July 2, 1929 – September 5, 2020
A prayer service was held on September 10, 2020. The funeral liturgy was September 11, 2020 at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Meadow Lake, SK. The Celebrant was Father Doug Jeffrey, OMI. Albert Brookes gave the eulogy. The pallbearers were Ryan Preece, Tyson Michel, Kaiden Michel, Grant Preece, Albert Brookes and Alan Bent. The honourary pallbearers were all who knew and loved Ernie.
Ernie is survived by his children and grandchildren: Carol (Grant) Preece & their children: Ryan (Kolina) Preece and Kristy (Chase) Preece; Dale (Jackie) Michel and their children: Tyson (Carly) Michel, Kaiden (Samantha) Michel, Kaelin (Kevin) Bezanson and Devri (Marty) Michel; Eleanor (Albert) Brookes and their children: Randee (John) Fairbairn, Baylee (Alan) Bent, Sydnee Brookes and Linzee (Greg) Brookes. He is survived by his great grandchildren: Hadley Bent, Sadie Bent, Kynley Michel, Elliott Fairbairn, Aria Fairbairn, Kohen Michel and Hayli Turberfield; his brother Edward (Vi) Michel; and his in-laws: Pete (Simone) Ross, Elsie Michel, Roy (Jenny) Ross, Patsy Ross, Eileen Ross; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ernie was predeceased by his loving wife Marie Michel; and infant son Joseph Michel. He was also predeceased by his parents: Eudore Michel and Bernadette Michel (Charlie); brother Wilfred Michel; sister Elizabeth (Cesaire) Caron; as well as his in-laws: Octave & Alice Ross, Max (Marie) Lavallee, Alex (Margaret) Ross, Margaret (Maurice) Cheze, Sam (Dorothy) Ross, Benny Ross, Leonard Ross and Annette Ross.
Joseph Alfred Ernest Michel, Ernie to most, was born July 2, 1929 in Corderre, Sk. He was the first son of Eudore and Bernadette Michel. At the tender age of one, Ernie, along with his older sister, Elizabeth, and his mom and dad, made the long and arduous journey to the Meadow Lake area to set up a homestead. Growing up with the addition of two brothers, Wilfred and Edward, made for a very adventurous childhood. Country schooling for Ernie did not appeal to his young and ambitious soul, so after completing Grade 3, it was on to more important things that life had to offer. Helping his mom and dad on the farm with the livestock, as well as farming, filled his youth. Creating lifelong friendships, working hard, going to local dances, learning to play fiddle and guitar, and sharing his love for music, song and dance, made the years pass by quickly.
It was during this time that Ernie’s love of logging, the sounds and smell of sawmills, and working in the lush green forests, came to be. First with horse and sleighs working long, cold days. Then onto trucks and cats – he did it all. Whether it was hauling boxwood to Erickson’s mill in Meadow Lake, falling trees, or cutting logs on his own mill, Ernie worked tirelessly to provide for his family. Having the natural ability to make or repair all facets of equipment for the day-to-day operations, was one of the many “hands on” gifts of life he has lovingly passed on to his son Dale.
After forestry, horses were another one of his greatest passions. Having his own team, working on a sleigh, watching races, or bucking at a rodeo, all played a large part in Ernie’s life. This love for horses, the creaking of harness, the slap of lines, and the thunder of hooves, he lovingly passed onto his daughter Carol.
Ernie’s trail then crossed with what was to become the rock of his life, his love for always – Marie. Married on April 12, 1961, Ernie and Marie began their life together as a devoted and loving pair. Working hard in con striation, road building, and railway work, Ernie continued labouring to help provide for his young family. Building his own home for his expanding family occupied his evenings while working long, hot days on highway construction. Ernie and Marie were a beautifully matched team – and who, with a strong yet gentle flare – raised Carol, Dale and Eleanor – to be loving, family oriented individuals, along the way. Losing Marie after 53 years of loving marriage was the saddest and lowest point in Ernie’s life. His love for his family, his love to hold Mom for a dance, or to hold a wee grandchild on his lap or close to his heart, is an attribute Ernie knowingly passed onto his youngest daughter, Ellie.
In the early years of raising their family, trips to the Rockies with family and friends, blueberry picking expeditions to the forest, travelling south to visit far flung family, trips to the lakes for picnics and picking his beloved raspberries, were all activities Ernie loved so much – and even more – loved sharing with his family.
Purchasing his first backhoe led him to a life of an entrepreneur. Contracting work, building, or digging, he did it all. And whether he was sitting in the kitchen, in the field, or out in the bush, enjoying coffee with his family and friends filled years with great joy, companionship and heartwarming memories. Ernie’s ability to work with his hands left many lasting memories for each of us, as we all have been gifted with some of his handiwork in our homes. Ernie’s heart attack, almost 20 years ago, could have cut short his adventurist spirit – however, this tough old-timer decided to share his wonderful insights and wisdom, with another generation of family. Activities such as gardening with Mom, going to rodeos and wagon races, spending time with grandchildren, playing Rummy, or tentatively helping mom clean up after one of the many feasts prepared for family, abundantly filled his retirement years.
Quietly living alone after Mom’s passing was bitterly tough on Ernie, but with Mom’s trusty cat Snoopy by his side and his daily devotion to the rosary, he pushed on. Having his family, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as friends close at hand to share stories or offer advice, gave Ernie solace and comfort in the long days without Mom. His failing lungs restricted his natural ability to do all the things he dearly loved to do throughout his life, but he would never turn down an opportunity for a cup of coffee and conversation.
It is with great sadness and sorrow that we relinquish Ernie to the God he so loved and knew so well. However, in our hearts, we know Mom is patiently waiting there to greet him and together they will continue to guide each and every one of us forward in our own lives. The touch of Ernie upon our hearts and souls will forever be with us. Rest in God’s graces.
Card of Thanks
We would like to thank everyone for the love and support shown during the loss of our loved one, especially during this time of COVID – which did not allow many to attend the funeral – we are grateful for your understanding. Thanks for all the prayers, phone calls, food, flowers, cards, visits, kind words and gestures. Our most sincere gratitude to the Pallative Care Team who checked in on Dad while he was able to remain in his own home. Thanks to all who made the funeral service so special. Our eternal gratitude to all.
~ The Family of Ernie Michel