George Lee Lane, 83, of Watervliet, passed away Jan. 26, 2021 at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph, after a brief illness. George was born on Aug. 17, 1937 in Hagar Township to George Fred Lane and Josie Lee (Wadley) Lane. He was a lifelong resident of southwest Michigan and graduated in 1955 from Benton Harbor High School. His first job was during those high school years at the City Service gas station in Hagar Township.
In 1960, George married Janet Mueller of Benton Harbor, and began their new life together in Riverside, MI. They soon were blessed with two sons, Douglas and David. George worked for several years in the literature department at Whirlpool, doing technical illustrations, before taking a job at Heathkit, developing product literature. During this time, George’s love of cars and racing grew from a hobby into a fledgling side business. In 1964, he launched Lane Automotive, which he grew from a part-time venture in his small garage to become one of the world’s leading distributors of automotive performance and racing parts, and a cornerstone of the southwest Michigan business community. As a pioneer in the automotive aftermarket, George played a critical role in shaping the industry into what it is today.
A regular fixture at local racetracks, car shows, and other automotive events, George was a vibrant part of the local community, and remained active in Lane Automotive even after his semi-retirement. He looked forward to the annual car show, Cars and Coffee, and other company events where he could often be found sharing stories with customers and car fans of all ages. As a business owner, George earned the respect of his employees, his suppliers, and his competitors, with business relationships spanning decades and many of his employees building life-long careers at Lane Automotive.
George was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Janet Lane; his sons Douglas (Kimberlee) Lane and David Lane; his grandchildren, Darren, Dustin, and Karianne; and his sister Dorothy (Lane) Condoluci.
A small and private family funeral will be held in the coming days, and a celebration of George’s life is being scheduled for later this year.
Donations in memory of George may be made to the local food pantries or the charity of the donor’s choice.
Arrangements are by Duffield & Pastrick Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Coloma. Those wishing to leave an online message of remembrance may do so at www.duffieldpastrick.com.