EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Martel family made significant contributions to Chapleau since arriving in 1951 to establish lumber mill

The Martel "Kids" from Larry Martel collection
When Joseph Egide Martel and his wife Yvonne moved to Chapleau with their family in 1951 it marked the beginning of a long family relationship with Chapleau, Jim Prince wrote in the Chapleau Express after they were honoured at a civic reception in 1998.

In another report on the reception, perhaps Dan Lemieux, speaking on behalf of the Chapleau Ski Club, summed it up best on behalf of all those who were touched by the Martel family. Dan said: "Whenever we were in need we just had to go to the J.E. Martel company office and we never came away empty handed."

Richard Bignucolo, representing the Chapleau Airport Commission thanked them for their contributions to the airport. Yvon Martel, along with Gene Bernier, were particularly instrumental in getting an airport at Chapleau. Yvon, in an aircraft piloted by Stan Deluce, made the first landing at it in 1970.

Earle Freeborn, then the reeve of Chapleau, said that "Since 1951, you have provided employment for our community," adding that they had supported sports and many community projects.

The eight children of Mr. and Mrs. Martel, Lise, Solange, Suzanne, Oriette, Yvon, Aldee, Denis and Jean, all contributed to the community.

They were great supporters of hockey and Suzanne Turcotte noted that Denis had coached a Midget team to an Northern Ontario Hockey Association championship. Aldee was a great supporter of Junior "B" hockey and was part of the 1953- 1954 famous Chapleau Bantam team.
Tee Chambers, Butch Pellow, Aldee Martel in Sudbury Arena 1954

At the civic reception, Mme Yvonne Martel and the four Martel brothers who had taken over operation of J.E. Martel and Sons Lumber Ltd. after Mr. Martel, its founder died in 1972, were presented with tokens of appreciation by the Township of Chapleau, flowers to the ladies and certificates of appreciation to the brothers.

The reception honouring them was held after they had sold their operations in 1997 to E.B. Eddy Lumber Ltd.
 They even had a fastball team at one time, and Larry, Aldee's son, shared an anecdote about making games on a Friday night. In the summer months while attending university, Larry worked for the company, and worked stopped at noon on Friday. His girl friend, now his wife would be coming for the weekend, but Larry also had to play ball.

So he would drive to Sault Ste. Marie, pick up his girl friend, and make it to the game on time, and be a quick change artist to be in uniform at game time.
The Martel "Boys" Larry Martel collection

Writing in Chapleau Trails, edited and published by Dr. W.R. Pellow, Doug Greig notes that J.E. Martel and Sons Lumber Limited was one of the first independently owned and operated manufacturing firms to situate in the Chapleau area.

Joseph Egide Martel moved to the area from Lasarre in 1951 to salvage the standing timber that burned in Fire Number Six at Racine Lake.

 A supply of green timber limits with a allowable cut of 7,500 units from the government of Ontario after the salvage operation resulted in a permanent operation at Racine Lake until 1959 when a portable sawmill was dismantled and by 1960 a new mill one miles west of Chapleau was up and running with a production capacity of 7,000,000 board feet annually.

When Mr. Martel died in 1972, the business was divided into an equal partnership among his four sons - Yvon, Aldee, Denis and Jean.
Top Yvon and Margot, Aldee and Lorna and bottom Jean and Carmelle, Denis and Linda

Doug Greig wrote: "The new ownership developed the proper quality, customer care and progressive employee relation philosophies that today's major corporations are just now starting to realize as keys to long term success."

Over the years, the company evolved into a modern progressive one responsible for the sustainable management of their forest license, and employment in manufacturing jobs in the Martel woodlands, sawmill and marketing operations.

Doug noted that the company survived economic downturns by continuing to provide quality products, customer service, fair treatment of employees and continued investment in the company.

Among many awards over the years, one that stands out is one from the Ontario Lumber Manufacturers Association. Yvon Martel was presented with the first ever Honourary Life Member Award for his work with the association.

Doug Greig again: "The quiet success of J.E. Martel and Sons Lumber Limited has been rolling along for over 46 years (at time Doug was writing). The company is a solid pillar of the community of Chapleau and province of Ontario...The Martel company could always be relied on to help with any community project..."

A personal note of thanks to Aldee for being the person you are, and to Larry Martel and Doug Greig who were so helpful with research assistance. Congratulations to Larry on his recent promotion and best wishes to all the Martel family on the occasion of their family reunion. My email is mj.morris@live.ca


Unknown said...

Yes, Best wished for the Martel reunion. We were very fortunate that one of our family married a Martel - the BEST son in law EVER - and that we have wonderful and amazing Martel grandchildren. Marguerite Thomas.

Unknown said...

I wrote that comment two years ago and I still have the BEST son in law EVER and the most wonderful and amazing Martel grandchildren. :-)Marguerite Thomas.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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