ABOUT




The life and career of Gene Rheaume reflect the early confidence of his upbringing. His achievements are too many to detail; however, his honours with lifetime memberships to six Aboriginal organizations, and his appointment as a member of the Aboriginal Order of Canada speak well for the first Métis to become a member of parliament since Louis Riel.


Gene Rheaume was born in 1932 in High Prairie, Alberta at the western tip of Great Slave Lake. His father was French Canadian and his mother Métis-Ojibwa and Scottish. His father was a factor for the Hudson's Bay Company in Fort Norman, Northwest Territories and other areas of the north, while his mother was a descendant of the famous Winnipeg Bannatyne family.

 

After Rheaume's father unsuccessfully attempted to compete as a trading post owner against the established Hudson's Bay Company, ("when a private trader moved in, the Bay just lowered their prices below cost until the guy went broke"), he moved his family to God's Lake, Manitoba, just south of Churchill. There, his father took a job with a mining company. "On one side of the lake was an Indian reserve, and we weren't allowed to live there because my Dad wasn't Indian and we weren't allowed to live on the mining company's site because my mother was half-breed. So my Dad built a great big log house mid-way between...we lived half-way between the whites and the Indians."

 

Schooling was a problem for the Rheaume family. "There was no school for people like us." The mining company had built a one-room school, but only children resident on the mine site were allowed to attend. "If you were an Indian...you went to a residential school for Indians about 30 miles away at a place called God's Narrows...so there we were." In order to avoid charges of racial discrimination, the mining company had decided that anyone would be entitled to attend school for $5 a month — this in the height of the depression. Rheaume's mother taught the children at home and "my dad would save up enough money to enroll all the kids of school age for the month of June and pay the five bucks a head." The exams were written and each of the children moved on to the next grade.

 

The mine closed in 1944 and the family moved to Flin Flon where Rheaume completed his high school and earned several scholarships, which took him to the University of Saskatchewan where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. "Frankly, I think it was my mother's gentle way of teaching us all to read when we lived in the bush and we had encyclopedias to learn every word."

 

Fresh out of university, Rheaume was hired by the government of Saskatchewan as an untrained social worker, and was posted to northerly areas in the province. He soon made his mark as a social worker, and was supported through a Bachelor's degree in social work by his government employer. He graduated in 1956, and after working for the province as a probation and parole officer and medical rehabilitation specialist, he joined the Department of Northern Affairs in 1958. "I spent the summer on the Canadian
boat, the C.D. Howe. It visited all the high Arctic settlements returning Inuit patients from southern hospitals, X-raying the ones in the settlements...and then taking out the ones with TB that required treatment." In those days, there were no treatment centres
for tuberculosis in the Arctic.


Rheaume was put in charge of finding foster care for the children being left. "Before, the Canadian government ships would go in the North and X-ray people and if they found them positive, they just took them out and left families standing on the beach, sometimes just little kids."

 

He was recognized for his excellence in social work, eventually being promoted to regional superintendent. In 1962, he resigned this position to run for political office and after a minor setback, was able to secure his riding for the Progressive Conservative Party in the next election in 1963. At the age of 31, Gene Rheaume went to Ottawa, the first Métis to be elected member of parliament since Louis Riel.

 

He became best-known as one of the key figures in opposition who blocked the division of the Northwest Territories into two areas. Under this proposal, one section would have been governed by elected officials and the other by appointed officials. Instead, the new law gave all residents the territorial franchise (vote), created 16 territorial consistencies and designated Yellowknife the capital of the Northwest Territories.


After his defeat in in the election of 1965, Rheaume worked as project coordinator for a study on the Indian and the law. Since then, his career has involved work on the Royal Commission on Labrador, and the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform. He also has served on the national executive for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, as chief of staff for Opposition Leader, Robert Stanfield, and for four years as a commissioner to the Human Rights Commission. As National Chairman, Native Housing Task Force, Canada Mortgage and Housing Commission, he helped initiate and pressed for programs which resulted in the construction and repair of well over 25,000 homes.

