Memories of Lanphere Auto Group Founder Bob Lanphere, Sr.

Bob Lanphere, Sr., beloved founder of the Lanphere Enterprises automotive group, passed away peacefully in the company of his wife, Theresa, on October 9, 2015. While we make this announcement with the heaviest of hearts, we know Bob Sr. has touched the lives of families, organizations, and businesses far beyond our own.

This organization was started with Bob's dream over 51 years ago and persists through the care of family ownership, employee commitment, and vendor support. We thank all of them and all of you for your thoughts and good wishes at this difficult time.

Please feel free to use the form to the right to share your memories of our founder.  Enjoy the prior comments and slide show below and feel free to take a moment with our Lanphere Auto Group History


Name: Portland Tribune Online
Remarks: [Read Story]

Name: Donovan Volk
Remarks: My memories of Bob go back to when I was about 5 years old or so . I remember them like it was yesterday. So I guess you could call Bob Sr and Bob Jr ( Bobby ) as me and my dad know him  were  and are early mentors to me and I thank them very much.  I can remember going to Seattle with my Dad and Bob sr.  to pick up bikes. I also remember when Bob Sr took the entire shop to lunch at Kings Table when they had a location by the Kmart in Beaverton. I can also remember times  with my Dad Don Volk, and brother Rick Finnell and Bobby, all going to Giovonis and Beaverton Bakery , Thanks Bob you gave me a pallet for fine food at a very early age !!!  He was such a generous person words can't describe the gratitude I have always had such as letting my dad put a Honda MR 50 on payment S and keeping it there so I could have it for a Christmas present as I remember sitting on that bike in the show room that is now the Lexus show room with a business card that sold on it way back in the summer of that year  .  I don't know if there will ever be a great such as Bob Lanphere again in the car business but he was the best I knew and it was a honor to know him.  Say hello to my dad for me and may you  Rest in Peace

Name: KGW-TV
Remarks: [View Article]

Name: Brenda Shular
Remarks: I'm so sorry for your loss. May you find some comfort in the many happy memories! (via FB)

Name: Lorraine Clarno
Remarks: My condolences to all of the Lanphere families and businesses. He was a great man and will be missed! (via FB)

Name: Andrew Arnott
Remarks:  God bless Sr. .. Crazy,. It's like yesterday seeing him on the commercials saying "just buy Bob" in the 90's then to have the honor of landscaping his house once a week ,. The small talk we had will be never forgotten ever,. Such an inspiration to me my whole life growing up dreaming of Hondas and the "power of dreams" (via FB)

Name: Wayne Allen
Remarks: My condolences to the entire Lanphere family. Quite a successful man! (via FB)

Name: Senna Bahner
Remarks: My thoughts and prayers are with The Lanphere family during this time!! (Via FB)

Name: Aaron-Jade Spencer
Remarks: My thought and prayers to the family RIP Bob (via FB)

Name: Dave Klug
Remarks: RIP Bob, What a legacy to leave behind. (via FB)

Name: Tom Niemela
Remarks: Wow, this is shocking news. Rest in peace Bob Sr., you will be sorely missed. (via FB)

Name: Vanessa Kulland
Remarks: My condolences to the entire family. He left a mark of greatness in the automotive and motorcycle industry. RIP Bob. (via FB)

Name: Travis Rice
Remarks: My condolences and prayers go out to the entire Lanphere family. RIP Bob Sr. You will be missed. (via FB)

Name: Dan Hatcher
Remarks: A true motorcycle enthusiast who lived what many only dream... Sorry for your loss Bobby Jr. and Sharon and the rest of your family! (via FB)

Name: Jon Adams
Remarks: RIP Bob Lanphere Sr. Condolences to the Lanphere family. (via FB)

Name: Jeff Waddle
Remarks: What an amazing man - The real deal... A great soul who lived his dream and touched so many of our lives. Thank you Bob (via FB)

Name: Matt Linscheid
Remarks: Rip Bob... Had a lot of good times at your shop... (via FB)

Name: Mike Merrill
Remarks: One of the great NW success stories. He never forgot his roots (via FB)

Name: Jeff Magar
Remarks: RIP Bob. (via FB)

Name: Oregonlive
Remarks: (Read Article)

Name: Chris Clendenin Baseel
Remarks: Prayers go out to friends and family of Mr Lanphere (via FB)

