GRAIG FRANCIS BOILEAU
GRAIG FRANCIS BOILEAU, 85, of 48 Spruce Road, Atikokan, ON passed away suddenly early Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Graig was born December 6, 1925 in Fort Frances, Ontario to Francis & Irene Boileau (Saunders). Graig's father died when Graig was just 3 years old. In 1932, his mother Irene was remarried to Hugh Fleming. Over his youth and throughout his life Graig spent many hours visiting his extended family of grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins in Fort Frances.
In 1943, at the age of 17, Graig enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, was shipped to Brandon, Manitoba for basic training, and then on to Vancouver, Calgary, Trenton and St. Jean, Quebec awaiting an overseas posting. As a wireless air gunner, Graig flew the very last WWII scouting mission over the Atlantic Ocean in April 1945.
After the war, Graig attended DVA school in Fort William, where he was introduced to his best friend's cousin, Valerie Charlebois. The couple married in July 1947 and settled in Fort Frances. In 1951, Graig and Valerie moved with their first three children to the growing town of Atikokan. There, Graig began work for CAC on the Steep Rock and Marmion dredging operations until their completion. Graig was a senior shop steward and union negotiator during his time at CAC.
Graig & Valerie went on to build their family home in Atikokan in the early 1950s and had 6 more children. A deep recession in the early 1960's impacted employment opportunities at the Atikokan mines. With a large family to support, Graig made the decision to join Weston Bakery as an independent contractor, and later as an employee of the Shaw Baking Company where he remained until his retirement in 1992. Many people in Atikokan still remember Graig fondly from his days delivering bread door-to-door or to various restaurants and small businesses in town.
In 1980, Graig and Valerie purchased a lot on Turtle Lake and joyfully spent many years with family and friends at the cabin they built.
In 1990, at the age of 65, Graig embarked on a new and rewarding career as a founding partner in the development of the Valerie Falls hydro-electric generating station on the Seine River near Atikokan. This 10-megawatt generating project was completed in 1994. Graig was instrumental in the success of this project.
Sadly, after a lengthy illness, his wife, Valerie, passed away in April 1998.
Graig was firmly committed to the practice of civic duty. He gave much of his time to volunteering in numerous community activities. Graig was a member of the Atikokan & Separate School Boards for more than 20 years and was a central figure in the local Liberal Party, acting as President on more than one occasion. For many years Graig was active in the Atikokan Ski Club. He was also a member of the Legion. Last but not least, Graig was a cornerstone of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, active in the Knights of Columbus, deriving great joy from singing (sometimes on tune) in the Church choir, and the parishioners appreciated his culinary skills at many a church breakfast. An eternal optimist, his ready smile cheered the hospital patients he regularly visited and he set a great example as a father and friend. We will miss you Dad!
During the past 13 years Graig has cherished the loving companionship of Dolores Christian. They have travelled to visit their widespread families in various parts of Canada and made frequent visits to his son David's lake retreats in the Fort Frances area.
Graig will be terribly missed by Dolores Christian of Atikokan, ON; his nine children Janice (Thor) Paulson and Linda (Neil) Punstel both of Orangeville, ON, Karen (Martin Mikus) Boileau of Minneapolis MN, Robert (Tamar) Boileau and David (Jacqueline) Boileau, both of Thunder Bay, ON, Christopher Boileau (Michelle) of Waterloo, ON, Mary Anne of Tofino, BC, Jacqueline of Atikokan, ON and Paul of Chilliwack, BC; 21 grandchildren, Amber, Jennifer, Alistair, Sean, Daniel, Alexander, Patrick, Marc, Ashley, Robert, Clare, Louis, Nadine, Kal, Jason, Alexandra, Olivia, Laura, Victoria, Alexina, Nora, Robin, Jordan and Elisabeth, and four great grandchildren; Adam, Morgan, Jenna and Eric.
He also leaves to mourn him, sisters Maxine (Bud) Ronald, Carol Engstrom, Pat (Rollie) Dumontet, brothers Tom (Betty-Ann) Fleming, & Lyle (Linda) Fleming.
Graig was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Valerie, parents Irene and Francis, stepfather Hugh Fleming and grandson, Graig.
The funeral will be held Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 11 a.m at St. Patrick's RC church with Fr. Elvis Odoegbulen officiating. Pallbearers will be Ernie Toffan, Tony Marinaro, Alex Boileau, Alistair Boileau, Jordan Boileau and Louis Boileau-Ivall.
Cremation will follow at Rainy River Cremation Services in International Falls, Minnesota. Interment will take place in Little Falls Cemetery in Atikokan, Ontario at a later date.
Family and friends may visit Friday evening from 6:30 pm. until 8:30 p.m. at St. Patricks Roman Catholic Church in Atikokan, Ontario. Parish prayers will be offered at 7 p.m.
Should family and friends so desire, in memoriam donations may be made to a charity of their choice, in care of Green Funeral Home, P.O. Box 427, Fort Frances, ON, P9A 3M8.
Online condolences may be made in care of www.greenfuneralhomefortfrances.com.