Leo passed away on Friday, October 13th – an irony in itself, as he was one of the luckiest men to walk this Earth.
He led a charmed life having relatively few major setbacks in his close to 95 years.
Fittingly, he was surrounded by his sons and daughters and spent his final hours in the comfort of his Medicine Hat home. His passing was gently guided by Margo and Loraine, two skilled and trained nurses. Lise, his ever present “rock,” as he termed it, guided it all as she so keenly understood her father.
To the end, he remained a steadfast optimist, even dangling a further road trip this fall to Kansas with his children. His boundless energy remained as he would jump at the opportunity to ride in a golf cart with his son Ron, his son-in-law Alain, and grandsons, Patrick and Mathieu, all the while commenting on how he enjoyed the fresh air and, mostly, the companionship.
His first-born Michel was also a steady presence in the days leading to his death, reminding all of the importance of prayer and spirituality that comes with the end of life.
His constant friend and companion, Priscilla, added much to his rich life for the past 10 years.
Born in Gravelbourg, SK one of four children from a pioneering farm family, Leo soon demonstrated his ambition and drive. He became secretary treasurer of three RM offices, combining that challenge with growing an insurance agency that would thrive and prosper. All the while, he would find time to raise five children, sit on various boards, including those managing St. Joseph Hospital, Gravelbourg town council, and College Mathieu.
After his children, his greatest source of pride was the establishment of the Thomson Lake Regional Park. As a founding director, he was honoured at the park’s 50th anniversary. In a picture album his daughter Margo prepared after the event, he wrote in a forward:
“And when you die and think, ‘Did you leave this world better than when you found it?,’ my answer would be, ‘Yes – I built Thomson Lake Regional Park.’”
Leo was a fixture in his children’s lives, parenting in the same way his beloved mother raised him – extending a soft, understanding heart and never once, not ever, even raising his voice to them. His philosophy was that his children were equipped with the tools to be good and responsible people - little more was required. It was a philosophy that proved correct.
Leo was predeceased by Jeanine, his wife of 58 years, as well as his brother Gerald and his sister Alice, his brothers-in-law Roland LeBlanc, Marcel LeBlanc, Andre LeBlanc, Don Auger, and sisters-in-law Charmaine (Pratt) LeBlanc and Denise (Blanchard) LeBlanc. He is survived by his sister Jeannine Gauthier.
Left to marvel at this man of energy and vitality are his five children: Michel (married Brenda Korchinski), Lise Piché-Moor (married Alain Moor), Ronald Piché (married Kim Humphries), Margo MacDougall (married Scott MacDougall) and Loraine Piché. His sixteen cherished grandchildren and six great grandchildren will miss him dearly as well.
Many may view the passing of a man of such senior years as something that is not profoundly sad. It is, after all, the progression of things. However, there will forever be a void for his children as there was for decades the assuring belief that he was just a phone call or car ride away.
We will miss you so very much.
Celebration of life and funeral service to follow Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 2 pm at Our Lady of the Assumption Co-Cathedral Gravelbourg. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to AJ’S Loan Cupboard in Medicine Hat, AB.