Name: Ron Holloway 
Remarks: A Beaverton legacy. (via FB)

Name: Cathy Bacon
Remarks: So sorry for your loss. I hope it comforts you all to know how many people are lifting you up and keeping you in their thoughts and prayer (via FB)

Name: Brandy Lyn
Remarks: Very Sad. Our condolence go out to the friends and family. (via FB)

Name: Anna Stephens
Remarks: Our hearts and prayers go out to Lanphere family. (via FB)

Name: Jennifer Raile
Remarks: Very sad to hear. My favorite family and company to work for. You will be greatly missed (via FB)

Name: Damon Donner
Remarks: RIP Bob (via FB)

Name: Byron Leeper
Remarks: This breaks my heart. Bob was one of the greatest owners I ever worked with in the Portland/Vancouver area for over 35 years selling advertising. Sharon & Bob Jr. miss you both too and my heart hurts for both of you today. Your dad was the greatest & a great man. Hope you two kids get thru it with a big heart and move on. Please RIP (via FB)

Name: Sean Reath
Remarks: My condolences to all of the Lanphere family. Truly great people! I miss seeing you guys. (via FB)

Name: Douglas Jackson
Remarks: So sorry to hear this. RIP Bob. (via FB)

Name: Anonymous
Remarks: I'm just thankful that this motorcycle geek saw fit to chase his dream, building this fine company and providing a place for me to excel and chase my own dreams. Well done sir. Good wishes for the entire Lanphere clan!
Name: Rob Wagner
Remarks: I'm sad to hear this news, rip Bob. (via FB)

Name: Dave Whitney
Remarks: Bob will be missed. (via FB)

Name: Steam Werkz Hdc
Remarks: RIP Bob...sad day (via FB)

Name: Mike Wonder
Remarks: Sad to hear this. One look at what he built and you know that he was a class act. RIP. (via FB)

Name: Jennifer Eidson
Remarks: Rest in peace (via FB)

Name: Tonya Berry
Remarks: RIP (via FB)

Name: Brian Henrichs
Remarks: RIP (via FB)

Name: Erin Wheatcraft
Remarks: Very sad to hear! RIP, Sir and know that you left behind quite the legacy! You have provided many opportunities for those in the community and will be missed. (via FB)

Name: Joseph Nystrom
Remarks: R.I.P  Bob, Godspeed   It was great growing up watching you on TV and a privilege recently to have got to know you and talk to you you're very special man that touched a lot of people

Name: Pati Wherity McLaren
Remarks: I began working for Mr. L in 1992. He was the most amazing, sweet and funny boss. Always smiling and always making me smile and laugh. He was a great friend. I remember when I was pregnant with my two children he would find me in the lunch room microwaving something to eat and he would get all upset because I was too close to the microwave. I loved that he cared. I worked for Lanphere Enterprises for 16 years and would still be there today but I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my children.... It was the only employer that was a true home. Rest peacefully Mr. L

Name: Scott Kahl
Remarks: Was a cool guy I meet him when I works for them over by the mall a few years back (Via FB)

Name: Darci LaRae
Remarks: As a child, I called you "Uncle Bob Honda!" You and my father were close friends at that time.. racing your motorcycles through the Tillamook forest and beyond. After my father died, you always kept 'tabs' on me, and no matter how much time had passed, we always picked up where we left off. I will miss you greatly.May You Rest In Divine Peace My Friend.. (via FB)

Name: Beth Buckley
Remarks: Prayers for Bob's family. (via FB)

Name: David Jenkins
Remarks: Condolences to the family. I was thankful to have worked at Renton Honda for over 10 years. He treated us right. (via FB)

Name: Theresa Haasl Alcayaga
Remarks: He was awesome! (via FB)

Name: John Michael Cole
Remarks: So sad to hear this..prayers to family (via FB)

Name: Marc San Soucie
Remarks: A wonderful gentleman. (via FB)

Name: David Burdeaux
Remarks: He was a true class act! Big heart and created opportunity for many people. I am blessed and thankful to have worked for such a great man! (via FB)

Name: Jill Kelly
Remarks: So very sorry for your loss. What a wonderful legacy he has left behind. (via FB)

Name: Chris Tate
Remarks: I feel privileged to have met Bob a handful of times as recent as a week or so ago and extremely thankful for the opportunity to work in the industry I love all thanks to all of his hard work and your family's continuing hard work. May he ride in peace.

