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Death of former Moosehead Breweries executive investigated as a homicide

The death of former Maritimes beer-brewing scion Richard Oland is being investigated as a homicide that police in New Brunswick don't believe was the result of a robbery or was a random act.

Oland's body was found in his Canterbury Street office in Saint John on Thursday, at which point police described his death as suspicious. He was 69.

Saint John police said Monday they've determined Oland was the victim of foul play but they declined to say how he died.

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"Preliminary results of the autopsy coupled with evidence at the scene clearly indicate Richard Oland was a victim of foul play," the police force said in a statement.

"There is no evidence at this time to suggest that this was a robbery or a random act.

"We are collectively committed to bringing anyone involved in Richard Oland's death to justice. ... Grieving family and friends need answers to the question, 'Who is responsible?"'

Oland's funeral is scheduled for Tuesday.

He was a member of the family that owns Moosehead Breweries Ltd., but he left the company in the 1980s.

He grew up in Rothesay, a suburb of Saint John, and was educated at the University of New Brunswick. He was the younger brother of Derek Oland, who is now executive chairman of Moosehead.

A spokesman for Derek Oland said Monday he would not comment on the investigation.

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Richard Oland also worked in the trucking business, at the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and as a director for several firms, including Eastern Provincial Airways, Newfoundland Capital Corp. and Ganong Bros.

More recently, he was president of the investment firm Far End Corp., according to the Saint John Board of Trade. He was also known as a competitive yachtsman and fitness advocate.

Last year, Oland and his crew aboard the Vela Volce won the IRC division of the International Rolex Regatta off St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He also served as president of the board of the 1985 Canada Summer Games in Saint John, and was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.

The Oland family can trace its brewing roots to 1867, when John and Susannah Oland started the Army and Navy Brewery in Halifax. The company was later sold, but the family returned to the business, eventually setting up the Maritime Brewing and Malting Co. in the port city.

After the Halifax Explosion destroyed the family's plant in 1917, George Oland — Richard's grandfather — moved to New Brunswick, where he bought another brewery.

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