Mike Viglas, a Greek immigrant and Ford truck dealer who co-founded Canada’s Classé Audio, died last week after a four-year struggle with vascular dementia. He was 85.
Once considered Ford’s largest heavy truck dealer, Viglas turned his passion for music and great sound into the Lachine, Quebec-based amp, integrated amp and preamp processor business, which he built in 1980 with engineer David Reich.
Viglas ran the company for more than two decades before joining the Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) family and handing the day-to-day reins off to his brand development VP Dave Nauber.
“I owe so much to Mike,” said Nauber, who now serves as Classé’s brand director under current owner Sound United, a division of DEI. “He was a fun, energetic and charming man who built the brand that I and tens of thousands of audiophiles around the world love. He treated everyone in the company like family.”
Former boss Joe Atkins, CEO of B&W, described Viglas as “the consummate entrepreneur with a huge passion for his brand and the business. He was a great partner and even better friend.”
Viglas left Classé and his chairman’s post in 2010, but his memory lives on in the company’s Greek-lettered product series that that pay tribute to his lineage.
“We will honor his memory in the best way we know how: by building awareness for Classé, designing and building the finest audio electronics possible and sharing our passion for music and great sound,” added Nauber.
Viglas is survived by his wife Richère, sons George, Bill and Mark, and their wives, children and grandchildren. Services were held yesterday and today at the Rideau Funeral Home outside Montreal. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a dementia foundation in Viglas’s memory.