Grant Edmund Mercer
It is with great sadness the family of Grant Edmund Mercer announce his passing on his most enjoyed day, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2008. At the age of 82 years he leaves behind: his son Orville (Bonnie) and his daughter Shelley (Rubin) Arcand; six grandchildren, Sabrina and David McCubbin, Brandi and Amy Mercer, Meghan, Philip and Leighton Arcand; and very good friend and caregiver, Peter Blacha (Simone) and family. Grant was born May 15, 1925 in Wetaskiwin, Alta. He was raised and educated in Clairmount, Alta. He joined the Air Force in 1943 and was discharged with the war ending. He came back to Slave Lake where he worked as a Forest Ranger, then moved to High Prairie and worked in mechanics at Ike’s Modern Motors. He owned his own gravel truck business, then became a chartered tax accountant. His summers were filled with construction (building everything including his own home, rotating gazebo and garage) and collecting John Deere memorabilia. His winters were filled with accounting, taxes and doing puzzles. He sold his business to Peter Blacha in 1995. He was predeceased by: his parents, Allan and Bernice Mercer; his brother Burke; his sister and brother-in-law, June and Bill Baduik. Services were held at the High Prairie Legion March 22, 2008.
Leonard Dupuis, formerly of High Prairie, passed away on July 25, 2003 at the Mewburn Veterans Centre in Edmonton, at the age of 80 years.
Leonard was raised in the Guy area, oldest son of Edward and Lily Dupuis.
He enlisted in the Armed Forces during WWII, serving the duration in Germany, Italy and France. He seldom spoke of those experiences, but was fiercely proud of having served his country.
After returning to Canada, Leonard farmed west of High Prairie. He was an avid outdoorsman, hunting and fishing with a passion. At one time he worked as a guide for American and Canadian hunters.
When he sold the farm, he moved to Edmonton where he worked in construction until he retired to the small town of Calmar.
He was an active member of the Calmar legion, and enjoyed his friends at the senior's center there.
As a result of diabetic complications, Leonard's last days were spent at the Mewburn Veterans Centre in Edmonton.
He leaves behind six brothers, Jack, Emil, Elmer, Ben, Archie and Bobby, and three sisters, Eleanor Plante, Rose Plante, and Judy Loiseau, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Helen (Bedard) Lemay, a long-time resident of High Prairie, passed away at the High Prairie Hospital on Monday, June 2, 2008, at 90 years of age. Helen was the first child of Napoleon and Alma Bedard. She was born Aug. 12, 1917 near Quebec City. The family moved to Montreal, then Berlin, New Hampshire before moving to Dreau, near Girouxville, in 1929. Helen met Henry Lemay, a co-worker at the McLennan Hospital and married July 15, 1939. In 1941, the young family moved to High Prairie. In 1951 they moved to Enilda to farm and in 1966 back to High Prairie. Helen was widowed in 1983. She continued to live in her home until 2004 when she moved to Pleasantview Lodge in High Prairie. Helen will be known for her love of life and non-importance of possessions. She has always had a high regard for celebrating family and friends’ events. She missed few family marriages, baptisms, graduations or funerals. She has always enjoyed many celebrations over a meal. Church and faith were fundamental in her life. Helen will be sadly missed by: her brothers, Louis Bedard of High Prairie and Charles (Marion) Bedard of Vancouver; sister-in-law Agnes Bedard of Giroxville; and her children Robert (Janet) of Enilda, Paul (Myrna) of Grande Prairie, Leo (Leona) of St. Albert, Arthur (Carol) of Whitecourt, Alta. and Louise (David) Hnydyk of Two Hills, Alta. She also leaves to mourn 17 grandchildren as well as numerous great-grandchildren. Helen was predeceased by: her parents; younger brother Luc Bedard; her husband, Henry Lemay; and daughter-in-law Lorraine Lemay. The funeral was held at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in High Prairie Friday, June 6, 2008, at 10:30 a.m. If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, the Pleasantview Lodge Society in High Prairie or the charity of one’s choice.
