Joseph Gagne

Obituary of Joseph Harman Gagne

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Herman Gagne, a resident of Calgary, Alberta (formerly of the Peace area) on Sunday, December 31, 2023, at the age of 100 years.


Herman was born on December 3, 1923, in St. Victor, Saskatchewan.  Having only a grade five education he did mostly laboring jobs in factories in Dundas and Hamilton. He also worked for his father operating his wood sawing rig. He was a self-taught carpenter, plumber, electrician and land developer, which was very evident in the house that he built in Grand Forks in 1994 at the ripe age of 71. Living through the depression he learned to upcycle just about anything. We often laugh about something or other that he has “Hermanized”!! He was quite an inventor.


Herman was a WWII vet serving in Normandy, France, Belgium, and the UK.  He was a very proud Veteran and marched actively in the Grand Forks Remembrance Day parade until 2018 at 94 years of age.


Dad lived and worked in Alberta and the Yukon eventually settling in Northern BC. He became a master of road construction working on the Alaska Highway and was well known for his ability to operate every piece of equipment there was. He had a reputation as “the best damn operator on the Alaska Highway.”


He met the love of his life Betty Hull in Dawson Creek, BC and they married in October 1958.  The family moved to Summit Lake, BC, Mile 392 of the Alaska Highway, where dad worked doing highway maintenance. Being the only owner of a station wagon in the area, he was quick to volunteer his vehicle for ambulance duty when required.


Living in such a remote location, started his love of hunting, fishing and the great outdoors.  There wasn’t a fall that went by that he did not get a moose to feed us for the winter, and never a weekend in the summer that didn’t find us on the

Toad or Racing Rivers fishing and having a wiener roast. In 1962, the family relocated to Fort Nelson, BC where he continued working in road construction.


In 1975 he bought a piece of land on the outskirts of town. He single handedly cleared the land, hauled multiple loads of gravel and with Betty’s assistance built and operated a very successful RV Park.  The friendships he made with many caravan leaders led him to winter in Mexico in the 1980s. They sold the campground in 1988 and retired to Grand Forks, BC.


Dad still enjoyed fishing and regularly went to Trail, Christina Lake and Jewel Lake. He also enjoyed snowmobiling. Herman and Betty lived in the home he built in Grand Forks until 2018. He stayed in amazing shape by cutting and chopping wood for the wood stove to keep their house warm right up until he was 90 years old.


With the onset of dementia, it became necessary to leave their home and move into assisted living. In 2019, Betty’s health started to fail and they moved to Calgary to be closer to family. Unable to reside in the same care facility, Betty and Herman spent the last year of their 62-year marriage living apart. Betty passed away in September 2020.


Dad passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 31,2023 at Colonel Belcher Care Home in Calgary.  He was the last surviving child of 17 siblings born to Valerien & Alexandrina Gagne. Dad always said he would live to be 100 and he made it with an extra 27 days!! He was predeceased by his wife Betty, all 16 siblings and his stepson Gordon Gagne.


He is survived by stepdaughters Betty-Ann (Layton) Scheck, Jackie (Garry) Stuckey, son Victor (Sheri) Gagne and daughter Beverly (Ed) McArthur, 12 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Herman fully embraced the freedom he fought for and lived a life that helped to build and strengthen our great country in so many ways.


Dad will be laid to rest in Rolla Cemetery on January 9, 2024, with a Celebration of Life to follow in the summer of 2024.


Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium

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