 

Aside from being a dedicated humanitarian, Gene Rheaume has been gifted with a great sense of humour. While up in the Northwest Territories, he twice won the title to the Liars Club. "I was declared to be the biggest liar in the Northwest Territories. In the banquet, we would have this competition and we would go up and tell these stories. I entered the third year, and...because by this time, I'd become a member of parliament, they disqualified me on the grounds that I'd become professional!"

 

Rheaume is highly sought after for his skills as chairperson by Aboriginal groups, and recently chairedhis 102nd conference. Spread out on the dining room table of his Nepean, Ontario home lie open copies of the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. At present, he is researching the report for an Aboriginal organization. "Not much in here for off-reserve Indians" he says, shaking his head. At
65, an age where many people retire, Gene Rheaume is still at work trying to keep the playing field level for Aboriginal people. And even though retirement is tempting, Rheaume would not make it past the first phone call asking him to help the people he has devoted his life to — the Métis of Canada.


Writen by Fred Favel, an Aboriginal writer and communications consultant (1998)


 




VIDEO TRIBUTES

 

 

Intro video directed and edited by Ross Rheaume (Grandson).
A series of clips from the upcoming documentary on Gene's life.

 

 

A cartoon tribute to Gene Rheaume.
Written, illustrated, directed and narrated Jocelyn Rheaume (daughter).

Production by Affinity Video of Ottawa.

 

 

 

Third and final Tribute Video edited by Dave Rheaume (son).







GALLERY

Professional Life

Personal Life






MESSAGES / CONDOLENCES




Hi Jocelyn,

Your Dad hired me for my first job with the Ontario Metis and Non-status Indian Association in the Rural & Native Housing Program. That opened the door for a long career in assisting First Nations people in a variety of areas relating to social justice. I have always been grateful to him for that.

More important to me though was a conversation that we had a year or so after that. We were talking about the importance of education. I mentioned that the majority of my relatives had actively discouraged me from going to university and were all shocked when I decided to do my MA. Gene said, "Thank goodness you had the smarts and the common sense to do it. You're showing them now!"

Gene was most certainly larger than life. He was so intelligent, witty and compassionate. You were blessed with having such a great father.


- Wendy White-Cserepy




Hey Gene,

I want to take a moment and sincerely thank you for including Faye and I
at your fathers memorial. I was a real privilege to get to know such a great man.

It all makes sense now. I've always admired and respected your family. I often said to myself,
you must have had some solid role models in your life. Your father certainly could have been described
as "larger than life", and it clearly shows in all of you.

The memorial was just superb. What a display of honour, love and respect.
Gene, that Brian Doyle guy is the most interesting person I have ever heard speak in my life.
That story about your Father and him in Rome was absolutely perfect. What artistry, to seamlessly
web all that together. Wow!

Thanks again, your friend always, Kevin


- Kevin Dinn




Hi Gene:

I wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you for including me in Saturday's memorial.

I only had a chance to say hi briefly to Vicki and Amanda, and only to acknowledge you at the door, because of the crush of family and friends.

I found the Memorial itself moving, funny, sad, uplifting and educational all at the same time. And of course found out more about the Rheaume clan than you would ever tell me. You all did a terrific job in memorializing your father.

Anyway, our best to you and the family.


- David Keys




Dear Jocelyn,
I worked at the Native Council of Canada as the Accountant from 1977 - 1992 except for 1 year, so I knew your Dad for a long time. I knew your Mother from dealings with Voyageur Travel, and I know I met you at least once and several of your brothers at one time or another.
One day, in my 2nd or 3rd year of working there, Gene walked into my office and said, "I will call you Glorious if you will call me Geneius." It was great!

I've been looking at the videos on 'you tube' and it is great to reminisce. I hope there are more to follow. I don't think you can say enough about Gene. Yes, indeed. He was larger than life. Thank you.


- Gloria Martin




Hi Joss, It was so great to see you and to get to hug you and share so many memories of your Dad. Gene was "bigger than life". I always knew that but yesterday's tribute was a testament to that fact and more. There are so many stories to tell. I hope you will set up a "Gene-ism's" page on his website so that his family and all his friends can share those stories. He had a remarkable life and one day there should be a movie about him.

