A well-known Calgary community member and philanthropist was killed in a car crash outside of London, England on Sunday.

Family friends have confirmed to CTV News 80-year-old Ron Carey died when the vintage car he was driving in collided with a truck along the busy M23 highway.

They say Carey’s wife, Billi, was airlifted to hospital.

The crash happened near a vintage car rally between London and Brighton. The accident location was on a roadway not included on the rally route.

Friends are paying tribute to Carey, a prominent member of multiple vintage car clubs and business circles around Calgary.

“It’s very tragic, gut-wrenching news,” friend Rick Pikulski said. “I’ve known Ron for almost 40 years and he was very well-respected and well-liked.”

“He’s a tremendous loss.”

Carey was the founder of J&L Supply, but may be more widely known for his contributions to Gasoline Alley in Heritage Park and Irricana’s Pioneer Acres.

A large percentage of the vintage vehicles, gas pumps and signs inside the museums belong to Carey. He helped opened Gasoline Alley in 2006 so others could experience his collection.

Earlier this year, Heritage Park’s Alida Visbach spoke with CTV News about the 67 vehicles Carey had on display.

“This building wouldn’t exist without Mr. Carey’s donation. These aren’t just regular cars and trucks, these are the trucks that built this nation, especially Western Canada. It’s quite unique and through this collection we can tell the story of settlement.”

“He was an avid collector,” said Pikulski, who met Carey through the hobby. “He had a passion.”

Another friend, who asked not to be named, said Carey died doing what he loved: driving.

Pikulski echoed the sentiment: “He was very well-travelled and would go on these vintage car rallies all the time. This was something he very much enjoyed.”