Germaine Girard

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Germaine Girard, resident of Grande Prairie, Alberta (formerly Dawson Creek, BC), on Sunday, December 19, 2021, at the age of 88 years.  A Funeral mass will be held at Notre Dame Catholic Church in Dawson Creek, BC with interment to follow at the Dawson Creek City Cemetery.

Marie Germaine Bernadette Girard – Eulogy

October 17,1933 – December 19, 2021

 

Marie Germaine Bernadette Boisvert. Germaine was born on October 17, 1933 in Girouxville, Alberta, and was 1 of 9 children. Growing up on the farm in those days, it was a given that times were difficult, and life was not easy. Germaine did not finish school as she was needed to work on the farm. It was during this time, and at a young age, that Germaine developed her belief that what is important is what she had……. not what she didn’t have.  As a child growing up, her foundational values that would guide her for the rest of her life were established. Family, faith, hard work, honesty, courage, empathy, respect, compassion, gratitude, unconditional love, forgiveness, and nonjudgement (except for maybe a son in law here or there).

As a young lady growing up in Girouxville, Germaine worked extremely hard, whether it was on the farm or in town. However, there was always time for a party with the emphasis on family gatherings. Germaine loved to dance, dance and dance some more. That’s what life was like growing up in those days. Hard work, a commitment to family, not dwelling on the hardships but celebrating what you did have - family and friends.

Germaine was working at the Girouxville Co-Op when she met her beloved husband to be, John. Prior to John and Germaine getting married, the owner of the Co-Op told her that she would not be able to work there any longer because married women were not allowed to remain working at the store. My how things have changed in today’s world.

John and Germaine were married on October 28, 1953 in a double ceremony with John’s brother Wilbrod and his wife Annette. The original plan was for them to spend a few days in Edmonton for their honeymoon. As it turned out times were tight, money was short, and they had no vehicle. The newlyweds got a ride to McLellan with a friend and two days later returned to Girouxville by train. That’s just the way things were in those days and true to her character, Germaine made the best of it. The young couple started their married life working in the logging camps. Germaine’s job was cooking for 16 men and all the truckers. As one can imagine this was not easy work being in the bush like that. As Germaine was deathly afraid of mice, a trait no doubt passed on to each of her daughters, John would have to get up early each morning to clear the traps. Over the next few years, John and Germaine worked other odd jobs in the area. During this time Germaine’s attention turned to raising a family. Germaine gave birth to their first daughter Carmen in September of 1954. Their second daughter Paulette was due to arrive around Christmas of 1955. As fate would have it, Germaine went into labour just prior to Christmas and it was -42C and lots of snow. The hospital was in McLellan and vehicles were not running very well. As the story goes a horse and buggy was part of getting her to the hospital. Now, Germaine did not complain about much, but on that night, she made note of how cold it was. Not to worry though, upon arrival at the hospital, the nurses had a hot Rum and Brandy to warm her up. Oh, those were the days. Oh yeah, Paulette arrived Christmas eve safe and sound.    

In 1956, the monumental decision was made to move to Dawson Creek to work and raise a family. So off they went with two infant daughters and Germaine could not speak a word of English. Getting established in Dawson Creek had its challenges. Upon arrival, their first housing was in the Army Barracks which was a fancy term for a shack. True to form Germaine didn’t complain but made the best of it and really established the roots of raising a family. As time passed John and Germaine moved from a shack to a tiny house to a small house. As the family grew, so did the steady stream of friends and family visiting from Alberta. This was right up Germaine’s ally. Kids, kids, and more kids. French traditions and culture in a loving and caring home. This was what was important to Germaine.

Germaine was a remarkable woman in her own right. Her family includes daughters Carmen, Paulette, Doris, Jeannette and son Dale. She is Memere to Nolan, Jared, Shawn, Janelle, Trevor, Danielle, Lindsay, Emma, Blair, Emily and Dryden. Great Grandchildren include Ashton, Lochlan, Jhai-Lyi, Asche, Trixxen, McKinley, Vander, Myer, Rurik, Kael, Reece, Nash, Sawyer, Scottie, Wyatt, Brooks, Lucas and another one on the way.

This family was Germaine’s pride and joy. As she raised her kids, she worked extremely hard. During the time that she had four young daughters, it was not possible to work outside the home so Germaine’s answer to that was to iron uniforms in the evenings at home to earn some extra cash. That was Germaine, raise her family by day and work at night.  Over the years, in addition to the work she had at home, she helped support the household by starting a janitorial business and she was really proud when she got a job at the Hudson’s Bay working in retail sales. One of her amazing accomplishments, that she was really proud of was that in 1979, at the age of 46, Germaine went back to school and got her grade 12. She graduated the same year as her youngest daughter Jeannette. Amazing.

