Honoured by Ed Roche Junior.
Edward Joseph Roche was born in County Wicklow, Ireland, January 1st, 1887. He grew up on a farm, ate some days and some days he went without food. He only went to school when there was no work to be done on the farm which was rare. He also worked as a coachman for an elderly lady in Wicklow.
From 1904 to 1906 Ed was employed as a transfer man for Dublin Southwestern Railway between Dublin, Belfast and Londonderry for 8 cents an hour, 12 hours a day.
In 1907 he sailed across the Atlantic , a journey which took 3 weeks, in search of a new life in Canada, working at a Beaverton farm for one year for $300.
In 1908, he walked to Orillia and caught a train to North Bay. His first job, with the city, was to sweep the streets of the wooden sidewalks for two dollars a day. His luck continued as he secured an additional position with the city. These two jobs with the city lasted six months. He then picked up a contract with T & N. O. to clean up every station along the track. He walked and worked his way from North Bay to Cobalt, had two men work Cobalt to Cochrane, and on to the branch lines. These jobs took one month.
In 1913, he landed his first contract with the City of North Bay.
In 1920, he won first place for the best horse and mare at the North Bay fair. He started his own garbage business. He secured contracts in Kapuskasing, Iroquois Fall,Kirkland Lake, Parry Sound, North Bay, Callander, Widdifield, Nobel, Depot Harbour, Algonquin Park and the Dionne home. He had ten teams of horses, four in North Bay, two in Parry Sound, two in Kirkland Lake, one in Kapuskasing and one in Iroquois Falls.
In 1925, at North Bay Old Home Week, Ed had twelve teams of horses on parade. At that time there were only three automobiles in town. The next year he bought his first vehicle, a Ford touring model.
Ed was diverse in his entrepreneurial spirit, raising chickens, selling eggs, and wood, emptying septic tanks and hauling rocks sold as souvenirs, for visitors to the Quints’ home.
When the city started its own garbage pick-up, Ed was employed to organize the job, purchase trucks, hire employees and design routes.
Ed was a shareholder for 27 years in Northern Oil which owned all Sunoco service stations in the area.
Five men, including Ed, started the Georgian Bay Creamery, built in Parry Sound, then bought Johnson Dairy in North Bay, a creamery in Powassan, and built a creamery in Englehart.
He was one of the key figures in the construction of the airport, Ferguson and 63 highways and the Ontario Hospital. He was involved in nearly every community project, from the Agricultural Association, the Humane Society, the Motor Club, Cassellsholme, the Shrine Club, Bay Club, Railway Men’s Club, the Rotary Club and many more.
Ed was a member of the Ontario Parol Board for several years.
He passed away December 20th, 1985.
My Dad was always a positive, thoughtful, giving person. He never lost his temper, loved people and adored North Bay. He had great common sense and enjoyed life to the fullest. He was by far the best person I have ever known.
Ed lived a full and meaningful, purpose-filled life and gave back to his community in so many ways. Ed’s motto? “Live as long as you can and die only when you can’t help it.”