By Connor Lynch
HALLVILLE — Local farmer and accomplished businessman Gerald Loughlin of Hallville, just east of Kemptville, died last month on April 20 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was 63.
Though a “simple man, with no need for fanfare,” according to an online obituary, Loughlin would nevertheless tell you “with pride . . . that he put Hallville on the map!” The first result when you Google Hallville is “Where is Hallville Ontario Canada?” Like many small towns, its inability to penetrate Google’s algorithms means little to the people living there.
Loughlin cropped 1,000 acres but like every successful businessman and entrepreneur, he was always on the lookout for his next opportunity. When he first took over the family farm some years ago, he was already running a trucking business. He bought a nearby garage soon after, at first just for himself, but Loughlin’s Motors was soon born; eventually he also started B&G Loughlin’s Tractors, with his son Brett; and 25 years ago, he and his wife took over the local hardware store after the owner retired. Loughlin’s Country Store soon became just that, when Loughlin’s wife introduced groceries and home-baked goods into the mix. The grocery store’s butter tarts are so famous they were featured on CJOH television.
The “hidden gem” of the community, as North Dundas mayor Tony Fraser called it, came into focus during the 1998 ice storm. Since they had a working generator, borrowed from a neighbour, the store opened its doors and freezers, to keep people warm and their food cold, according to the Winchester Press. “The firefighters used the store as an operations centre and we would play poker using Tic Tacs,” she said.
Despite having so much on the go, Loughlin was always accessible. “He was always there to help day or night, just a phone call away; towing many from ditches and snowbanks, no matter the weather,” read his obituary.
The family held a goodbye tribute parade for Loughlin on April 26, a Sunday. Fire trucks lead a caravan of locals north from Hallville, past the family farm. A local radio station, Country 101.1, played “the oldies,” as it rolled through.
EASTERN ONTARIO: Local farmer, businessman who put Hallville on the map, dies at 63
By Connor Lynch