Fernand (Wilfrid Joseph) Létourneau. Organ manufacturer and rebuilder, b St-Hyacinthe, Que, 24 Sep 1944. Initially he worked as a carpenter but an interest in organs attracted him to Casavant Frères into whose employ he entered in 1965. He stayed with the company for 14 years. He worked under the tonal direction of Lawrence I. Phelps and Gerhard Brunzema.
In 1978 he left Casavant Frères and went to Europe to familiarize himself with organs of France, Germany, and Holland. In 1979 he returned to Ste-Rosalie, near St-Hyacinthe, where he began building organs under the name of Létourneau Pipe Organs Ltd/Orgues Létourneau Ltée. In January 1984 the firm moved to St-Hyacinthe.
Of the 32 new instruments built by the firm up to 1991, several have been for delivery overseas: St Alban Epping, Sydney, Australia; Avondale College, Coorandbong, Australia; British Embassy Christ Church, Vienna; and the organ for Saint Paul's College, Hamilton, New Zealand.
New Canadian installations are to be found at Ste-Praxède-de-Bromptonville, Que (a complete rebuild of a Casavant); Centenary-Queen Square United Church, Saint John, NB; Church of Ste-Catherine-de-Sienne, Trois-Rivières (the firm considers this organ the 'flagship' of the Létourneau style); St Joseph's Basilica, Edmonton, Alta; Gaetz Memorial United Church, Red Deer, Alta; St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Sackville, NB; Cathedral of St Catherine of Alexandria, St Catharines, Ont; and several smaller instruments.
The firm has undertaken numerous rebuilds, reconstructions, and the revoicing of organs built by other manufacturers (43 by 1991), including: Wesley United Church, Thunder Bay, Ont (Karn-Warren 1909); St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, St John's, Nfld (Conacher 1901 and Hill, Norman, & Beard 1927); St-Michel, Vaudreuil, Que (Louis Mitchell 1871); St George's Church, Cacouna, Que (Eusèbe Brodeur 1888); and Christ Church, St Laurence, Sydney, Australia (W. Hill & Son 1893).