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Obituary for Raoul Bourgeois

Raoul  Bourgeois
Raoul Bourgeois
Son of Gravelbourg
1926 – 2018

Raoul, Ralph, Dad, Pepere, G-pa, Grampa, Gramps, mon oncle was a one-of-a-kind, colourful character; an easy-going, generous, optimistic people-person blessed with a sense of humour and joie de vivre; a glass-half-full kind of guy who loved to visit and enjoyed you for who you were. Inquisitive, curious and welcoming, he was always interested in everyone’s roots and story.

Strong and resilient, he played many roles. Dad was a self-reliant farmer, inventor, carpenter, welder, plumber, mechanic, electrician and builder. As a supportive community member he was an active volunteer, a neighbourly helper, and a member of the Hospital Board and Knights of Columbus. His special interests included flying, Gunsmoke, reading, the Blue Jays, his pool table, cribbage, and, best of all, poker and bridge. Dad saw party lines change to cell phones, cab-less tractors to GPS-endowed machinery, and, at an advanced age, embraced his computer and iPad and marveled at the internet, digital newspapers and You Tube. But Dad was first and foremost and always a proud farmer. How lucky to do what you love all your life in a place you love!

Dad spoke proudly of his parents and other founding members of this Francophone community who raised money to install bells in the Cathedral in its early days. He was excited about the current project underway to add a fifth bell and to refurbish and automate the existing bells to commemorate the Co-Cathedral’s 100th anniversary. He would have smiled to hear the Angelus ring out again over his beloved prairie community.

91 years; 2 pioneering parents; 1 mentor uncle; 11 siblings and their extended families; 70 years married to his beloved “first wife”, his little prairie Rose; 4 children and their spouses; 9 grandchildren; 2.5 great-grandchildren; 80 harvests; 1 town; 1 church; 1 farm; 2 shops full of tools and machinery to “make and fix anything”; 2 oasis yards; 100’s of trees planted; a variety of tractors, seeders, discers, cultivators, trucks, combines, airplanes; 1 group of poker buddies; many valued friends and neighbours; 1 contented and grateful life: priceless.

A heartfelt hank you to Drs. Coneys, Ramalkhan and Pillay, all the Hospital staff, the Home Care team, the ambulance team, and the PHG Funeral Home for the compassionate, professional, kind, patient, gentle care you extended our Father. To the generous family, friends and neighbours who came bearing food, flowers, friendship, entire meals, comfort and solace; to Father Minne, Leona and Andre and the mass servers and readers for the healing liturgy, on vous remercie. Dad would have been, and his family is, profoundly grateful to all of you - pillars of this storied town of Gravelbourg. So blessed!

“Clear skies ahead, Grampa!”
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