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"WAP" 2003 Obituary


WAPLES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-26 published
Lumber king of the Ottawa Valley
For 75 years, he dominated logging in the region and provided all the wood for Inco mineshafts
By Randy RAY Special to The Globe and Mail Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - Page R9
Ottawa -- Hector CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER never let his age stand in the way of a day's work. In 1928, at age 12, he was working full-time for his father's logging company in the Ottawa Valley near Pembroke, Ontario, and by 14 was running his own operation.
On a cold February morning 73 years later, Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER, who was known as Hec Sr., drove 150 kilometres to his family's lumber camp near Mattawa. He toured the site and chatted with his sons and two of his grandchildren who run the family owned business, before driving home in his pickup truck, accompanied by his spaniel. Three days later, on February 9, Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER suffered a heart attack and died at his Pembroke home. He was 87.
"To the day he died, he was an integral part of the company, said his son Hector CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER Jr.
During his 75-year association with the logging business, Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER operated lumber operations in the Ottawa Valley and as far north as Sturgeon Falls and Blind River, Ontario For a time, Hector CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER and Sons was one of the largest local employers.
Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER also built the Northwood Hotel near Pembroke and owned Northwood Stables, which bred, trained and raced pacers and trotters. At one point, he had 150 horses.
Born in Petawawa in February 1, 1916, his beginnings as an Ottawa Valley success story began in the early 1920s when a shortage of money in his family forced him to leave elementary school to work at his father Thomas's lumbering operation. Within two years, he bought a horse and started his own business, delivering logs to the Pembroke Splint Lumber Co.
In his first year in business, the red and white pines felled by Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER's company produced 400,000 board feet of lumber, double his father's production.
"He said his father's operation was nice and neat and tidy but that it wasn't making enough money, " said Hector Jr., who is a former Member of Parliament for the riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke and is now an adviser to Prime Minister Jean CHRÉTIEN.
In the 1930s and 40s, the diminutive Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER expanded the business and modernized his equipment. His operation prospered during the Second World War. In 1945, he married Molly SMITH, a nurse from the Ottawa Valley community of Pakenham. The couple raised 10 children on their 375-acre farm located between Pembroke and Petawawa.
His company continued to operate in Renfrew County until about 1950 when he moved north to the Sturgeon Falls area to launch a new operation that employed 160 workers and cut enough trees to yield 10 million board feet of lumber a year. Later, he opened a second near Elliot Lake, Ontario, employing an additional 140 employees and producing another 10 million board feet of lumber annually. For many years, his company provided all of the pine for the shafts at the Inco mines in Sudbury. Eventually, the company diversified into pulpwood and, in the 1980s, provided kits for building log homes.
In 1960, the family returned to Pembroke so that the children would have easier access to schools. Sadly, 11 years later, Molly CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER died, leaving her husband to raise their children. He never remarried.
"We used to tease him about that and he'd say: 'Are you crazy? I couldn't find a woman crazy enough to look after you kids, ' " Hector Jr. said.
During his years in the logging industry, Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER saw horses, broad axes and crosscut saws replaced by trucks, power saws, skidders and tree fellers that could cut and delimb trees in a matter of minutes. Over time, technology reduced crews from 200 to 30.
"The mechanization saddened him because he always felt the bush was kept cleaner with horses, and he felt good about employing so many people, " Hector Jr. said.
Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER Sr., a skilled log driver, was known as an innovator. Among his inventions was a device he nicknamed the "submarine." Using a winch, a generator and a floating wooden platform, it replaced dynamite as a way of breaking up logjams that blocked rivers. The submarine was soon adopted by competitors after premature detonations had killed log drivers.
Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER also had a passion for horses that stemmed from a love for the hard-working animals that for years had pulled his logs out of the bush.
He bought his first horse in 1951 for $100 and raced it at the Perth Fair where he got into an accident and broke his arm. He began breeding horses in 1955 and at one point had more than 150 racehorses. Among his most noted pacers was Barney Diplomat, which raced successfully for trainer Keith WAPLES in the mid 1950s and JJ's Metro, which won purses totalling $350,000.
His Northwood Stables and the Northwood Hotel were located across from each other on what is now County Road 17 west of Pembroke. His daughter Sandra and Hector Jr. drove horses for their father's stable.
Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER was a past president of the Quebec Harness Horseman's Association, was one of the longest serving directors of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society and helped found the Ontario Harness Horse Association, which in 1961 began representing the interests of horse owners, drivers, trainers, grooms and their families on matters such as track conditions, pension plans, disability insurance and purses.
"Hec Sr. was one of the founding fathers of organized horsemen in Ontario who helped negotiate purses so that people could have a career in horse racing, said Jim WHELAN, president of the Ontario Harness Horse Association in Mississauga. "He was a pioneer.
A strong secondary interest after racing was fishing. When he was not working, Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER often disappeared to fish favourite lakes with a favourite dog.
Mr. HIGGINSON, who knew Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER for 35 years, said his friend had a soft spot for children who loved sports but couldn't afford the equipment.
"If a kid needed new skates, all of a sudden there would be a pair of skates for that child and nobody ever said where they came from. That side of him developed from what went on in his own family that was not well off at the start. Hec knew what it meant to be scratching out an existence -- he was interested in what was going on around him."
Mr. CLOUTIER/CLOUTHIER was predeceased by his wife, four sisters and seven brothers. He leaves five sons and five daughters. Sons Tom, Willy and Jimmy, plus grandchildren Clyde and Shannon, run the family logging company.

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