September 19, 1954 - September 18, 2018
Suddenly on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, Claude Gregoire, the beloved husband of Donna, passed away three hours short of his 64th birthday.
Claude was born September 19, 1954, the son of Albert and Louise Gregoire. From the outset, his life was a real struggle. He nearly died of complications shortly after birth. His condition was so serious that he received not only baptism but also confirmation and last rites soon after he was born. Little Claude fought for his life and came home to lead a healthy childhood on the banks of the La Salle River in St. Norbert. There he enjoyed many activities including swimming in the river in the summertime, as well as skiing and tobogganing during the winter. Claude loved the many pets that he had, caring for dogs, cats, rabbits, pigeons, and chickens.
From an early age, he learned responsibility and did his share of the household chores. Once school started, it was obvious that he had some serious learning disabilities and had difficultly reading and writing, which may have stemmed from the difficulty of his birth. In order to compensate for this, he developed a great memory and became extremely competent at working with his hands. At age seventeen, he was living on his own, working at Versatile later moving to CPR, where he became a car man until he injured his back and could no longer work at this job. He then worked as a lineman for CPR, looking after telegraph lines.
By this time, Claude had married Cindi and had two small children: Christopher and Carla at home. He hated being away from his children and left CPR and started working for Safeway in Winnipeg. During this time his artistic abilities began to flourish. The walls of his rec room became full murals of Disney characters and Ninja Turtles for the kids. For the summer months, he created numerous cartoon cutouts and staked them throughout the yard. He tried to make his kids' life as happy as possible. Many summer weekends were spent at Grand Beach camping and boating with his family and his brothers families.
Later Claude and Cindi found it best to go their separate ways. Not long afterward, Safeway contracted out his job, and Claude moved up north to the Pas to live with his brother Roger. While there he worked on many projects: refinishing furniture, using his climbing gear to prune many trees, cutting firewood, and with Wendy’s help improving his reading skills. Many hours were spent lot on the banks of the Saskatchewan River or in the ice shack fishing for pickerel. He also taught Danielle and Jeremie how to play poker, build an igloo and introduced them to his favorite band, The Tragically Hip. He also continued a close relationship with his own children and eventually decided to move back to Winnipeg because he was too far away.
Long afterward, he would talk about the big fish that he saw splashing right in front of him -- the giant fish that scared him half to death. Claude always did everything he did with great patience and always tried to achieve perfection in his work. Not long after returning to Winnipeg, he obtained employment at Kleysen’s where he worked in the trailer repair shop. He honed his skills there, obtaining many certifications including welding, refrigeration, trailer mechanic (MGI). He continued there until his health forced him to retire earlier this year. He was extremely proud of his work there and was sad to have to leave his coworkers.
Claude was fortunate to meet Donna shortly after his return to Winnipeg, and their relationship proved to be a strong and supportive lifelong love. They married on September 2nd, 2001, bringing together a new, blended family. They lived in Parc La Salle. As time passed, he was the proud grandfather of nine grandchildren. He loved to take them to the river, where he taught them how to snowshoe in winter and fish in summer. He still loved to build elaborate snow carvings which were even featured in the Winnipeg Sun.
Donna and Claude had a wonderful life doing almost everything together: bike-riding, playing games, going out, playing pool and enjoying the grandchildren. They were inseparable. Life was wonderful.
Eventually, his health started fading, and over the course of the last two years, his decline was significant. Eventually, his heart was no longer strong enough, and Claude passed away suddenly at home with Donna by his side.
Claude was predeceased by his father, Albert Gregoire, his mother, Louise Gregoire (Nee Very), his brothers Guy Gregoire and Rene Gregoire as well as his stepfather, Henri Boux.
He is survived by his wife Donna; his son Christopher (Nicole) their children: Katrina, Parton, Liberty, and Justyce and his daughter Carla (Kendall) her children Dion and Deja. Also by his stepchildren Jason Darracott; Lee Darracott (Kylie) their children Mia and Jett; Nikki (Andrew) their child Kaiden; his brother, Roger Gregoire (Wendy) and his sister-in laws Linda Gregoire and Lisa Gregoire. He is also survived by many nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family including stepsisters Lorraine, Linda, Sheralee and stepbrothers Mark and Brent.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, September 27, 2018 in the St. Norbert Parish, 80 Rue St. Pierre Street in St. Norbert.
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