Fernand Ratté, the founder of Lambton Street mainstay Magasin F. Ratté, passed away suddenly on March 24 at the age of 89. He leaves his family and an extended network of loyal customers to mourn his loss, though all will remember his cheerful demeanor and devoted service to the community he loved.
Fernand Ratté was born into a family of merchants in 1932. He opened his first food and variety store in Longeuil in 1952. A second store followed soon after, in Saint-Lambert. It was only by chance that he came to know and fall in love with the charming village of Ormstown, where he opened a third store in 1958. It wasn’t long before he concentrated all his business on the variety store that has been at the heart of the Ormstown main ever since. In fact, over 5 million customers have passed through the doors to the store, the vast majority leaving with what they came to find. As the locals say, if you can’t find what you are looking for at Ratté’s, it likely doesn’t exist.
In a touching tribute posted to social media by his family, Fernand Ratté was remembered for his “iron constitution that allowed him to be present, day after day, mile after mile. He was able, throughout his life, to transmit to each and everyone the values that were dear to him.” His family credits his loyalty, honesty, involvement, and perseverance as qualities that contributed to him being a very well-liked and respected member of the community.
For so many across the Valley, he will be remembered for his dedication to his customers. His attentiveness is behind the reputation and unique notoriety of the store even today, where customers are always well served. His family suggests it was his way of contributing to people’s happiness.
“Because you dedicated your life first and foremost to your family and your store, we – loved ones, friends, customers, and all the others as one and the same family – we say, ‘thank you’ to you, and will never forget you,” says his eldest son François, who joined the family business in 1985.
The beloved husband of Denise Paquin, Fernand Ratté leaves to mourn his children François (Carole), Christian, and Dominique (Pierre); his grand-children Elisabeth and Laurence, as well as other relatives and friends. A private ceremony to honour his life will take place at a later date.