Passing of Alumnus - Joel M. Rochon'53

Athol Murray College of Notre Dame
It is with sadness that we let you know that Notre Dame Alumnus,  past Board of Regents member and past parent, Joel Rochon’53, passed away Tuesday, January 1, 2019.   Joel spent the majority of his life in Ontario working for Ford Motor Co, Eatons Head Office and then opened his own business in Management Consulting and Executive Search.  Joel met and married his wife Mary in 1956, in Ottawa, and together raised 5 Children: Paula, Joel, Lisa, Martin and Murray.

Joel wrote a memoir called Struggle & Emerge. He had also written and published two previous memoirs Hounds from Kimberley, an autobiographical account of his early life and Lost Heritage Found, a history of his decades-long search for his Biological parents. Joel had short stories published in several national magazines. Prior to writing memoirs, he worked as a daily newspaper feature reporter for the Calgary Albertan, and later as a radio and television news editor for CFCN Radio and Television.

Joel was a proud Notre Dame Hound, who was grateful for his Notre Dame experience. In the Fall 2018 Newshound, Joel wrote, “ I look back and reflect on my life, where I came from, and how Notre Dame shaped me. Two of my boys went there, and I know that a lot of our successes in career and life are directly related to the ways the College  affected our Character. That idea of dealing with people honestly, in a straightforward way, resonated a lot with the business people that I was dealing with. I was not focused on just trying to make a buck, it was about doing it right and well, and if times get tough, you can persevere because you learned that at the College.”  

Please pray for the repose of Joel’s soul and keep Mary, the children and the entire Rochon family in your prayers.

Obituary:

Joel Meredith Rochon  1931- 2019
 
Joel Meredith Rochon (1931 – 2019) author, humanist, wise patriarch of a large family, died at St. Michael’s Hospital following a stroke on January 1, 2019. Deeply in love with his remarkable wife of 62 years, Mary Rochon, his five children and their spouses who all adored him, Paula (Douglas), Joel (Alison), Lisa (John), Martin (Nadia), Murray, and his 17 devoted grandchildren, Steuart (Patricia), Katie, Cameron; Patterson (Cheryl), Bronte, Kate, William; Geneviève (Bernard), Alexander, Hannah, Dylan; Adam, Connor, Benjamin; Jack, Claire, Gwyneth, and great grand child, Aspy Rose. Survived by sisters-in-law Margaret Priske and Olga McDonald, and predeceased by his sister, Helen Nerby.
 
Joel lived the words of Marcus Aurelius, “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one”, offering light and laughs to all he encountered not only to his clan but to people he met in shops, during his travels, to new graduates searching for direction, or young couples during the marriage preparation courses he and Mary led for years for Newman Centre.
 
As a successful executive (Ford Motor Company, T. Eaton Company), and founder of Rochon Partners Corp., providing strategic executive search and business consultancy, and as a board member (Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, St. Elizabeth Health Care) he influenced and guided both major corporations  and individuals seeking to reach their highest aspirations. An accomplished athlete, playing football and hockey for the Hounds of Notre Dame, he remained active playing tennis and swimming daily. He was a prolific writer, as a teenager crafting stories on an old Olympia typewriter in Kimberley, BC, and as a young reporter at The Albertan in Calgary. Fuelled by the dream of writing the great Canadian novel, he wrote wherever he could, at home, at the cottage on Lake Huron or Wolf Lake, later, while spending time annually in Mexico with Mary, inspired by the arts and San Miguel Writer’s Conference. His rhyming birthday cards written over decades for each family member - numbering in the hundreds with singing/guitar choruses performed by the cousins - have become legendary.
 
He wrote two colourful and sharply drawn memoirs of his extraordinary life; he was handed over for adoption at a hockey rink in Cranbrook, British Columbia to be raised in the Purcell Mountains by a French-speaking miner, Joe, and his gentle wife, Katie. Though his genealogical search was extensive, the father figure who gave Joel a lifelong spiritual bond was Père Athol Murray, the Catholic priest and iconic visionary who founded the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, where mind, body and soul were all celebrated.
 
Joel’s life was guided by love, walking and talking his belief in humanity and the need to connect with all people, to deeply hear their stories. He lived the maxims of Notre Dame that continue to resonate strongly in the homes of his family: “Struggle and Emerge”;  “He who does what in him lies, God will not deny his grace.”
 
Joel died surrounded by all of his children, and by Mary, who led a powerful and poetic send off for her husband as he slipped away peacefully in the spirit of love he had cultivated profoundly throughout his life.
 
Funeral mass to be held Saturday, January 5, 2019, 11 AM at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Church, Newman Chapel, 89 St. George Street, Toronto.
 
Visitation: Friday, January 4th 2019 at 105 Cortleigh Blvd.  4pm-7pm
 
In lieu of flowers, donations would be greatly appreciated to the Joel and Mary Rochon Scholarship Fund supporting financially disadvantaged students at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. Attention Jeff Yanko, j.yanko@notredame.ca

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Athol Murray College of Notre Dame ·

P.O. Box 100 Wilcox · SK, Canada S0G 5E0
Phone: 306-732-2080 · Fax: 306-732-4409 · Email: info@notredame.ca