Our Mom, Gertrude Anita Marie Girouard, passed away on July 1, 2021 after a brief struggle with Lung Cancer. She was 86 years old, born on the farm in Northern Alberta to Dolorosa and Emile Garant. She had two older siblings; Emilienne (deceased) and Jeannine as well as a younger brother Paul (deceased). Gertrude married Philippe “Phil” Alfred “Ted” Girouard November 28th, 1951.
Gert followed Ted to Whitehorse, Yukon May 6, 1953, arriving pregnant with her first child Dorine by plane at night, amazed at the large town she was moving to with all the lights. The next morning was a totally different story by the light of day, and wanting to get back on that plane. Having aunts and uncles in Whitehorse helped in the transition to the northern frontier town. Two more children followed, first Rhea and then Rolland.
First years were spent working with her husband Phil for the Department of Public Works on the Alaska Highway bridge crew, he as a foreman and she in the mess hall kitchen 'til school requirements forced the family to be full time in Whitehorse. The family spent time replacing bridges at Mile 245, Lower Post,Stony Creek, Slims River and Snag.
In Whitehorse, Gert worked at Tourist Services restaurant, Clyde Wann cafe, and the Edgewater Hotel on the day it burned. Mom had just started her shift when smoke was noticed, it was she who ran the hallways knocking on every door, alerting everyone to get out. When the propane in the kitchen ignited, it blew her out the door.
Gertie changed career options to work as Barmaid and Bartender for many years at the '98 and the Regina. Gert took over management of the Bamboo Cocktail Lounge, fall of 1969, being the first to bring live entertainment to Whitehorse and frozen pizza.
Gert played a good game of cribbage and not often turned down a chance to try and skunk someone. For several years she organized crib tournaments around town. She enjoyed watching most sports. In her youth she partook in track and field, baseball and curling. She also entered the Freighters Chain Up events for several years, taking home trophies.
Gert loved working outside in her yard, growing a garden and was known by many children and adults as the Carrot Lady. She only grew baby carrots as she said they were like eating candy. Not much stood in Mom’s way when she set her mind on anything. One summer was spent building a 5 feet x 40 feet tall long rock wall planter with help from a friend. The wall was featured in two Canadian gardening magazines. It took two summers for Gert to finish building a 6 foot, 2 weir waterfall with a pond, replacing two diseased spruce trees in the backyard.
In her later years, cross stitching became a passion. She put countless hours in and learned many lessons. One lesson was not to attempt cross stitching if enjoying a glass of wine and watching All in the Family while visiting with her sister Jean.
Mom believed in working hard so she could play hard. Dancing was her thing and boy o' boy could she dance. I recall seeing her so exhausted, I thought she would fall down until a friend called and suggested going dancing. It totally amazed me how she could always disappear to her room, and a half hour later emerge looking like a new woman and a million dollars. Mom told of when Dad and her drove all the way to Whitehorse from Mile 245 for the dance in Whitehorse.
Mom often found great fun in telling various family members down south that we live in “God’s” country here. We will miss her smile, mischievousness, sense of humour, but most of all her love. She loved God, her children, grandson, family and friends and will be immensely missed by us all. Until we are together again Mom. Love you so much.
Gertie was predeceased by her husband in 1969 and Dorine in 2016. She is survived by her daughter Rhea, son Rolland, and her grandson Joseph.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM, July 15, 2021, Sacred Heart Cathedral. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.
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