It was so nice to see you and all of the other of Gene and Helen's "kids". It was great to re-connect and now that we have, I hope we can continue to keep in better contact.

The "show" last night was something to remember. And I look forward to your posting some of it eventually, especially the video you produced. It was fantastic.

Lots of hugs and love…


- Tony Belcourt




You and your family are sooo talented! We loved your video
Amanda and co all played wonderfully too.
Didn't know your dad, but left having a great sense of who he was, and as a result, really wished I had.
We look forward to seeing you and Jimmy sometime.


- Allan Sansom & Janet Remy




Hey Jossy, that was a fantastically amazing celebration of life and lots of fun at the after party.
I just wanted to say thanks for the invitation and it was an honour to be at your dad's memorial. Holy smokes he sure knew a lot of people and your family rocks all the way around!


- Wenda Watteyne




Hey Jos

I wanted to tell you that although I never had the good fortune to meet your dad, after yesterday I feel awed by someone who could accomplish so much and inspire so many and do it with such good humour. Listening to his family, old friends and colleagues talk about him so affectionately was wonderful – it must be somewhat heartening to know that there are so many people who will truly miss him. It is also wonderful to have so many different people to keep his memory alive – I have always felt that as long as people are still talking and remembering, the person isn’t really gone, they’re just not present.
I know 2013 was probably your worst year ever but from my perspective you are a truly lucky person.


- Trish Beadle




Hi Gene. I just wanted to let you know how moved my mother and I were by the tribute that you and your family staged for Gene. I know that it caught my mom off guard as to how emotional she found herself on Saturday. We laughed, we cried, we remembered things and times that we hadn’t thought about in years. Although I hadn’t seen Gene in a long time he was a big part of my formative years; hanging around with my dad when I was a young person. He taught me a lot and I will always have a place in my heart for him. Your family is filled with so much talent. Amanda’s musical tribute was so beautiful and moving. You must be so proud of her.

- Megan Doyle Ray




Gene,

What you and your family formalized for your Father’s Memorial was nothing but fabulous!
The whole memorial was very enjoyable, and extremely interesting, and well done, the best memorial I’ve attended.
Your father must have been a great character, we lack individuals like him today, that is what political correctness has done to our society, wish I would have met him.
Thank you


- Robert Koff




What a BEAUTIFUL memorial. Jocelyn Rheaume…you are so talented it is insane. I cried during your white board presentation…it was spectacular…your voice was the bomb. You are so special, and so amazing…I am so proud to have you as my friend.

The whole event was superb. Your family is just unbelievably talented. NUTS


- Nancy White




Gene,

You hit it out of the park! (as I knew you would). What a wonderful tribute to your Dad! And what an amazing display of talent by the Rheaume family!

You will feel good about this event for the rest of your life.

Thanks for the invite.


- Jim Sevigny




Gene,
That celebration of your father’s life was the most amazing introduction to an amazing man that I have ever experienced. You must be very proud of your family and I am sure your dad is sitting with others and basting in the joy of watching the beautiful tribute and perhaps saying the odd four letter word.
Your daughter and your brother just had us in a trance. The tributes and the co-ordination of this event eclipses anything I have ever witnessed.

Thank-you from both of us for the thoughtful and much appreciated invitation.


- Margot Sevigny




What a lovely show. First class. Gene would have enjoyed it. He would have been specially proud of his talented family.

Thanks for including me.


- Brian Doyle




hi Jossy & Jimmy

Wanted to send you my thanks to you for putting on such a great memorial. Re-watching the videos that Dave put up on YouTube, let me see your dad through your eyes, Ross’ and Dave’s and see all that I missed the first time. Wow, he was quite the man and I so regret not getting to meet him.

I can appreciate all the hard work that went into the successful running of this event, never mind doing your video which was excellent. I can’t imagine how hard it was to do as I know you must miss him terribly. But he certainly lives on through his kids and grandkids and extended family and all the associated memories.


- Patti Pokarchak




JR.

I had to add how much I enjoyed the memorial for your father. What a “LABOUR of LOVE”. Your animated story in particular touched me.
Your anecdotes about the 747 and a lost bag and the way your father had different names for things brought memories of my own father to light. I see, even more now, why he liked you.

