EMILE ULYSSES DeGAGNE

With much love and sadness, on the early afternoon of Aug. 1, 2015, Emile’s family said farewell to him as he passed on to the next journey of his life.
He will be lovingly missed by his wife, Bernice; son, Rick and family of Mathieu (Tryna), Brock, Danielle, and Jose-Anne; son, Pierre and daughters, Samantha and Miranda; son, Tony (Betty) and family of Benjamin and Gabrielle; daughter, Angie and family of Robyn (Mike) and Jason (Charity and their daughter, Gweneth Marie); and son, Adrien (Patricia) and sons, Beau (Terri), Colton, and Dustin.
In February, while in the hospital, Emile held his newborn great-granddaughter, Gweneth, close to his heart. He was very happy on that day.
Waiting to greet Emile was special daughter-in-law, Colleen.
Emile also was predeceased by his parents, Odilas and Valeda; brothers, Lawrence (and Eleanor), Charlie (and Madeleine, with twins, Charlene and Charlotte), Orielle, Edmund, and Rene; sisters, Lucille Lafleur (and Jean Paul with son, Paul) and Lorraine; and a very dear niece, Caron.
What a happy family reunion!
Surviving Emile are his brothers, Felix (Elsie), Yves (Kathy), and Maurice (Patti); sisters, Lillian (Mike) Bodnar and Laura (Ron) Tausandfrende; and sisters-in-law, Pearl, Claudette, and Mona.
Grieving Emile are numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved and was proud of. Emile treated everyone in his large family with respect; never judging anyone. This was one of his many fine traits which he carried until the end.
Also grieving are Bernice’s sister, Beverly Bowman Inoue and companion, Bill, who were very much loved by Emile.
Emile was born June 4, 1937 and grew up in a big family (12 siblings) on a farm in Crozier, Ont. He did his fair share helping with farm chores, milking cows, and enjoyed the simple but happy life provided by his parents.
Because they were close in age, Emile, Felix, and Edmund were forever playing pranks on each other; each one keeping the others on their toes and having much fun along the way. Fortunately, they managed to survive through it all.
Emile attended Provencher Catholic High School in St. Boniface. By graduation, he had made the decision to become a teacher. In September of 1955, at the age of 18, he started his career at St. Mary’s School in Fort Frances.
That same year, he met Bernice Bowman of Devlin, Ont. and they were married in 1957. This year would have marked 58 years of marriage.
Emile taught in “The Fort” for 14 years. In 1970, the family moved to Kenora, Ont., where Emile served as a teacher and principal until his retirement in 1989.
In the early 1970s, he was instrumental in the implementation of the first junior kindergarten classes in the district.
Emile was an active proponent in the plan to convert Thomas Aquinas into a high school. He believed strongly in the Catholic School system in which he served his entire career. He had wished to be retired as many years as he had taught but it was not to be.
While in Crozier, Emile was active as president of St. Mary’s Credit Union and was a member of the Catholic Teachers’ Federation. He was a life member of the Knights of Columbus.
In 2014, Emile received his 25-year certificate in the Retired Teachers’ Organization, and served two terms as president of the Kenora RTO.
While in Kenora, Emile was involved with the Central Community Club and served a term as president of Kenora Little League Baseball. From Central, the family moved to the Grandview Motel and operated the business for 10 years.
Retirement looked pretty good with travel plans, grandparenting, and just taking it easy, however; being idle was not for Emile. For nearly eight years, he spent eight or nine months of the year working as chairman of the Board of Referees for Employment Insurance.
His psychology major was put to good use once again!
For many years, while living in Kenora, Emile and Bernice hosted family gatherings on the May long weekend. It made Emile particularly proud that he could open the doors to his home and provide an opportunity for relatives to gather, to share, to laugh, and to reunite.
Emile’s family is left to cherish the memories of many precious family activities and moments spent together. Emile loved to watch Hockey Night in Canada, fishing, the outdoors, taking on a home project, playing cards and board games, cooking, and talking politics, history, or law.
Over a 20-year period, Emile and Bernice made Arizona their winter home, forging many good friendships and wonderful memories over this time.
They moved to Paradise Village Trailer Park in St. Anne, Man. in 2010, where they lived together until Emile passed away at the St. Anne Hospital.
A service honouring the life of Emile was held on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 at Notre Dame Church in Kenora, with nephew Fr. Vic (Fort Frances) and schoolmate Fr. I. Blanchette (Winnipeg) conducting the mass.
Online condolences may be offered at www.brownfuneralhomekenora.com
God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be.
So he put his arms around you
And whispered, “Come with me.”
With tearful eyes, we watched you
And saw you slip away.
Although we love you dearly,
We could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard-working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the best.