Let the Gervais Family Reunion begin!
Joseph (Joe) Albert Gervais
With the death of
at Rainycrest LTCH on Wednesday, June 15th his birth family was united for the first time since 1932.
Joseph was the fifth child born to Joseph Sr. and Rosalie (Soucie) Gervais on Thursday, January 6, 1927. When he was five years old his mother died leaving Joseph’s father alone with seven young children to care for. It was The Great Depression and work was difficult at best and soon after his mothers death the Children’s Aid took control of the children who were ages 10 years to only five months old. The two older girls were sent to live in a convent school with the nuns, while the boys were sent to St. Joseph’s Orphanage for boys and later into the foster care system.
After Joseph graduated from St. Paul’s Business School he struck out on his own, taking jobs that took him from Nelson, BC. to Sioux Lookout, ON. It was in Sioux Lookout that he met his devoted wife Elizabeth (Betty) Olson. They were married on Saturday, August 21, 1948.
Children began arriving in 1949 with David being born in the Sioux, James and Michael would be born in Rainy River and Susan in Fort Frances.
Joseph began his civil service with the CN railroad and eventually transferred to Canada Immigration. After more than 40 years of collective service he retired in 1989. During his last few years of working he started his own business, A1 Furniture, an upholstery business, which kept him busy for more than a decade after he retired.
Joe always became involved in the communities where he lived. In Rainy River he served as Rector’s Warden at St. James Anglican Church for many years. When his older sons were the right age he became a Boy Scout Leader. After moving to Fort Frances he worked tirelessly for St. John the Baptist Anglican Church. He would paint the interior, peel veggies for the ACW fall smorgasbord, and always lending a hand at the annual fish fry. Joe also supported the RR District Festival of the Performing Arts every year. He was thrilled to create an award honouring the late Stephanie Hawkins that included prize money to advance their talents.
Joseph heard the roar of the Lions Club in the early 1980’s, and he served in many capacities; most significantly the TV Bingo and the many boat raffles. He earned a multitude of awards including Lion of The Year, and he served as President and Past President and he was successfully nominated as a Melvin Jones Fellow.
Joseph was predeceased by his parents; mother Rosalie in 1932, infant brother Henri (1926), father Joseph Sr. (1947) brother Alfred (1988),sisters Florence (2008), Cecile (2009), brothers Robert (2009), Andre (2014), Eugene (2017), and Charles (2021). Joe’s wife Elizabeth died in 2012 after sharing almost 64 years of marriage.
Leaving to remember Joseph are sons; David (Monique), James, Michael (Sarah) and daughter Susan (Dwayne). He also leaves eight grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild. Also left are many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Pallbearers will be David Gervais, Michael Gervais, Jason Gervais, Dallas Gervais, Rick Olson, and Johnny Olson, with Stan Zajac as an alternate. An honorary pallbearer will be James Gervais.
The Fort Frances Lions Club will provide an Honour Guard.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, June 21st at Green’s Funeral Home, 600 Reid Ave, Fort Frances from 7:00 until 9:00 pm and the funeral will be Wednesday, June 22nd at 2:00 pm at St. John the Baptist Anglican Church, 360 Church Street, Fort Frances. Interment will happen at a later date, after cremation.
The family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers that a donation be made in Joseph’s memory to Rainycrest LTCH, through Riverside Healthcare Inc., St. John The Baptist Anglican Church, or the Fort Frances Lions Club. All donations may be directed through Green’s Funeral Home, 600 Reid Ave., PO Box 427, Fort Frances, ON P9A 3M8.
Joe’s family thanks the wonderful and compassionate staff of Rainycrest LTCH for ten years of care. After Mom died the professional staff brought him back to better health and a quality of life. We also want to thank the people at Green’s Funeral Home for their guidance and compassion at this difficult time.