Jacques Rochefort

Obituary of Jacques Marc Aurelien Rochefort


Jacques Aurélien Rochefort

March 10, 1928 – February 2, 2024

How does one describe a life that spanned nearly a century? The last of his generation, Mr. Jacques Aurélien Rochefort, peacefully passed away on Friday, February 2, 2024, in his 96th year, at Welland General Hospital, ON. Born in Astorville, Ontario, son of the late Clémentienne Barette Rochefort (teacher) and Oscar Joseph Rochefort (Surveyor, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario) he was predeceased by his six siblings: Gérald, Jean-Marie, Gisèle (Trudel), Ghislaine (Parent), Guy, and Oscar Jr.

A true sportsman and lover of life from a young age, Jacques won several high-jump and cross-country skiing competitions. Hockey, skating, swimming (and under the stern gaze of his father, hunting and fishing) which he enjoyed until this past summer at Lac Kipawa, were among his great pleasures. A family decision resulted in much of his early salary going towards paying for his brothers' education, one of whom became a doctor, and the other who completed a Doctorate. Always stoic, Jacques took it stride.

At the age of sixteen, he met his future wife of 27 years, Marie-Claire Cauchy (deceased August 12, 2023), the sister of his friend, Rhéal. Jacques and Claire were married on November 15, 1952, at St. Vincent de Paul Church in North Bay, and welcomed seven children over the course of 12 years. A traditional, Catholic, and Franco-Ontarian father, his faith was the cornerstone of a strong character he wished to impart to his children, even if he did not always succeed in leading by example. He was a man of his time, but times were changing.

Always handy (he worked harvests on his uncles' farms) and passionate about literature and theater, he decided to pay for his education at Collège du Sacré-Cœur in Sudbury. Kitchen work paid for his boarding school. During all his summer vacations, Jacques worked various positions (laborer, clerk, telegraphist, and electronics technician) for several railway companies. Starting in 1951, as office manager and further promotions placed him as an inspector and supervisor in several districts in Armstrong, North Bay, St. Catharines (1969), and finally in Toronto itself. Over a sixty-year career within the Telecommunications branch of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, additional courses in leadership, and human and industrial relations, helped advance his career as an independent consultant for Unitel, and other companies establishing new telecommunications networks for computers, ATMs, cell phones, cables, etc., across Canada, the United States, and Europe. His entire career in communication spanned from the Morse code era to the Internet! He finally retired around 2005, traveling extensively, and moved back to St. Catharines.

Among his interests were opera, photography, cinema, and the arts. And, as the father of seven children, he fully immersed himself in the socio-cultural life and French-language education in Ontario. This required unparalleled personal devotion in terms of community, provincial, and even national services. And often he was called upon to chair several of these meetings. Indeed, he became the President of many non-profit organizations’ boards such as: The French Language Advisory Committee of the Lincoln County School Board; President of Club La Salle (French club of St. Catharines); the Popular Arts Council of St. Catharines and Ontario; the Advisory Committee for the “Camp You-Nous” under the direction of Youth Canada (a Trudeau-era employment organization to support and promote bilingualism in Canada); the Franco-Ontarian Association of Ontario (ACFO); the Board of the St. Catharines Grape & Wine Festival; the Inter-Provincial Council of Cultural Diffusion; founding member of the St.-Catharines and Niagara Richelieu Club as well as Richelieu International.

Although he was involved in volunteer projects for the benefit of the community, after his retirement, Jacques made efforts to make up for lost time with his children. Unfortunately, preceded in death by his youngest son, Robert-André Rochefort in 2010 (Yellowknife, NWT), Jacques leaves behind his loving children: Lise Rochefort (Adrian Jones) Ottawa, ON; Jacques Rochefort Jr. (Sharon Bauming) Edmonton, AB; Marc Rochefort (Shelley Lunny) St-Catharines, ON; Janice Rochefort (Irving Miller, deceased 2003) Ottawa, ON; Carole Rochefort-Kay (James Kay) St. Catharines; and Sylvie Rochefort-Makara (Trevor Makara) Palm Springs, CA. Also mourning, 11 grandchildren: Renée,  Robby, Louise, Patrick, Chantal, Marie Eve, Meghan, Ryan, Eireann, Siân and Samuel. “Papi” adored his 13 great-grandchildren: Taylor, Kayla, Neveah, Madelaine, Jocaya, Mason, Savienne, Kodric, Kamille, Carmichael, Amélie, Luca and Rylie.

A great lover of golf, travel and reading, Jacques was also a great conversationalist, orator and raconteur. As a well-informed amateur historian, he closely followed current events and local and national politics. Due in part to these gifts (as well as his strong presence in the St. Catharines community) he was asked to run in the 1975 provincial elections as a candidate for the Liberal Party. No doubt very disappointed with the result (he lost by only 700 votes) despite the efforts of his campaign manager and friend, Charles Dupuis, he redoubled his efforts and continued his career and community involvement. Despite the failure of his marriage in 1978, Jacques and his former wife Claire renewed their friendship, and over the years fully participated in family events together. He called her, 'the love of my life.’

He was a proud man who could, at times, be stubborn, and difficult. But each person has at least one precious memory of their father or ‘Papi,’ even more so because with his years of work-travel and due to his commitments, he did not spend much time at home when the children were young. Among many memories: In winter, the descent of ‘Two Mile Hill’ in Astorville, six children and cousins, sitting in single file on the ‘double-bobsleigh’ he built and drove himself, everyone laughing and shouting breathlessly; surprise stops at the ‘Dairy Queen’ coming back from a day of swimming at Lake Nipissing (where the kids dove to retrieve his golf balls, earning them10 cents/ball); hunting outings (moose or deer that fed his large family of nine until the end of winter); fishing and skiing; his true (or false) stories when he said, “Ask me anything!”; and the tale of him and his brother Guy, who as young boys, set the village school house on fire; the gift of ‘the love of adventure’, when, once his children turned 16, as a CNCP employe, he could offer them a free, solo train ride across Canada; his continuous efforts to instill in us his love of the French language and culture; his great joy and appreciation for music, dance, good wine, and good food (especially pies); his New Year's blessings; his trips to France with his adult children; his “Bonne nuit -------- chéri(e).”

The family would like to especially thank Elizabeth Rivera and her fellow caregivers for their compassion and care. Also, thanks to the staff of Foyer Richelieu..  A reception will be held on March 10, 2024 from 1-4 p.m. at Club LaSalle, 111 Arthur St., St. Catharines.  An interment will be held in Astorville, Ontario later in the spring. If you wish to attend, please contact Lise Rochefort at 819-671-3730.

Throughout his life, Jacques Aurélien Rochefort generously supported charitable causes. For those who wish to honour his memory, the family suggests a donation to one of the following foundations: ACFO: the Association Canadienne-française de l’Ontario; The Alzheimer Society of Ontario, Meals on Wheels, St. Catharines or the Foyer Richelieu, Welland, Ontario.

Le soleil ni la mort ne se peuvent regarder fixement.

-De La Rochefoucauld

Ceux qui quittent la vie ne meurent pas vraiment

tant qu’il y a des gens pour se souvenir d’eux.

 -Sylvain Trudel









A Memorial Tree was planted for Jacques
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at George Darte Funeral Chapel Inc.
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