EDITORIAL: Tom Foord provides lasting legacy

Kal Tire founder remembered for his community passion and his business savvy...

Tom Foord was a businessman like no other.

He took a tiny shop in Vernon in 1953 and turned Kal Tire into Canada’s largest independent tire retailer. With 4,000 employees, the company has a presence across Canada, as well as in Africa, Britain, South America and Australia.

Such a transformation in itself is impressive, but what made Foord stand out was his commitment to the community.

The Saskatchewan native moved to Vernon in 1943 and it quickly became a source of pride. “Vernon has always had a special place in my heart,” he said in a 2007 interview.

And that passion was demonstrated in many ways, including keeping Kal Tire’s head office here although it may have made more business sense to relocate as the company’s activities grew.

Foord also made sure he gave back to the community that had supported his endeavours. He was a driving force behind development of the People Place and the North Okanagan Neurological Association’s child development centre. He was also a strong advocate for the United Way, Hospice House, Vernon Jubilee Hospital, the North Okanagan Community Life Society and many other charities.

It should be pointed out that Ford’s philanthropy was a partnership. His wife Norah was also active in the community and was always there for those in need.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Foord family and everyone at Kal Tire as they mourn the  passing of Tom, who died Thursday, and Norah, who died Feb. 25.

But while they are gone, their passion for the community and the people who call it home is a legacy that will live on forever.

—The Morning Star