Marcel Joseph Arsenault, resident of Dawson Creek, BC, former resident of Blue Sky, Alberta, passed away peacefully at the Dawson Creek Hospital at the age of 89 ½ years.
Marcel was born at Mercers Mill, Alberta near the town of Blue Sky, to Ludger and Blanche Arsenault. Marcel was the 4th child born and was followed by 3 more. Marcel had 3 brothers and 3 sisters growing up. Marcel started school but only finished grade 4 before going to work on the farm, working in the fields, looking after the animals, cleaning the stalls and many other chores.
When Marcel got older, he worked in the bush camp logging with his dad. Marcel worked the 2 man crosscut saw with his dad. One day when Marcel was a little slow, his dad would say, “Marcel if you don’t keep up I am going to pull you right through this tree!” Marcel just grinned and said “Oh no dad, I will let go” they both laughed. In the fall, many of the local families moved out to the camps and any of the kids who were old enough to help, stacked the railway ties and ran the horse teams to drag the logs out.
As Marcel got older, he ventured away from home and went to work on the steamboats where he fed the firebox to keep the steamboat going. The steamboat transported assorted freight up and down the river. Marcel said this was the best job in the world. He loved the boats. When Marcel came back from the Yukon he loved being on a boat so much he decided to join the Navy but was denied because he only had a grade 4 education.
Marcel loved to socialize, play the harmonica, the spoons, dance and drink, especially the drinking part. Everyone knew him as a social butterfly. Always there for a good time and a long time.
Marcel knew Al Berkner from road construction in the Tomslake area, this was where he met Hanna. She was the niece to Al and Pauline Berkner. Marcel and Hanna started dating and were married on February 9, 1959.
They had their first child, Wanda, on May 26,1960. That didn’t take long. Then 2 more children, Bonnie, on August 14, 1961 and Rod on September 6, 1962. They sure didn’t waste any time. There family was now complete. Life rolled along and had it’s ups and downs, then Marcel and Hanna separated.
Marcel worked on construction sites where he was away for weeks at a time so he saw his kids whenever he could.
The kids grew up and had partners of their own, then came weddings and grandkids, Cali-Ann, Trevor, Caitlin, Bailey and Tylar. Before you knew it grandkids were graduating and having weddings and kids of their own. Along came great grandkids Taylor, Bria, Caden, and Harper who all loved their great grandpa, and they were all so special to him.
Marcel spent most of his retirement sitting with friends at the pub, playing pool, drinking beer, and socializing.
When his health started to fail he was still socializing but now it was at Le’s Restaurant and coffee was the drink of choice, boy have times changed. Le’s was like a second home to Marcel. He ate most of his meals there and met new friends and old friends for coffee. Life was good.
His health kept declining and he started to need more help getting around. He ended up in the hospital a few to many times and was now a diabetic. Things were pretty good for a while then things took a turn for the worst. Marcel was told he had cancer in his lungs and liver, that was causing him to have trouble swallowing and talking. He ended up back in the hospital for about 3 weeks and all he wanted was to go home and see family and friends. The specialist said 5 days of radiation would shrink the lung cancer enough so his swallowing and speech may get better. So off to treatment we went. Five days in a hotel, no hospitals, relaxing, watching TV and just hanging out. Life was normal, somewhat, but he was happy. The radiation took a lot out of him and returning to Dawson Creek, Marcel was readmitted back into the hospital. The staff tried to make him as comfortable as they could.
Marcel passed away peacefully with family by his side on Sunday morning, October 4, 2020.
Marcel was always smiling and was loved by all who knew him. He will be sadly missed but forever in our hearts
A service was held privately, due to COVID restrictions, and interment at the Dawson Creek City Cemetery.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Marcel to the Dawson Creek & District Hospital Foundation, 11100 - 13 Street, Dawson Creek, BC V1G 3W8
Very Respectfully Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium