March 3, 1934 - July 18, 2022
Funeral Home Wojcik's Funeral Chapel
With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our dear father and grandfather Marcel Charbonneau. He will be deeply missed and warmly remembered by his son Dan (Lorie), grandchildren Katelyn (Jake), Jessica (Max), Luke, and his daughter Melanie (Ron Harder), grandson Ben (Viniera), and Ron’s sons Zach, Josh, and Andrew. Marcel will reunite with his beautiful wife, Jeannette (d 2016), whom he’s profoundly missed after 55 years of marriage.
His extended family will feel the absence of his visits, stories and his presence at their table. They include his siblings Armande (Lionel) Bernardin, Orval (Donna) Charbonneau, his in-laws Ron (Lynne) Lachance, Eva (Bob) Grattan, Pat (Jim) Lachance plus many nieces, nephews, friends, and of course, his long-time Palliser neighbours.
Marcel was raised in the small town of Fannystelle where he remained dedicated to his community and friends. He loved attending the exclusive men’s luncheons. Marcel left his hometown to begin a carpentry apprenticeship at the Manitoba Technical Institute. He apprenticed with Arlington Builders and Lee Construction. His first job was in 1957 building Sisler High School. Later his career led him to VK Mason and then Gel-Mar Construction partnership until he finally went solo with Sharby’s Construction. He landed a Public Work’s contract at Stony Mountain Penitentiary during his last 14 years of work. For those fortunate enough to have witnessed Marcel’s craftsmanship, you would appreciate his expertise and precision. He was, above all, meticulous and innovative in the way he approached his work.
Marcel was a passionate sportsman both as a player and later as a coach. His first love was baseball. He pitched a no hitter in 5 2/3 innings for the Brandon CloverLeafs, and his senior league team, the Carmen Cubs, were entered in the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame after their championship win. Marcel played ball across the province for various teams – St. Boniface Native Sons and the St. Claude Royals. It was here that his best friend, Mede Hince, played catcher.
In winter, Marcel donned his hockey skates defending Mede in the net. His passion lasted his lifetime and he played 23 years for the Sturgeon Creek Oldtimers. At 86 years young, Marcel officially hung up his skates for good. Before this, he could be seen casually skating at the Civic Centre, Sturgeon and the Forks at Christmas time with his children and grandchildren. He proudly holds the family record of skating the 11-mile Assiniboine Trail in only 75 minutes! He was once falsely identified as Guy Lafleur at one of Ben’s hockey practices. The Montreal Canadiens were his favourite team and Beliveau his idol.
It was while playing hockey that Marcel spotted Jeannette in the stands. He was dazzled by her beauty and their romance began. They married in Elie on a hot July day in 1960. It was the best decision of his life. She was his everything. Marcel surprised us all at their 50th anniversary celebration when he broke into Walking My Baby Back Home, singing his heart out to his bride. The last six years without her were difficult, coupled with the pandemic and isolation. We were impressed by the different ways he found to stay connected and to fill his days.
Marcel was also a family man. He coached Dan’s and Mel’s teams. These were the days when we could ride in the back of his truck for ice cream after a game. The Charbonneau yard belonged to the neighbourhood. It was the perfect front lawn for playing with an outdoor rink in the back. Marcel was a hands-on dad and uncle. The year he discovered the thrill of downhill skiing marked the start of our downhill adventures. The challenge was to keep up with him or to beat him down the slopes at Lake Louise. Always a true competitor, he showed us no mercy and turned prairie folk into alpine skiers. We had tons of fun and life was good.
When he retired in 1998, our small-town boy and Jeannette became world travellers. They crossed the ocean nine times exploring Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. One fun memory was when Bob and Marcel hit their golf balls into the Indian Ocean having completed 18 holes at the Mombasa Golf Course. Retirement also meant precious time to spend with his grandchildren in Manitoba and Minnesota. He cheered them on at the skating-hockey rinks, football field and tennis courts.
Wonderful memories of Victoria Beach will last a lifetime. VB permitted both puttering around the cottage and a round of golf on the same day followed by a bike ride or a walk to the pier with his sweetheart. In recent years, Marcel enjoyed VB golf followed by coffee with his friends on the deck. He always supported the VB community by lending his time and skills whenever needed. In 2018 the Lachance families gathered at VB for a week full of activities and meals. Marcel, or “Poppa”, was in his glory surrounded by family. He relished the activities of the day and the evening chatter.
In living, Marcel was a hard-working, caring and principled person. His true colours shone in the last few months with his determination to overcome a hospital stay due to on-going heart issues. In the end, his “old ticker” simply stopped and his wish to die peacefully in his sleep, in his beautiful home, was realized. He left this earth surrounded by love with family close by. Marcel wanted everyone to know that he had a “great life” and he cherished the living of it. We are deeply grateful for the love he gave and the life lessons he shared.
A celebration of Marcel’s life will take place on August 3rd at the Sturgeon Creek Community Centre located at 210 Rita Street from 12:00 to 3:00. A light lunch will be provided and there will be a brief family presentation at 1:00. For everyone’s safety, please be vaccinated and monitor your wellness.