|Georgina and Alfred Leclerc|
Born in Cartier on November 21, 1892, Mr. Leclerc also lived for a time on the family farm in Bic, Quebec.
He arrived in Chapleau in 1915 and became employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a fireman. In 1942, Mr. Leclerc was promoted to engineer and he retired in 1957. An article prepared for the Sacred Heart Centennial notes that Mr. Leclerc was called 'The Engineer' or the 'Iron Duke', "with love and respect" by CPR employees long after he retired.
On January 23, 1929, Mr. Leclerc married Georgina Beaupre from Thunder Bay who was working in the Rexall Pharmacy. They had six children.
|RC church on Lorne St destroyed by fire, 1918|
"I helped build that church," he said in the church centennial article. "Also I brought cord wood to heat it up. The tennis court (later located on the rectory grounds) was full of wood for the rectory and then church. This was very hard work.
"I also painted the whole church inside with my painters. I reaired what needed repairing, dug the basement, built and 'rebuilt' whenever necessary."
Throughout his long involvement with the parish Mr. Leclerc was always there when needed -- with his sons, his tools, his skills and his willingness.
He also shovelled snow for many years, and I can still recall him cleaning the steps and walk at the church as I passed by on my way to school.
Many will also remember that Mr. Leclerc rode around town on his bicycle and was still doing so in his nineties. The Centennial article noted that, "Sometimes he huffs and puffs, breaks a few knuckles but always makes it back on the right track."
|Chapleau Circa 1915|
"They used to come and visit us often for wonderful evenings of fun and heated conversation."
But Father Gascon was in a "horrible mood" one day when he came out and saw that the rectory veranda was gone.
Mr. Leclerc related that he "was delivering wood for the church when "my horses went wild and somehow the wagon they were pulling grabbed the veranda pillars and the whole rectory veranda fell down.
"Can you imagine that! It was an awful sight!"
Father Gascon came out and said, according to Mr. Leclerc: "Well, Fred Leclerc, look what your horses did. What are you going to do about that?" He added that Father Gascon was in a "terrible mood" and he told him,"Never mind. What my horses break I repair and I fixed the whole veranda. Monsiegneur Gascon was relieved."
Mr. Leclerc also served as a member of Chapleau Township council for five years. In June 1978, Mr. and Mrs. Leclerc assisted Hon. Rene Brunelle, who was chairman of the Ontario cabinet, at the official opening of Cedar Grove Lodge.
Referring to the importance of the church, Mr. Leclerc commented, "Our parish meant a lot to Georgie and I ... Sharing and giving is what a parishioner must do. This reflects on the whole family. It reflected on ours."
Once again thanks to all those who have been contacting me with Chapleau moments. My email is email@example.com