Industry mourns Dino Marine founder

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Andre Michel Despreaux, founder of steering wheel importer Dino Marine, died Dec. 12 in Florida. He was 70.

Despreaux was born in Sollies-Pont, France, on April 29, 1944. After serving in the French Air Force, he immigrated to Montreal in 1965, where he worked for Bendix Corp. It was in Montreal that he met his wife, Annie, and opened Auto Drugstore, a chain of automotive retail stores.

In 1978, the Despreaux family immigrated to South Florida and created Dino Products, which imported specialty steering wheels and accessories. By the late 1980s, Dino Marine steering wheels became the standard in the marine industry, his obituary said.

Despreaux was an entrepreneur who worked hard, but enjoyed flying, racing cars, boating and traveling, the obituary said. After retirement, his passion for British cars led him to become treasurer of the South Florida Jaguar Club. He was treasurer of the board of the Woodlake Home Owners Association in Florida.

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