George Therrien

Obituary of George Therrien

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of William "George" Therrien, a longtime resident of the Peace River Region, on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at the age of 95 years. 

George was born on October 13, 1928, to Patrick and Lydia (nee Tremblay) Therrien. He was the eldest son.

They lived and prospered just east of Dawson Creek near the current airport site.

George would greet you with a firm handshake. He was renowned for his hard work and inspired many others to do the same. He always had a project or two on the go. After stopping for lunch or supper, it was always back to the project. He was clearly a risk taker, which is evident by the wide number of career choices.

George started these trends early. As young as 8 years of age, he would go get the cows in the evening who pastured across the Dawson Creek grazing all day. Sometimes he would ride a cow back across the creek because the water was so deep. The cows would have to swim with him riding on their back.

At this same age, he would drive his dog sled to school on many a winter day. He was proud to say he often gave a ride to the neighboring girl who was somewhat handicapped, and this was her only way to school.

The work ethic also started early. George was a strong shoveler. Uncle Earl relays the story of his brother George while still attending school, going down to Bissett creek with a team of horses and a wagon. He would shovel by hand, load the wagon, then drive the team to a paying customer and shovel the gravel off. All for about $5.00. He also delivered ice and milk regularly as part of the daily chores.

George suggested he start working for his father in the gravel business in 1945. When they were able to automate powered vehicles, George drove cats and loaders from 1945-1956 for the Therrien Trucking Company.

While this hard work was occurring, George found time to meet and court Audrey (nee Doonan).  They eloped to Grande Prairie and were married in the fall of 1950.

George Plowed snow in the winter in the pine pass near Mount Le Moray.

Cindy Lee was born in February 1955. They then lived on a farm in the Landry area.

In 1957, George started welding with his portable welder working for the Department of Highways located in Pouce Coupe. George was a professional welder. George was skilled and many considered him a perfectionist.  He constructed trailers, wagons, and rod iron railings for many family and friends, and even fabricated useful inventions for his employers. He was so talented.

George and Audrey took on several foster kids into their home.

In January of 1957, Lance joined the family. They all moved to Pouce Coupe in 1959 when their Landry house burned down. George built their first prefab home there. It was just below the hill in Pouce.

A major turn happened in 1965 when they all moved to Bonanza and got into the store business. George and Audrey ran the Grocery store and post office. They had one of the only phones in the area. George delivered many phone messages to their neighbors with happy and sometimes, sad news.

George would go to town once a week for fresh groceries. Stocking shelves was an art and a tedious task.  He also found time to open the Esso bulk fuel business for the farmers in the area.

Later, George found time to drive the school bus from Bonanza to Dawson Creek.

Sundays were often their day to visit family relatives.

Sometimes they found time during the week to attend dances. George loved to dance and to listen to old-time country music and attend folk festivals.

They curled … sometimes together.

George loved to fish and would sometimes travel to Swan Lake very early on Sundays when allowed. Somehow, he also found time to raise and study honeybees.

They left Bonanza in 1975 and moved back to Pouce Coupe. George built another home there with a wood basement. First of its kind in the area.

He drove his own truck for the highways for the next 5 years.

In 1984 he started working for the Village of Pouce Coupe as the town maintenance manager.  He maintained the streets by grading roads and monitoring the water system. He would use the backhoe to fix water breaks that occurred at -40 below Celsius on an all too regular basis.

George continued to build and renovate homes. He prepared a house for his mother when she moved back to Pouce Coupe from Surrey.

He said “Pip Pip” to the village job in 1984 when he suggested he was retiring. In his retirement, George helped to build and renovate more homes. George even helped build his children’s homes. He reportedly loved it when they would finally buy a newer home that was not in need of repairs or changes.

In his retirement, he and Audrey helped manage a 50-unit apartment complex in Dawson Creek. They travelled to Yuma, Arizona several times for the winter months.  Audrey passed away in the fall of 2004. George continued to work and live at the Spruceland apartments.

Folk festivals were a regular occurrence now travelling with Jake his dog.

He lived in Spruceland with Jake and later moved to Selwyn apartments. He then moved to Northview, and finally to Rotary Manor where he received great care.

During these latter years, he still dreamed of being on the road in one of his many RVs with his favorite dog by his side.

Photos posted outside his apartment door sometimes had grandchildren in them but always included a horse drawn wagon, a fishing picture and one of his dogs.

Rest in peace.

A Celebration of Life to honor George will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at 11:00am from Reynars Funeral Chapel. Pauline Haycock will officiate. Interment will be at a later date.

For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of George to the Pouce Coupe Museum, 5006 49th Ave, Pouce Coupe, BC, V0C 2C0.

Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home and Crematorium 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of George Therrien, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration Of Life

11:00 am
Saturday, October 28, 2023
Reynars Chapel
1300 102 Avenue
Dawson Creek, Alberta, Canada
Share Your Memory of