Leland Gerald Payne
Leland Gerald Payne was born in the first hospital in High Prairie on Sept. 23, 1927, the third child of George and Helen Payne.
Jerry, as everyone knew him, spent his entire life living and working in the High Prairie area. His sons are the third generation of Paynes on the farm that he grew up on.
He did most of his schooling at the old Gilwood school. He quit school at a young age to help the family. He always said the reason he quit had more to do with a racing mishap on his horse on the way home from school. There is probably more to the story, but Jerry ended up with a broken shoulder and never did return to school.
As a young man he had many different jobs, from driving a team on a threshing crew to logging in the bush every winter. There are many stories told by Bob and Jack Williscroft, Stan Ragan, Gus Himmelrich and Stan Kozie to name a few, that involved Jerry and his practical jokes in those young years.
In 1947 he reacquainted himself with a young lady from Gilwood. Thelma Faye Beamish (Faye) and Jerry were married on Oct. 12, 1949. On April 2, 1950 the young couple moved to the Payne farm after George and Helen retired and moved to town.
It was five years of farming, raising livestock and working out every winter, leaving Faye behind to look after the farm before the children came. Patrick David was born Dec. 19, 1954; Gordon Gerald on April 20, 1957; and Marty Richard was born on June 10, 1960.
With a wife and the three boys he wanted to work closer to home. He then went to work for Frank and Mac Carson in a pulpwood camp. He worked for Forestry scaling logs and also had a career as a weed and warble inspector for the Improvement District.
Along with the farming and cattle he kept busy. Being the father of three lively boys is a challenge for any young man and these boys were no exception. There was never a dull moment. Jerry told the story of Gordon at age five wanting to go hunting with his dad. Gordon was told "not this time" but that wasn't going over very well. Jerry was perched on the river bank lining up a beaver in the gun sight when he heard a rustle behind him. There was Gordon. Even then you couldn't keep him from hunting.
Marty loved to ride on the farm machinery with his father. There was an incident where Marty was riding on the stoneboat. Jerry popped the clutch and down went Marty with the stoneboat running right over him. Jerry didn't even know that he had fallen. It was Faye that came upon one very muddy, dirty, crying little boy. He never did sit on the front of the stoneboat again.
Pat was always the laid back son. He loved to go on the trail rides and hikes with Jerry, Gordon and Marty. The only problem was he wanted to stop after 20 minutes and picnic. That didn't go over very well.
In the summer of 1970 Jerry and the boys found a perfect spot on the banks of the West Prairie River to build a cabin. They became pioneers for a week and constructed a log cabin. That cabin was the site of many camping adventures for the boys for many years. This week spent with their dad in the bush remains one of the most vivid and cherished memories of all the boys.
Jerry was always proud of his sons. The many teenage escapades give both Faye and Jerry a few grey hairs but they all survived. With Rodger Gauthier coming to live with them in the mid-1970s and the likes of Richard Kocon, Eddie Kozie, Les Beamish and Dale Greer along with the many, many others coming and going there was never a dull moment. He told me once he feared for his life when all those boys starting driving on the Gilwood road.
Eventually the boys settled down, with Gordon marrying Sandra in 1981 and having two children: Jacob, 20, and Katie, 18. Marty and Mary-Anne were married in 1984 and have four children: Meghan, 18, Jeremy, 16, Hilary, 10, and Jillian, eight. The family has recently met and got to know Ron Toly, 24, Marty's eldest son, who has brought much happiness and joy in the short time they've know him.
Patrick is single and still looking.
Jerry (Grandpa) loved children and they all loved him. He was a terrible one for teasing and joking with them. They all learned not to let all the teasing bother them -like water off a duck's back. It didn't take any of them long to learn to give it right back to him.
There are countless pictures of Jerry with a baby on his tummy. He would be stretched out on his easy chair sound asleep with a very contented baby, also sleeping. As each grandchild got older they soon figured out that Grandpa always had a stash of candies.
