Lourent “Larry” Lacoursiere
October 28, 1930 – July 2, 2012
I was born in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, at home on Ottawa Street, at 6P.M., October 29th, 1930, the 9th child of Alma Joanis and Wilfrid Lacoursiere. My baptism took place in Sacred Heart Church, with Auronre Lamarre as my Godmother and Wilbrod Valliere as my Godfather. I was given the names Laurent Wilfrod Joseph. In this church I received my first Communion in 1937, and was confirmed in 1939 by Bishop Alexander Carter.
I started school in September, 1936 at St. Joseph school. My first teacher was Sister Mariea in grade 1. Miss Armande Daoust in grade 2 and 3, then we moved to Windsor in November 1940. My ranking at school in Sturgeon Falls was 34th out of a class of 50, probably rather average. I was involved in the junior choir and school concerts. I worked for Mrs. Auger, bringing in wood and coal for kitchen and heat, up to her 2nd floor apartment, for 2 cents per week.
Our first home in Windsor was on High Street next to Ford Motor Company, & 2nd home on 1116 Albert Rd. Our church was Notre Dame du Lac, originally ‘Notre Dame du Rosaire’ in the 50′s.
I attended Holy Rosary and my standing was between 1st and 5th through grade school. It started dropping in high school, so that by the time I graduated, I was back to a C average. I sang in the school choir and was involved in plays throughout high school. My best subjects were history, geography, music. My worst was math. What a strange turn of circumstances as the subject I subject I used most in my work life was math! High school was spent at Holy Rosary; 2 years, Assumption College; 1 year, and St. Joseph High; 2 years. After graduation, I went to work at Tunnel BBQ for 2 months, Dodge Main in Detroit for 1 year, Western Union in Detroit for 1 year, then I was drafted into the U.S. Army for 2 years.
Basic Training was in Fort Belvoir, VA., then Specialist Courses in the same Camp. After 1 year I was transferred to Europe (France), specifically Orleans, the scene of ‘Jjoan of Arc’s’ biggest victories against the English in the 1400′s. I became a liason man between the American Army and French Army. The primary duty of our unit was to move people, food and freight through, in and out of France to Germany, and back to the U.S. If was broke out, our job was to evacuate all Americans out of Europe. While there, I did a lot of visiting in and around Orleans, to Paris where Cy Gauthier was living. I had the good fortune of being in France when Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. What an experience that was! I was discharged in September 1952, in time to attend Yolande and Ben’s Wedding in October, but missed Marcel’s departure for Europe by a few months.
My work story when I came back, was a bill collector at Finance Systems Inc. for 10 years. Then Allied Chemical Corp. for 13 years, dealing in foundry coke for the auto industry. While working there, I did a short stint as simulaneous translator for the World meeting of North American and European Automotive industries in Detroit. I was hired by Grosse Point County Day School to teach conversational french for 2 years, and decided to go back to University (night classes). I also joined the Windsor Light Opera for 2 years. I was doing fairly well at the University of Windsor, but in order to finish my teaching degree, I had to start taking day classes.
I got a job with Thibodeau Express at the Detroit Terminal and started the afternoon shift. Within 6 months we were running 3 shifts. The business grew so fast that my crew would still be at work when the day shift came in at 7AM. I dropped the university and concentrated totally on Thibodeau Express. When I started, we had only 9 people working there. When I left the company, there were 75 people. Three shifts a day, Monday to Friday, and worked Saturday and Sunday just about every week. The 60 to 80 hours a week on the job finally caught up to me; I suffered burn out. Mom died that year. I was directing the choir at Holy Rosary. All this came at once. I quit my job at Thibodeau’s. For 3 years, I had no work but to direct the choir at Holy Rosary and do volunteer work at Drouillard Place.
After Mom’s death, we had to settle the estate. Kay and Gord took over the house and I moved to Chilver Road. During the early 80′s Drouillard PLace received a government grant to open and operate a Used Clothing Store and Craft Shop, and asked me to manage it. In the 1st year, the store was broken into and set fire. We were able to get another grant to clean, repair and reopen the store. It was a setback for us, but we persevered and it was coming along quite well, till we were just about-ready to manage on our own. A final grant that would have pushed us into the black and become self-sufficient was not granted to us. I was decided to close the store and was more than I could bear to see, five years of hard work lost. I left Drouillard Place, and Holy Rosary church and went to work for Detroit News as a Motor Carrier for 2 years. Then I was brought in to organize the office so that we could start billing and collect money owed. I set up a billing assembly which retrieved over $80,000. In the meantime. a young woman came to work for us.
This was Lisa Reid. I offered to be her back up, as her car was a bit old. We worked well together. Lisa was adopted by the Reid family She was married to Lamarche and had moved to British Columbia. When I met her, she had left B.C. with 2 children and a dog. They had been on the road for 3 years before she made it back to Windsor.
When Detroit News and Free Press merged, I lost my job and Lisa put me to work on one of her routes. Later I worked for Rumors Restaurant for 3 years. Lisa and I kept up our friendship and we helped each other as needed. Lisa met Mike Giles and in time they were married. I was their Best Man at the wedding, and our friendship flourished. Rumors Restaurant ran into financial problems and closed down. Three months later they reopened under the name ‘Sport’s Authority’ and asked me to work for them. I did for another 1 1/2 years. I didn’t prosper and they had to close. Lisa rehired me for awhile. Then I started having problems which landed me in hospital and in London for a bypass operation. Meanwhile, I sold my home on Chilver Road and bought one on Aubin Road. I met Fred Dufour, who was opening a small restaurant on Pillette Road and Ontario Street, called ‘Duffy’s’ and I worked there for a few years until he sold the place.
Then I became an avid Bingo player, Karaoke Singer, and Retired Gentleman to this day.