Louis Armand Desrochers was born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1928. For his contributions to Alberta, to Canada and to the francophone community, he is credited with connecting Canadians and building national unity.
Born into the French language culture, Louis Desrochers learned early the value of both Canadian languages. He took his primary schooling in Quebec, then moved to Jasper, Alberta, with his widowed mother in 1939. With the move west, he was still able to continue his French education attending le Collège des Jésuites in Edmonton until 1942, and the Collège Saint-Jean d’Edmonton until 1947.
Beyond his commitment to the francophone community, Louis Desrochers also extended his skills to other organizations, such as the Edmonton Family Service Bureau. In a role that led to president of the organization, he helped to elevate the organization’s volunteer initiative to one that provided professionally operated services to a broader community base.
As an articulate and well-respected francophone, he was appointed by then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to the Northwest Territories Council, serving from 1960 to 1963.
During decades of community service, he served as vice chairman of the advisory board of the Misericordia Hospital, member of the Canada Council, governor of the Glenbow-Alberta Institute and associate of the Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations. He also served as council member and second chairman of the Alberta Order of Excellence Council.
For five years Mr. Desrochers chaired the Board of Trustees of the Edmonton General Hospital (Grey Nuns) Foundation. He was the foundation’s first chair and established the fund development program for what Albertans now recognize as the Caritas Hospitals Foundation. Mr. Desrochers also serves as honourary chairman of the Edmonton Community Foundation.
Mr. Desrochers was invited to join the Trilateral Commission, an organization of world leaders and influential figures representing Europe, Japan and North America. He served on this commission from 1974 to 1981.
In 1972, he was one of the founding directors of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, an independent think tank on public policy. Mr. Desrochers subsequently served as vice chairman of the organization, which remains active today.
He has long-standing service on many corporate boards, including the Royal Trust Edmonton Advisory Board, MacLab Enterprises, Shaw Communications Inc., Royal Trustco Limited, Northern Transportation Company Limited, Canada West Insurance Company, and l’Assurance-vie Desjardins. He also acted as director of the Bank of Montreal and was one its longest serving directors. He continues as honourary director.
For his work within Alberta and Canada, Louis Desrochers received numerous honours. He was awarded an honourary doctor of laws degree from the University of Ottawa in 1971, and another from the University of Alberta in 1978. As well, he was awarded a doctor of science in education from Laval University in 1972. In 1994, Louis Armand Desrochers was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada.
Louis Desrochers married Marcelle Boutin in September 1953. The couple raised a family of four daughters and one son, all of whom are graduates of the Faculté Saint-Jean. The Desrochers live in Edmonton, where they enjoy the frequent company of their family, including 13 grandchildren.