(WXYZ) — Maureen LaFontaine, the co-founder of LaFontaine Automotive Group, has died at the age of 73, her family announced Wednesday.
Maureen and her husband, Michael, founded the group in 1980, and she started selling vehicles on a part-time basis while raising her family.
She became the dealer principal of the group's Cadillac, Pontiac and GMC store in downtown Milford in 1984, and she sold more cars in her first month than the dealership sold in the previous year.
“Known affectionately as Madre to all that knew and loved her, my mom was a true firecracker and lived life to the fullest,” said Ryan LaFontaine, Chief Operating Officer, LaFontaine Automotive Group. “Her motto was ‘Faith, Family and Friends,’ and we were all inspired by her dedication to giving back and always putting the customer and community first. She will be deeply missed by all, but her legacy will live on by how we treat our customers and our continued philanthropic efforts.”
“We lost our mother, best friend, mentor and guiding light,” said Kelley LaFontaine, Vice President, LaFontaine Automotive Group. “There is no question my mom’s vision, leadership and heart, are at the core of everything we do at LaFontaine Automotive Group. The mission of my family and our employees is to personalize the automotive experience by building lifelong relationships that connect families and strengthen the community – and mom truly embodied that.”
She was awarded the 2019 Women in Retail Network Premier Dealer Award, was part of the Automotive News 100 Leading Women of 2020 and given the Women's Automotive Association International Spirit of Leadership Award in 2014.
Maureen is survived by Mike, her husband; sons Ryan and Mike Jr.; daughters Kelley and Christie, and 15 amazing grandchildren. She also leaves many extended family members and dear friends who will miss her dearly, and who will carry on her amazing legacy.
There will be a celebration of her life at the LaFontaine Cadillac, Buick, GMC Dealership in highland on Saturday, Nov. 2. Visitation will be at 12 p.m. with a memorial service at 1:30 p.m. followed by a luncheon.
A funeral mass for her family and close friends will be celebrated at Church of the Holy Spirit, 3700 N. Harvey Lake Road, in Highland on Monday, November 4, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are encouraged to U CAN-CER VIVE