In Memory Of
February 16, 1940 – December 20, 2016
It is with deep sadness that we must announce the passing of our founder, chairman, and mentor, Joe Horvath.
Joe was born in Toronto in 1940 and led an energetic and spirited youth with only a limited interest in following the rules. He had a lifelong love of cars, having raced them on a frozen Lake Simcoe in his adolescence. In fact, he began his career as a driver delivering medicines for a local pharmacy. What he neglected to mention to the pharmacist was the fact that he was only 14!
Joe’s high school years were spent at De La Salle College where he helped them win the 1957 OCSA Basketball Championship. While Joe enjoyed his time at his alma mater, he was eager to leave formal education behind to join his father, Joseph Horvath Sr, at his cigar and pipe tobacco business named the Ontario Tobacco Company. Joe’s deference to his own father is legendary. He always referred to his dad as the real entrepreneur. In fact, it was many years after starting his own business in honour of his father that he took up the mantle of Joe Horvath in his own right.
Shortly following the sale of the Ontario Tobacco Company and the passing of his father, Joe founded House of Horvath in 1976. His father may have been his inspiration, and while his influence is still felt throughout our business, Joe made House of Horvath uniquely his own. He maintained the founding vision of providing quality cigars at a value for the Canadian cigar consumer until his final days. He created a fair and welcoming workplace that has instilled a great and fierce loyalty as well as a deep affection among everyone that has worked for him. He always considered his staff as part of the extended Horvath family and always appreciated the work they performed on his behalf. It’s difficult to imagine a House of Horvath without Joe. His vision, his passion, and his character built this business and helped shape an entire industry.
Joe loved his work, family and friends, and his free time up north at the family cottage at Big Bay Point. A member of the BBP Golf Club, Joe may not have been remembered by his low scores but rather by his deep laugh and the sweet waft of his cigar. He will be greatly missed by everyone that had the good fortune of knowing him.