René Piché, a prominent figure in Northern Ontario business and politics, died Jan. 22 in his Orleans home at the age of 79 following a battle with cancer.
Piché served as mayor of Kapuskasing from 1971 to 1980, in which time he became the founding chairman of the Northeastern Ontario Municipalities Action Group, a position he held for nine years. He returned again as mayor in 1991, and served for three years.
He also served at the provincial level from 1981 to 1985, representing Cochrane North as a member of the Progressive Conservative party. In this role, he was named northern transportation minister.
Having founded the Northern Times newspaper in 1961, Piché was its president and publisher until 1998. Similarly, he was also owner and president of Norweb, a Timmins-based printing company, from 1977 to 1998.