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Respected Sudbury businessman, Conrad Houle, dies

Founder of Tracks & Wheels championed many humanitarian and athletic causes in the community
Conrad Houle 2
Conrad Houle, founder of Tracks & Wheels (Supplied)

Conrad Houle, a well-respected Sudbury businessman and humanitarian, has died.

Houle, founder of Tracks & Wheels, died July 18 at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. He was 85.

“Success isn’t how far you go, but the distance you travelled from where you started,” was the motto Houle lived by, as written in his 2008 induction into the Sudbury Area Mining Service and Supply Association Hall of Fame (now MineConnect).

The son of a hard rock miner, Houle went into the parts business in the 1950s, eventually venturing into heavy equipment sales in working for a number of companies. With $350 in his pocket, Houle and his wife, Sheila, started what is now Tracks and Wheels Equipment Brokers in Sudbury in February 1980. Operating out of their home in the beginning, they bought and sold equipment, building a good client base in the process.

The company has since expanded with branches in Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay.

The company provides equipment sales, service and rentals for the agriculture and construction sectors, as well as designing and manufacturing its own line of MineMaster mining equipment with underground tractors, forklifts, personnel carriers and other vehicles.

According to his obituary, "Conny" was an active member in many professional and charitable organizations and endeavours. He was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Club for his outstanding humanitarian efforts, which included being a Big Brother. A champion in the fight against cancer, he was a founder and a sponsor of the Strokes for Hope Golf Tournament to build the Regional Cancer Centre. He also sponsored a room at the House of Kin, offering temporary accommodations for out-of-town patients and families visiting Sudbury for medical treatment.

He was inducted into the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, noted for his support of Olympic sprinter Robert Esmie’s training, as well as supporting the Paralympics and the not-for-profit Top Glove Boxing organization.

Houle is survived by his wife Sheila Houle (née Pernu), father of Kevin (wife Lorry) both predeceased, Keith (Karen), and Paula Naneff (Boris), and grandfather of Amber Houle, Emily Houle (predeceased), Brielle and Ryker Naneff, Branden Houle and step-granddaughters Jaclyn and Daniele Bernardi.

Arrangements are being made through Lougheed Funeral Homes.

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