Harold LeMay was born Sept. 4, 1919, in Yakima, Wash., according to www.lemaymuseum.org. He grew up in Rocky Ridge, Wash., and made Parkland, Wash., his home in 1942.
When LeMay graduated from high school, he became a partner in an automobile business in the Lincoln District of Tacoma, Wash. Shortly after World War II began, he started Victory Bus routes to pick up workers and transport them to shipyards. LeMay enlisted in the Navy as a Seabee and left for duty from 1944-46. However, before leaving, he bartered for one of his buses for his Spanaway Garbage Collection Co., which later would become the basis for Harold LeMay Enterprises, a refuse company he built during the next 58 years.
LeMay and his wife, Nancy, ran Harold LeMay Enterprises, which consisted of solid waste and recyclables collection companies in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pierce and Thurston counties. Their other businesses included Lucky Towing, LeMay Restoration and Parkland Auto Wrecking, among others.
During his life, LeMay amassed a collection of automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and other vehicles and related memorabilia. At its peak, the LeMay collection exceeded 3,000 vehicles and thousands of "automobilia" artifacts. The collection features virtually every American make, as well as numerous foreign cars. The LeMay collection was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1997 as the largest privately owned car collection in the world.
Each summer until his death in 2000, LeMay, his wife and their family would open their estate to the public for an annual car show. The tradition has continued each summer, allowing thousands of visitors to view the family's collection.
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