Jerry spent many hours with his grandchildren. He took them on quad rides along the river, pointing out all the new and interesting things, all the while imparting his love of nature and his farm that he loved dearly.
Each child and grandchild have their special memories they treasure. The one thing they all remember is Jerry's special poems. He had an endless supply of limericks and ditties that he took great delight teaching them. It didn't take long before the children figured out the poems that could be repeated to mom and the ones that couldn't.
Jerry and Faye retired from farming and moved to town in 1996. Life got a lot less hectic. He spent many hours in his garage fixing things and making diamond willows. He had a holiday trailer set up down by the river on Gordon's where he'd go camp out and quad for a few days at a time. His little piece of heaven - we all know it as Camp Crusty.
In the last year his failing eyesight prevented him from getting out and about. It was a sad day when he had to give up driving. His missed the coffee group gossip a lot. He accepted the limitations of his advancing blindness and age with a calmness that surprised all of us.
We will miss Jerry for many reason: his wisdom, his love of children, his stories, his love of a good story, his love of desserts, his love of life and his family.
A memorial service was held for Jerry on April 30 at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in High Prairie. Officiating was Rev. Roy Dickson, the eulogist was Mary-Anne Payne and the organist was Anna Stokes. Honourary pallbearers were Gilbert Delorme, Larry Adams, Richard Kocon, Rodger Gauthier, Louis Delorme, Garry Basarab and Darryl Gill.
Leaving to mourn Jerry are his three sons: Gordon (Sandra) and their two children, Jacob and Katie; Marty (Mary-Anne) and their four children, Meghan, Jeremy, Hilary, and Jillian, and Ron Toly, Marty's eldest son; and Patrick; and siblings Joe, Nora, Bob and Betty.
Jerry was predeceased by his parents and siblings Bill, Dora and Margaret.
Larry Eyner Osberg
On Dec. 5, Larry Eyner Osberg, of Clyde, Alta. passed away at the age of 37 years.
He is survived by: his father, Eyner Osberg, and his stepmother, Roberta Osberg, of Clyde; his brother, Ivan Osberg, of Clyde; his sister, Gayleeann (Terry) Duane and his niece Nichole and nephew Travis, all of Merebia, Queensland, Australia; his half-sister, Sheila (Gordon) Jaworski, of High Prairie; his two stepsisters, Cindy and Joanne; one stepbrother, Alan; three aunts; Elda Hanson, of Calgary; Selma Jarvis, of High Prairie; and Violet Komisar, of High Prairie; other relatives and dear friends.
He was predeceased by his mother, Myrna (Olsen) Parent and his aunt Fern Evans.
The funeral was held Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Westlock Funeral Chapel. Cremation followed.
Donations will be gratefully accepted to the Support Network (Suicide Prevention) or charity of one's choice in care of 10004-105 St. in Westlock, Alta. T7P 1V2.
Frank James Lang
Frank James Lang was born Sept. 16, 1927 in McLennan and passed away June 1, 2008, in High Prairie at the age of 80 years. He shared his childhood with his sister, Freda, and a brother, Clarence. At the age of eight years, Frank’s parents moved to Edmonton. Frank enjoyed his time in Edmonton where he shared boating, fishing and biking with his friends. As a young man, he left to work in the lumber mills in British Columbia. After two years, he came back to Edmonton. He hired on with a mining company from Port Radium, N.W.T. Frank loved flying and fishing to different parts in the north, but after 18 months Frank missed Alberta and came back. He joined his father back in McLennan and was hired by Northern Alberta Railways Oct. 18, 1948 where he spent the next 39 years. Frank was a hard worker and respected member of the NAR. He made many good friends; many he kept in contact with until he passed away. In August 1953 he married Mavis Hutchison of Peace River. Mavis had two children: Evelyn and Donald. They shared seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and five great great-grandchildren. Sadly, Frank lost Mavis in 1995 after 45 years together. Frank was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 40 years including 25 as service officer. It was through the Legion that Frank met Irene Hoedl. Years later, they became close friends and spent the last 11 years together touring British Columbia and Alberta. Both were members and volunteers of Ducks Unlimited and enjoyed helping. They had great fun with family and friends at their annual dinners. Frank became a loved and cherished member of the Hoedl family. He was clearly loved and will be sadly missed by Terry, Victoria and his partner, Irene. The funeral was held June 5, 2008, at the McLennan Legion Hall with Rev. Joan Schellenberger officiating. The eulogist was Jack Wearmouth, the honourary pallbearers included all family and friends who enjoyed fun and friendship around the bonfire and rides on the NAR train courtesy of Frank. Interment occurred at the McLennan Cemetery. Rest in peace, Frank! We will always remember you!