“I like those lively ones” he used to say. I’m sure our fathers would have also liked each other, had they met.
I can truly imagine the two of them playing dominos in Bridgetown Barbados with a bottle of rum at their side/s, into the wee hours of the morning.

Probably that is what they are doing now, having a great time, regaling each other with stories, some undoubtedly embellished (only slightly I’m sure) and definitely a drink in hand.

I know you’ll miss him greatly and love him always. It can’t be helped, people like your father are not forgotten.
There is a special bond between father and daughter, we are both lucky to have known it.

Remember him with the love and laughter you memorialized him with.


- Romi Gillissie




I sat, I stood, I smiled, I teared….
At the end of it all, I was filled with a sense of pride.
Proud of a sister-in-law that I hold so dear. Proud of my brother- always.
The ‘wildly talented’ side of your family was only superseded by its heart.
The joy of Gene’s spirit truly lives on in you and your brothers.
Thank you for sharing an incredibly special day.
… And the smile- Ross the rock star- once again. Who knew? It made me want to pick up my guitar- almost.
My thoughts are of you this day.
Love always.


- Paul Gillissie




So wonderful. What a tribute… the most awesome memorial of all time.

The ENTIRE afternoon was so beautifully choreographed. The venue…the atmosphere…the paintings and postings…the table…the presentation… It truly hit every mark. Everyone’s contributions were so fantastic – the speeches, the music, the videos…… Gosh, it all came together beautifully.

Your Dad would be SO PROUD. I loved how little Ross’s video allowed your Dad to (crazily enough!) participate in the event with his words. Oh my gosh. Cue the waterworks…..

And Gene Jr’s MC-ing….great glue to the whole presentation.

You guys couldn’t have done one single thing to make it any better.


- Nancy Rheaume




I, myself , personally never met Gene, but my brother met him 2 yrs ago in B.C., when he went to visit Jim n Adeline. I have some pictures that were sent to my grandfather Chas. Bannatyne, n when gramma Mary passed away,. I got the pictures. I am sorry of your loss.

-






- Cecile Bannatyne...Ear Falls, ON




As we leave Saskatoon to come to my Uncle Gene's memorial service, I have fond and loving memories of Uncle Gene. He was always there for us Premachuk kids and each of us has a special memory. We send our deepest sympathies to all our cousins and their families. And to you, Uncle Gene, I know your spirit is always with us and the love your shared with all your family and relatives and our love for you will always be in our hearts.

- Susan Premachuk and Patrick Bazylewski




To Gene's family and Margaret's family our deepest and heartfelt sympathy!

We will certainly miss Gene but will treasure all the memories he has left with us. Thank you for all you've done, and you will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace my friend.

Barb Dorey

- Barb Dorey




Gene and Me
There was charisma between us from the time we first met in l960 -- we never acted on it - we became "Best Friends"
During great sadness in my life, he saved my life. He made me laugh again. He later told me that I did that for him in his low moments.
We hAD THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL - "TO BE LOVED IN RETURN BY THE ONE WE LOVED"..
we were the "icing on each other's cake".
Gene, you have done so much to make the world a better place, with your deep spirituality and your total lack of avarice and greed. You would have been our greatest Prime Minister.
We will meet again. Hover near! You are so missed.



- Margaret E.




Hi Jocelyn. I wanted to send my sympathies to you and your family on your father's passing.

Alan and I remember him fondly from our days on Monterey, when we used to sit out on the lawn and drink some nice fruity things your father made.

He and your mother were very hospitable and often invited us to join in parties in your house where we met the most interesting people. It was a real exciting time for us!

The obit you wrote was so well done, we tip our hats to you. We also read the longer profile in the Toronto Paper which gave us a very full picture of all he did with his very fascinating life.

Treasure your good memories of him.


Linda Gilbert


- Linda and Alan Gilbert




I have lost a dear friend, a colleague, advisor and my mentor. Gene was a leader, his insight and his advisory role helped the Metis nation in rise to its present recognition by the Provinces and the government of Canada. Gene also played a major role in the development of housing policies for rural and native Canadians in the early 70s. Canada lost a great Canadian. Rest in peace my friend.

