Cyril James “Cy” Russell, aftermarket veteran, exceptional business mind, and owner of Autoline Products Ltd. in Winnipeg, Man, passed away March 4, 2020 at the age of 91.
Cy started his career at the family farm in Swan River, Manitoba then moved to Winnipeg for further schooling and shortly after a position in branch management at what is now the TD Bank.
Cy entered the automotive aftermarket In 1960 when he was offered a position as office manager of Fort Ignition Limited which was being created as a retail outlet for Wilson Auto Limited. During his tenure at Fort, Cy became shareholder and eventually President and General Manager growing the company to 36 stores and several associates across the western prairie Provinces and Northwestern Ontario. Fort was an industry leader in the warehousing and distribution of automotive parts along with industrial, agricultural parts/accessories and equipment.
Fort Ignition was sold to UAP NAPA in 1994, which provided a brief retirement for him until Cy expanded his existing ownership in AutoLine Products Ltd. , the remanufacturer and distributor of carburetors, distributors, fuel injectors and other products. Those products are sold through distribution outlets in Canada and United
Cy led the expansion of Autoline and remained active in the business until recently. During his career Cy was honoured with the Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. He also served as AIA chairman in 1994 and by that time he had already served in various capacities at the divisional and national level.
He valued his relationships in the industry and his fellow employees and would always ensure that service was a priority for his customers. Many times, he would stay late hours working to his goals and after hours providing needed parts to a customer.
Cy was predeceased by Maizie, his wife of 65 years. He is survived by 2 children and 9 grandchildren.
Friends, family, and all those who worked with Cy are invited to toast his life and career at his favorite lunch spot:
Rossmere Country Club, 925 Watt St. on Thursday, March 12, between 3:00 and 6:00.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Trails Manitoba or a charity of choice.