Melvin Ernest Laboucan
1942 - 2010
On July 11, 2010, Melvin Ernest Laboucan passed away in High Prairie, surrounded by the love of his family and friends.
He was 67.
Even though there was pain in his departing, his family drew strength from the knowledge that Melvin had lived and loved well his entire life.
Melvin was born in McLennan Sept. 20, 1942 to Elise and Joe Laboucan. Since his father worked for the railroad, Melvin’s family moved from town to town. As a boy, he developed the skill to make and keep friends easily. This trait carried him well through life, as everyone knew Melvin no matter where he went.
In November 1962, Melvin married Gladys. Their union brought forth sons Michael, Lee, Jeff and Niel. Patricia was their only daughter. As his children grew and had relationships of their own, Gladys and
Melvin were blessed with 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Melvin was very much a family man, encouraging all to dream big and be successful. Whether success was graduating high school or being drafted in hockey, Melvin was there to support and cheer on his kids and grandchildren.
Perhaps the greatest gift he gave his family was the love of sports. When he was a younger man, Melvin was very athletic. He once swam in a race at Winagami, swimming the lake’s full distance and winning first place. Melvin was also a very talented boxer in his time, winning the Alberta Golden Gloves championships. He also boxed to packed houses throughout Western Canada.
It could be said that Melvin’s favourite sport was hockey. He played several years in the North Peace Hockey League for the Grimshaw Huskies and Hines Creek Oilers. He also played for the High Prairie Thunderbirds and Flyers hockey clubs, which were coached by his brother, Harry Laboucan. He played so well that he earned the nickname “Melvin Orr”.
As his family grew, Melvin focused more on local sports. He coached a woman’s hockey club, played local baseball and organized many sporting events which brought a lot of people to High Prairie. Although he was a fan of local sports – he had his favourite teams he supported in professional sports such as the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Blue Jays – he was the biggest fan to his grandchildren. Often, he would risk his life, travelling the worst road conditions to cheer them on. He always said the kids were worth the sacrifice.
Melvin was also remembered by his family for his generosity, his sense of humour and his love of politics. One time, his son Jeff flew down from Montreal for a visit. He had bought a pair of designer jeans with rips on the legs. The jeans went missing and Jeff looked all over the place. Jeff eventually found out that Melvin had gotten hold of the jeans, looked at the holes and fixed them with patches and speed sew. When Jeff told Melvin that was the style of the pants, all Melvin could do was laugh. However, he continued to patch many a pair of jeans after that.
Jeff also remembered a time when he jumped into a conversation that his mom, dad and sister had about an event. Jeff didn’t remember the event and asked Melvin why he had no memory. “Where was I?” Jeff asked. “You were still in my left nut, ” was Melvin’s reply. Everyone at the table had a good laugh.
Melvin can also be remembered for his love of politics. Locally, he was involved in assisting Pearl Calahasen’s campaign in her first term, which garnered a victory. He also sat on the board of the Alberta Housing Committee and the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre. Melvin was also instrumental in getting the Enilda Hall (Eagle’s Nest) built. As years went by, Melvin no longer sat on boards or committees but kept his passion alive by keeping abreast of world politics. President Barack Obama was his favourite politician.