- Lawrence Gladue




Grand daughter of Charles Bannatyne. Daughter of Thomas and Sarah Bannatyne.
On behalf of the our family we are sorry to hear of his passing. If possible I would love to attend this memorial to meet family members. The separation of Charlie, Gerald and Stella we didn't get to know all our cousins it would be nice to visit and meet everyone. I may see the family then.

- Agnes Bannatyne Bergman




Agnes Bannatyne Bergman

- I am a grand daughter of Charek




My family, the Green family, shared several Christmas celebrations and picnics at Vincent Massey Park with all of the wonderful Rheaume kids - back in the late 60's and early 70's. Gene spoke at my wedding telling some funny story about me when I was a little girl. I live in the Okanagan and was thankful to have an opportunity to continue visiting Gene with Margie. On behalf of especially my Dad, Bob Green, and the rest of the Green family - our heartfelt thoughts are with the Rheaume's and Gene's extended family. I have many great memories. Thank you Gene. You will be missed.

- Diana Lewis (Green)




I have many fond memories of uncle Gene. My thoughts go out to all you in the Rheaume family.

- Rod Bailey




To all in the Rheaume Family .... Our sincerest condolences to each of you and your extended families. May the memories you have of your Dad and Grandfather bring you comfort when you think of him. Sending love and prayers from the windy shores of Atlantic Canada.

- Hugh and Mary Lynne MacKay




We send our sympathy to the Rheaume family.We spent 4 wonderful years with Nemo in high school in Flin Flon and 2 years at the
University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.Unfortunatley after University we went our separate
ways and lost touch.
It was good to read about all his accomplishments.
Larry (Windy)Hudon

- Larry Hudon




About 40 close friends and relatives from the Okanagan area gathered to say Farewell to Gene, Nov l2, at Everden Rust, Penticton.
A Talking Stick was passed from person to person as each recounted special memories of him. Some wore colorful Metis sashes in his honor.
Granddaughter Amanda Rheaume also led in the traditional Sage Burning Ritual and explained Gene's strong connection with his aboriginal heritage. He leaves a huge empty space in all of our lives.
And he was my brother...........Jim Rheaume


- Jim Rheaume




Gene took a chance on an unproved undergraduate twice, hiring me as a Field Research Assistant for the Indians and the Law project in 1967 and as a policy research person for the PC leadership convention in 1968. Those were critical years in my coming into the world and I could not have had a better guide. Gene was a very rare bird indeed, and we are all grateful for what he has given to Canada.

- Jim Driscoll




My deepest condolences to Gene's family. It's with great sadness that I learned of his loss and he has been in my mind constantly. Gene was one of the most important mentors I had in my life. As a young "pup" as he'd call me when I first came to Ottawa as the President of the Native Council of Canada in 1971, he virtually took me by the hand and showed me the ropes around Parliament and with the media. He was my confidant. He became my key advisor. He was a brilliant writer and political strategist. He helped immeasurably to build the NCC and get it off the ground, to establish a presence in nationally and to establish recognition and the strong voice for Metis and Non-Status Indians that would eventually see us included in Canada's Constitution as one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, thanks to the great Harry Daniels. Gene became my closest friend. He was always there with a laugh and a smile. He had the quickest wit and the greatest charm. I will miss him.

- Tony Belcourt




I had the pleasure of working with Ross and Alison during their high school years. I can see much of their grandfather's traits in them such as kindness, caring and a sense of humour. During this difficult time, know that your grandfather passed on a legacy that I know you both will carry on in his honour. Please extend my sympathies to your whole family.

- Cynthia Abernethy




My thoughts go out to Gene's grandchildren Ross and Alison, who I had the pleasure of being with during their high school years. I can see, in them, some of the beautiful traits of kindness and caring, that their grandfather clearly passed on to them. Please pass on my sympathies to your entire family.

- Cynthia Abernethy






- Cynthia




I regret that I never met Gene, but knew him from wonderful pictures and stories told by our friend Margaret Jones. I know he was well loved. My heart goes out to Marg and family, to Gene's family and all those saddened by the loss of this remarkable man.

