ROLAND JOSEPH (RON) La MARRE Ron died peacefully at home surrounded by family August 2, 2014, of a rare heart disease. He was born March 18, 1929, the 3rd youngest of 11 children, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is survived by his wife Ellen and his brother John La Marre of Coquitlam, British Columbia. Ron's descendents came from the Normandy area in France. The La Marres arrived in Quebec in 1655, the Beaudin's in 1626. After growing up on the family farm in Headingley, Manitoba, Ron studied at the University of British Columbia and graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1952. There he met Ellen Gehl of Vancouver, who later graduated from St. Paul's School of Nursing. They were married in 1953 in Vancouver. Following his graduation, Ron joined Shell Canada where he enjoyed a varied and challenging career, ranging from technical process design to marketing, with many transfers to locations across Canada. His last assignment was the design, construction and management of the Scotford Refinery in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, completed in 1984. This refinery was the first of its time to process tar sands oil which he believed to be his finest work and crowning achievement. He worked for Shell for 32 years. In his 30 years of retirement, he has been almost as busy as his working career. Ron spent a great deal of his retirement at the farm property, near Lucknow, Ontario, where he built a 3-bedroom home and two storage barns. In one of the barns, he fulfilled one of his dreams by designing and building a triple evaporator to make maple syrup from the sap of the trees on "the farm". Growing and producing organic garlic on the farm led Ron to become involved with other organic growers. His management experience was put to use when he became a member on the Board of Directors of OntarBio, which later became Organic Meadow. Woodworking was his lifelong hobby. In 1953, he designed and built their first home in Burnaby, as well as furniture later on. Over the last ten years, he turned his skills to making a number of stringed instruments. His first success was a violin, followed by two cellos and lastly, a viola for his granddaughter Dr. Janice LaMarre, a professional musician. She played the viola at a concert in Barrie, Ontario; that was a very proud moment for Ron. Ron is very proud of his four children and five grandchildren. John La Marre is married to Nena Kaczanowski, who have three children: Janice married to James Damascas, Becky and Peter. Janine La Marre is married to Dave Chin-Cheong, who have two boys: Kieran and Devin. Barbara La Marre is married to Kevin Latter. Son Christopher La Marre died in 1993. Ron, we love you so very much and miss you already. We have many people to thank for their good thoughts, prayers and support; you know who you are. The medical system has been for us, First Class, over the years. Our thanks to Doctors Jeff King, Bonnie McCarron of Kitchener-Waterloo and Doctors John Ross, Chris Feindel, Susan Trudel and Diego Delgado of Toronto. Last but not least Doctors Lana Tan, Dawn Yew of Kitchener, the palliative care team of CCAC and the attendant service providers all have our extensive gratitude and thanks. Without their compassion, warmth, care and assistance we never could have granted his request to die at home. We have all been touched by this special privilege. The Celebration of Ron's Life will be held at Schreiter-Sandrock Funeral Home and Chapel (51 Benton Street, Kitchener), on Saturday, August 16th at 2:00 p.m. Please wear bright colours. In lieu of flowers or donations, Ron requested that you raise a toast in his memory, for his love of life and one lived well.
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Published in the Toronto Star on Aug. 9, 2014