On July 16, 2010, in the High Prairie Catholic Church, friends and family gathered to pay their last respects to Melvin. In tribute his grandsons, who were honourary pallbearers, wore hockey jerseys. His wife Gladys placed a wreath of 18 yellow roses on his casket in honour of their favourite song. His sons placed boxing gloves, a Blue Jays cap and a Boston Bruins No. 4 jersey with “Melvin Orr” on it. He was surrounded by memories, surrounded by song and prayer, surrounded by love. He will be greatly missed.
Diana (Tina) L'Hirondelle
Diana Francis (Tina) L’Hirondelle was born March 10, 1970 and passed away April 28, 2009 at the age of 39 years.
Tina was “Beeb” to her mother, Mabel L’Hirondelle, and baby sister to Patsy, Karen (Morris), Janice (Allan), and Harold (Trudy). She was an aunt to Desmond, Lance, Sarah, Tanya, Janice, Trina, Day-vee, Darien, and Claire-Bear.
She called Patsy’s grandchildren her little Kokums. She loved her little Kokums so very much, the minute she saw them she would open up her arms and say, “Come here, my Kokums!” She had so many kisses and hugs for them. Tina had a large extended family and she kept in touch with her aunties, uncles and her cousins. She made many lasting friendships wherever she went.
Tina gave herself the name Tina Ann (sometimes Tina Ann Faye) depending on her mood. It became a nickname she gave us too ... Patsy Ann, Karen Ann, Janice Ann, Trudy Ann - she even called Harold, Harold Ann once! Yes, just once!
Tina Ann enjoyed spending time with family, hanging out with her cousins, listening to music, dancing, singing karaoke and, of course, cruising the Gift Lake strip. Her route was from her place, to the pumphouse, back to the road by the baseball diamond, back to the strip, to the short cut and back to the stop sign. All the while talking and listening to music.
Tina Ann loved camping. She always picked the best spot, the spot where the sun wouldn’t hit her tent until noon. She would sit at the camp fire talking and laughing so hard we would cry. Telling each other to stop only made it worse. Most times we would wonder what started it all.
We remember the long talks into the night, promising we would do the family camp again this summer. We remember how much fun we had throwing Tanya into the lake, swimming in the dark and planning a meal for so many people, agreeing it was all good and we had to keep doing it. We’re not sure we can keep the promise this year, without our Tina Ann there. We also planned to go pick berries again.
Tina Ann was a big fan of hockey, especially hockey that involved a family member or the Gift Lake Metis Settlement. Tina Ann was a diehard hockey fan. She had many favourite hockey players to watch but, of course, on top of the list was her brother, Harold. You would often see her at Native Provincials or the Federation Cup; these became family events. She once said she and Mom were Gift Lake’s best fans.
Tina brought a lot of joy and laughter to us; her passing brings much pain and tears. Our memories will keep her alive in our hearts.
She was predeceased by her father Francis Anderson, grandparents George and Dalphine (Chasoose) Anderson, brother Peter and sister Trina, uncles Tex and George Anderson and aunt Rose Anderson; grandparents Johnny and Caroline Letendre; auntie Ida Anderson.
We would like to express many thanks to family and friends for their kindness and support during the loss of our Tina Ann and being there for us during this difficult time. Thanks to those who prepared and served the excellent lunch after the service. Your generosity will not be forgotten.
One way Tina kept in touch with her family and friends was texting and sending forwards. Text to Tina Ann: miss u with all r hearts, until we meet again. luv u.
Cecile Francis Krupa
A beautiful life came to an end when Cecile Francis Krupa passed away March 11, 2009, at the age of 75 years.
Cecile was a wonderful, kind and caring woman who enjoyed life and truly loved her family, all her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She welcomed all her family into her home with open arms and love. She made sure everyone who came for a visit had something to eat, had coffee/tea and played a nice game of cards with her.
From the moment you met Cecile you became a friend and part of the family. She loved her family and friends. She will be remembered for the love of her family, her laughter, her beautiful smile, big hugs, and her solid advice when we needed it.
