Friday, August 02, 2013

In Memoriam: Maurice Belair

Maurice Belair, my Dad (or Pa, as I used to call him in French) would have been 86 years old today.

Dad was born on 2 August 1927 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He was his parents Fred and Julie’s first child. Dad was baptized at St-Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic church on Empress Avenue in Ottawa, where his parents married the previous October.

Maurice Belair in about 1930
Maurice Belair (about 3 or 4 years old), 1930-1931

Dad grew up in Ottawa and Montreal, where his father Fred worked as an iron worker for the Dominion Bridge Company. Dad’s sister Jeanne (Joan) and brother Ray were born in Montreal. The family lived for a time in Chapeau, in Pontiac County, Quebec (where Julie was from), and then moved back to Ottawa, and soon after to nearby South March and Corkery.

In about 1934, the family moved to Fauquier in northeastern Ontario. While here, Dad received the sacrament of Confirmation at Ste-Agnès RC church in September 1935. Four years later in May 1939, he made his profession of faith at Ste-Agnès. (The certificate he received to commemorate the event is still in our possession. You can see it in Family History Through the Alphabet – R is for…) It was probably on one of these two occasions that he received a large, wood crucifix, which I wrote about in Treasure Chest Thursday: The Crucifix.

In the early 1940s, Dad and his family moved to Timmins, where his brother Ray and younger sister Darlene went to school. Later, they moved to Blue Water, near Sarnia, Ontario. By the mid-1950s, Dad’s parents Fred and Julie were back in Timmins, but he remained in southern Ontario where he worked as a welder.

In about 1952, Dad met my mom Jacqueline when she worked as a counter girl at a family-owned corner store in Blue Water. They courted for some time, and then married in Sarnia on 18 December 1954. After they married, Dad went wherever there was welding work for him in southern Ontario and Quebec. (I wrote about how Dad started out as a welder in Workday Wednesday: Maurice Belair, Welder.) When Mom was expecting their first child in 1958, they decided to settle down in Timmins. Dad’s parents and sister Joan lived there, so choosing that town seemed a logical choice.

One autumn day in 1979, Dad was injured while working in Bracebridge, Ontario. (See Workday Wednesday: The Pipeline Accident.) He spent a few months recovering, and then decided to give up being a full-time welder. He, Mom and us three children (my sister Marianne, brother Raymond and myself) moved to British Columbia. Here Dad and his brother Ray started a road-building business.

Dad spent the remainder of his life in Hope, where he passed away on 6 May 1996. He had suffered from coronary heart disease for a few years and died of a heart attack. I’ve written about his obituary (Sunday’s Obituary: My Father, Maurice Belair) and his gravemarker (Tombstone Tuesday: Maurice Belair.)

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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