A North American Citroën icon has left us. André Garnier passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 13 in Virginia at 93 years of age, ironically on the same day the annual Florida Citroën meet was taking place – an event that he had arranged each year up until 2016, when he had to pass the torch to organizers Willem van de Wouw and Michael Vest because he was recuperating from a shoulder operation.
André was pre-deceasd by his wife, Yvette Garnier, who passed away at age 63 on Dec 8,
André is survived by sons; Alain (Mary) Garnier in Leesburg, VA and Philippe (Leslyn) Garnier in Miramar, FL; grandchildren Alexander, Patrick, Claire & Emilie & siblings
When André was a young boy growing up in France during World War II there were two things that impressed him. First were the German soldiers. Although they were intimidating
One Sunday when he and his younger brother were walking home from church there was an air raid. They ran and jumped in a hole in their garden to hide. As they lay there, they realized that there were a great many planes overhead so they decided to count them. In the
A few years after the war was over, André decided he would go to America to see the country that had impressed him so. With only 350 Francs to his name and speaking no English, he made the incredible journey to the USA where he ended up settling in Buffalo, NY. There he happened into a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant with a French-speaking chef when he was found rummaging in the trash for food. He told of sleeping on the street, of seeing snow for the first time, of changing jobs often to learn more about America, of buying a car from a junk yard for $20, of going into Canada (some people speak French there, you know) for dances, and of being drafted to fight in the Korean War only to have the War end as he started basic training.
Andre’s training in France was as a machinist and eventually he got jobs working for car dealerships. He was especially good at working on Citroëns and opened his own shop in Buffalo where he specialized in Citroën and
After 10 years in Buffalo, André had had enough of the snowy weather and decided to move to Miami and start a Citroën dealership there. It became a success and when he retired he had 37 employees. After he retired, he and his wife Yvette moved to Clermont, FL. Many of André’s former clients kept in contact with him.
Each summer he and Yvette would go back to France and they also loved visiting China, but Clermont Florida (which is named after the French city) became their home. André loved Yvette dearly and was heartbroken when she passed away. Three years ago, at aged 90, André went to live with his son Alain and his wife in Leesburg, VA.
Andre’s health began to decline a couple of weeks ago and he was placed in hospice care in Virginia.
André’s beloved 1953 Traction Avant 11B that he drove in the Trans-Canada Rally in 1994 is currently for sale through Alain on Citroënvie.
A memorial service for André, where family and friends can come together, will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday May 23, 2019 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 720 12th Street, Clermont FL 34711. There will be a reception afterwards.