Ron Joyce, Driving Force Behind Tim Hortons Brand, Dead At Age 88

Ron Joyce, the former police officer who co-founded the Tim Hortons doughnut chain and built it into a national icon in Canada, has died at the age of 88.

Joyce died at his home in Burlington, Ont., his family said in a statement. The cause of death was not revealed.

Joyce was born in Nova Scotia in 1930. His father died in a construction accident during the Great Depression when Mr. Joyce was three years old. His mother subsequently raised him in a house that had no running water, electricity or insulation.

As an adult, Joyce moved to Hamilton, Ontario where he joined the police force. He invested in the very first Tim Hortons store that opened in Hamilton in 1964. He purchased that first restaurant for $10,000 and then helped grow it into a successful chain. In 1995, the company opened its 1,000th store in Canada.

In 1967, Joyce and Tim Horton, a 24-year NHL defenceman, became full partners in the company. When Horton died in a car accident in 1974, Joyce became the sole owner, purchasing his deceased partner's share in the company. He sold the Tim Hortons chain to Wendy's International Inc. in 1996. It was later purchased by Burger King and the two brands became Restaurant Brands International (TSX:QSR) in 2014.

Joyce founded the Tim Horton Children's foundation in 1975 after his business partner died. The foundation pays to send underprivileged children to one of several Tim Hortons camps and runs youth programs. This year, the organization will send more than 19,000 kids to camp, according to the Tim Hortons website. Joyce was awarded the Order of Canada in April 1992 for his work with the children's camp charity.