Earl De La Perralle, the Montreal man who co-founded one of the city’s most beloved charitable institutions in Sun Youth over a half century ago, has died at age 73.

Along with Sid Stevens, De La Perralle started Sun Youth in the form of a community newspaper in 1954. The two used the revenues from The Clark Street Sun, which they started when De La Perralle was just nine-years-old, to purchase sports equipment.

Since then, Sun Youth has grown, working to provide thousands of Montrealers with basic needs and creating programs aimed at helping underprivileged children.

Stevens said De La Perralle formed a close bond with many of the young athletes he mentored, often tutoring them and encouraging them to focus on school. 

"He was always very close to the people," he said. "He used to stress education a lot and if a youngster didn't get the marks and didn't show his report card, he didn't make the team. If he wanted to make the team, he had to give part of his time to going to school and getting an education. He used to say 'There's no such thing as a bad kid, there's a bad upbringing.'"

In 2017, De La Perralle and Stevens were given Goldbloom Awards, which honour leaders in Quebec.

At the time, Sun Youth President Bob Mironowicz said that while Stevens had become the public face of the organization, De La Perralle was active behind the scenes.

“I think the biggest thing is that he cares, he cares about every single child that has ever been involved here. Be it football or basketball, they all know him and they all love him,” said Mironowicz. “When you walk out of this office and there's 350 youngsters on the board who've done very well in life, that's a great feeling. A lot of professional athletes come back to say hello again.”