Bud Gowan, a well-respected retailer of formal wear in downtown London, has died at the age of 87.

Gowan, a clothier and retailer for decades - he opened his first men's wear store in 1953 - later passed the business to his son to follow his passion for antiques.

His son eventually sold the formal wear business in 2005 and Gowan finally retired from the antiques business in 2012.

Gowan was a big booster of the city's downtown, speaking out in favour of maintaining so-called 'ghost signs' for long-gone businesses, like the one on the building then housing his antiques store on Clarence St.

He told CTV news in 2012, "We never wanted to have it down because it adds to the antiquity of our shop...by far, leave it. With nostalgia, they mean so much to London."

He died at home on Tuesday.