Lab West Pioneers
Clarence Doyle has 52 years punched as a Labrador West resident. Clarence arrived in Labrador West in August of 1966 from Grates Cove, just outside of St. John’s at age 20, like so many others seeking out the work that was in Labrador West in the mining sector.
He began his working career at IOC as a labourer in the mill. He did his time in trade school, came out as an electrician and punched 33 years inside the IOC gate.
In the beginning, his home was Bunkhouse Number 3 across from the property adjacent to the present day location of CRRSTV. Meals were served at the cafeteria, breakfast, and a packed lunch for noon and supper back at the cafeteria. He worked a swing shift, a week of days, a week of evenings, a week of nights and then start all over again.
A week’s work consisted of 48 hours, six days a week. He said with a smile, that you might as well be working; there were no roads out, in either direction. It wasn’t like you could go anywhere.
During these early years, the town was just being built. Homes and business and service buildings were all under construction and were all brand new. It was an exciting time both inside the gate and out in the community as well.
Clarence and his wife Catherine spent their time, like many others in our community during those early years, raising their family. They have three children, one boy and two girls. Their son and one daughter are now adults and second-generation IOC employees. Their son is an electrician and their daughter works in the chemical lab. Their other daughter is a nurse in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Clarence has enjoyed his years of retirement with very little time spent sitting around and getting old.
He is “on the go” all the time. Clarence is a man of the woods and the water, he always has been. Every time I bump into him, the conversation quickly gravitates to our common interests.
If we aren’t having a chat about fishing we are sharing the latest stories on the hunt at hand. Every season has the short list of what you should be doing and Clarence’s passion for the country and the water and what it holds has that list in his front pocket all the time.
Clarence is a cabin guy, his camp is down on the South East Arm of Shabogamo Lake and he spends a lot of time there. When the season is right, Speckles, Lakers and Ouananiche are all on his list.
He is a life long hunter as well. Small game is a given. He hunts moose whenever he has a successful draw for a tag. Labrador moose tags are harder to get than island tags because of the numbers allocated. Clarence was lucky enough to have a tag for a Labrador moose last fall.
Lucky for him, not so lucky for the moose, Clarence had the roaster full. Clarence also has as yet, an unwritten book, cover-to-cover filled with stories of the glory years of the caribou hunt in Labrador West that spans all the country and all the years that we had the bounty of so many animals.
Clarence has given the Canadian Rangers 25 years of service and the Labrador West Ground Search and Rescue 30 years in Labrador. He remains an active and valued member to both organizations to this day.
If any of us was down and out anywhere, under any conditions on the Labrador, in the country or on the water, there would be some comfort in knowing that Clarence was part of the team that was looking for you. A true Labrador Pioneer.