Henry “Hank” Valle – Steel Wheels, Steam to Diesel and Beyond.
Following is a tribute to one of our members who passed away May 31, 2019, He was born in 1920 and although newer members may not remember him, he was introduced to the club by John Arnold and Tom Funk thanked him for his Classification talk in 2008.
Hank joined our club in 2007 after 50 years as a member of the Rotary Club of Montreal. He was President of that club in 1982/83. Hank was born in Hammerfest, Norway (600 miles north of the Artic circle).
Hammerfest, Norway
In December of 2008, he shared some more information with us during his second classification talk.  Hammerfest, Norway is a bit further north than Tuktoyaktuk, but not as cold due to the gulf stream. At the same time, it didn’t get much warmer either.
Hank arrived in Canada as a child and at 19 was hired as a draftsman with Montreal Locomotive Works in 1939. He joined the armed forces in 1941 seeing active service in Europe, where he was commissioned to develop armoured equipment. Hank served in Belgium, Holland and Germany before returning to civilian life and re-joining the Montreal Locomotive Works. He was commandeered to the Canadian War Effort and began producing tanks which he helped to design, like the Anti Aircraft Tank with 4 turret mounted 20 mm cannons. When he joined the army, he acted as a technical expert with the Ordinance Corps and became a gunner in “his” tank in Holland in 1944.
Hank's Tank
Back at Montreal Locomotive, he subsequently became President and Chairmen of the Board. I’m not sure whether the Rolling Stones know anything about Hank’s life journey or if Hank knew much about the Rolling Stones but there seems to have been some connection.  The Rolling Stones album “Steel Wheels” contained songs like “Mixed Emotions”, “Terrified”, “Hold onto Your Hat” and “Rock and a Hard Place” all of which were part of Hank’s journey.
After the war he was sent to Schenectady, New York to work on some new fangled diesel electric locomotive designs – apparently steam was still considered the future in Canada. On his return to Canada he became a sales rep for the company travelling across Canada and Overseas. He was very good at his job and was promoted continuously until he became President. Hank admitted that he was a little non-plussed at being made President of the company, but obviously enjoyed the challenge. The company introduced aluminum fabrication in the ‘80s and built significant numbers of hopper cars before going into subway cars.
Steam & Diesel  
On retiring Hank was asked to join a small engineering company which he grew from 9 to 100 employees, manufacturing simulators for the transportation sector. One of the products was equipment that finally allowed trains to operate without a caboose or underemployed “engineers” much to their chagrin and disdain.
His community contributions included being a Board member of George Williams College, now Concordia University.  Later Waterloo Lutheran University (Wilfred Laurier University) tasked him with fund raising in French Catholic Quebec for a Lutheran college – a task not beyond his capabilities. In return WLU gave him an Honourary Degree.
 Hank had two sons, Grant of Cambridge and Craig in Victoria B.C.  and moved to Guelph to be close to his family and was eager to get back into Rotary.
Hank was a long time member of the Kahnawake Golf Club and a Fishing Club established in 1893.
Kahnawake Golf Club
Henry Hank Valle had a very full and busy life with many unexpected twists and turns. When he passed away, he left a legacy to our Club’s Foundation which we will put to good use in our community and beyond. Thank you, Hank, for your fellowship and contributions to our club.