It has been said that John might have had the best garden in Dawson Creek. If this was true, Germaine would have been the Queen of canning. Every year she would can enough vegetables to last the winter. Now for those of us that know about Dawson Creek, that’s a lot of canning. If that wasn’t enough, Germaine would can meat and other fixings to complement the massive garden harvest. Every year the garden and the canning would take Germaine back to her days growing up on the farm, as it was in her roots so to say.   

Germaine was a person of deep faith and she passed this on to her family. Every Sunday it was a ritual to get the kids ready for church. There they would be, sitting together in a row on the couch, dressed in their Sunday best, waiting for the inspection that everything was in order. Then off to church they go.

It was not all work and no play with Germaine. She loved to socialize, play crib and be a good host. Her priority was to spend time with family and friends and to do volunteer work in the community. In particular she loved spending time with her best friend of 60 years Sally Trembley. She was also a member of the Catholic Women’s League and the Royal Purple for multiple decades. In Germaine’s world, giving back to the community was not work, but was something that provided a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. She also loved to do crafts. In particular she liked to crochet blankets. A project of hers was to make a blanket for every grandchild and she then started on the great grandchildren. I’m not sure that she realized the size of the undertaking as this kept her busy until the crochet days came to an end, and the great grandchildren kept on arriving. Needless to say, she made a lot of blankets.

John and Germaine worked hard for their retirement and definitely earned the snowbird lifestyle. For more than 15 years they made the trek to Mesa, Arizona to spend time with sister Jean and her husband Joe, brother Armmand and his wife Roullande and niece and nephew Jeanette/Marcel Laflamme and their many snowbird friends from across the country. Every year, they would spend Christmas and New Years in Dawson Creek with a house full of people celebrating the season with the French culture and traditions in full bloom, which would include making 30 or 40 tourtire meat pies. Then it would be time to head south for 4 months. In Mesa, Germaine specialized in water aerobics, happy hour, playing cards or just good old socializing. She would also make the odd trip to the local baseball field, just like the old days, to watch John reliving his youth playing oldtimers slow-pitch. With the passing of John, Germaine and her sister Jean and sister-in-law Rollande continued spending time in Mesa for another 5 or 6 years. The families would wonder how they were doing, and the answer would be, “don’t worry about us snowbirds, we are just fine.”

With the passing of her husband John in 2005, Germaine got her own place in Dawson Creek in the Chapple Hills Complex. She spent time with her best friend Sally who also lived in the complex and did a lot of visiting with family and friends. After six years, Germaine decided to move to the Villa in Falher. This was a wonderful place for her as she was surrounded by friends and relatives which included 3 sisters-in-law, Roullande, Annette and Lucian; niece and nephew Marcel/Annette Trudeau and of course niece Aline Roy who was the Manager of the Villa. The staff at the Villa were amazing for which we are so thankful. In fact, it was almost impossible to get hold of Germaine at the Villa as there was always something on the go. She really enjoyed her time there.

In 2019, it was time for Germaine to move to the next level of care at Prairie Lakes in Grande Prairie. This was also an amazing place and an amazing staff to match which again the family is so thankful for.

The true characterization of Germaine’s character is in the words written about her by friends and family. Here are just a few examples:

“My memories of Mom are the simple ones, that revolve around how dedicated and proud she was of her family. She always had time to spend with whoever wanted it or needed it. She always wanted to spend time with her grand and great grandchildren”

“She was the anchor of the family. Helping and supporting all who knew her however she could. A kind word, a shoulder to lean on and most of all our family’s cheerleader.”

“You will be so dearly missed Memere. Heaven has gained a perfect angel today. I will always look up to you. A woman full of grace, humility, compassion, generosity, love, laughter and great faith.”

“Aunty Germaine was so special to me. She guided my life and made sure I made the right decisions and helped set me on the right path.”

“Thank you for sharing your mom with us. She always had a smile on her face and always said thank you. She was an angel and a blessing to all the staff at Prairie Lake. She will always be remembered.”

“She was an incredible Lady and will be missed by everyone that knew her. She will be missed a lot”

As the passing of Germaine neared, and the ravages of her dementia had gotten the better of her, as she would struggle to recognize family or friends, there was one thing that never left her. The minute any one of her young great grandchildren entered the room she would light up like a Christmas tree and her angel would shine brightly. At the end of the day this was Germaine. You will be remembered and missed dearly. God Bless and Rest in Peace.

For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Germaine to the Canadian Cancer Society, 1100 Alward Street, Prince George, British Columbia V2M 7B1.

Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium