.

In 1940, Les joined the Canadian Air Force and served his country overseas until 1945 at which point his entrepreneurial spirit brought him back to Alberta. It seemed to be a natural fit that Les should follow his father’s example and start a dealership of his own. Les saw the opportunity Grande Prairie had to offer and decided to take the risk and move north where he would open the Chyrsler Plymouth dealership with his friend Bob Millar. The dealership changed to selling Fords in 1962 and was one of the first family owned businesses in the area at the time.

In 1950, Les would marry his hometown sweetheart and love of his life Margaret Christina Anderson. Together Les and Margaret raised four children: Janet, Evelyn, Charles and Margaret. Les and Marg made a conscious choice to grow strong roots in their community of Grande Prairie and instilled the importance and gift of community service in their children.

While owning and running a car dealership was a livelihood for Les it was also his passion. He was highly respected by his peers in the auto industry, locally, and across Canada. Les had a formula for success that he stood by his entire life – “the basics of business are still the same, fair prices and good service”. His customers were always right. This was the foundation that Windsor Motors was built on, which eventually expanded into Windsor Ford and many other business ventures.

Les made many lifelong friends over the years and served on many committees and community organizations, he was: an Alderman on City Council, sat on the GPRC Foundation Board as well as the Grande Prairie Public Library Board, the Police Commission, Rotary, and supported countless fundraisers and community events. Les proved to be a friend, a mentor and helped many to a better way of life through his fellowship and dedication to AA.

Les Longmate passed away on May 7, 2014.