Calgary philanthropist killed in U.K. vintage car rally

Calgary philanthropist Ron Carey was killed on the weekend in a highway accident in England while taking part in a vintage car rally.

Ron Carey, founder of J&L Supply, donated dozens of vintage autos to Heritage Park

Ron Carey was killed on Sunday when his antique car collided with a transport truck on an expressway during a vintage car rally outside London, England. His wife, Billi, was seriously injured. (John Lovell)

Calgary philanthropist Ron Carey was killed on the weekend in a traffic accident while taking part in a U.K. vintage car rally.

Carey was at the wheel of a 1903 Knox Runabout in the London to Brighton rally on Sunday when he mistakenly turned onto the M23 motorway and collided with a transport truck.

Carey's wife, Billi Carey, was also involved in the collision. She was airlifted to a nearby hospital suffering serious injuries, officials said.

"The police are investigating exactly what happened, but the car had left the route, which follows the A23, and was on the M23 (a motorway) when the collision occurred," organizers of the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run said in an emailed statement.

The collision happened on the southbound lanes of the M23 motorway near Hooley, about 25 kilometres south of London.

Carey, 80, was the founder of Calgary-based drill bit service company J&L Supply.

He donated his vast collection of antique vehicles and other vintage automotive collectibles to Heritage Park's Gasoline Alley display, which he helped get off the ground.

Heritage Park president and CEO Alida Visbach said Carey's collection is full of important aspects of Canada's automotive history.

"Especially because a lot of it was trucks. Not many people collected trucks, but he had a passion for trucks because he believed strongly that trucks built this country," she said.

"So we really built Gasoline Alley with Ron's collection in mind. And he was very much involved in that whole design and that whole discussion. So he's an integral part of why Heritage Park is what it is today."

Carey is also being remembered by the chuckwagon community for being a generous sponsor and long-time advocate for the Calgary Stampede.

"There will never be another like him," said chuckwagon commentator Billy Melville, a close friend of the Carey family.

"He certainly left his mark and that mark will be around for a long, long time in a lot of different areas."


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