Name: Jon Holcombe
Remarks: I just want to say how sorry I am to hear about the passing of Mr Lanphere! What a Great man!!!
My Dad used to watch him race in the 60's & would ride with him. We bought all of our new Honda & Yamaha's from him. He actually assigned Mr. Bob Cole to be our salesperson. He was always so kind to my Dad & I. Most of the time at the old Beaverton Honda location in downtown old Beaverton, my Dad would ask if Bob was around. The salesperson (if Bob Cole was not around at the time) would say maybe but who is asking? My Dad would identify himself & sure enough Mr. Lanphere would come down to talk to my Dad & shake his hand :) !!! It brings tears to my eyes right now seeing them together on the sales floor talking about the old days. They both have passed on & I am sure my Dad is in line to shake his hand as many others will be up there :)!!!

Name: Bryson Family
Remarks: We were family Friends before the business started.But I was the Triumph rep. for the 11 western states and when Bob decided that he was going to take on the Honda franchise he also wanted Triumph and of course, as everything else, Bob Made a hero of me and sold more than expected. He was a winner and helped everyone around him pick their game up___GB

Name: Dealer News "Ride in Peace..."
Remarks: [Read Story]

Name: KOIN6 Local News
Remarks: (See the story)

Name: Kyle W.
Remarks: I work for the Lanpheres now and this is the best company I have ever worked for in the car business by a long shot. I have been in the business since 2005. In loving memory R.I.P.
Name: Camille Westfall
Remarks: So sorry for your loss Lanphere family. (via FB)
Name: Stephanie (Raezer) Savoia
Remarks: I loved my years at Renton Honda. I still have my Bob bar! It meant so much to be given one!!

Name: Aaron Coy
Remarks: He was a great American. (via FB)
Name: Jeff Sleight
Remarks: You will be missed Bob. (via FB)
Name: Scott Tappin
Remarks: The first car I bought in Portland he sold me super nice man (via FB)
Name: Nick J Smit
Remarks: My first job in the car icon in our business. .. (via FB)
Name: David Snyder
Remarks: Happy trails Bobby 'ol boy. (via FB)
Name: Bruce Litchfield
Remarks: R.I.P Bob. A Portland icon. (via FB)
Name: Pete Hale
Remarks: RIP (via FB)
Name: Dirk Roberts
Remarks: I always appreciated that he shared some of his motorcycle collection with the public. (via FB)
Name: Aaron Kirchoff
Remarks:  Thoughts and prayers to the whole family. (via FB)

Name: Linda Luna
Remarks:  We have so many memories that it would take a book to put them down.  Bob was a great friend to our family and my husband, David Luna, loved him .a whole bunch.  We are deeply saddened by his passing and will forever miss him and all of his "stories" of the old days.  We as a family send you Bobby Jr, Sharon, Mary and his entire family our deepest sympathies.  Linda, Kelly, Kim, Scott, Kami and Tony Luna.

Name: Sammy Tanner
Remarks:  Everyone who ever met Bob sr. felt close to him because he had a way to  make you feel that you knew him your whole life. He was a very sharing person in so many different ways,  I always felt like I was family. In the past two years I was having a difficult time in a business land deal and Bob offered advice and suggestions that really helped me. A friend is someone who would help you and not expect anything in return. This was the way Bob SR. treated people. Bob Sr. has passed this trait on to family and friends, I am going to miss him but never forget him. My condolences to family and friends. I was  so looking forward to seeing him at the Trailblazers Banquet with everyone.

Name: John Bowers
Remarks: One great man with a dream  you made it BOB rest in peace

Name: Dom Joseph
Remarks: My father bought me my first motorcycle from Bob's Honda motorcycle shop on the corner of Broadway and Hall, back in 1971. A Christmas present I would never forget, and that little Honda helped me learn everything I know about internal combustion engines, a skill and trade I've carried with me for 44 years. During that expanse of time, I've purchased over a dozen bikes from Beaverton Honda, and have come to know everyone there as good friends, frequently in the store to buy parts and accessories and talk about motorcycles with the crew. Godspeed Bob Sr, and happy trails. Blessings to you and your family.

Name: Darrell and Rory Mac Kay
Remarks: First of all I want to express my condolences to the family and the employee family, he was very special and will be missed greatly. 