She will be extremely missed by her children: Russell (Barb), Ronald (Marilyn), Lavern (Jessica), Sheila (Gora), David (Marla), Cindy (son Shane), Stewart (Judy), Joey (Lynn), Dale (Trina).
Her presence is gone but her memory will live on with us forever.
Marilyn Belva Kocon
Marilyn Kocon passed away peacefully on March 30, 2009, at the age of 64 years.
Marilyn Belva Stewart was born at the High Prairie Hospital on Sept. 17, 1944. She was the second child of her parents, John and Pearl Stewart, and little sister to Keith. Four years later her younger sister, Linda, was born. Marilyn was raised on the Stewart family farm south of town.
In 1962 at the age of 18 she met Marshall, the man of her dreams. They married on her nineteenth birthday and they set up their home in the Martin Cabins in High Prairie. On Aug. 6, 1964 her only child, David, was born. In 1968 the country life was calling, so they packed up and moved to the Kocon family farm in the Gilwood area.
Over the years Marilyn was like a second mother to many others who stayed at her home for short and sometimes extended periods of time. She had an open door policy to anyone who needed a place to stay.
Marilyn worked at Social Services as a secretary for 18 years. She was always a morning person and was the first to arrive every morning. Everyone she worked with always had a fresh cup of coffee ready to start his or her day with. She loved to throw parties and frequently had her peers and friends over for a barbeque. Whenever there was a staff member new to High Prairie, she would have them over for a meal to welcome them into the community.
In 1989 her son, David, married Paulette. She loved and treated her like she was her own daughter. In 1992 Marilyn had her first grandchild, Ashlee, and in 1994 along came Ryan. She loved her grandchildren dearly. She never missed an opportunity to let them know how proud she was of their accomplishments, no matter how small they were.
Marilyn loved to socialize. Who hasn’t heard her say, “Stop by for coffee”. Almost every day she and Marshall would come to town shortly before lunch to reserve a table at the local cafe and visit with whomever happened to stop by. Anyone was welcome at his or her table.
Marilyn’s two, most favorite hobbies were reading and gardening. Anything about gardening, health, and nature was the preferred topic. She loved flowers. Every spring she could hardly wait for the new seed catalogues to arrive, and for a trip to one of the greenhouses. She made the most beautiful flower pots, and took pride in keeping them looking perfect long after the first frost of the year.
In the summer of 2006 Marilyn’s health began to fail, so she and Marshall moved from the Gilwood area into her childhood home just south of town to be closer to David and his family.
Marilyn was such a strong, courageous person, a true fighter in every sense of the word. Through everything Marilyn kept a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She was an inspiration to others who were also going through difficult times. Marilyn was a friend to so many. She would be there for you whether it was in happy times or sorrow. Marilyn will be deeply missed by so many.
Marilyn leaves to mourn: her husband Marshall Kocon; brother Keith (Faye) Stewart; sister Linda Sherris; son David (Paulette) Kocon; grandchildren Ashlee and Ryan Kocon.
She was predeceased by both her parents and brother-in-law Wayne Sherris.
A celebration of life was held at the Elks Hall in High Prairie on April 5 at 11 a.m.
Yvonne Marie Knibb passed away suddenly Sept. 8, 2008, at the age of 61 years. Yvonne was born in High Prairie and lived most of her life in Peavine. For a time she lived in Prince George, B.C., Vancouver and Red Deer. In later years she settled in Peavine and worked as a custodian in the settlement. She was always helping someone and touched the lives many people. Yvonne leaves to mourn: her son, Jerry, and his son, Jeremy; Sheila and Matthew and their children Chad, Chasitty Chase Chandler and baby Chazmin; brother Lloyd; sisters Bridget, Bertha and Lily; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by: her husband, Gerald; her mother and father, Sid and Delphine Beaudry; her brothers Edward, Allen and Pat. She was laid to rest in the Catholic Cemetery next to her father in High Prairie. The family thanks Margaret Willier and family for the wonderful meal they had at the Legion and Peavine Metis Settlement. Their contributions were very appreciated by the Knibb and Beaudry families.