- Chris McAneeley




It was an honour to know him. I will always remember him as a wonderful man, full of wit and wisdom. He enriched my life and I am sure many others as well.

- David Paisley




To Gene's family and to Margaret's family our deepest and heartfelt sympathy.

It was an honour to have known Gene and to share in the hospitality that he and Margaret expressed so well.
Rest well old friend

- Dale and Margaret Elliott




Our Manitoba team won the 1967 Voyageur Canoe Pageant, a Voyageur Canoe Race from Rocky Mountain House to Montreal. Jim Rheaume was our Chief voyageur, our team manager. I don't think many of us, the racers, knew much about Gene until many years after the race. Gene, as an MP, came up with the original idea of a 1967 Centennial Canoe Race across Canada. His concept was for two man teams, as was his experience from the famous Gold Rush Canoe Derby in Flin Flon, and $100,000 first prize. The prize money was to come from a big lottery but of course lotteries were unheard of at that time. The race concept took many turns and through one committee and another, morphed into the 1967 Voyageur Canoe pageant. For serious paddlers such as we had on our team, this turned out to be the adventure of a lifetime. The 1967 voyageur Canoe pageant was also the biggest sporting success story of 1967. As a direct result of that race, there are hundreds of Voyageur Canoes in Canada, the USA and other parts of the world and many are used by paddlers retracing voyageur canoe routes. My last meeting with Gene was in Okanagan Falls in June, 2013. I had picked up brother Jim in Penticton and as we downed a couple of cups of coffee, Gene was busy scribbling notes and making plans on how we could drum up support for a Voyageur Canoe Race across Canada in 2017, Canada's 150th birhday. Thanks, Gene, I and my team mates didn't know you well but we owe you a big one. Rest in Peace.

- Norm Crerar, Captain Manitoba team-1967 Voyageur Canoe Pageant




Dear Steve & Cathy,

Gene certainly was a remarkable man. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.


- Jim Bloom & Trish Lafleur




We send our sympathy to all of Gene's family.
We knew Gene (Nemo) during our teen years in Flin Flon throughout our high school years. He made those years so much fun with his talents and intelligence and humour. We regret that we lost contact with him through the years but we are grateful to have known him and to read about all of his accomplishments.
We will always remember him with much love and affection.

Joseph and Kathreen Zanyk

- Joseph and Kathreen Zanyk




Generino....you certainly were Mr. Charisma and Mr. Universe and you could captivate a room with your conversation and wit.
You fed me "comfort food" sometimes in the form of your "halfbreed soup" and you were alert to the quiet moments. You watched for "the signs". You had many happy years with my mother Margaret in Okanagan Falls and over the years all of your children and grandchildren made the "pilgrimage" to visit.
Thank you for all of the stories and the love and laughter. It was an honor to come and get you this July, after your epic train trip east...you did it all. loved and missed by Gavin and Leah (stop that!)Bronwyn and Felix

- Lauri MeganJones aka Kitten




Our sympathy to all the Rheaume family in your loss.

- Bob, Judith & Marc





Dear Marg, Jossy and families. We are very sorry to hear Gene has passed. We send our heartfelt sympathy to all of you. Gene was a good family friend. He met my Dad (Bob Gauchie) in the 60's in the North. They had a lot in common and shared many a good time together over the decades. Gene was an incredible spirit with a bright creative mind. His rascal fun loving sense of adventure combined with great humour and irreverence endeared him to many. He was loved and we shall miss him dearly.


- Patti Gauchie




My deepest condolences to all of Gene's family. I worked with Gene for many years at the Native Council of Canada amd I often thought about him. It was well known that he had a mind like a steel trap. Rest in Peace, Gene.

- Gloria Dunn Martin




I am so sorry to hear about the passing of an old school chum from Flin Flon. Nemo as we called him was an extremely talented guy, a good basketball player and great public speaker I always predicted that he would become Prime Minister of Canada. He certainly had the brains and ability.

We were the united nations of Hapnot High, myself, Eugene, Gary Last and Joe Zanyk.

