Written July 13, 2016 by his loving godson Rick Laliberte.
It is truly an honour to be able to share this celebration with all of you here today, and on behalf of the family, I would like to thank and welcome everyone present as we go down memory lane.
We are here to remember Joe’s life and a lifetime of memories that he has gifted and given to all of us.
My name is Rick Laliberte and I am Joe’s brother-in-law, second youngest brother to Carmelle, and also blessed to have them as my God parents.
Joe a son, brother, uncle, husband, father, grandfather (or otherwise known as Pepere), great grandfather and a friend.
There wasn’t any one of these areas that he did not excel at.
In reality he was incredible and amazing at all of them, family, friendship and a strong faith were everything to him.
He had an ability to love unconditionally, never seeking or asking for anything in return and because of this it made it so easy to admire and love him back.
It’s hard to believe that someone with so much love could love even deeper, but that day happened when Joe, low and behold met this cute little brunette, my sister Carmelle, and after very little running she knew he was the one. By the way thank you for bringing him into our lives.
Their love flourished and on November 7, 1959 they were married. Exactly 9 months and one day later their first son Aime was born. The funny thing is Joe used to always say that he couldn’t believe that he had wasted one whole day.
Joe and Carmelle proceeded to have four more children and they would each like to share a short message in memory of their dad to all of us.
Aime would like to share with us that the most enduring memory of his Dad that he valued and uses daily in his life was his impeccable behaviour as a gentlemen, he treated the woman that he loved so much with total kindness and respect. Dad did this so naturally each and every day with mom.
He believes this to be a truly admirable trait and wishes to carry it on for his Dad; Gentlemen Joe.
Joel the second oldest would like to convey with us, that he will always remember Dad’s undying love and unlimited devotion for mom.
Joanne would like to share with us how Dad always told her that no matter how old you are you will never be too old to sit on my knee.
Diane, the youngest of the two girls says; My Dad our Pepere, because everyone called him Pepere, even herself sometimes, she tells us her fondest and most memorable memories are every day that they spent together, every Friday night with his grand children, and every weekly lunch. In short every day spent with Dad and Mom has become her most memorable moments.
Camille the youngest of the boys and girls, would like to say; My father was a man of simple things, simple pleasures and simple wants. Never asking for much in return. The simplest thing he would do, was the way he loved his family, his grand children, his friends but most of all our Mom.
Fifty six years later they are even more in love with each other than when they first met.
They did everything together and Joe was always the true gentlemen, whether it was doing up her seatbelt, sliding in her chair at meal time, listening to her even when she thought he didn’t hear or walking on the beach holding hands at their lake lot.
He loved his times at the lake and couldn’t wait for his next fish fry or company to visit. He enjoyed playing cards for hours but especially enjoyed spending all of his time with the love of his life Carmelle and they were inseparable. At times when Carmelle may have gotten angry or upset, he had a calming way to him and wasn’t confrontational, his ability to be a great listener was uncanny and because of this they never did have too many conflicts.
Joe was a man of few words; and I quote “If you’re talking, I guess I don’t have to”. He truly was a great listener though and Carmelle loved this dearly about him. Sometimes he may have been too good of a listener, because it seemed that every time he would get tangled up with his brother-in-law Kenny, or to most of us, Uncle Kenny, he would get talked into doing just about anything.
Because of this they shared many adventures, from car racing to patching up an old boat with duct tape and wire and then taking it out on the lake as it took on water like crazy.
Joe never thought he’d make it back to shore.
Another memorable adventure they shared and a few of us kids were able to witness it while we were fishing on the shoreline one day, Joe and Kenny were on the lake again, this time in a canoe, well they capsized the canoe and Joe began to panic, he believed he was drowning.
He flopped around in the water in total fear and after a short time Kenny finally yelled at him to stand up, so he did, well the water was only waist deep.
Joe was a strong but very compassionate man, he worked and was dedicated to whatever job or task was in front of him.
He was an inventor and never backed away from a challenge. If it could be taken apart Joe always tried his best to fix it and most times succeeded.
He farmed for twelve years at Big Prairie near his parents homestead and in 1973 moved his family into High Prairie where he worked as the seed cleaning plant manager, until he retired.
This wasn’t enough though, he was also the caretaker for the cemetery for 35 years and volunteered countless hours to the church, doing repairs or whatever was asked of him. Father Tony once told him “for every good deed he did he was collecting air miles to heaven” well I think he had his air miles a long long time ago.
Joe was also a very kind and loving son, he loved his parents but truly had a special relationship with his Mom (Laura).
