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Joseph Fredrick Elizear Gelinas

December 15, 1932 ~ January 3, 2022 (age 89)


On a wintery day, Dec. 15, 1932, in a farm house on 14-47-19W3, just South of Vawn, SK., Elzear Fredrick Gelinas was born to Arthur & Antoinette Gelinas. He was the 4th child in a family of 5 boys and 10 girls. Unbeknown to anyone the priest added the prefix “Joseph” to his given name “Elzear” on the baptism certificate. Elzear started going by the name "Joseph" when he discovered this fact at the age of 60. Being an exceptionally agreeable person, he simply said “they’re both good names".  Elzear attended Langmeade School at SE19-47-19W3 until age 13, then started farming with his Dad & two older brothers, Maurice & Emile.  In November 1949, at age 16, Elzear moved away on his own, first working at a chicken farm in Carmen, MB. By the Spring of ’51 he was logging near Sioux Lookout, ON. He took the train home to join the family farm again, but as he described the situation 70 years later “Dad had too many sons & not enough land”. In the Fall of ’51 he finished harvest and boarded a train looking for work, this time Westbound. He went as far as a farm near Rochfort Bridge, 130 km west of Edmonton. In Summer of ’53, at age 20, he came back to Vawn, this time to stay.  On Nov. 6, 1953 Jack Higgins, Kenny Godfrey & Elzear met 3 girls at the Wing School dance. That night Kenny & Dorean danced, so did Jack & Shirley; but Elzear & Aldina danced together for the next 68 years. On her notepad, 17 year old Aldina wrote “22r4” her handsome new dance partner’s phone number, and “Nov. 27” the day they became official! They were engaged on Nov. 5, 1954, and married on July 12, 1955. Later in life just sitting in front of the woodstove, listening to an LP made them happy. They had three kids, Kathy (July 29, 1956), Eugene (Jan. 24, 1959), and Pauline (Aug. 7, 1966). Elzear worked for various farmers, and part time for CNR, which eventually became full time. After 10 years total with the CNR, at age 36 he bought the Vawn Hotel from his parents. The hospitality business came naturally to the hardworking and social couple! Aug. 27, 1986 was the grand opening of their second venture, the Northern 3 Hotel in Fairholme. They owned both hotels until 1993 when they retired to their cabin at Horseshoe Bay, Turtle Lake.
They spent their retirement at Dexter Hall, Moonlight Bay Store, berry picking, travelling to music festivals, including their favorite Back to Batoche, singing and dancing with friends at Livelong, and they always enjoyed company, especially their grandchildren. Aldina consistently showed signs of dementia by Sept. 2018. Elzear faithfully cared for her until one day she wandered outside and fell in the snow. He started a journal about Aldina on April 21, 2021, the day he remorsefully moved her to St. Walburg care home for her safety. At age 88, he would drive 2 hours every second day to visit her until she passed on Aug. 1, 2021. At Aldina’s funeral he was dignified and valiant, and as we left her grave he said “Good bye Mom, I love you. I am sorry it had to be this way”. Twenty three days later, he took his grandkids on a tour south of Vawn where he grew up. Then on Monday, Sept. 27, Elzear was taken to Turtleford Hospital.  He never recovered. Loving company until the end, he mustered his strength to visit with friends and family. On January 3, 2022 Joseph Elzear Fredrick Gelinas passed away, 155 days after Aldina.
     Elzear is predeceased by: his loving wife of 66 years, Aldina; his parents, Arthur and Antoinette Gelinas; his brother, Emile Gelinas; his sister, Emily Jones; his father-in-law, Louis George; his mother-in-law, Blanche Amirault; and his brother-in-law, Emile Amirault.
     He is survived by:  his children, Kathy  (Wally) Mackie of Glaslyn, Eugene (Daphne) Gelinas of Regina, and Pauline Marple of Calgary; his grandchildren, Crystal (Mike) Ganshorn of Regina, Joey (Hannah) Marple of Saskatoon, Mitchell Mackie of Calgary, Amber Gelinas of Vancouver, and Kayla and Dustin Gelinas of Regina; his great grandchildren, Camryn, and Alexa Ganshorn of Regina, Harper Everest Leach Gelinas of Regina; his siblings, Maurice (Ramona) of North Battleford, Germain Boser of Unity, Jean Gelinas of Quensel, Claire Buziak of North Battleford, Jeanne (Peter) Shewchuk of Vawn, Raymond of Sylvan Lake, Annette Baudria of Weyburn, Yvonne Wood of Glaslyn, Albertine Hoffart, Phillip (Sheila) of Australia, Evelyn Frigstad of Calgary, Authur Jones of Meota, Denise (Martin) Brown of North Battleford, and Louise (Maurice) Schaefer of Meota.

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