Rest in peace Nemo.

- Allan Badner




Ross & Gene

I was very sorry to read about your dad's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family.


- Rob Steen




So sorry to hear about Gene's death. My condolences to his family and to his loving companion and helpmate Margaret. Have fond memories of my time with them in the Okanagan. The great meals and Gene's stories and the many telephone chats will be missed greatly.

Bonnie Dickie
Winnipeg

-




To the Rheaume family, my deepest sympathies.

Your dad/granddad left behind a great legacy in his talented creative crazy kids and grandkids.

His spirit lives on in all of you, though luckily a bit toned down from what I heard about him. He was an amazing man.

Patti & Sheena

- Patti Pokorchak




Goodbye Gene, may the Great Spirit guide you in your way.
We will miss you, and your sense of humour, and that marvellous recipe for clam chowder!!!
I am so glad we met you, some of us, but our extended family is certainly way poorer without you! I'm so sorry you never made to Australia, as you said, it would never have been the same!
We will remember you with love and laughter.

- Victoria Lamont,Peter Robertson. Jesse Lamont,Nina Lamont




Gene Jr and family, I met your father when I started my company in 1991, your dad and I had some lovely chats and did some work together. He was such a funny, knowledgeable, charismatic gentleman. My prayers are with you and yours Gene...take good care...Carolyn Parker

- Carolyn Parker




Both Louise and I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to all of the family on the passing of an old friend and colleague.

- Len Samek




What an amazing and significant life lived...A great Canadian!

A very special man-father to a very special talented and creative family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

- Graham and Anne(Remmer) Thompson




Gene, Vicki, Amanda, Thomas

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Gene's Dad. Our sympathies go to all of you. We pray that you will be surrounded by family and friends at this time.

God Bless

Shirley and Harry

- Shirley and Harry Harbers




We have so many great memories of Gene and his family over the years. Great neighbours. Always a funny story and a good laugh.

- Doug and Donna Specht




Dear Gene, Vicky, Amanda and Thomas:
Our sincerest condolences to you and your family. May you keep all his wonderful memories close to your heart. Randy and Bev

- Randy Tivy and Beverly Reid




Every time I met the man, he'd always have a kind word and a great story. And nobody rocked black socks and sweatpants like he could! My sincere condolences to the family. He was a great man who produced very accomplished and talented offspring. He'll not be forgotten.

- Mike Wetmore




Every time I met the man, he'd always have a kind word and a great story. And nobody rocked black socks and sweatpants like he could! My sincere condolences to then family. He was a great man who produced very accomplished and talented offspring. He'll not be forgotten.

- Mike Wetmore




I have many happy memories of our Ottawa visits and staying with your mom and dad during family weddings. It was your dad who taught me how to pour "2/5 of a finger of whiskey." Who else would have done that? Plus he let me feed his pet squirrel. I hope to be there to celebrate his life in January.

- Rita Gaye Rheaume




Gene, Vicky, Amanda and Thomas,

Our condolences to you and the family. The history of your Father's life was amazing. You must be very proud of his accomplishments.. Gail And Andrew

- Gail Gillis and Andrew Burpee




I spent quite a bit of time with Gene as his Secretary and his Assistant. He shared many stories with me and seemed to always be preparing for dinner parties. He loved cooking and was a very good one. He was a brilliant man and very generous. I was very fortunate to have been his friend. He always spoke of his Family and my heartfelt condolences go out to them all and I know he will be missed by many. RIP Gene. I know you will be sitting at the head table up there.

- Liz Grant




On behalf of all of the Doohers I send a message of respect for a life lived well. Celebrate joyously your father's time on earth and know your family is in our thoughts.

- John Dooher




I have known "Big Gene" for 40 years of my life. I was High School sweet-hearts with "Little Gene" as we called him. Through out our relationship... big,little,ugly and handsome Gene; who were we talking about here?? This being an inside joke between my Father-in-law and I. His humor was quick and dry; you always had to be on your toes when having a conversation with him.

He was a second father to me; and I will miss him terribly. "Big Gene" will be in my heart for ever.

