Paul Emile Thibault
July 15, 1944– March 17, 2016
Long-time resident of Donnelly and Falher, Alberta, Paul-Émile Thibault passed away at Sutherland Place in Peace River, Alberta on March 17, 2016, at the age of 71 years.
Paul Emile was pre-deceased by his wife Carmen Thibault, his parents Auguste Thibault and Germaine Garant. His brothers, Camille, Roger, Henri, Lionel, Richard, and his sister Helene.
He leaves behind his daughters Lynn (Randy), Sheryl (Dean), and his son Jamie (Jamie).
His eight grandchildren, Dylan, Kirsten, Blake, Mackenzie, Quinn, Hudson, Easton and Trennen.
Paul also leaves behind his brothers Normand, Marcel, Denis and Guy as well as his sisters, Tina, Cecile, Yvonne and Doreen.
Heroes are made, not born
Dad was our hero.
Paul was born July 15, 1944 to Auguste and Germaine Thibault of Donnelly. He was raised on a homestead south of Donnelly in a family of 15. Paul attended G.P. Vanier in Donnelly, and had a multitude of careers with time spent in Forestry, Vehicle and Recreational vehicle sales, Farming, and working for the Town of Falher.
The Thibault family was a tight group by necessity. Sleeping four to five kids to a bed helped to stay warm during the night when the wood stove went out during the cold winter nights. Paul and his family emerged from humble beginnings, but with outstanding work ethic and no fear of getting their hands dirty, they prospered.
Paul held a variety of jobs at a young age, milking cows, picking roots and feeding livestock were all expected work on the homestead. Growing into his teenage years and as part of a large family, tending after his younger siblings was second nature to him. We believe this was the foundation of his love of children for the remainder of his life. Losing his own father at the age of twenty amplified these responsibilities, but he and the older siblings were always there to keep the family functioning.
Often, that meant going out hunting to get a moose, working in the woods all winter falling trees, or taking the younger ones to school. Sacrifices were large, but family was first and foremost.
Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control
Paul met Carmen Dusseault at a dance in Girouxville. In June of 1973, Paul married his best friend and kindred soul. Their devotion to each other was exemplary, never wavering through sickness or health. It was often noted by their children and relatives how much Paul adored Carmen throughout the years, and we were proud to be around this model example of respect and true love. When Paul fell ill, Carmen was at his side until she could no longer, falling ill herself, and recently passing last month.
Her voice and touch always brought a smile to his face, and in later stages of sickness a twinkle to his eye. Married for almost 43 years, their love story is something we will not soon forget.
Happiness is when a brother in law becomes one of your best friends
Paul held very close relationships with Carmen’s family, as well as in-laws on the Thibault side. Deep bonds were formed, with him helping Danny and Gerry Dusseault with their farming operations or attending Pirates games and visiting over coffee with Raoul. Frank Dollevoet and Paul had a love of golf they shared for a lot of years, always arguing and throwing jabs at each other. Paul’s many sisters-in laws were complicit in many food fights, sometimes with and against him…never a dull moment at family functions…many wearing cake or icing on their faces!
There is no way any true father is going to let his children live in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mold them until they know all that he knows. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to all this
This statement rings true to Paul’s family. Paul and Carmen raised three children, Lynn, born in 1973, Sheryl, in 1975, and Jamie, in 1977. It was important to him that his children were respectful, caring, and understood the value of family.
It was also necessary to be strong academically, and post-secondary education was a must. Paul realized how hard he had to work to provide for his family, and aspired for his children to have the brightest future possible.
It was not all hard work and no play. Paul had an absolute love of all children of all ages, and they were drawn to him. Between making goofy faces, horsey rides or play-fighting, going over to uncle Paul’s was usually quite eventful. “Paul’s Pancake House” was a tradition in Five Star for a lot of years. Kids from the Thibault and Chalifoux families and friends would gather at Paul’s cabin Sunday mornings, where Paul and Carmen would be waiting with heaping stacks of pancakes. Whether it was holding and snuggling babies, or playing baseball with teenagers, he was always in high spirits enjoying the company of kids.
A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair, and gold in his heart
Paul’s grandchildren were his treasure.
Sheryl’s fondest memories of her dad was his passion for kids and grandchildren. They couldn’t help but feel secure and adored when you were with him. She still sees his face light up with pride every time he was with grandchildren. It’s saddening to think that they will grow up without him, somewhat robbed of knowing such a wonderful man. Although fleeting for some of the grandchildren, even those precious moments they did get to spend with him gave glimpses of Pepere’s love.
Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air
Paul spent many years playing ball in Donnelly in his youth. He enjoyed almost every outdoor activity, snowmobiling with friends in Tumbler Ridge, or quadding trips to see “who had the best machine”. Like Carmen, he enjoyed their cabin in Five Star, and the door was always open for family and friends to spend weekends. It was always a rivalry between Paul and brothers, brother in-laws, and nephews to see who was the best golfer. There was never any shortage of good-natured ribbing…
Paul was an avid outdoorsman and hunter.
This was borne out of necessity in his younger years providing for his family, and continued to recreational outings with friends and family. This is what Jamie misses the most, times spent with dad driving in the various jeeps he seemed to somehow trade off every second year for something better. Jamie remembers having to strip down to bare underwear to pull the winch line across the swamp “because there’s elk on the other side of this beaver run”. Days were spent driving around looking for moose, calling elk, or creating memories in “the shack”. Maybe even led to the odd propane headache! The famous words, “What goes in the bush, stays in the bush!” meant there was no running home to tell mom what the “boys” did over the weekend, if at least you wanted to be invited back!
I get by with a little help from my friends
Paul had a large array of skills from years of on the job experiences. Lynn remembers dad as a “Jack of all trades”, never shying away from drawing on these skills to help a friend fall a tree in Five Star, make a cord or two of wood, or dream up the next big project. He just about got giddy when he knew there was a cabin move coming up or a shed to be built.
“Ti-Pet” was often in high demand on weekends, and you couldn’t ask for a more knowledgeable and willing work partner. Years of working side by side with brothers in construction and roofing, and a mechanical knack, made no snowmobile or ATV repair too big.
This willingness to help was so often reciprocated, when projects were taken on by Paul that were of large scale, such as moving his own cabin into Five Star, many hands were available to help him.
His days spent working at Northern Performance in Falher was very special to him. Shop time with the boys fixing sleds, racing and tuning them up really played into Paul being a “kid at heart.” Secret trips out to Pepere Maure’s to do some tweaking so he and Gerry could beat Robert Cote in a snowmobile race was part of the constant bantering between this close group of friends. Between the Coors Light Colony in Five Star and the Polaris shop crew, a lot of friends became extended family during those days.
Life’s just a bunch of accidents, connected by one perfect end
Paul’s diagnosis of dementia in 2008 had a devastating impact on Carmen and family. Different moods and behaviors had given hints to friends and family of the battle to come. Dementia forced his family to remember all of Paul’s gifts and qualities as they were slowly robbed from him. As his conditioned worsened he was admitted to Sutherland Place in Peace River in 2009, where he spent his days until his passing. It was puzzling to his family that after such a long courageous battle that he continue to fight against this terrible disease.
As events have unfolded, it’s clear now that Paul was waiting for Carmen. That perfect ending…