Ron Joyce, the man who rose from a childhood marked by the Great Depression to co-found the Tim Horton’s doughnut chain, has died at the age of 88.
In a statement, the Joyce family says he died Thursday, peacefully in his Burlington, Ontario, home with his family at his side.
The cause of death was not immediately clear.
Son Steven Joyce says his father had a big vision and a big heart. Through hard work, determination and drive, he built one of the most successful restaurant chains in Canada.
He says his dad never forgot his humble beginnings.
Joyce was born in Tatamagouche, N.S., in 1930, with two siblings to follow, while his father struggled to find construction work due to the ripple effects of the Depression.
His father died in an accident when Joyce was three years old, while his mother was pregnant with their third child.
Joyce described this “modest upbringing” in his memoir “Always Fresh: The Untold Story of Tim Hortons.”
He went on to invest in the first Tim Hortons shop in Hamilton in 1964 and helped grow it into a successful chain before selling it to Wendy’s International Inc. in 1996.
A statement signed from the Tim Hortons team says “Ron was a larger-than-life friend who not only helped create one of Canada’s most iconic brands but was passionate about ensuring Tim Hortons always gave back to the community.”
He helped found the Tim Horton Children’s foundation, which pays to send underprivileged children to one of several Tim Hortons camps and runs youth programs.
He founded The Joyce Family Foundation, which focuses on providing access to education for children and youth facing significant financial need or other barriers to success.
Joyce donated $7.5 million to support the redevelopment and expansion of the Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington.
Files from The Canadian Press.