“Marcel and Jane have lived their lives with the growth of the community and the well-being of its citizens always close to their hearts. “
In 1957 Marcel and Jane moved to Sturgeon Falls where they raised 5 children and became part of the community fabric. The couple worked together as a powerful team, offering support for one another’s passions. Both were hard working professionals who balanced earning a living with caring for their family and giving back to the community.
Marcel worked for 31 years as a stationary engineer and was part owner of several local businesses including the Tribune and Gervais Restaurant, and was owner of Labbé Monuments. In 1964, Marcel became a member of Town Council, where he served for 31 consecutive years. Jane taught school for 31 one years and was a member of many community organizations.
Marcel and Jane steadfastly advocated for recreational and social infrastructures for children and families. First, they campaigned for a local arena. They had signs made, launched a door to door campaign to foster support, had “I need an arena” buttons distributed to all the school children, sponsored poster contests in the schools and organized a plebiscite. The first arena was built in in 1964. The Kinsman pool, also a focus, was built in 1966.
But Sturgeon still lacked a recreational hub. Council had worked together and secured funding for the complex, and the Hall (now the Marcel Noel Hall) was built first in 1989 as an important money generator. However, when it came time for the construction of the pool, promised grants from other levels of governments were cancelled. Undaunted, together they headed the Steering committee to raise the funds for the pool. They had Monster Bingos and community bingos, they threw dances and brought in headliners, they sold Nevada Tickets, they had community garage sales, they sold individual stairs up the slide for $5000 apiece, they encouraged payroll deductions that spanned 3 years so that individuals could contribute more over time. Whole staffs became involved. The Committee also solicited contributions from businesses both large and small. Jane and Marcel contributed over $15,000 of their own money. The Complex lists a host of contributors– all were solicited through of the Steering Committee’s efforts. They did not raise the full amount, but they raised enough that the balance could be funded by the West Nipissing tax base, and the remaining Complex was completed in 1991.
Marcel served on the first Hospital Board that saw the building of the West Nipissing General hospital. He was pivotal in shaping the community to incorporate geared-to-income housing and seniors’ apartments and was instrumental in the consolidation of the Police, Fire Hall, Town Hall and Library into the Statistics Canada building. He also served as a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, 4’th degree. He has been honoured with The Commemorative Medal for the 125 anniversary of Canada and the Community Recognition Award by the Chamber of Commerce.
Jane was a Girl Guide leader, a member of the Kinettes and the Daughters of Isabelle. She volunteered at the hospital, served on the Board of Directors for Community Living and was a member of the committee that established Stepping Stones which served children with challenges. Jane was the president of the Steering Committee that established the West Nipissing Day Care and was a founding member of the West Nipissing Food Bank where she volunteered for 30 years. She has been honoured with The Community Service Award (now the June Callwood Award), and plaques for service to Community Living and the Catholic’s Women’s League.
Marcel and Jane have lived their lives with the growth of the community and the well-being of its citizens always close to their hearts. The family is fiercely proud of the naming of the arena as recognition of their significant contribution to West Nipissing.