Obituary – Gérard Béland

Gérard Béland

Gérard Béland died peacefully on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, at the Edmonton General Hospice five days shy of his 88th birthday.
Gérard was born on Nov. 26, 1933, in McLennan, the fourth of five children to Blanche Gravel and Jean- Baptiste Béland, pioneers who came to Donnelly, from Québec seeking the promise of a new land of opportunities.
From Donnelly, he attended and boarded at Collège St. Jean in Edmonton for his secondary school and completed “le cours classique,” a liberal arts diploma. While studying in Edmonton he met Lilian Paul who was studying Education at the University of Alberta. They married in 1960 and settled in Donnelly where Gerry owned and operated the general store and Lilian taught at Georges P. Vanier High School. He later purchased the general store in McLennan and the family moved there in 1973.
Gerry was truly a blend of his father’s pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit and his mother’s “joie de vivre”. Gerry was loved by everyone who knew him for his contagious warmth and smile. He was known for his generosity; he was always helping others. He volunteered as a parish councillor, an Elk, and as a member of the Golden Age Club.
In his final days, he frequently expressed gratitude for his good fortune and commented on the things he was happiest about – the agricultural land he opened, the joy his customers brought him and his innumerable travel adventures, which took him to every continent, including Antarctica. More than anything he had a deep love for his wife, Lilian, and family and a strong faith that anchored him in life and in death.
He is survived by: his daughters, Margaux [Peter Engelmann], Suzanne [Paul Preston], Jacqueline [Paul Bennett] and his son, Jean [Judy Garber]; as well as eight grandchildren, Nathaniel, Olivier and Camille/Toni Preston, Sébastien and Alexandre Engelmann, Dominique and Nicolas Bennett, and Isaac Béland. He is also survived by: his brother, Victor [Joan] and sister-in-law, Mary and 11 nieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by: his wife, Lilian; siblings Yvette, Marcel and Roger [and Jeanette]; nephew Paul; and niece Louise.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, at the Cathedral St-Jean-Baptiste in McLennan. Due to COVID, this service will be by invitation only. For those who are unable to attend, the service will be live streamed at 1 p.m. [MST] on Dec. 23. To view the ceremony, Google “Chapel of Memories Peace River Livestream” to be directed to the page.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations, in Gérard’s memory, to either a charity of your choice or the Edmonton – Wings of Providence Second Stage Shelter, P.O. Box 32141, Edmonton, T6K 4C2, which provides shelter and support to battered women.
A special thank you to the 9Y Unit at the Edmonton General Hospice who so graciously cared for both our parents in their final months.

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