Ron Joyce, co-founder of Tim Hortons and a native of Tatamagouche, passed away Jan. 31, 2019, at the age of 88. Onnig Cavoukian photo

Ron Joyce, the co-founder of Tim Hortons, passed away Jan. 31 at the age of 88.

It’s unclear at this point the cause of his death. He was born in Tatamagouche in 1930.

Steven Joyce, Ron Joyce’s son, issued a statement on behalf of the Joyce family on his passing. Steven says in the statement his father had a big vision and big heart.

“Through hard work, determination and drive, he built one of the most successful restaurant chains in Canada,” the statement reads.

Through his time with Tim Hortons, Joyce travelled the country, and always considered himself Canadian.

“He never forgot his humble beginnings, with The Joyce Family Foundation donating extensively to support those who are less fortunate, especially children and youth. He lived large and enjoyed the great journey of life.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Joyce was 34 years old when he invested in the first Tim Hortons donut shop in Hamilton, Ont., before growing the business into the successful food service chain – one of the most successful in the world. He co-founded the TDL Group Ltd., which licenses the restaurants around the world, and sold the business to Wendy’s International Inc. in 1996.

He founded the Joyce Family Foundation, which focuses on providing access to education for children and youth with financial need, or who are facing barriers to success.

Throughout his career, Joyce received numerous accolades, including the Order of Canada, an induction into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, and the Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award. He also received the Gary Wright Humanitarian Award in recognition for his contributions to bettering community life as founder of the Time Hortons Children’s Foundation, which operates a camp located on the outskirts of Tatamagouche.

He opened Fox Harb’r Resort in Wallace in 2000.

The Joseph Brant Hospital and its foundation, in Burlington, Ont., issued a statement on Joyce’s passing, extending their condolences to his family and the “many people whose lives were made better by Mr. Joyce’s philanthropic support.”

“His generosity has been felt across the country in education, health care, and children’s charities,” the statement reads, adding Joyce’s $7.5 million donation to the hospital’s redevelopment and expansion made an “indelible mark” on the community’s health that wouldn’t be forgotten.

“We feel privileged and honoured to have had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Joyce over the last few years and witness first-hand his entrepreneurial and generous spirit,” the statement continues.

“We have lost a great Canadian and he will be missed.”