Fond farewell to an icon, friend [Hemlo co-founder John Larche] – by Benjamin Aubé (Timmins Daily Press – October 12, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – In the days after his death, he is being described by many as a hero and a legend, as a man of generosity and humility. But up until his final days, John Larche only ever saw himself as a simple prospector.

On Friday, Larche was laid to rest at the Timmins Memorial cemetery after a funeral mass at Église Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix. “My father’s biggest dream in life was not mining related,” said Larche’s son Paul. “His biggest dream was to raise his family with values that would carry them well through life so that they could realize happiness and the full potential of their aspirations, whatever they may be.

“Values you know my father for; honesty, integrity, humility, and a moral compass that pointed as true North as his prospectors compass.” Larche died peacefully on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 8 at the age of 84. Pre-deceased by his first wife, Violet, Larche is survived by his wife Dolores, his five children, Paul, David, Nicole, John and Lise, as well as his 16 grandchildren.

He was known largely for founding the famous Hemlo Gold Mine in the early 1980s near Marathon, Ont. with fellow prospector and business-partner Don McKinnon, who died just two months ago.

In 1983, Larche was named co-recipient of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s Prospector of the Year Award. From 1984-1988, he presided over the Prospectors Association of Canada and became the country’s top spokesperson in exploration. In 2002, he was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country’s top civilian honour, by then-Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson.

After striking it rich with his exploration discoveries and making an international name for himself, Larche never strayed too far from his roots. He supported many charities and organizations in the city, most notably the Timmins and District Hospital, where the Imaging and Cardiopulmonary Department was renamed in his honour in 2006.

Larche’s longtime friend, and former Mayor of Timmins, Victor Power spoke about the life of a man who will forever be remembered as a pillar in the community.

“Interestingly enough, his career commenced at the Hollinger Mine, whose motto was, ‘A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay,’” remembered Power. “His career as a prospector was not unlike many of those hardy souls in this field, fraught with disappointment and dry holes.

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