Remembering St Albans motor dealer Don Kendall

Owner of St Albans Coupers, Don Kendall. Picture: Supplied

Owner of St Albans Coupers, Don Kendall. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A well-known St Albans motor dealer has died at the age of 91.

Don Kendall, owner of Coupers on Catherine Street, passed away on September 18.

He took over from Coupers from the previous well-known owner Mike Couper, a local Rolls Royce and Bentley dealer and former Monte Carlo rally driver.

Don was born in Liverpool and attended Quarrybank School where Beatle John Lennon was a pupil.

In his younger years, he joined the RAF for his National Service where he qualified as a radio instructor and rose to the ranks of corporal.

He then moved to London in 1952 and worked in the furniture trade, even being trusted enough to drive his boss's Bentley down to the south of France. His entrepreneurial spirit was beginning to come to the fore when he bought his first company Offords which held a Royal Warrant for the repair and maintaince of Royal coaches and cars.

While attending the West End Show "Grab me a Gondala" he spotted a young dancer called Lorna who he later married. The couple had two sons together, Stephen and Paul.

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Don started body shop Donovan Kendall Ltd in Watford in the 1960s and in the 1970s bought Coupers car dealership in St Albans. His son said that though these businesses were very successful, Don was sometimes not the easiest person to work for as he was a tough boss but was always fair.

Paul said in his euology: "He loved his cars, American V8s but especially Rolls Royce and Bentleys. At one stage he had over 15 cars. I remeber dad taking me out in a Mustang and the thrill we had at going over 100 miles an hour for the first time down the dual carriageway in Watford. All of course with no seat belts."

As well as his love for cars, Don also enjoyed art, had many friends and a close family. Paul added: "I have taken just a few words from his many friends' letters and cards that he was kind, generous, supportive, had a positive impact and was mischievous, plus one I know he would have loved that he was still very attractive in his 80s.

"Last but not least came his family. He loved seeing how both Stephen and I progressed through our lives - our marriages to Niamh and Gerdien and all the grandchildren Cathryn, Hugo, Marcus, Emma, Sophie and Luc. He was so proud of you all and loved you dearly.

"He was a gentleman who really did live his life to the full and took every opportunity that was offered. We all loved him and will miss him greatly, but boy did we enjoy the ride while he was around."