Feed mill founder lauded for hon­esty, work ethic

The Glengarry News - - Report On Agricultur­e - News his wife,

BY AN­GELA BROWN

Staff The area has lost a well­re­spected busi­ness­man, Wil­frid Ma­jor, a prom­i­nent mem­ber of the farm­ing com­mu­nity for 50 years, and whose busi­ness once re­ceived ac­co­lades from a Prime Min­is­ter.

Founder of North Lan­caster feed mill Wil­frid Ma­jor Ltd., Mr. Ma­jor died Jan­uary 26 from ad­vanced Alzheimer’s at the age of 86.

He was pas­sion­ate about his busi­ness all his life and en­joyed go­ing to work even into his late 70s.

“It was his dream to build a busi­ness one day and do im­por­tant things,” said his daugh­ter, Ni­cole Re­naud Léger. “He ful­filled his dream.”

Orig­i­nally from North Lan­caster, Wil­frid Ma­jor lived in Mon­tréal work­ing for ShurGain prior to re­turn­ing to the area in 1959, when he first pur­chased the mill, a Shur-Gain dealer.

Mr. Ma­jor and Thérèse, pur­chased the mill on Con­ces­sion Road 5 from his un­cle, Donat Ma­jor.

With his en­ter­pris­ing tal­ents, Mr. Ma­jor worked dili­gently to ex­pand the busi­ness and keep it go­ing for the next 50 years. The Ma­jors were helped by their daugh­ter, and son, Jean, who even­tu­ally took over the mill while Wil­frid still main­tained part own­er­ship.

On its 50th an­niver­sary in 2009, Wil­frid Ma­jor Ltd. was rec­og­nized with awards from MP Guy Lau­zon as well as then­Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper.

Brothers Michel and Fer­nand Hu­bert and Mario Côté from Québec then pur­chased the mill the same year, while re­tain­ing the com­pany’s well re­spected name.

Since start­ing his busi­ness, Mr. Ma­jor had made many up­grades to the op­er­a­tion, in­stalling a new pel­let ma­chine, a com­puter sys­tem and a fullyau­to­mated batch­ing sys­tem. He also ex­panded the mill many times, in­creased staff and prod­uct lines. Later, he be­gan mak­ing an­i­mal feed at the mill to serve other feed mills in the re­gion.

“He had to in­vest a lot to make the mill big­ger to serve other feed mills,” said Mrs. Re­naud Léger.

Mr. Ma­jor would of­ten go to work dur­ing off-hours to meet cus­tomers’ needs.

“He would get up in the middle of the night to de­liver fer­til- izer and if some­one needed feed on a Sun­day he would de­liver it,” said Mrs. Re­naud Léger.

Her father al­ways val­ued the im­por­tance of be­ing hon­est with his cus­tomers, sell­ing only qual­ity prod­ucts, and be­ing “a man of your word.”

First steps

Thérèse Ma­jor re­called when she first met Wil­frid at a dance at the Green Val­ley Pav­il­ion dance hall in 1946 she was es­pe­cially im­pressed that even then he would say his plans were to be a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man.

“He al­ways told her that one day he was go­ing to be a very im­por­tant man, and that fas­ci­nated her,” re­called his daugh­ter.

The cou­ple dated for five years be­fore get­ting mar­ried in 1951. “They wanted to be sure they were mak­ing the right de­ci­sion,” re­mem­bered Mrs. Re­naud Léger.

Thérèse said she ap­pre­ci­ated Wil­frid’s danc­ing skills; the cou­ple went on to take danc­ing lessons in Val­ley­field, Que.

“He had a pas­sion for danc­ing,” added his daugh­ter. “It was beau­ti­ful to see them dance to­gether.”

Mr. Ma­jor had a strong work ethic and was a self- taught handy­man who en­joyed fix­ing equip­ment or do­ing land­scap­ing, us­ing a lit­tle know-how com­bined with per­se­ver­ance.

Mr. Ma­jor also was a strong fam­ily man; he loved spend­ing time with his seven grand­chil­dren and 10 great-grand­chil­dren.

Build­ing com­mu­nity

Mr. Ma­jor was com­mu­ni­ty­minded, too, and made con­tri­bu­tions to The Op­ti­mist Club, and youth hockey and sports groups, among oth­ers. He also sup­ported his church, St. Mar­garet of Scot­land Parish in Glen Nevis. “He was very in­volved in the com­mu­nity and help­ing peo­ple who were hav­ing a hard time,” said Mrs. Re­naud Léger.

She de­scribes her father as a peo­ple per­son who en­joyed see­ing friends and snow­mo­bil­ing.

A good friend, Bruce Munro, had the ut­most re­spect for Mr. Ma­jor. He helped Mr. Munro and his wife, Rhona, start their own farm- sup­ply busi­ness, Lan­caster’s Munro Agro­mart Ltd., in 1977, even though the new busi­ness was a com­peti­tor.

“He is re­spon­si­ble for help­ing us es­tab­lish our busi­ness. No one did more,” said Mr. Munro. “He was a God-fear­ing, hon­est man. He would help peo­ple do any­thing.”

Wil­frid Ma­jor Ltd. mill’s cur­rent gen­eral man­ager, Rox­anne Lau­zon, echoed Mr. Munro’s sen­ti­ments. Af­ter work­ing 15 years un­der Mr. Ma­jor’s su­per­vi­sion ear­lier in her ca­reer, she val­ued him as “the most hard­work­ing man I ev­ery met. He rep­re­sents in­tegrity, hon­esty and re­spect.”

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WIL­FRID MA­JOR

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