The man behind the brand, mechanics for Mike started as a 14-year-old boy who took apart his family’s new lawn mower because he wanted to see how it worked. Surprisingly unperturbed when he found his son had spread small engine parts throughout the backyard, Mike’s father only told him to make certain he put all the pieces back where he’d found them--and he did, minus a few extra bolts that he tossed amongst the tall grass and blackflies of Moosenee, Ont.
From that first lawn mower, Mike spent his high school years pumping gas and continuing to disassemble and re-make engines and cars, all with an ever-improving skillset. As he moved into his 20s, he got into racing with Austin Minis and Honda Civics at tracks like Tremblant and Mosport. Mike put down roots in Richmond with his basset hound Molson, in 1982 and set to building his career as a mechanic, and while some told him he was going to fail, he opened up Mike’s Service Centre in 1984 at the age of 23.
A lot like fixing the lawn mower, he had no idea what he was doing when it came to fully running a shop of his own, but he figured it out as he went, building a technician team and client base.
Over the 25 years that Mike’s Service Centre stood in Richmond, Mike took on more and more RV repair work, evolving his skill set from only fixing mechanical issues to include repairing most anything encompassed within motorhomes and trailers. Eventually, Mike’s Service Centre was the largest private repair shop in Ottawa that did RV work.
Fast forwarding to 2017, Mike, freelancing as a mobile RV technician, started Mike’s RV & Marine (renamed to Kilby Auto & RV by his kids in September 2020) Casual days of service calls from Hawksbury to Barry’s Bay quickly developed into 12 hour work days due to such high demand for a knowledgeable mechanic who was equipped to go to clients. Soon his one-man-crew included a few part-time technicians, until part-time became full-time and shop space was acquired along with a service partnership with E-Block, an online auction car dealership that Kilby Auto & RV does service work for.
In late March 2019, Mike was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Given a year as a timeline, he launched into preparations to pass the business into the hands of his kids, Hannah and Dale. To the devastation and shock of many, especially his large, loving family, Mike passed away in early July 2019, only a few months into his courageous fight with the terrible disease.
Despite not having the time he thought he had, he did his best to pass the business along to its new caretakers, Hannah and Dale. They strive daily to continue to make their old man proud.
If you’d like to read Mike’s obituary, please click here.
In lieu of flowers, the Hannah and Dale wish for donations to be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or Basset Hound Rescue of Ontario, as Mike had a lifelong love for their floppy ears, too-big feet and droopy eyes.