Daniel Gérard Joseph Gauthier
June 11, 1965 – December 11, 1965
Daniel Gérard Joseph Gauthier, a longtime resident of the Donnelly area, passed away at Donnelly, AB on December 11th, 2015 at the age of 50.
Daniel was born on June 11th, 1965 at the McLennan hospital much to the delight of his parents Gilbert and Emilienne (Perry) Gauthier. He was the youngest of 10 children.
Daniel was raised on the family farm south of Donnelly where he spent a great deal of time playing and working with his siblings. Hours were spent in playing ‘farming’ in the dirt with a variety of farming toys either bought or homemade. The family spent time traveling, camping, enjoying family gatherings, and farming. Gérard and Lillian Beland’s family often joined the Gauthier clan. Daniel was very close to them and was extremely proud to have them as his godparents. He grew up to become a warm human being, sensitive and a devoted loyal friend to many; always wanting to please while maintaining a playful and fun-loving demeanor.
Aside from farm work, Daniel pumped fuel at Donnelly Corner, worked for Halliburton in Grande Prairie, and formed a partnership with Bob Belsher as owners of a couple of log trucks. Then Daniel started Northern Agritech sourcing specialized Ag short line equipment with an emphasis on Ag GPS including auto steer technology.
In 1988 Daniel and his older brother Victor officially took over the family farm. Daniel’s passion for farming had been evident from a young age. He always wanted to learn more about farming, spending a great deal of time reading and researching. It was not unusual to see him on his computer looking for some tidbit of information.
He was interested in research results, so it was not a surprise to see him attend SARDA agricultural tours exploring test plots and chatting with other farmers. It was on one of those tours in 1988 that he would meet his future wife and partner Rhonda Clarke of Spirit River, while they were in the middle of a pea field. They made a good impression on each other; shared a good sense of humour, a passion for agriculture and a love of family.
On June 29th, 1991, Daniel and Rhonda began their married life and farming partnership. They completed their happy family with two sons, Ryan (born in 1993) and Brett (born in 1996). Daniel loved his boys dearly, he choose to engage in many hours and adventures with them.
Daniel and his boys were always together building items such as potato guns (that backfired), go-carts and repairing vehicles. They spent endless hours crop checking and experiencing farm life. He was a 10 year leader of the Smoky River 4-H 4-Ever Club. Although Daniel was always a grain farmer, through his involvement with 4-H, he and his boys learned tremendous things about livestock – steers, horses and sheep.
He dedicated a huge amount of time and enthusiasm for his community by being a board member of the local Seed Cleaning Plant, Peace Country Oats, the Smoky River Surface Rights Association and Director on the Alberta Canola producers Commission with representation on the Grain Growers Group. He was very instrumental in getting Peace Country Oats stabilized by stepping in as interim manager. Gauthier Farms co-operated with SARDA in doing applied research in agriculture. Also, he ran as a delegate for the Canadian Wheat Board.
Daniel was always very committed to his tasks, expanding his horizons, and sharing information. Nothing made him happier than to see who he could engage in lively debate about almost any topic. He had a tendency to debate from both sides of the topic often getting the discussions quite heated up. He would take you where no one else could with his arguments. He was a bit of a sh..t disturber. Daniel’s sense of humour served him well throughout his life – always a chuckle and a quick smile.
He was a man of principles making mistakes but quickly acknowledging them. He was patient especially when teaching others, such as how to operate farm equipment or to drive. Daniel was generous literally to a fault, often putting his own responsibilities aside to help someone else. Time was often the last thing on his mind, so while he may have been late, he always came to help. It was said by good friends that God built Daniel the way he did because he couldn’t fit his big heart in a skinny frame.
Aside from his top priority of spending family time with Rhonda and his boys, Daniel enjoyed traveling, extended family get-together’s, attending farm auctions far and wide, camping, wearing his Looney tunes tie and his year-round crocs, playing cards and board games, making his famous “Uncle Daniel’s Rum Sauce”, time at the lake, paintball, and pulling pranks. He was always the practical joker using whipped cream, water balloons, and playing with someone else’s camera left unattended at a family gathering.
Daniel was known to have played rock band enthusiastically, bleached his hair to be just like his sons, sported a shaved head and even wore a kilt at a wedding in Scotland. He was often seen on his hands and knees playing with the little ones. In a group of children, people wondered who the responsible adult was. To his nieces and nephews, Uncle Daniel was known to be the oldest big kid they knew.
Daniel loved time with friends sharing good food, wine and the odd Scotch. He felt reading a map was overrated and a road trip often meant – ‘we are going that way, sort of’ – he could truly talk about newly explored back roads across western Canada. His travels also took him to various places including Cuba, Great Britain, Mexico, Australia, USA and across Canada.
His farming dreams continued to move forward when his little family and he fully took over the farm in spring 2015. It was an extremely hectic time for them as they adjusted to the new operation.
Daniel deeply touched many lives, and people were proud to call him husband, Dad, son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend. This is not a goodbye to Daniel but an “au revoir” as we know that he has gone to a place where someday we must all go. May he rest-in-peace.
Daniel was pre-deceased by his father Gilbert, his brother Marcel and his mother-in-law Charlotte Clarke.
He is survived by his wife of 24 years Rhonda; his two sons Ryan and Brett. His mother Emilienne and by his brothers and sisters: Laurent (Germaine), Remi, Angela (Roger) Laurin, Rachel (Henri) Cloutier, Paul (Denise), Denise Shupenia (David Doucet), Michel (Jan), Victor (Ying), sister-in-law Susanne Gauthier. He also leaves behind his father-in-law Dave Clarke (Evelyn Campbell), sister-in-law Brenda Clarke (Warren Wendt), and brother-in-law Dwaine (Veronica) Clarke. Daniel will also be fondly remembered by numerous nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A viewing was held December 17 at the Sacré-Coeur de Jésus Roman Catholic Church, Donnelly with Deacon Reg Bouchard while the funeral took place on December 18, at Knight of Columbus Center, Falher, AB officiated by Rev Marilyn Carroll and Rev Joan Kennedy. Interment followed at McLennan Cemetery. If friends and family so desire, donations can be made to Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Diabetes, and/or “Choices” in Daniel’s name.
Funeral arrangements were made under the direction of the Chapel of Memories Funeral Home in Peace River, Alberta.