Farewell ‘Mr. Schu­macher’

Hun­dreds at­tend fu­neral for for­mer coun­cil­lor and beloved com­mu­nity leader

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - Len GILLIs

A fi­nal farewell for Lou Bat­to­chio took place in front of hun­dreds of friends and fam­ily mem­bers at Sa­cred Heart of Je­sus Church in Tim­mins on a cold and rainy Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Bat­to­chio, a for­mer city coun­cil­lor and com­mu­nity vol­un­teer, died early Satur­day morn­ing at the age of 91.

As the hearse con­tain­ing Bat­to­chio’s cas­ket pulled in front of the church, it was met by an hon­our guard of boys and girls rep­re­sent­ing teams from the Schu­macher Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion, all wear­ing team sweaters. Sev­eral friends and fam­ily mem­bers made pos­i­tive com­ments on this ac­knowl­edge­ment of Bat­to­chio’s sup­port for mi­nor hockey.

Along with be­ing an ar­dent sup­porter of Schu­macher mi­nor hockey over the years, Bat­to­chio’s cho­sen ca­reer was as a phys­i­cal-ed­u­ca­tion teacher at pub­lic schools through­out Tim­mins. Nearly 10 years ago, Bat­to­chio was hon­oured by Hockey Canada with the Award of Merit and was called Schu­macher’s own Mr. Hockey.

Just be­fore mass be­gan on Wed­nes­day, Bat­to­chio’s twin sons Bruno and Nino took a mo­ment to speak to the con­gre­ga­tion and to thank the com­mu­nity for its show of friend­ship and sup­port.

The two men shared some per­sonal sto­ries of grow­ing up and life with their dad, who al­ways found time to talk about Schu­macher, to talk about hockey and how much he en­joyed spend­ing time at the McIn­tyre Cof­fee Shop.

Bruno joked about how his dad was such an avid fan of lo­cal hockey that he would go to rec league hockey games at the Mac in his 80s and would hold the door open for play­ers come off the ice.

Nino re­called a time when he was coach­ing a hockey game in small town Brew­ster, New York, when Lou was in the stands talk­ing to other hockey fans and par­ents.

“So I got off the ice when this guy came up and stopped me. He said I’ve got to tell you it was en­joy­able talk­ing to your dad. The guy said, I know one thing; he’s from Schu­macher!”

The fu­neral mass was per­formed by Fa­ther John lemire. dur­ing his ser­mon he gave an ex­am­ple from the novel Coura­geous by randy al­corn.

one of the char­ac­ters in the book be­came un­happy and de­spon­dent, un­til his wife re­minded him, “you are a rich man. you have a strong faith, chil­dren that love you, and a wife that adores you,” lemire ex­plained.

“i think in many ways as we gather here this af­ter­noon these words could equally be said of him, dur­ing his long life with us: lou, you are a rich man. you have a strong faith, chil­dren that love you and a wife that adores you,” lemire said.

“as word has passed on through our com­mu­nity and in so­cial me­dia in these re­cent days, of lou’s death, there has cer­tainly been many glow­ing trib­utes about lou and the many and var­ied ac­com­plish­ments has had.”

lemire said bat­to­chio was ad­mired for his many achieve­ments in ed­u­ca­tion, in pol­i­tics and in sports. but more than that, he said bat­to­chio was a man of faith and was at peace with his life. lemire also com­pli­mented the man for his long­stand­ing and lov­ing re­la­tion­ship with his wife Ce­cile for 61 years.

he said their mar­riage served as a glow­ing ex­am­ple of the im­por­tance of com­mit­ment in a so­ci­ety where that doesn’t seem to hold the weight it once did.

among those who at­tended the fi­nal ser­vice were cur­rent mayor steve black, for­mer Tim­mins mayor vic Power, city coun­cil­lors Joe Camp­bell, Wal­ter Wawrza­szek and Pat bam­ford. For­mer city coun­cil­lors at the church in­cluded Joe har­wood and ray au­clair. sev­eral cur­rent and for­mer city staff mem­bers were also at the fu­neral.

as the mass came to end, pall­bear­ers car­ried the cas­ket down the steps of the church, once again flanked by the hon­our guard of young hockey play­ers giv­ing their salute to schu­macher’s own mr. hockey.

Len GILLIs/THE DAILY PRESS

A fu­neral mass was held for the well-known for­mer city coun­cil­lor Lou Bat­to­chio Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon at Sa­cred Heart of Je­sus church in Tim­mins. In trib­ute to Bat­to­chioís long sup­port of hockey, an hon­our guard of boys and girls from the Schu­macher Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion lined the steps of the church as Bat­to­chio’s cas­ket was brought into the church and also when the pall­bear­ers car­ried it out when the ser­vice ended.

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