My first contact/brush with Bob was in the early 60's, on a Saturday when some friends an I were waiting to attend a movie at the "Beaver Theater", in downtown Beaverton.   A young man came up and said "my dad is opening a Honda shop in the next block".   (Bob Jr.?)  HONDA?  What's a Honda we asked? 

Fast forward six years and I was able to buy a small outlying Honda Shop and after about five years of trying to compete with the big shops of which Beaverton was the best, I sold out and went into selling motorcycle accessories.  

Beaverton Honda made me a star salesman and sales contest winner with many manufactures and distributors, boy you guys can really move the product.

Thanks for the 40 years of buying my products and the products of the companies I represent.   

Brad Parker
Remarks: My Dad and Bob were friends since the 60's.  I have fond memories of Bob coming over with the latest machine.  He once brought over a jet ski back in 1980.  I was hooked.   He was such a fun loving guy and so generous.  He will be missed.

Name: Jeff Reiner, South Sound Honda, Olympia, WA
Remarks: My father Marv & I had the priviledge to travel with Bob & Theresa to Japan on a Honda trip back in 2003.  We had a great time and enjoyed them both.

We have been Honda dealer since 1962, so my parents knew Bob from the beginning of the Honda adventure.  This is a huge loss to our industry.  Our condolences & prayers go out to the entire Lanphere family.

Name: Jason Smith
Remarks: I had the privilege to meet Bob Sr. on only a couple of occasions, the discussion(s) we had were very short. With that said I don't have any one memory that stands out as a result of those interactions. Even though our interactions were brief, the  passion we both share for motorcycles creates a brotherly bond that goes much deeper than words can describe. Bob's hard work and dedication in pursuing his dreams has given me 14 years of memories working in the motorcycle industry, a career I have enjoyed immensely. I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life, I am forever grateful.

Name: Liz DiGiorgio
Remarks: I remember when he had Lampus in Beaverton/Hillsdale. I would walk up to the store w/the neighbor kids grab a giant cardboard box belonging to frig or oven; haul it back home; flatten it out then drag it up the backside of the Velodrome at Alpenrose & slide down the 4' tall grass till my allergies closed off my wind pipe & swole my eyes shut!!! He was a really nice guy & always saved us the biggest boxes!!

Name: John Hart
Remarks: The culture cultivated by Bob Sr. and conveyed by the Lanphere family had provided a practical second career for me some years ago, improving the lives of my family ...forever grateful I am. We, the Osborne-Harts, would like to express our sweet sadness to all surviving Lanpheres. You are in our hearts. John
Public celebration of life is being held Friday, October 23rd at the Oregon Convention Center, upstairs in the Oregon Ballroom starting at 3 PM

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Official Press Release
Sharon Lenz

Bob Lanphere Sr, founder of Lanphere Enterprises, passes at 81

Beaverton , OR (October 14, 2015) -  Bob Lanphere Sr, founder of Lanphere Enterprises, passed away while on vacation October 9th.  He passed quickly in the company of his loving wife Theresa Lanphere.   A public celebration of life is being held Friday, October 23rd at the Oregon Convention Center, upstairs in the Oregon Ballroom starting at 3:00pm.
     In 1964 Bob Lanphere Sr. turned his love for motorcycle racing into a business selling and repairing motorcycles in downtown Beaverton, Oregon.  51 years later, the business principles and work ethic he exercised in that small motorcycle dealership blossomed into multiple auto dealerships, a motorcycle dealership, body shop, and numerous related business ventures where customers could "Just buy Bob and save."
    Bob valued his family very much, and as his own three children entered the workforce they did so by their father's side.  "If you can do what you love and do it with your family, then you are very lucky." Lanphere would often say.  This belief is further realized with many of his grandchildren working in the businesses.   
    Lanphere Enterprises currently employs over 600 people at their operations in Oregon and Washington.   Bob loved this company and all the people that worked to make it successful, his spirit will live on through all of them.
 In lieu of flowers please remember Bob by donating to his favorite charities:
  • MS Society - Oregon Chapter, 5331 SW Macadam #290, Portland, OR  97239
  • Boys and Girls Club of Portland,  8203 SE 7th Avenue, Portland, OR  97202
  • Oregon Humane Society, 1067 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR  97211