Farmers Forum staff
CASSELMAN — Daniel Coulange was already a middle-aged farmer and a veteran of the Algerian war when he immigrated from France to Canada with his wife, Hélène, and their three children. They first bought a Quebec dairy farm in 1981 before relocating east of Ottawa, at Casselman, three years later.
Ferme Hesnoda grew into a thriving dairy operation with as many as 400 milk cows and 1,600 crop acres, and it was Coulange’s workplace and passion. He died in hospital Nov. 18 at age 82 — about a week after sustaining head and chest injuries when his pickup truck struck a ditch as he drove through a field on the farm.
Family friend and custom operator Arnold Kuratli has had a 30-year business relationship with Coulange and said he spoke with Coulange by telephone before he took that last foray into the field to give the crop a final look. A neighbour found an injured Coulange wandering the field later that evening after he failed to return home.
“He had a good life,” said Kuratli, noting that Coulange was interested in politics and “a fighter for farmers and the quota system. He was a fighter for the idea that a human has to work or make his own life. He was not a guy who was standing back. He was always ahead.”
His friend had “old school” values, he said. “He had a very strong personality and made his own decisions.”
Coulange also owned a crop farm in Manitoba — a place he loved — according to Kuratli, and retained an interest in the ancestral farm in France, now operated by his son, Olivier, who returned there some years ago. Meanwhile, Coulange’s daughter, Nelly, left an office career to return to the Casselman farm two years ago after his health declined. He had suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, said Kuratli.
Coulange is also survived by a daughter, Sylvie.
“If somebody were to write a book about him, I would buy it,” said neighbouring dairy farmer Elias Meyerhans. “He’s a very interesting individual, a very, very strong-minded individual.
“Everybody always said he would likely pass away in his boots in the barn.”