He loved her dearly and she held a very special place in his heart. His strong faith in God and the church helped him get through her loss. Most of all, as we take this trip down memory lane. I think he loved life, he loved hugging, giving one or getting one, there was never a wrong time for a hug.
He loved laughing, I don’t think I have ever seen a man cry so much, but they were almost always tears of laughter.
He was always smiling, almost glowing especially around family and friends, a sign of how happy he was. I always admired Joe because he seemed to live a stress free life.
I am sure that wasn’t the case but he sure hid it well.
He had a wit or for better words, a sense of humour that would sneak up on you. Often he would sneak some little saying into the conversation and as it went on, a few seconds or minutes later you would realize what he had said and burst out laughing. Except for Diane, it usually took her a little longer.
He even was able to sneak his wit unto Carmelle, I recall one time when she was doing her spring cleaning, she was working in her kitchen and getting rid of things she didn’t use anymore.
While she was doing this, she was kind of talking to herself and Joe just happened to walk by and said something in passing.
Well it wasn’t’ until a few minutes later that she realized what he said and broke out laughing.
She then proceeded to tell him how silly he was and they had a good laugh together.
Now keep this story in mind and it has meaning a little further along. One thing for sure he truly made us laugh, but enjoyed it even more so. The proof in this is when his daughter-in-law Marilyn came into his life, she could make him laugh for hours.
I am sure there were many tears of laughter during these visits and I am sure he looked forward to the next one so he could do it all over again.
Another time that comes to mind when he had tears of laughter was at a family function. We were all camped at Shaw’s Point and having a great time.
As the evening proceeded somehow Joe had lost his drink and because he already had a few he was having some difficulty saying “I lost my drink, I lost my drink”.
He looked for it everywhere and I am not sure if he ever did find it.
This relates back to when Carmelle was cleaning her kitchen and throwing out all the things she didn’t use anymore. Well Joe must have found what he was looking for that night because he would not let her throw it away.
Joe was a very proud man, he was kind and caring with a gentle soul. He was especially proud of his children, grandchildren and of course his great-grandchildren.
He was blessed having them and watching them grow and who they are today.
In this past year Joe and Carmelle truly enjoyed time with their newest great-grandson Zachary, and Tracy and Randy made sure they would get to see them often.
Little Zachary even paid Joe a visit before his heart surgery and I know seeing his smile and hearing his laugh meant everything to Joe.
But then of course so did all his family.
Here is a story that comes to mind about Joe and being Pepere, when Tracy his granddaughter was little she often stayed with Joe and Carmelle at the lake. Well, Tracy had this game called Snakes and Ladders and just ,loved to play it with Pepere.
Of course being the great Pepere he was he couldn’t say no, but after hours and days of playing it, it was weighing thin on his nerves, but he still would keep on playing.
So when it was time to leave the lake and head back to High Prairie, of course Tracy wanted to bring the game so she could keep playing with her Pepere.
When Carmelle asked him if she should bring it, he quietly and discreetly said “Bury it in the sand”
Unfortunately, there was a time when life wasn’t so easy.
In 2009 Carmelle was diagnosed with heart trouble and had to undergo surgery.
The surgery was successful but the recovery was difficult.
This was when Joe truly stepped up to the plate, he gave 200% for her and never left her side.
His support and love was a perfect example of how great a man and husband he truly was.
This was made even more incredible, cause in 2001, 15 years ago Joe had struggles of his own. He was diagnosed with colon cancer and then later to be found liver cancer.
Well God obviously wasn’t ready to take him yet and he beat the cancer and was able to help Carmelle and be with her and us for another 15 years.
Now just two weeks ago Joe had to undergo heart surgery of his own and of course Carmelle never left his side. They truly loved each other and were always there for each other. Well, Joe’s surgery was a success, but unfortunately some things are not in our control and God had made his decision and had other plans for Joe.
Are we sad? Of course we are, we are heartbroken. Are we angry? A little, we have all suffered a great loss, we have that right to these feelings. It is a part of grieving such a wonderful person in our lives.
But we can also celebrate, trust in our faith and most of all never ever “forget”, every special time and memory that Joe has gifted to us all. If I may quote Joe’s grandson Donald.
“Dear God another angel comes to sit at your side. Take care of him. We will miss you Pepere.”
In closing Joe Aime Lizee, was born on July 22, 1933 in Grouard, Alberta. He passed away on July 9, 2016, in Edmonton, Alberta.
He was predeceased by his parents Lucien and Laura Lizee, 3 brothers, 1 sister and Mederic and Lilian Laliberte. His legacy, leaves behind his loving wife Carmelle, 5 wonderful children, Aime, Joel, Joanne, Diane and Camille. Also 11 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.