A man, synonymous with Cochrane, is turning 100 years old on July 28. His career has been intertwined with the community and its people and his philanthropic nature has helped hundreds in the north.
Marcel Joseph Labelle was born in Ste. Lucie, Quebec in 1922 and three years later moved to a farm near Frederickhouse with his family.
According to Rob Bradford who penned La belle’s life story in the book “A Man, A Truck and A Dream” in 2014, living through the depression lead to Labelle’s determination “that he and his family would never be poor again.”
He left school in grade seven to earn some money and he worked hauling construction waste, cutting firewood and other odd jobs.
In 1939, Labelle bought his first truck and it was the beginning of a lifelong career.
Nine years later, Labelle and his two brothers Lucien and Gaston formally registered their company Labelle Brothers and the following year, the company received its first contract for supplying gravel to the Department of Highways.
The 1950s would be the decade that Labelle would be established as a major highway contractor and aggregate producer.
In May of 1955 he became a husband to Frances Rudyk and incorporated his business M.J. Labelle Co. Ltd.
Personally, the Labelle’s welcomed son Darcy and daughter Alana in the early 1960s.
The M.J. Labelle Co. Ltd would carry on for 56 years until it was sold to Villeneuve Construction in 2011.
Aside from employing hundreds of local workers over the years, Labelle contributed to many causes. He was instrumental in the construction of the Church of the Transfiguration in 1971 and has donated millions of dollars to the health care system of the north.
A truly outstanding gentleman who has earned the accolades he has received throughout his life.
Happy birthday Mr. Labelle!
-with files from “A Man, A Truck and A Dream” by Rob Bradford.
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