Mike’s Carwash co-founder will be remembered for his faith

Mike's Carwash ran a memorial to co-founder Ed Dahm on its signs on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A man and his companion, Bella the dog, are dead after a wreck Thursday with a charter bus. That man, 86-year-old Ed Dahm, co-founded Mike’s Carwash in 1948. The first location is still on Calhoun Street.

Family said Dahm will be remembered for more than his business legacy. They said his more prominent attribute was his faith in God.

“In my opinion I think Ed had a straight pass right to heaven,” Dahm’s nephew, Mike Dahm said. “He always kind of ended his line too with ‘God Bless.'”

For those who knew him, Ed’s faith is something they’ll always remember. Even in his death, his faith may have reached a few of the more than 40 strangers on the bus involved in the wreck.

Around 11 a.m. Thursday Dahm’s SUV hit a charter bus traveling on U.S. 33 in Whitley County head on. Dahm and his dog died at the scene. The driver of the bus was airlifted to the hospital and is now in fair condition. Sixteen passengers were brought to the hospital with minor injuries.

For the others who were not injured they waited at the Smith Township Fire Department until another bus could pick them up and continue the route. While waiting for another bus, one passenger told NewsChannel 15 she found a prayer card to Mary the Mother of God when she got off the bus. The card promised salvation at the hour of death. She knew it came from the Dahm’s SUV.

“I’ve got [the prayer card] right here in my hand,” Mike Dahm said. “Ed was a man of his faith, and he practiced it too.”

In 1948 Ed joined his brother Joe to help found Mike’s Carwash in Fort Wayne. It was the state’s first automated carwash. Then, the business was passed down to Ed’s son and two nephews. Mike said his Uncle Ed set him up for success.

“He kind of used that Disney philosophy,” Mike Dahm said. “Take care of your people because if your team members are feeling real good they’re going to take care of the customer, and that’s the boss in Mike’s Carwash.”

Mike will miss his uncle’s contagious smile and positive attitude, but his mourning is only to a certain extent.

“It’s tough losing a loved one but knowing he had such a passion for his faith, he’s in a better place,” Mike Dahm said.

Dahm’s children said his funeral will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Dec. 28 at St. Jude’s Catholic Church with Bishop Kevin Rhoades presiding.