- Vicky Rheaume - First-daughter-in-law




I pretty much grew up in the Rheaume household and have many fond memories of my time there and my interaction with "Mr. Rheaume." To this day, he is one of the funniest, most creative "most interesting people" I have ever met. My sympathies to the whole family.

- Bernie Gauthier




Very saddened to hear of the passing of Gene Rheaume. As an adult, I did not have many occasions to encounter him, but when I was growing up he was as another father to me. I fondly remember him as an imposing, jovial character of remarkable intelligence. RIP Mr. Rheaume. My deepest condolences to the entire clan.

- Thom Barker




To the entire family many who I know very well, for Gene was "a brother" to me in every regard as well as being my best friend for many years. Will I miss him?....very much, every day. A friend, a mentor, an Aboriginal brother, my thoughts are with you all and his Grand-kids.
el Gino, may the spirit world be your everlasting soiree.

- Dwight Dorey .... ( D Squared to Gene)




My deepest sympathy to all the Rheaume family. There is going to be a very big gap left in your family. An amazing man!

- Julie Wurtele




It looks like he has passed on his wonderful joy of life and sense of humour to his children. Such a lucky man to have squeezed every drop of living out of life and to have been loved so much by so many. My deepest condolences..

- Linda Aldridge




Gene fostered the talented, creative and fun-loving traits in all of his children. May his spirit live on forever. Love you all!

- Carol Rosenthall




Today I lost my favourite Uncle Gene Rheaume. His untimely death was just another reminder to live your life freely and as big as you can. That was the kind of man he was. Full of life, larger than life, and living every moment as his last. Move over Johnny Carson...you got competition. R.I.P.

- Rita Gaye Rheaume




Today, my father Gene Rheaume passed away after an epic battle with the Grim Reaper over the last few months. The final irony, as he would fully appreciate, is that he chose All Saints Day to do it. As original, off-beat, complex, brilliant and hilarious a man as ever walked this earth. And anyone who knew him will know I am NOT exaggerating.

"Now, he belongs to the ages".

- Dave Rheaume




I don't usually post statuses like this, but for a such special man, I must. I'm so lucky to have reconnected with my Grandfather Gene after so many years, before he passed away this morning. Last December his entire family surprised him for his 80th in BC. When I walked in the room, I sure wasn't a 14 year old anymore. We laughed, had drinks and enjoyed a great weekend in the mountains. He mentioned I still have my big owl eyes, as he used to call me when I was a kid. This was his last gift to me, part of his owl collection. He was an intelligent, charismatic, funny, loving and kind man. Native Ojibwe Member of Parliament in the Northwest Territories, politician and social worker, father of six, husband and grandfather. He'll never get to see the documentary Ross was making on him, but Ross now has an ending chapter to an already intriguing film. He passed on his Native heritage to me, which allowed me to get my Native status and tuition funding this year. I am forever grateful for the opportunities he has given me through this heritage, the lasting memories and for all his love. I'll miss him dearly, we all will. RIP

- Alison Rheaume




My father Gene Rheaume (1932-2013), who passed away this morning. Here he is in the early-to-mid-Sixties on CBC Radio, when he was the MP for the Northwest Territories. He loved life and lived it big, so for those of you who knew him, please remember him in a joyous way, as he did for everyone else.

- Mark Rheaume




I am shattered at the loss of my Dad, Gene Rheaume, who passed away this morning. Although I have five brothers he always called me 'the son he never had'

He was the most iinfluential person in my life, and i was lucky to have spent a lot of time with him recently

looks like the wolf of time finally caught up to you Geno

go in peace

- Jocelyn Rheaume




A pack of Canadian geese in V formation just flew past my van as we drive west to Moose Jaw. Change of seasons, migration. Makes me think of my Grampa Gene Rheaume. He told me a story once of when he was a kid in God's Lake Manitoba. He had been misbehaving (a likely story) and his mother Stella, to punish him, made him go out and sit on a rock and stare at the geese flying south until he came up with an answer as to why the geese were migrating. He wasn't allowed to come into the house until he came up with the answer. This Canadian land makes me think of my Grampa every day. Singing my songs feels even more important now. I will miss him very much.

- Amanda Rheaume