A Tribute to Freida Rogers

Remembering one of Canada's first female heavy tow truck operators.

by Meaghan Reimchen

Freida Rogers, co-owner of Pat Rogers Towing of Kingston, Ontario, passed away on February 14, 2023, at the age of 82.  Freida was known for being one of the first female heavy tow truck operators in Canada. Mrs. Rogers funeral procession was followed by a 1-ton Ford and a rotator and heavy wrecker.

I was privileged enough to interview Freida’s son, Tony Rogers.

As described by Tony, Freida had an interesting upbringing. She was born in the back room of a two-room homestead, nine miles away from the nearest civilization, and without electricity or running water. She also grew up in the woods with lots of farm animals around. Freida and her family looked after 100 head of sheep, 30 head of cattle, a large trapper zone for trapping animals, and she engaged in many other homesteading activities.

In the 1950s, Freida met her husband, Patrick, and they started their business, Pat Rogers Towing, around 1957. They built a Cabover GMC with a Holmes wrecker on the rear from scratch, putting parts together by hand. While sharing the company’s beginnings, Tony brought over a picture taken in 1968 featuring the family’s first heavy wrecker with his two brothers, Billy and Joe, sitting in the cab.

Freida started driving the heavy wrecker more often in 1972. Before, she was busy taking care of her children while her husband, Pat, was on the road with the business. The cab and chassis used to be a Kingsway Tractor from Kingsway Transport. To this day, Tony still has the front piece of the wrecker tucked away in storage. The wrecker had a V12 gasoline engine, and Tony, who learned driving at the age of 15, shared many memories of that wrecker and his parents driving it.

“They built a Cabover GMC with a Holmes wrecker on the rear from scratch, putting parts together by hand.

Freida towed for a few years in the early days of their business, especially in the late 70s and early 80s when they were short on drivers. She ran the office from the 80s on until recently, handling all invoices, paperwork, court proceedings, insurance billing, and other tasks. She was the one doing it all. Tony described her as “a bulldog who went to court.”

Freida was a huge supporter of the community, particularly the Salvation Army, the local humane society, and Slow Down, Move Over Canada. She always attended with their wrecker to support Slow Down, Move Over legislation enforcement and to promote safe driving around emergency vehicles in Lansdowne, Ontario.

Freida Rogers

Freida was laid to rest on March 1, 2023, in Glenburnie, Ontario. Family and friends attended, as well as a vehicle from Slow Down, Move Over Canada from Mallorytown, Ontario, a heavy wrecker from Jack’s Towing in Kingston Ontario, and a heavy wrecker from Campbell’s Towing in Brockville, Ontario, to offer and support the family during this difficult time.

Photo: Meaghan Reimchen