April 22, 1934 - September 27, 2020
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Denis Alberique DeGagné, our husband, father, grandfather, papa, great grandfather, uncle, and friend. Denis passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 27, 2020 at the age of 86. We say goodbye with deepest gratitude for having him in our lives and knowing that he always held us close to his heart.
Denis was born April 22, 1934 in Smooth Rock Falls, ON to a large and loving family. He was the 7th of 13 children and was raised on a farm outside of Fort Frances, ON where he was taught the foundation of family, faith, hard work and integrity that would guide him throughout his life. At 24, he met his beloved RoseMarie (Cousineau) with whom he shared 34 loving years before her passing in 1993. Together they raised a family of four and were very proud of their many accomplishments. He was a loving and dedicated father, passing on to us his values. He was fun but firm, and patiently taught us by example to work hard, never give up, to “dream big” and treat everyone with respect. Above all, he taught us to love and be loved.
Denis was an entrepreneur his entire life. In 1953 at the age of 19, he and his brother Ed became the youngest John Deere dealers in Canada opening DeGagné Equipment in Emo, ON. In 1972, Denis moved to Thunder Bay with his family to continue with John Deere until the early 1980’s. Following this, he opened DeGagné Tractor and soon would partner with his sons to run a vibrant equipment and lawn care business until his retirement in 1999. Through his work, he formed many lifelong friendships that he treasured and valued. He was always eager to be involved in his community and supported many local clubs and charities throughout the years including the Thunder Bay Cancer Research Centre, Kinsmen, Knights of Columbus and his Parish community.
Denis was a loving, fun and incredibly committed grandfather to his 11 grandchildren. He was an instrumental part of their lives teaching them many life-long lessons, supporting their personal, educational and professional growth and sharing many summers by the pool, on the lake, and in his yard. He took great joy and an active role in attending sporting events, school activities and graduations as papa, grandpa, and often as chauffeur.
Denis met Yvonne Slivinski in 1996 and they shared many wonderful years of marriage together. They enjoyed travelling and spent many winters in Arizona with Denis’ sister Rita and her husband Wayne. Denis and Yvonne were separated by illness in recent years but maintained their love for one another.
Denis will be remembered for his vibrant personality, sense of humour, loyalty, friendship, his love of life, his ambition and energy, and mostly for his deep, genuine and caring love for his family and friends. There isn’t anything Denis would not do for his family and that will never be forgotten, Dad.
Denis is survived by his wife Yvonne, his daughters Marie Brady (Alan) and Renée DeGagné (Brian Legg), his sons Rob (Jill) and Denis Jr. (Nancy); his step-children AJ Slivinski (MaryJo) and Bjo Gibb (Jim); his grandchildren Kayla Brady, Michael Brady (Kali), Matthew DeGagné, Ryan Brady (Melissa), Robbie DeGagné, Aaron DeGagné, Abby Gibb, Kelsey DeGagné, Marc DeGagné, Shawn Brady and Sam Gibb; his great-grandchildren Aria, Cecilia and Evangeline Brady. With many fond memories, he will always remain in our hearts. Denis will be dearly missed by his sisters Valeda Cousineau, Gertie Bujold, Rita (Wayne) McLeod and Yvette (Ronald) Beck, his sisters-in-law Laura DeGagné, Theresa DeGagné, Irene DeGagné, Virginia Cousineau and Helen Cousineau, and many of his 100 nieces and nephews
He is predeceased by his wife, RoseMarie; parents Jean Baptiste and Marie Antoinette; his brothers and sisters Amedee (Jesse) , Ed, Louis (Carol), Claude, Phil, Anita, Irene (Leonard) Legaree and Rolande (Fred) Lowey and brothers and sisters-in-law Robert (Marian), Leon, Roy (Doris), Jim, Louis, Ray, Bernard (Margaret) and Jerome Cousineau, Clarence Bujold and Joan (Louis) Boileau.
Visitation will take place from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 8th at St Agnes Church, 1019 Brown St, Thunder Bay, ON. This will be followed by a Vigil service at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, October 9th at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Thunder Bay celebrated by Rev. James Panikulam, concelebrated by Rev. Victor DeGagne. Internment at St Patrick’s Cemetery will follow. Due to the pandemic, the family regrets there will be no reception after the service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider a donation to St Agnes Parish of Thunder Bay.
Under the current restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, those wishing to attend the visitation are invited to do so, with a limited number of people being allowed into the church at one time to allow for the ability to maintain necessary social distancing. Those wishing to register to attend the Funeral Mass and those wishing to send on-line condolences may do so at www.sargentandson.com. A reminder that the wearing of masks or face coverings by everyone and maintaining social distancing of 6 feet is mandatory for those attending the services.