Elmer P. Lempenau, who received one of the first licenses in the area for state inspections of motor vehicles and was employed in the area automotive business for decades, died Monday (Oct. 27, 1997) at Mitchell Campus of Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a long illness. He was 81.
Lempenau was a resident of the Town of Tonawanda for 50 years. He was born on a family farm on French Road in Cheektowaga, the youngest of nine children. A 1933 graduate of Gardenville High School, he began working shortly afterward as a clerk at Balco-Pedrick Auto Parts Corp. on Main Street.
In 1935, he opened his first auto repair shop, Genesee Automotive Service on Genesee Street.
During World War II, Lempenau was a supervisor at the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Corp. plant on Kenmore Avenue.
In 1945, he became a mechanic at Tunmore Oldsmobile on Delaware Avenue and in 1947, along with his brother, Leonard, formed Lempenau Brothers Garage on Niagara Street. Later, he took over the business as Riverview Garage, receiving one of the first state licenses in the area as an official vehicle inspection site.
In 1962, Lempenau added Roswell Motor Car Sales to that location. In 1966, he returned to Tunmore Oldsmobile as a salesman until his retirement in 1978. He left retirement briefly in 1979 to work in sales during the opening of Calabro Chevrolet on Grand Island.
Lempenau enjoyed gardening and had been a member of several area bowling leagues.
Surviving are his wife of 56 years, the former Bernette C. Kieser of the Town of Tonawanda; two sons, Kenneth E. of Las Vegas and Robert P. of Town of Tonawanda; and two grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in St. Amelia's Catholic Church, 2999 Eggert Road, Town of Tonawanda, after prayers at 9 in Carlton A. Ullrich Funeral Home, 855 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda. Entombment will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.