Motorists across Cardiff are mourning the loss of one of a legendary garage owner in the city, who passed away at the age of 89, having worked until his final days.
Ron Austin, owner of A&A Tyres & Auto Services First Stop, was greeting customers on Monday November 14 in his inimitably jovial manner, only to pass away two days later. He was believed to be the oldest garage owner in the UK and his colleagues have rushed to pay tribute to the inimitable businessman.
Ron, one of nine children, was born and bred in South Wales and lived in Pontyclun. He founded A&A Tyres in Tyndall Street, Cardiff, in 1968 and later moved to a purpose built premises in Leckwith Industrial Estate in 1974, where the business is still going strong today. A&A Tyre & Auto Services First Stop Manager Craig Williams said: “Ron will be greatly missed and I don’t know how we’re going to cope without him. “We’re still expecting him to walk through the door with that cheeky smile on his face. It’s a loss that we find difficult to put into words.
“There’s been a lot of customers in tears, which shows how much he was loved by so many people across the city. Ron was a humble man and I don’t think he quite knew how much he was thought of. He leaves a massive hole that will be impossible to fill. “A family member recently told me that his work was his home, and his house was just somewhere he slept in. This was so true of Ron. He loved it here and his passion was A&A Tyres, as he showed by working right up until his final days. We don’t know what we’re going to do without him, but we’ll work harder than ever to preserve an incredible legacy.”
Ron owned eight depots across Wales over the years, including a retread plant for car and commercial tyres, not to mention a wholesale division importing and exporting across Europe, employing over 140 staff. Before a career in the automotive industry came calling, he worked in the RAF where a role in charge of the fire service took him around the world, including North Africa and the Suez Canal.
As recently as May 2022, Ron talked about his career, with some comments that embodied his incredible work ethic. He said: “Everybody had to look out for each-other in the RAF and we were all treated as equal. That’s the lesson I took from my time in the Armed Forces. I have always tried to treat my staff as part of a big family and look out for them. Family comes first and it’s important that they know this, and that we can always find a way of making things work out.
“When a customer comes in for some support, I’m just here to help. It does give me a sense of satisfaction when we fix a problem for them, which is one of the reasons why I keep on going.”
Ron was a widow for 10 years after his childhood sweetheart Moira passed away. He leaves three children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
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