Industry veteran Rocheleau dies after cancer battle

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Marine industry veteran Donald G. Rocheleau passed away in his home last Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Rocheleau was president of Don Rocheleau Associates, which was the exclusive North American representative for Premier Products, a manufacturer of stainless-steel hardware to the marine industry.

Prior to this, he spent 33 years at Attwood Corp. in Lowell, Mich., retiring as president and CEO.

Rocheleau received many industry awards, including induction in the National Marine Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame, the Charles Chapman Award from the NMMA and MotorBoating Magazine, the ABYC Horizon Award, the National Marine Representatives Association Mel Barr Award and the Alan J. Freeman Memorial Award.

“The greatest example of Rocheleau’s vision and vigor may be the orchestration of a long-desired marine industry objective – to unify the marine manufacturing industry under a single association banner,” according to a 2000 statement released in honor of his induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame. “He achieved this as chairman of the Boating Industry Association in 1979, the year it merged with the National Association of Engine & Boat Manufacturers to become the National Marine Manufacturers Association. He would serve as NMMA’s first vice chairman (1979-1983) and its third chairman (1983-1985).”

He was appointed to the U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council by President George H.W. Bush and the board of the American Boat and Yacht Council.

Rocheleau served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday with visitation from 10-11 a.m. at the O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Click here for the full obituary and service arrangements.


7 comments on “Industry veteran Rocheleau dies after cancer battle

  1. Florida Colleague

    The Lord is my Pilot, I shall not drift.
    He guides me across the dark waters.
    He steers me in deep channels.
    He keeps my log.
    He pilots me by the star of holiness for His name’s sake.
    Yea, though I sail ‘mid the fenders and tempests of life I shall dread no danger for He is near me.
    His love and care shelter me.
    He prepares a harbor before me in the homeland of eternity.
    He anoints the waves with oil, my ship rides calmly.
    Surely sunlight and starlight shall favor me on my voyages and I will rest in the Port of our Lord forever.

    Godspeed Captain Rocheleau

  2. Bob Menne

    Don was a true and dear friend. He lived his life fully and was well respected by all who encountered him, both in his personal and professional life. I know that Don faced his illness head-on, just like he lived his life. I will miss my friend, but I am also grateful that Don was a part of my life.
    Bob Menne

  3. Herb Postma Jr

    My condolences to Don’s family and friends.  Remembering Don brings back many fond memories of my experience’s in the boating business in Michigan, which were enriched knowing Don. 
    Fortunately at times like these people of Faith and in boating find confidence knowing that in every journey, when those left behind say “there he goes”, there are those on the other end, in this case God, saying “here he comes”.  Rest in Peace.  Herb Postma

  4. Tammy Rossow

    Don was not only a great leader, but a great friend to all of us in the industry.  His dedication and wisdom, along with his never ending enthusiasm, were an inspiration to many.  God Bless.

  5. Frank Ongaro

    On behalf of Frank Ongaro, we’d like to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Rocheleau family.  Don and Frank were not only business associates but good friends for over 30 years and the sun will not shine as brightly as it has in the marine industry without him around.  Godspeed Don.
    Frank Ongaro
    (Stacy Darlea)

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